Francesca's Ristorante Italiano's eggplant fra diablo won Taste of Buffalo's 2012 Pat Sardina Memorial award for Best Comfort Food, and the lemon strawberry sorbet won Taste of Buffalo's award for 2013 Independent Health Foundation's Healthy Options, but those aren't the only items on the eatery's menu that could have qualified. Other dishes with sumptuous, rich flavors include the eatery's rustic Italian pizzas, which chefs paint with a signature red-wine sauce or garlic-cream-cheese spread, as well as the osso buco with tender, slow-cooked beef shank and oyster mushrooms packed into ravioli. While navigating forks through tubes of housemade manicotti stuffed with ricotta cheese, patrons can enjoy the melodies of occasional live music or launch paper airplanes off the outdoor patio. Dark wood accentuates the fully stocked bar, replete with wine, beer, and cocktail makings.
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Known as the “Stuffed Hot Pepper King,” Nicky G's Sports Bar and Restaurant churns out pizzas, calzones, and subs crowned with stuffed peppers, but they also concoct milder choices, such as 8-ounce Black Angus cheeseburgers, steak-and-cheese subs, and even freshly made crab cakes. From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., the wait staff shuffles food to tables inside the restaurant and bar area or to patrons on the patio. On Sunday nights, guests can enjoy entertainment with their meal, as wannabe singers tray their hand at karaoke and wannabe football players tackle barstools.
The staff at Chateau Buffalo strives to support local farmers, and they do so by using locally produced grapes in their red and white wines. They also produce craft ciders that come sparkling, cold, or warm. Those unsure of what they'd like to drink will find the Chateau's tastings, like a hair tie made of Twizzlers, are both tasty and helpful.
Occuping the building at Lackawanna's central intersection Nelson's ridge perfectly captures the neighborhood’s charm. The eatery takes its name from nearby Our Lady of Victory Basilica's well-loved leader, Father Nelson Baker, and furthers the connection with menu names derived from religious icons. Chefs churn out classic diner fare such as burgers, hot sandwiches, and fried chicken for lunch and dinner, but the biggest crowd pleasers are their served-all-day hotcakes, stuffed with bananas and chocolate chips, blueberries, or diced apples and bacon. In true diner fashion, Nelson’s feeds hungry diners at a long counter dotted with bar stools, and floor-to-ceiling windows offer gorgeous views of its namesake basilica.
Each day, the chefs at Center Street Smokehouse slow-cook their St. Louis cut ribs with hickory and oak wood to infuse the meat with a smoky flavor. In addition to their menu of barbecue beef brisket, Carolina pulled pork, and New York strip steaks, the chefs bake baskets cheese biscuits for every table.