It’s that magical time of the term: your parents are visiting. Yes, they may bring you the laundry bag you forgot or that one sweater you need to have in your winter wardrobe, but what you really want is a warm, delicious meal. Schenectady truly is a hub for great restaurants (who knew??). We just don’t get to fully experience it on our tight student budgets. So, utilize this opportunity to make your parents spend the money that you don’t have on a yummy meal. Here are some of the best restaurants in the area…
I am starting with this one because this is Schenectady’s top restaurant, yup #1. It is a small, cozy, family-run restaurant that dishes out some of the best Moroccan food you will ever have, and I mean ever. As you walk in, you will be greeted by Aneesa behind the stove, one of the owners, who perfects every dish they serve. They even sell some of their own sauces and preserves, so you can bring a little taste of Morocco back to your dorm.
A crowd favorite among Union students, it is best known for its small plates and speciality pizzas. That being said, they also have an extensive menu of pastas and creative entrees that are sure to satisfy everyone in the family. The steak is a personal favorite and not something I can order with my budget. The atmosphere is unlike anywhere else in Schenectady and it’s located right next to Proctor’s theatre (in case you were planning to see a show). Tip: If you’re coming here on a weekend, definitely get a reservation. This place fills up fast.
3. Cella Bistro
This restaurant is a little less known, but it’s time we give this place the spotlight it deserves. Cella Bistro has a wide variety of tapas and entrees that are constantly changing and always fresh and delicious. You can get top quality mussels simmered in saffron cream, asparagus and fried egg with truffle oil (truffle oil!), or even fried chick peas for about the same price you’d pay for some Chipotle. Doesn’t seem like a bad deal, right?
This new restaurant already has people’s mouths watering. From creative apps (like these taleggio cheese melts you’re drooling over) and cheesy tater tots to more gourmet dishes such as scallops with cauliflower potato puree. This restaurant is focused on innovation and pure hospitality, making the menu and atmosphere very trendy. If you haven’t already tried this place, it should definitely be your next stop for dinner.
For more of a casual option, Gershon’s has the best sandwiches around. This is the Capital Region’s oldest and most award-winning NY-style delicatessen. They have some of the most iconic Jewish dishes like knishes, corned beef and lox, not to mention every Friday and Saturday they have matzah ball soup. A variety of big sandwiches and lighter fares are perfect for a quick lunch. There is even a whole section of different gooey grilled cheese sandwiches on the menu, who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Family-owned Perreca’s bakery has two main components. There is a bakery with amazing fresh-baked bread and cannolis you can pick up whenever, but you can go to More Perreca’s (right next door) for brunch and get the ever-famous eggs and purgatory (a BIG favorite among Union students). Do your parents a favor and take them here for brunch.
For those parents that like to par-taaayy definitely make the trip to Zen with them. For those over 21, they have great mojitos of all flavors. It is an extremely chic environment that is always a favorite for birthdays and large gatherings, or even a nice sushi date. You cannot go wrong with the sushi, hibachi or their stellar pad thai.
There are a ton of great Italian restaurants in the Schenectady area, so it’s super hard to just highlight a few. Marotta’s is a great option because of its proximity to Union. It is a block from some of the down campus dorms, so on a nice fall or spring day (or winter if you’re really that brave), you can take a stroll down Union Street. They have Italian apps, salads, and great classic pastas dishes. Do yourself a favor and try the stuffed rigatoni.
9. Union Cafe
We obviously had to include this one. Union Cafe is a small Greek diner right on Union Street less than 5 minutes away. Whether it be Greek food, omelettes, or pancakes, it’s perfect for a Sunday morning. In the spring and summer they even have an outdoor seating section for some fresh air. It’s a nice alternative to a dinner place when your parents might have to get back on the road quickly.
And if you’re now craving breakfast food, check out these amazing pancakes that are better than any boyfriend.
10. Max London’s
For those parents who aren’t too fond of Schenectady and would rather spend the day in a great college town, Max London’s in Saratoga is a great pick. It’s a classy restaurant that has just about everything you can ask for, from brunch to dinner. It takes about 40 minutes to get there, but if you want to get outside of the typical Union bubble, it’s a perfect option. Max London’s sister bakery, Mrs. London’s, is at Schenectady’s Green Market every Sunday.
11. Bier Abbey
Right next to Marotta’s, this place is known for their wide selection of beers and burgers. It is definitely not the place to go if you’re feeling a light salad, but this place makes the #cheatday burger worth it. Their beer list is elaborate, so any dad coming up to visit will definitely be pleased with the sophisticated brews it offers.
#Spoontip please get these Abbey cheese fries, they are smothered in bacon and cheese, yum.
12. Chez Nous
Chez Nous, one of Schenectady’s newest, is a French bistro (surprising it’s not Italian) with a menu and wine list that is absolutely to die for. These unique dishes are not often seen around Schenectady, so it’s a real treat. The atmosphere is cozy yet elegant, in a beautifully restored house where every room is decorated to make you feel comfortable.
If the dessert at whatever restaurant you go to doesn’t live up to your standards, make the trek over to Ayelada. A classic fro-yo place, where you can put just about anything and everything in your bowl. Their flavors are always changing, and you can mix it up every time you go. It’s healthy since it’s organic, right??
Here are just a few of SpoonU Union’s favorite spots in the area. Do yourself a favor and make your parents take you to them.