For such a small town, Saratoga Springs hosts an impressive number of locally owned restaurants, coffee shops and other eateries. There is a flavor, price point and atmosphere for whatever the family is hankerin’ for.
(Special thanks to Jinny VanDeusen who recommended the first three stops.)
A gourmet grocery that professed to be “the best food and wine store between Manhattan and Montreal” is our first stop in Saratoga to pick up a picnic before heading to SPAC. This small grocery packs a variety of provisions including a deli counter, olive bar, bakery and lots of packaged eats including fresh bread, cheese, crackers, chocolate, cold drinks and more. (The wine shop is next door.) Sandwiches are creative but popular so expect a wait. SPAC picnic boxes are available if you order in advance, but we ended up putting together our own picnic basket from the deli menu and cheese case. It is a little pricey for a deli, but the great food is worth it to me. Most importantly, don’t leave without a cupcake (or 4.) Very limited seating is available in front of the market.
Putnam Market 435 Broadway, Putnam Wine 431 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY, http://www.putnammarket.com/
By no means a family restaurant, on both of our trips to Scallions we saw multiple generations enjoying a meal of fresh, seasonal and tasty food in a casual setting. There is something on the menu for everyone. If the specials don’t entice you, I highly recommend the Citrus Duck Salad, Maui Pork or Giant Wild Mushroom Crostini. While generally, I discourage feeding kids from the children’s menu, we ordered the yogurt with fruit and granola off the kids menu for Mirielle. (Probably the first time we ever ordered anything off a children’s menu, but healthy non fried food?! Amen.) After dinner, stop by the adjacent gallery which has some really funky handmade items for sale.
44 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY, http://www.scallionssaratoga.com/
I love great crepes and frites. Seriously, grown up pancakes and french fries? Kinda like a kids menu for everyone. Jinny warned me this small restaurant fills up quickly, so we made sure to be at the door at 10am when it opened for Saturday brunch (check the website for hours.) Seating is cozy, but our family has a system of sharing one savory and one sweet crepe so a small table worked for us. For “research” purposes I ordered a small frites cone with garlic aioli. The coffee was great, the staff were kind to Mirielle, and the reasonably priced food satisfied our cravings for at least a few days.
21 Phila Street Saratoga Springs, NY, http://www.ravenouscrepes.com/
I am sure there is a hotel out there with great in-room or in-lobby complementary coffee, but I am still looking for it. In Saratoga Springs, don’t bother chancing it and head to Uncommon Grounds. The coffee is roasted in house and on all of our visits, there was a choice of at least six different brews for your morning cup. Bagels baked in house can be configured into lots of sandwich and spread combinations. With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, Uncommon Grounds is a easy place for families to hang out while mom and dad get their pick me up. (We enjoyed a cuppa while waiting for Ravenous, right around the corner, to open.)
402 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY, http://uncommongrounds.com/
Living in a Mexican food wasteland, I jump at every opportunity for good Mexican food. Walking by Cantina, we stopped in for dinner and were not disappointed. While crowed at 6:30pm on a Saturday in July, we were seated immediately. Normally I hate the high tin ceiling, noisy restaurants, but with Mirielle in a cranky mood it was great not to have to hear her whining or share it with other patrons. The innovative Mexican food includes dishes like Baja and Yucatan style fish tacos, duck taquitios and wild mushroom quesadillas. I had the coconut-chili Mahi Mahi with cilantro rice. The pumpkin seed coating on the fish gave it an unusual look, but with the creamy coconut and plenty of spicy chili flavor, I was impressed. Everything on the children’s menu is $4 with a portion of the proceeds donated to a local hospital. How cool is that? Mirielle had the children’s chicken burrito which was probably enough food to feed all of us. How big was the adult burrito?
430 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY, http://www.cantinasaratoga.com/