Albany has come a long way since I was born here in the early 1970’s. The amount of food options available is growing each year. There is something to satisfy any palate from Mexican, to high end, to Pho or delicious brunch.
Since the options can be overwhelming, especially if you have not had much time to go out and explore all of the choices, I have narrowed it down to my five favorites. These are in no particular order.
Frankie’s was opened in Albany in 2013 by Cody Utzman, who won “Chopped” on The Food Network (twice!). Ever since they have opened, it has become one of the most popular spots to grab a drink, a delicious appetizer (try the pork belly fries) or choose from a wide variety of entrees. It is a great spot to take somebody on a date or meet up with friends. They source many of their ingredients from local farms.
The ambiance is casual, but it still has a higher-end feeling. If you have a large party, call and make reservations – on the weekends, it can get busy!
Beet Salad. I know, it doesn’t sound good, but believe me, it’s great! I like to add chicken to it for the perfect meal without feeling like I’m eating too unhealthy.
If you want brunch, this is the place to go while in Albany! Located in a charming downtown building, there are two levels of seating in a modern yet historic setting. They are open for breakfast and lunch throughout the week. If you are having brunch on the weekend, they have a Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar with a variety of flavors.
You can sit down to eat, or grab some Sisters Coffee Co. coffee and a homemade pop-tart to take with you as you walk down to the carousel.
Huevos Rancheros or Chicken and Waffles. Both are A-MA-ZING.
Right in the heart of downtown Albany, in an old bank building, is Vault 244, often referred to as “The Vault”. With a rotating seasonal menu of tapas and traditional entrees, as well as delicious desserts and cocktails, there is sure to be something for everybody.
Their website describes the restaurant perfectly as somewhere that is “upscale and relaxed, without being stuffy or pretentious.”
Fire & Ice Cocktail. Warning – if you don’t like spicy, this is not the cocktail for you!
If you’re looking for something with a little more spice, head to Sam City. The “Pho King” of Albany, Sam City serves a wide array of different Asian inspired dishes.
This is a great place to bring the family, as the atmosphere is more relaxed. The food is always fresh, and portions are on the larger side – perfect spot to split a plate for lunch!
Pho. I like the one with shrimp and veggies.
Los Tequilas is my favorite Mexican restaurant in Albany. Located centrally, across from Fred Meyer, it is a great spot to grab dinner with the family, or margaritas after work with a group of friends. They have all of the fare that you would expect from a Mexican restaurant, and great chips and salsa.
Chicken Enchiladas. I get sour cream and/or guacamole on the side. Yum!
Any of these restaurants are guaranteed to be a great place to grab a bite to eat. The selection of places to eat in Albany is growing every month. Some have been here since I was a little girl, and some I have yet to try. I love going downtown and trying a new restaurant before heading to the carousel, the PIX or seeing a play at the community theater.
Some restaurants that just barely didn’t make it into my top five, but have been here in Albany just about as long as I have are Novak’s, and Pop’s Branding Iron. Novak’s offers authentic Hungarian fare, while Pop’s will give you an old-fashioned diner experience.
Let me know if you have a favorite restaurant that you would add to this list, and I’ll be sure to check it out!