In the Armory Square District, try Pastabilities (311 S. Franklin St., 315/474-1153, $11) for home-cooked Italian fare. Significantly more upscale is Pascale Wine Bar & Restaurant (204 W. Fayette St., 315/471-3040, $17), a historic townhouse serving imaginative French-American cuisine and Finger Lakes wines.
Also in the neighborhood, the Lemon Grass Grille and 238 Bistro (238 W. Jefferson St., 315/475-1111, $15) specializes in Pacific Rim cuisine.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Cue (246 W. Willow St., 315/476-4937), known statewide for their winning sauces, is awhirl with murals of frolicking dinosaurs and a row of Harley’s frequently parked out front, which business folk on their lunch breaks slip past to get their sauce on. The fun, bustling hotspot serves straightforward barbecue dishes and home-style comfort foods for lunch and dinner; fried green tomatoes and pulled pork sandwiches are two favorites. The blues club brings in top acts for live music, served with a side of mac ‘n cheese.
The Mission Restaurant (304 E. Onondaga St., 315/475-7344, $14) is built to look like a tiny church, complete with a steeple and stained-glass windows. On the menu is Mexican and Caribbean fare, along with great margaritas.
Clam Bar (3914 Brewerton Rd., 315/458-1662, $14), with a deceptively 1950s kitsch dive-ish look, complete with knotty pine walls and motorcycle parking, fronts a family-owned place touted for the best seafood in town. This claim is backed up by the crowd, which you’ll want to get there early to avoid.
In Tipperary Hill, Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub (100 S. Lowell Ave., 315/476-1933) is a neighborhood institution featuring menus written in both Gaelic and English, and lots of hearty Irish fare. For Old World German food in a simple setting, try Weber’s Grill (820 Danforth St., 315/472-0480), also a Syracuse institution, located north of downtown.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition