A lot can change in a year. Just look at saratoga living’s 2018 Best Of Everything Issue: Since the magazine first hit newsstands last September, three out of eight of the chefs in our cover feature—Roslyn Riggi, Tracey Kwiecien and Brien Bowden—have left their posts at their respective restaurants (and Bowden’s former post, R&R Kitchen and Bar, closed this past September); Jackson, the canine star of the Instagram account @jacksonsjourneys (and our story), has lost a leg to bone cancer, though he’s undergoing therapy and is slowly getting back to hiking; and the Doughboy, Esperanto’s signature savory treat—and one of our reasons to #LoveWhereYouLive—has been officially rebranded the “Oboy” (though most locals still call it by its old name).
One constant? saratoga living’s Ultimate A2Z Guide, in which our readership—a.k.a. you—were able to vote from June to July on your favorite Saratoga Springs restaurants, bars, boutiques and more. But we wanted to make it better the second time around, so we made a few key changes. For one, this year, readers were able to vote once a day for two solid months. As a result, we saw a 150 percent jump, year-over-year, in the number of responses we got and ultimately, tallied more than 2500 votes! We also tweaked a few of the category headings—look out for newbies such as “Architecture,” “Kids’ Activities” and “Pizza”—to highlight more of what makes Saratoga so special. And instead of awarding category-specific winners based on the highest percentage of votes, we decided to present the top three vote-getters with gold, silver and bronze medals, Olympics-style.
Of course, one major change that none of us at saratoga living had any control over was people’s opinions—so you’ll be seeing quite a few new winners this year compared to last. (If you disagree with the results, well, then that gives you even more of an incentive to rock the vote in 2020.)
Fundamentally, being a Saratogian means being proud of this great city—from its mineral waters and its storied arts establishments to its status as a world-class vacation/wedding destination. So, without further ado, we’re proud to present your 2019 Ultimate A2Z Guide.
A / Architecture
Gold: The Adelphi Hotel
One of Saratoga’s oldest and grandest hotels, The Adelphi upped its street appeal tenfold when it underwent a 5-year, estimated $32 million renovation, completed in the fall of 2017. Now that the iconic hotel’s original splendor has been restored—and upgraded, with modern flourishes—it’s truly an unstoppable force in Saratoga’s hospitality business.
B / Breakfast
Sweet Mimi’s, located on Phila Street in Downtown Saratoga, is a real crowd-pleaser. While the café-bakery’s name alludes to its crave-worthy sweet treats (Cinnamon Roll Pancakes—OMG!), it’s savory breakfast options are just as unforgettable.
C / Coffee
Gold: Uncommon Grounds
Uncommon Grounds really is the heart of Saratoga. Known for its bagels, breakfast sandwiches and, of course, its impressive coffee selection, it’s established itself as the OG coffeehouse in town. Oh, and just try rolling in there around 10am on a Saturday during track season. (You’ll see what we mean.)
D / Dinner ($)
Saratoga’s Druthers flagship—there are also locations in Albany and Schenectady—has casual dining down to a science. From its extensive craft beer list (it’s a brewery after all!) to its comfort-food stocked menu (Druthers Mac, Buffalo Chicken Wrap, wood-fired pizzas, Beer Cheese Dip…the list goes on), Druthers is like no other.
D / Dinner ($$)
After a marathon afternoon at Uncommon Grounds—assuming you weren’t scared away by the Saturday morning line—look no further than neighbor Cantina for one of the hottest dinners in town. Upscale Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, margaritas and, most importantly, the best chips and salsa in the area, await at the always-hopping restaurant.
D / Dinner ($$$)
Gold: 15 Church
For a dressed-to-the-nines night out on the town, 15 Church is a no-brainer. Dine on some of Saratoga’s finest, most imaginative dishes in a beautifully restored historic building located at, you guessed it, 15 Church Street. Seriously, somebody needs to give Chef Michael Manstrantuono a medal—or a Michelin star—of his own.
E / Escape
Gold: Lake Placid
Saratoga may be a sought-after vacation destination all by itself, but sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation! Less than two hours north of the city is picturesque Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games (see: the “Miracle on Ice”), as well as a number of award-winning restaurants, hotels, scenic lakes and a great shopping scene.
Though it consistently falls on one of the chilliest days of the year, Chowderfest is one of Saratoga’s best reasons to get outdoors. For 20 years, the festival has been challenging local restaurants to create their best chowder for a chance to win a slew of awards, voted on by the people of Saratoga (sorta like this list).
G / Gym
Saratoga Peak Performance, owned and directed by top sports conditioning expert Dr. Bryan Briddell, is the place in town for serious athletes—whether you consider yourself a jock or not. Dr. Briddell has some legit chops, too; he’s trained a number of top sportspeople from the area, including former Los Angeles Kings hockey player Brad Chartrand.
H / Happy Hour
Gold: 15 Church
In addition to its to-die-for dinner, 15 Church also has a can’t-miss happy hour during the Saratoga summer season. The Patio at 15 Church is the perfect place to grab a few small plates (think tapas, avocado toast and tempura fish tacos), as well as $3 select draft beers, $6 select wines by the glass and half-off cocktails every day from 4:30-6pm (only available in-season).
I / Ice Cream
Gold: Dairy Häus
A Saratoga classic, Dairy Häus, located on West Avenue, has been serving up homemade ice cream from its walk-up window for more than three decades. Don’t go there just expecting your typical chocolate, vanilla and strawberry options: Dairy Häus’ rotating cast of hard ice creams includes standouts such as Caramel Cookie Dough, Coconut Pistachio and even Bubble Gum.
Silverado’s a goldmine. The family-run jewelry gallery, which welcomes Broadway
foot traffic with its gorgeous maple floors and exposed century-old brick walls, features handmade jewelry from top designers from all over the world, including Anna Beck,
Chan Luu, Jamie Joseph, Peyote Bird Designs and Suzanne Kalan.
K / Kids’ Activities
Saratoga’s Children’s Museum is fun defined. Check out its educational exhibit on Congress Park or its Science, Technology, Engineering And Math (STEM) room for your future RPI graduate. Plus, the museum’s goal is to forge connections between whip-smart kids and their parents, so it’s fun for the entire family.
L / Lunch
Gold: Boca Bistro
Saratoga’s lone Spanish-themed restaurant has you covered when tienes hambre (Spanish for “you’re hungry”). Its extensive lunch menu is filled with sandwiches, salads and tapas, and in season, its front patio seating is a top Broadway-people-watching hangout.
M / Market
Gold: The Fresh Market
Fancy a good fresh sesh? Located just outside of downtown, The Fresh Market is Saratoga’s go-to spot for stocking up on fruits, veggies, meats—and more—with a range of organic options and prepared foods available. It’s also got a fully stocked cheese counter—in other words, heaven on Earth.
N / Nightlife
Gold: 9 Maple Ave.
Nestled between Saratoga City Tavern and the Night Owl dance club, 9 Maple Ave. is an intimate, 40-seat jazz bar known for having the largest selection of single malt scotches between Manhattan and Montréal, as well as a simply biblical martini list. A weekend-night peek through the street-side window will almost certainly reveal a grooving jazz band—and shoulder-to-shoulder crowd.
O / Outdoor Dining
If you frequent Saratoga’s top summer parties or galas, you’ve surely experienced the magic that is the Prime patio. (Don’t miss saratoga living’s Best Of Saratoga event there on October 6!) The patio, which overlooks the 18th hole of the Saratoga National Golf Club, is simply Edenic when it comes to al fresco dining. Prime also hosts a bumpin’ Sunday live jazz brunch there, too.
P / Pizza
Gold: Caputo’s Pizzeria
The short drive from Downtown Saratoga to get to the best pizza place in the city is oh so worth it. With more than 20 delicious pies to choose from—including Chicken Parm, Greek and Eggplant Rollatini—Caputo’s is a pizza-lover’s paradise. And all pizzas come in three sizes, catering to your level of hunger. Stomach growling, anyone?
Q / Quick Eats
For 23 years, Spring Street Deli has been offering soups, salads, pizzas and made-to-order sandwiches—named after famous racehorses—on Saratoga’s east side. Did we mention that Spring Street’s entire menu is available all day long? Breakfast for dinner, it is!
R / Retail (Clothing)
Gold: Piper Boutique
For Downtown Saratoga’s fashionista set, Piper Boutique offers a carefully curated inventory of high-quality, trendy women’s clothing and accessories—all priced
at under $100! It’s literally the real deal.
R / Retail (Other)
G. Willikers might as well be a classic Manhattan storefront cut and pasted into Downtown Saratoga. The shop has become an essential stop for all things kids, with myriad whimsical items for sale, including toys, clothing, books, games and stuffed animals.
S / Sports Bar
Gold: Saratoga Stadium
If you’re a live sports fanatic, with a hankering for bountiful beer and bar food, Saratoga Stadium’s your place. With weekly specials, including 25-cent wing Wednesdays and all-you-can-eat prime rib Fridays—not to mention TVs perched on every wall—the Stadium’s a must for football season and beyond.
T / Tourist Trap
Gold: Saratoga Race Course
Surprise, surprise: Saratoga Race Course is the most popular tourist trap in town. Sure, you may have to deal with throngs of out-of-towners, oppressive heat and/or the threat of a summer thunderstorm, but c’mon! Watching world-class Thoroughbreds while inhaling a Shake Shack burger? Sign us up.
Bronze: Saratoga Performing Arts Center
U / Unisex Salon
Gold (Tie): Blended Hair Studio
At Blended Hair Studio, located just outside of Downtown Saratoga, destressing is the name of the game. Blended offers a variety of hair-styling services for men, women and children—at affordable prices. And as far as your voting’s concerned, Blended’s a cut above all but one of the rest.
Gold (Tie): Classical Concepts Salon
Downtown Saratoga’s Classical Concepts Salon tied for gold in this category—and for good reason. It’s one of the only Aveda Concept Salon and Spas in town, and besides top haircare for men, women and children, it also offers a bounty of other services, including nail care, facials, waxing and massages.
V /Venue (Wedding)
Gold: Canfield Casino
It doesn’t get more Saratoga than a wedding at the historic Canfield Casino. Smack dab in the middle of the postcard-perfect Congress Park, the wedding venue has been a popular option for the “I do” set for decades. Plus, it’s just a short walk from Caroline Street… after-afterparty, anyone?
W / Weekend Brunch
Gold: Max London’s
You know it’s the weekend when the Max London’s patio is packed around 11am. (Even during the offseason, it’s a traffic jam inside.) The upscale restaurant serves weekend brunch Friday-Sunday, offering a wide range of dishes, from pizza to French toast. And don’t forget to try Max’s delicious Bloody Mary!
X / Xmas Display
Every holiday season, Downtown Saratoga’s storefronts come alive with string lights and holiday decorations. But the true belle of the ball is always G. Willikers’ Miracle On 34th Street-esque window display. Think: paper snowflakes, nutcracker dolls and all things seasonal splendor.
Y / Yoga
Gold: The Hot Yoga Spot
Before you get lost in your next relaxing shavasana, know that all of those votes you cast, mindfully, for The Hot Yoga Spot in Saratoga won it category gold. With 200-plus weekly yoga and barre sessions to offer budding yogis in its 5 Capital Region locations, this spot
is as hot as its yoga. Ohm my!
Z / Zen Spa
In the realm of med-spas, Saratoga Dermatology rules the roost. Offering services such as BOTOX, dermal fillers and laser hair/tattoo removal, as well as medical dermatology and skin cancer/Mohs micrographic surgery, Saratoga Derm’s Drs. Jean Buhac and Jennifer Smith have served the Saratoga community well. And then some.
A2Z Guide: Our Picks
The saratoga living staff weighs in.
Architecture: The Adelphi Hotel
“saratoga living holds its Design Issue party there every year for a reason!” –Abby Tegnelia, Publisher
Breakfast: Compton’s Restaurant
“Saratoga’s OG diner. My stomach has so much history there!” –Will Levith, Executive Editor
Coffee: Uncommon Grounds
“Good coffee, great bagels, best location—what’s not to love?” –Richard Pérez-Feria, Editor in Chief
Dinner ($): PJ’s Bar-B-QSA
“The only place I’ve eaten at more times than Compton’s.” –Will
Dinner ($$): Olde Bryan Inn
“Not only is the food delish, but the old-style tavern has the best ambiance.” –Tina Galante, Operations Director
Dinner ($$$): Osteria Danny
“One could argue that Osteria Danny is Saratoga’s only world-class restaurant experience.” –Richard
“I love Hudson because it’s where I grew up, but now there are so many eclectic restaurants, shops and galleries, too.” –Tara Buffa, Account Executive
Festival: First Night Saratoga
“Best NYE party ever.” –Will
Gym: Saratoga Peak Performance
“My muscles are sore just thinking about it!” –James McDonough, Account Executive
Happy Hour: Wheatfields
“Nothing beats happy hour at Wheatfields! BOGO wine and free cheese…yes please!” –Chelsea Moore, Senior Account Executive
Ice Cream: Kilwins
“Sometimes, you just need to splurge on a totally-worth-it $8 ice cream cone.” –Natalie Moore, Managing Editor
Jewelry: deJonghe Original Jewelry
“I can’t go into deJonghe without finding my next must-have piece of jewelry.” –Chelsea
Kids’ Activities: The Children’s Museum at Saratoga Springs
“The Children’s Museum is the best place to entertain kids…and yourself!” –Hannah Sacks, Editorial Assistant
“All-you-can-eat sushi at Wasabi is the best use of $15 in town.” –Natalie
Market: Four Seasons Natural Foods
“For a small health food store, Four Seasons has everything you could possibly need!” –Chelsea
Night Life: Putnam Place
“I love seeing the reaction old-time Saratogians have as they lay eyes on the new Putnam Place. It’s justified amazement.” –Richard
Outdoor Dining: Prime at Saratoga National
“Prime’s patio is the best of the best. Two musts: a specialty cocktail and a surf-and-turf roll to share.” –Abby
Pizza: Mama Mia’s Pizza & Cafe
“Mama Mia’s pizza is to die for, but so is the homey atmosphere!” –James
Quick Eats: Esperanto
“Doughboys, oh boy! You can’t end a night out without one.” –Chelsea
Retail (Clothing): Violet’s of Saratoga
“Violet’s has the best BOGO shoe sale, hands down.” –Tina
Retail (Other): Lyrical Ballad Bookstore
“Lyrical Ballad is this book-lover’s corn maze: I love getting lost in it.” –Will
Sports Bar: Dango’s
“Dango’s checks every box: friendly bartenders, generous pours, loud TVs, casual vibe and a bit of trash talkin’.” –Richard
Tourist Trap: Saratoga Spa State Park
“Mineral springs, museums, the farmers’ market…what doesn’t the state park have?” –Natalie
Unisex Salon: The Cutting Edge
“JoMarie Gallo is going rocking it at her new salon, The Cutting Edge.” –Abby
Venue (Wedding): The Adelphi Hotel
“What’s more elegant than getting married at The Adelphi?” –Natalie
Weekend Brunch: The Blue Hen
“Bubbly, live music and a killer coffee cake to start—perfection!” –Abby
Xmas Display: Santa’s House
“I’m literally obsessed with Saratoga’s perfect home: Santa’s House on Broadway.” –Richard
Yoga: Hot Yoga Spot
“Clear my mind and get my daily sweat in? Count me in.” –James
Zen Spa: Complexions Spa For Beauty & Wellness
“Relaxation rules at Complexions.” –Chelsea