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Best Of Saratoga: The 2019 Ultimate A2Z Guide

'saratoga living' tallied 2500 votes to determine the 'Best Of Everything' in Saratoga Springs.

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.

—Natalie Moore

The Adelphi Hotel (Greg CEO)

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.

Silver: Canfield Casino / Hall of Springs (Tie)
Bronze: Adirondack Trust Company

 

Sweet Mimi’s Café and Bakery

B / Breakfast

Gold: Sweet Mimi’s Café and Bakery

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.

Silver: Triangle Diner
Bronze: Country Corner Cafe

 

Uncommon Grounds (Nathaniel Murphy)

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.)

Silver: Kru Coffee
Bronze: Saratoga Coffee Traders

 

Druthers (Morgan Relyea)

D / Dinner ($)

Gold: Druthers

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.

Silver: The Local Pub and Teahouse
Bronze: Dizzy Chicken Woodfired Rotisserie

 

Cantina (Morgan Relyea)

D / Dinner ($$)

Gold: Cantina

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.

Silver: Boca Bistro
Bronze: The Brook Tavern / Olde Bryan Inn (Tie)

 

15 Church

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.

Silver: Prime at Saratoga National / Solevo Kitchen & Social (Tie)
Bronze: Chianti Il Ristorante / Osteria Danny (Tie)

 

Lake Placid (lakeplacid.com)

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.

Silver: Boston
Bronze: Montréal

 

Chowderfest

F /Festival

Gold: Chowderfest

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).

Silver: Victorian Streetwalk
Bronze: Restaurant Week

 

Saratoga Peak Performance (Alice Corey)

G / Gym

Gold: Saratoga Peak Performance

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.

Silver: Evolution Strength & Performance
Bronze: Saratoga Springs YMCA

 

15 Church

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).

Silver: Cantina
Bronze: Henry Street Taproom

 

Dairy Häus (Morgan Relyea)

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.

Silver: Ben and Jerry’s
Bronze: Stewart’s Shops

 

Silverado Jewelry Gallery

Jeweler

Gold: Silverado Jewelry Gallery

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.

Silver: deJonghe Original Jewelry
Bronze: n. Fox Jewelers

 

The Children’s Museum at Saratoga Springs

K / Kids’ Activities

Gold: The Children’s Museum at Saratoga Springs

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.

Silver: Congress Park Carousel
Bronze: Bowtie Cinemas

 

Boca Bistro

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.

Silver: Druthers
Bronze: Cantina

 

The Fresh Market (Morgan Relyea)

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.

Silver: Healthy Living
Bronze: Putnam Market

 

9 Maple Ave. (Dori Fitzpatrick)

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.

Silver: Henry Street Taproom
Bronze: Hamlet & Ghost

 

Prime at Saratoga National (The Harris Company)

O / Outdoor Dining

Gold: Prime at Saratoga National

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.

Silver: 15 Church
Bronze: Druthers

 

Caputo’s Pizzeria (Morgan Relyea)

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?

Silver: Harvest and Hearth
Bronze: Mama Mia’s Pizza & Cafe

 

Spring Street Deli and Pizzeria (Morgan Relyea)

Q / Quick Eats

Gold: Spring Street Deli and Pizzeria

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!

Silver: BurgerFi
Bronze: Four Seasons Natural Foods

 

Piper Boutique (Francesco D’Amico)

 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.

Silver: Yellow Boutique
Bronze: Rockabella Boutique

 

G. Willikers Toys & Games (Natalie Moore)

R / Retail (Other)

Gold: G. Willikers Toys & Games

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.

Silver: Northshire Bookstore
Bronze: Saratoga Olive Oil

 

Saratoga Stadium (Katie Dobies)

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.

Silver: The West Side Sports Bar and Grille
Bronze: Peabody’s

 

Saratoga Race Course (Billy Francis LeRoux)

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.

Silver: Broadway
Bronze: Saratoga Performing Arts Center

 

Blended Hair Studio (Morgan Relyea)

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.

Classical Concepts

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.

Silver: Complexions Spa For Beauty & Wellness
Bronze: Hair Creations / Lockettes the Salon (Tie)

 

Canfield Casino (Tracey Buyce)

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?

Silver: Saratoga National Golf Club
Bronze: Hall of Springs

 

Max London’s

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!

Silver: Prime at Saratoga National
Bronze: Sweet Mimi’s Café and Bakery

 

G. Willikers Toys & Games

X / Xmas Display

Gold: G. Willikers Toys & Games

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.

Silver: Adirondack Trust Company
Bronze: The Adelphi Hotel

 

The Hot Yoga Spot (Jason Valentine)

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!

Silver: Yoga Mandali
Bronze: Bloom Fitness / Namaste Yoga (Tie)

Saratoga Dermatology and Medical Spa (Morgan Relyea)

Z / Zen Spa

Gold: Saratoga Dermatology and Medical 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.

Silver: Roosevelt Baths & Spa
Bronze: Complexions Spa For Beauty & Wellness

 

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

Escape: Hudson
“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

Lunch: Wasabi
“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

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