We assembled a panel of experts from varying backgrounds to give us their 10 favorite restaurants.
Here's who was on the panel:
- Mike Andrezejewski, Chef and Owner of Sea Bar and Cantina Loco
- Krista Van Wagner, Chef and Owner of Curley's Grill
- Don Burtless, Buffalo Eats.org
- Nina Barone, Buffalo Foodie.com and writer for Buffalo Spree
- Danny Gare, Sabres Alumni and hockey Color Analyst.
Each judge's secret list was weighted, 10 points for the highest pick 9 for 2nd and so on, and all the points were then added up for an overall top ten list.
The only limitation we put on voting was that the restaurant owners could not vote for their own establishment.
Here are the results of our unscientific voting, and there is a three way tie at #10.
#10 - Woody's Beach Club and Taqueria, Lloyd Taco Truck, 31 Club
First, Woody's Beach Club and Taqueria at 3580 Lakeshore Road in Blasdell. The seasonal restaurant opens Memorial Day Weekend and runs as long as weather permits.
Woody's was popular even though it just opened last Summer it's all about enjoying the outdoors and creative Mexican food.
"Tucker Curtain has a passion food, it's all fresh. His pico de gallo, homemade avocado, guacamole, his queso fresco is great," says Krista Van Wagner, Chef owner of Curley's Grill. "I took a walk out to the beach on the boardwalk through the sand dunes, all here in Western new York."
Also tied for 10th place, a bit of a surprise, and there's more than one location because this one moves around. It's Lloyd Taco Truck.
"Not only do they put out really good food, we kind of sneak out of here at least twice a month when they're close by," says Mike Andrezejewski, Chef owner of Sea Bar and Cantina Loco. "He really did something for the entire city by starting out that whole movement."
And rounding out our three way tie for tenth place is 31 Club at 31 North Johnson Park in Buffalo.
"It's kind of the new one on the block, I love the atmosphere," says Danny Gare, Sabres Alumni and hockey Color Analyst. "I think what they've done on transitioning in making it a really find dining supper club here, it's just beautiful inside, the interior.
I think it's a good spot, it's refreshing to have new places in Buffalo and 31 club is certainly one of those."
#9 - Daniel's
At number nine on our list, a restaurant well known in the Southtowns and to food lovers all across Western New York. At 174 Buffalo Street in Hamburg is Daniel's.
"Daniel's restaurant is simple elegance," says Krista Van Wagner, Chef and Owner of Curley's Grill. "When I walk into Daniels I feel like I'm in New York City. It just has that kind of a feel, the service is impeccable, his wine list is wonderful with his menu, and the quality of the food. It's fresh," says Van Wanger.
#8 - Shango
Holding down the number eight spot on our list is Shango. It's out on a bit of an island as far as Buffalo restaurants go at 3260 Main Street. Is it worth the drive? Our panel says yes.
"Shango has probably the best brunches in the city," says Mike Andrezejewski, Chef and owner of SeaBar and Cantina Loco. "He does some really interesting twists on classic New Orleans brunch. The service is so friendly; they're the most sincere people I've ever met. I just love the food there. The Bananas Foster is phenomenal."
"Shango's is actually the #1 restaurant on my list," says Don Burtless of Buffalo Eats.org. "Me and my wife fell in love with Shango from the first time we went there. Everything we had was spot on. My wife still to this day craves their gumbo on a daily basis."
"The fact that they can succeed in kind of a tricky area, that area of Main Street that's not know as a restaurant area, is a testament to how good their food is," says Burtless.
#7 - Torches
A couple of blocks West of Delaware on Kenmore we find Torches at 1141 Kenmore. Good food was central to all our favorite restaurant picks, but the word our panel always also used to describe Torches was "fun".
"Torches is definitely all about playful pairings and innovation on your plate," says Nina Barone, BuffaloFoodie.com and writer for Buffalo Spree. "I like that on the menu you can buy a round of drinks for the kitchen. I think that's adorable and fun, I think it's a great place to eat in Buffalo."
"Torches is all about fun," says Krista Van Wagner, Chef and Owner of Curley's Grill, "I never know what he's gonna do next. I'm always excited about his combinations. I love sitting at the bar and the treats he will serve to you for no reason at all."
"Torches was one of my top 3 picks," says Mike Andrezejewski, Chef and Owner of Sea Bar and Cantina Loco. "I really like the place for the fun you get to have there. The food is really great and it's really creative. When you go there it's just a really enjoyable evening; forget about the rest of your problems and have some great food and some great fun."
#6 - Hutch's
Coming in at number six is a well know Buffalo restaurant; Hutch's at 1375 Delaware, just off Gates Circle.
"Hutch's is a really classic Buffalo institution," says Mike Andrezejewski, Chef and Owner of Sea Bar and Cantina Loco. "Start with the atmosphere and friendliness of the place. It's just wonderful, you always see somebody you know if you don't you're gonna leave making new friends, it's just a really happy place to be."
"Excellent dining, excellent service," says Danny Gare, Sabres Alumni and hockey Color Analyst. "Hutch does a great job. The bar's always full when you get in there. And it's a place I think where everybody likes to go and hang out and enjoy their companies and have an excellent dinner, so a special place for a special area."
"Hutch's is classic Buffalo dining to me too," says Nina Barone, Buffalo Foodie.com and writer for Buffalo Spree. "I've been there several times and it's been a real nice meal-great service, great atmosphere, fun bar. He's just a neighborhood staple I think for a lot of people that live in the Elmwood Village area."
#5 - Oliver's
The top five in our countdown of Buffalo's Favorite Restaurants begins with a Buffalo tradition, a restaurant that has given a start to many established Buffalo chefs. Coming in at number 5, at 2095 Delaware, is Oliver's.
"Oliver's is a very important part of the Buffalo restaurant scene and a very important part of my life, I spent about 10 years there," says Mike Andrezejewski, Chef and Owner of Sea Bar and Cantina Loco. "It's been around since the 1930's in one form or another. It never gets old, they really refresh it and keep on top of trends but never lose respect for classic restaurant service."
"Not only is the food amazing and the service fantastic, but the owner Henry Gaurino has basically formulated our top ten list with all the chefs that have worked for him," says Don Burtless, Buffalo Eats.org.
"I love Oliver's for several reasons, one reason is I can order a Negroni and the bartender doesn't ask me what it is," says Nina Barone, Buffalo Foodie.com and writer for Buffalo Spree.
#4 - Left Bank
The number four restaurant on our list is located at 511 Rhode Island on the Buffalo West side, it's Left Bank. The location may have been a problem at first, but now it's a destination for fine food.
"I love the atmosphere in there, it's kind of like being home but going somewhere else," says Mike Andrezejewski, Chef and Owner of Sea Bar and Cantina Loco. "Talk about urban pioneers, I mean when they opened up it was a very sketchy area. They really took a risk, they really built their business from the ground up through hard work and friendliness and good food."
"I love left Bank, it was in my top 5 restaurant picks," says Nina Barone, Buffalo Foodie.com and writer for Buffalo Spree. "It's a great place to go with friends, a great place to bring people from out of town. Love the bar, love their small plates-the offerings from Tuna Tartare to pretty much any way they prepare shrimp or prawns."
"I've always been a fan of Left Bank, I think because of when I went in the bathroom and saw some hockey pictures from Europe," says Danny Gare, Sabres Alumni and hockey Color Analyst. "No really it's a restaurant that flows very well, they have a great patio for the Summertime. They're food, as we've all mentioned, is suburb"
#3 - Tempo
There's no better spot for an elite Buffalo restaurant than Allentown, and here at 581 Delaware, in a building that dates back to 1878, we find Tempo.
"Tempo was my choice for #1," says Mike Andrezejewski, Chef and Owner of Sea Bar and Cantina Loco. "I really love the service, all the accoutrements that come with dinner and the attention to detail there. I've got a good inner knowledge of the working there and all the work they put into it and I think it's a great dining experience."
"Tempo is one of those restaurants that can stack up against any other fine dining restaurant nationally," says Don Burtless, Buffalo Eats.org. "Impeccable service, a great atmosphere, a really awesome Italian cuisine. You feel like you're there for a special event every time you're there."
"I think Paul Jenkins does an excellent job at Tempo," says Danny Gare, Sabres Alumni and hockey Color Analyst. "It's really not one of those larger restaurants, it's very intimate. You do go there for special occasions at times, the food is that special. I took my mother there from British Columbia last time and enjoyed it, an excellent, excellent night."
#2 - Bistro Europa
This restaurant describes itself as quaint and eclectic, with an emphasis on the best of European cuisine. At 484 Elmwood we find Bistro Europa.
"Bistro Europa is in my top picks," says Nina Barone, Buffalo Foodie.com and writer for Buffalo Spree. "I love that they use local ingredients, it's definitely a part of their philosophy; not just to make some start of a statement about using local but it's a part of how they approach food."
"Every meal has a fun vibe to it," says Don Burtless, Buffalo Eats.org. "He enjoys being creative with his food but he's also not afraid to serve something on the menu that isn't familiar in this area."
"Bistro Europa is kind of an enigma," says Mike Andrezejewski, Chef and Owner of Sea Bar and Cantina Loco. "It's a tiny little place. It's got good food. It's really innovative; a leader in the farm to table stuff. But what really puts it over the top is desserts."
#1 - Seabar
Our number one pick, the favorite of our panel may be a surprise to some, but not to those who eat here. At 475 Ellicott Street, we find Sea Bar.
"Seabar was in my top two, it might be my favorite restaurant in Buffalo," says Nina Barone, Buffalo Foodie.com and writer for Buffalo Spree. "I don't get cravings for many things that I eat. I crave the Fish Tacos if I haven't had them in a month or two, I have to come here and have them."
"The fact that he nailed Sushi and expanded the restaurant to have a kitchen and to even serve things like bone marrow or even chicken and waffles," says Don Burtless, Buffalo Eats.org. "It's great that you can come here, have an amazing Sushi meal and also have something that you didn't even think you were gonna order. And the Beef on Weck Sushi is maybe one of my favorite things in the city."
"Excellent Sushi, anything off the menu is fresh and well prepared-the service has been outstanding every time that I've been there and they have a very nice little bar that I like," says Danny Gare, Sabres Alumni and hockey Color Analyst.