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Rooney's again tops fine-dining picks

RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll respondents appear to really enjoy Rooney’s Restaurant. The Rochester eatery again this year ranks as readers’ favorite place for fine dining in the Rochester area.

Since 2012, RBJ’s annual Explore Greater Rochester guidebook has been delivered to all subscribers as a supplement to the paper. At the same time, the paper began what has become an annual poll asking readers to name their favorite fine-dining restaurant in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region.

Rooney’s tied for first place in 2012 and slipped to fourth place in 2013, then returned to the top a year ago.

Black & Blue Steak and Crab again this year came in second, while Good Luck and Richardson’s Canal House tied for third.

Restaurant 2 Vine, which in 2013 topped the ranking of favorite fine-dining restaurants to recommend to out-of-town visitors in the Rochester/Finger Lakes region and in 2014 tied for second, fell out of the top three this year.

Roughly 640 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted April 13. Readers were given a list of more than 40 restaurants drawn from RBJ’s latest Fine-Dining Restaurants list (published in January) and the new edition of Explore, which appears as a supplement to this week’s paper. As before, readers were able to write in the name of a restaurant not on the list.

What is your favorite fine-dining restaurant in the Rochester area?

What is your favorite fine-dining restaurant in the Rochester area?
Rooney’s Restaurant: 9%
Black & Blue Steak and Crab: 6%
Good Luck: 5%
Richardson’s Canal House: 5%
Tournedos Steakhouse: 4%
Ristorante Lucano: 4%
Max of Eastman Place: 4%
Grinnell’s Restaurant: 4%
Michael’s Valley Grill: 3%
Restaurant 2 Vine: 3%
Lento: 3%
Hedges Nine Mile Point Restaurant: 3%
Tavern 58: 2%
Phillips European Restaurant: 2%
Next Door Bar and Grill: 2%
TRATA: 2%
The Revelry: 2%
Rocco: 2%
Agatina’s: 2%
Max Chophouse: 2%
Char Steak and Lounge: 2%
Red Osier Landmark Restaurant: 1%
Avvino: 1%
Horizons Restaurant at the Lodge at Woodcliff: 1%
The Original Crab Shack: 1%
The Rabbit Room: 1%
Warfield’s: 1%
Joey’s Pasta House: 1%
Bernard’s Grove: 1%
Joey B’s: 1%
The Erie Grill at the Renaissance Del Monte Lodge Hotel & Spa: 1%
Edibles Restaurant LLC: 1%
Park Avenue Pub: 1%
Remington’s Restaurant: 1%
Pultneyville Grill: 1%
Label 7: 1%
Holloway House: 1%
The Johnson House: 1%
Tapas 177 Lounge: 1%
Other: 11%

For information on how the Snap Polls are conducted, click here.

COMMENTS:
Richardson’s Canal House has been our favorite “let’s-go-out-and-have-a-nice-meal” place for 20 years. The food is excellent, the prices are at the low end of the high-end restaurants in the area, the staff is exceptionally friendly, and the atmosphere—especially in the pub room—is very comfortable. For our over-50-year-old ears, the place is quiet enough so we don’t have trouble hearing each other (a huge problem at some of the other restaurants, where we strain to hear each other over the background noise the 20-somethings seem to like) while the tables are still separated enough so you have privacy. In the summer, sitting outside by the canal is terrific.
—Bob Sarbane

The atmosphere and service are second to none, the beverage offerings are to die for and the food is absolutely out of this world. The Erie Grill is one of Rochester’s hidden gems.
—Gretchen Baumer

(Bristol Harbour Resort’s) dining area overlooking the lake is on a summer or fall day is spectacular!
—John Nufryk

Grinnell’s is a very classy local restaurant, with old-fashioned service and a staff that knows every patron’s name.
—Tony Vecchiotti

Cure is the perfect balance of comfortable atmosphere and wonderfully refined food and drink.
—Rick Staropoli

(Restaurant 2 Vine is) definitely the best upscale restaurant in Rochester! Where else do you see a Ferrari in the parking lot and such excellence in the kitchen in Rochester?
—S. Atchutuni

(Tournedos Steakhouse) in the library. Very intimate.
—Jane Newhouse

I am more of a pub fan, where I can try some good beer, get a burger and unique appetizers. Rochester and surrounding towns have great local pubs that support the local breweries and even try to source food from around the region.
—Keith Newcomer

(Panzari’s is) one of the most underrated fine-dining establishments in downtown Rochester. Every dish at Panzari’s is made-to-order, and the service is always simply outstanding. We have never been less than impressed with the food. Stanley, the owner and one of the chefs, is meticulous in his oversight and preparation, and he takes amazing pride in everything that comes out of the kitchen.
—Kevin Judge

Finding a restaurant that offers a good meal with friendly, prompt service in a nice ambiance at reasonable fine dining prices is extremely difficult. Michael’s Valley Grill manages to consistently meet all of those criteria.
—Michael Shacket

Lento is our favorite. The food is always, always outstanding. Lucano’s is next. Max Chophouse for steak.
—Jay Birnbaum

Grinnell’s is excellent year after year. Great food and superb service.
—Mike Hanna, Abrasive-Tool Corp.

Max of Eastman Place grew from my previous favorite of all time, the Water Street Grill. Tony Gulace, working with his sister, Mary, has formed the best eating places in Rochester, hands down!
—Hutch Hutchison

Actually, we are truly blessed with many great restaurants in our area, as compared to other areas we have lived in. Personally, I still prefer the “locals” as compared to the nationals!
—J.A. DePaolis, Penfield

Very sad that Nikko closed.
—David Lamb, Rochester

4/17/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.

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