Ciao – Ithaca NY

2 Hickory Hollow Lane
Ithaca NY 14850

Italian restaurants sometimes seem like a dime a dozen, especially in a town like Ithaca. However, a good Italian restaurant with exceptional prices in Ithaca is a true gem. In comparison to a lot of other cuisines, going out for Italian food has never “knocked our socks off” – in terms of complexity of flavors, we’re usually able to make it best at home! With that mentality, we didn’t have high expectations about Ciao, but we decided to try it.

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Takeout Pick: Sticky Rice

Sticky Rice
401 E State St
Ithaca NY 14850

Ithaca is a college town, and as such it’s loaded with delivery and takeout options. But to be honest, after 5 years here, those options might tend to seem stale. Sticky Rice is a hidden gem among them. While they sell Thai food, they mainly serve Laotian cuisine, which is unique and delicious (and sets them apart from local competitors like Tamarind and Taste of Thai). From grilled duck curry (Gaeng Phed Ped Yarng) to beef stir fry in roasted chili paste, we’ve never been disappointed in their food. Always well cooked, properly seasoned, and if you like it spicy they do it better than any other place in town (be warned their hottest is seriously spicy – attested to by Siddharth, resident spicy food aficionado). At around $10 per dish, we recommend picking 3-4 for 2 people and sharing so that you can have a wonderful family-style meal!


Fresh Pick: BB Farms

BB Farms
1418 Dryden Rd (Rt 366)
Ithaca NY 14850

One benefit to living in Ithaca is the access to fresh locally grown produce in the summer. We are able to find fresh and delicious vegetables and fruits through the local farmers. While the Ithaca Farmers Market is very well known, a local gem that not as many people are aware of is BB Farms, located on the northeast edge of town across from NYSEG. They operate May to October, selling produce from several area farms. In May and June, they tend to sell more flowers (though they do have berries, potatoes, and other veggies), but by July they have some of the best melons, tomatoes, and peppers around. By August, they bring in their peaches, and these are ABSOLUTELY the BEST peaches we have ever had. EVER. Their prices are also unbeatable for most of their produce. . We went this past weekend, and we were lucky to find fresh snap peas, Ranier cherries, and green onions. I’m not exaggerating when I say the snap peas were the most tender and sweet we’ve ever had by a long shot.We highly recommend making a stop to check out their selection!

Agava – Ithaca NY

381 Pine Tree Road
Ithaca NY 14850

The newest restaurant in Ithaca comes to us courtesy of a team-up between executive chef Andre Jacquet (formerly of the renowned Buddakan , Emeril’s, and House of Blues) and owner Gregar Brous (locally famous for his ownership of Collegtown Bagels and Ithaca Bakery). Located in East Hill, Agava is tucked away on Pine Tree Road at the historical site of a large train depot (East Ithaca). The out-of-the-way locale hasn’t been a detriment as of yet, as Agava has been at or close to full capacity since their grand opening just around 2 months ago.

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Mexican Pick: Garcia’s

244 Elmira Rd
Ithaca NY 14850

In every town that you live, there has to be one place that you could eat at any time. You know, the type of place that’s inexpensive, serves huge portions, and is a never-miss in terms of taste. In Ithaca, for us, that’s Garcia’s. Great service, massive plates, and great flavors. And the bang for your buck is unbeatable. Getting decent Mexican food in upstate NY is difficult, but Garcia’s brings good, authentic flavors to Ithaca. It’s a place that you should try if you spend an extended period in Ithaca!