The Gazette took readers into more than 50 Capital Region restaurants in 2018, and coming up with a "best of" list wasn't easy, but Beverly Elander and Caroline Lee proved up to the task.
Following much deliberation and consternation, each reviewer came up with their own top five dining experiences of the year. Elander said she could hardly separate her top two choices, while Lee was a bit more certain about her No. 1 pick.
The Hen & The Hound, Middleburgh
"The décor was low-key -- such as the scarcely noticeable embossed pattern on the cream-colored walls and gray-green wainscoting of our small dining room -- but the high quality and originality of the cuisine was exceptional."
Daley's on Yates, Schenectady
"Service throughout the meal was efficient and friendly, but not overbearing. Courses arrived in a timely manner, water glasses were refilled and used utensils were removed. While the openness of the space raised the noise level, it was never enough to interfere with dining. No detail [at Daley's] was treated as a minor addition."
Ravenous Creperie, Saratoga Springs
"His Taj Mahal Crepe with a side of Mango Chutney made his taste buds sit up and take notice. Curried chicken, apples, cauliflower, onions, and raisins evoked a taste of India wrapped in a buckwheat envelope."
" Muted colors, overstated decorations, and superb food and service made our dinner at Milano's a near-perfect experience."
SALT, American Bistro and Wine Bar, Broadalbin
Server Beth's excellent service combined with SALT's creative cuisine prompted Lois to remark, 'This was certainly worth the trip.'"
Wishing Well, Wilton
"Everything tasted exceptionally good, and the server was remarkably competent, working in concert with the rest of the staff so that our meal went smoothly and the overall experience was pleasing."
Charlton Tavern, Charlton
" Dinner at the Charlton Tavern was a pleasant experience. With its charming interior, friendly service and very good food, we thought it was much more than a tavern, too."
Blue Ribbon Diner, Schenectady
"It's not white-tablecloth fine dining, but you'll eat quite well -- and have some pleasant surprises. The first was the standard basket of rolls and crackers that was anything but."
Saigon Springs, Halfmoon
"The restaurant itself is orderly, peaceful, serene; however, the flavors of the food are anything but. Their robust and complex -- yet harmonious -- dishes are lively and invigorating."
J & T's Family Cafe, Scotia
"What stayed with us was the experience: good food in a cozy, pleasant setting. Everything tasted good, but the charm, warmth and friendliness of J&T's really made the meal."