Best Restaurants in Niagara FallsOur favorites include some of this destination's best restaurants—from fine dining to simple fare.
By Inspector 48
as told to Frank Swanson
A short walk from the state park, The Red Coach Inn has stood guard over the Niagara River rapids since 1923. This historic English Tudor-style B&B features one of Niagara Falls' oldest and best dining establishments: The Red Coach Inn Restaurant . Warm up to a delicious meal in the Grill Room with its natural stone fireplace or relax and unwind with a book or a cocktail in the Fireside Room. Open seasonally, the patio offers the best view of the rapids. Whether you're in the mood for seafood delivered fresh from Boston or succulent prime rib, a relaxing meal awaits at this historic landmark.
Michael's Italian Restaurant on Pine Avenue is a stand-out for Italian American cuisine. This small bistro diner serves consistently great Italian comfort food made from family recipes. You'll have a difficult time making up your mind when faced with the menu's myriad choices; there are more than 45 sandwich combinations alone. The mainstay pastas—lasagna, gnocchi, rigatoni, and linguine—are all offered with your choice of well-balanced sauces and accompaniments. Michael's beans and greens are some of the best, and everything comes in belly-busting portions. Come early or be prepared to wait, although even a long wait would be worthwhile.
Within a half-hour drive from Niagara Falls, you have the much larger choice of restaurants offered by Buffalo. Although there are too many to list here, one in particular is worth a visit: Anchor Bar & Restaurant , birthplace of the Buffalo chicken wing. Inside the 70-year-old landmark the décor is eclectic: Harley-Davidson memorabilia mixed with family portraits and photos of celebrity diners. Patrons chow down on more than a ton of spicy chicken wings every day; all servings come with a few celery sticks—to keep up the pretense of healthy greens—along with a side of cooling blue cheese dip. A few dos and don'ts: Do forget the diet; do bring a big appetite; do try the Suicidal Wings (but at your own risk); don't wear a white shirt or any dry-clean-only outfit; and do dig in with both hands and enjoy what are undeniably the best wings on the planet.
Back in Niagara Falls, on the Ontario side of the river, two restaurants combine good food with outstanding views of the falls. The dining room at Table Rock House Restaurant directly overlooks the Horseshoe Falls and offers a relaxed family-oriented setting. The menu at this popular tourist pick operated by the Niagara Parks Commission features traditional fare such as prime rib, steaks and seafood enhanced with fresh local and regional ingredients. The views are wonderful, especially each evening when the falls are lit with colorful lights.
The second restaurant offering stunning views of the falls sits high atop the landmark Skylon Tower , an attraction first-time visitors won't want to miss. Because it's the only revolving restaurant in the area, The Skylon Tower Dining Rooms is an attraction on its own. In season it's a very popular choice, so expect a bustling ambience with some close table spacing. The menu features such traditional fare as prime rib, steaks and seafood. As with most revolving restaurants, you pay a premium for the view and the ambience, but you are sure to have a memorable dining experience.
A short walk away from Skylon Tower, just off attraction-packed Clifton Hill, is the ever-popular Mama Mia's. No trip to Niagara is complete without a visit to this well-established, casual Italian eatery, which offers excellent value to diners—a plus in this busy tourist area. Fresh home-style cooking featuring such old-time favorites as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna and homemade ravioli keep both tourists and locals coming back. The décor is comfortable and inviting, and the central location makes it convenient to stroll down to the falls after a hearty meal.
A couple miles south of the falls, Betty's Restaurant offers the perfect place to escape the tourist frenzy and get some good, down-home cooking. Well-known for its fish and chips, Betty's has a loyal local following and is a good value for tourists. It offers a simple diner-style setting and friendly, personable service.
About a half-hour drive north of the falls is the picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake , Ontario. If you decide to take this worthwhile side trip, be sure to visit The Olde Angel Inn , a historic pub embodying the charm and local character the town is known for. There's even talk of a resident ghost. You're likely to find locals at the casual bar sipping their pints of beer alongside a mix of tourists from all over the world. The restaurant offers a fine assortment of pub fare including fish and chips and ploughman's lunch as well as a more substantial dinner menu available in the back dining rooms. Arrive at the right time of year, and you can enjoy selections from the “peach menu,” which lists an interesting mix of dishes using fresh-picked Niagara peaches.
Peller Estates Winery/Peller Estates Winery
Any visit to the Niagara region should include a drive through scenic wine country to experience the wonderful variety of local wines. A perfect way to cap off this day trip is a meal at Peller Estates Winery Restaurant, a fine dining establishment that enjoys an outstanding setting with spectacular views. The chef here has created an innovative tasting menu featuring dishes paired with the vineyard's extensive wine selection. Because Peller Estates is popular with visitors and groups, make reservations and expect a sometimes boisterous atmosphere as fellow diners delight in the wine.
Nearby, acres of vineyards surround the elegant The Oaklands , the perfect choice for a refined meal. In season you can enjoy spectacular outdoor dining on a large terrace in a quieter setting than the ever-popular winery restaurants. The dining room is located within a country inn featuring fine artwork and elegant chandeliers. The chef has created a menu that highlights fresh local and regional cuisine to complement the local wines.
See all the AAA restaurants for this destination.
Niagara Falls, NY
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
The sales tax in Niagara Falls is 8 percent. An additional 8 percent is levied for hotel/motel rooms, and 14.75 percent is added for rental cars.
Mount St. Mary's, in Lewiston, (716) 297-4800; Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, (716) 278-4000.
10 Rainbow Blvd. Niagara Falls, NY 14303. Phone:(716)282-8992 or (877)325-5787
The nearest airport offering major domestic flight service is Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF), at Genesee Street and Cayuga Road in Cheektowaga, just outside Buffalo; take I-190S exit 16 to I-290E exit 51 heading east, then straight on Axis Street. Shuttle buses run between the airport and major hotels; phone (800) 551-9369. Taxi service is available with fares averaging $90. Short- and long-term parking is available at The Parking Spot at 4099 Genesee St.; phone (716) 633-6040.
Hertz, (716) 297-1800 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.
Passenger rail service is available at the Amtrak station at 27th Street and Lockport Road; phone (716) 285-4224.
Connections by bus may be made at Portage and Ashland roads; phone (716) 285-9319. A Greyhound bus station is at 240 First St.; phone (800) 231-2222.
Cab companies include Airport Taxi, (716) 633-8294, AA Taxi and Blue United Taxi, (716) 285-3333. Rates are $2.50 for the first half-mile, then 50c for each additional sixth of a mile.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (Metro) offers bus service within the city and outlying areas, including connections to Lockport and Buffalo. Service is generally from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fares are $2; $1 (ages 5-11, ages 65+ and the physically impaired); phone (716) 855-7300.