Watkins Glen is a quaint village nestled in the gently rolling hills of the scenic Finger Lakes Region in upstate New York. It sits along the southern shore of stunning Seneca Lake, one of the eleven Finger Lakes. The area, blessed with natural beauty, is known for fantastic wineries, breweries, and eateries. With so many Watkins Glen restaurants to choose from, you can enjoy a lovely meal in this gorgeous part of New York.
Watkins Glen Restaurants
There are many things to do in the Finger Lakes. During your visit, savor some of the region’s outstanding food. We will outline fifteen renowned Watkins Glen restaurants so you can make the most of your visit.
Location: 133 East 4th Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
If you are looking for traditional Thai food in a quiet, family-friendly setting, head to Thai Elephants. The restaurant boasts fresh ingredients with a modern interpretation of classic Thai dishes.
Customers rave about their outstanding food and excellent service. Skim their reviews, and you will regularly find comments like, “This is the best Thai food I have ever eaten!”
The restaurant offers dining and takeout for lunch and dinner. Appetizers include Thai dumplings, crab rangoon, fried tofu, calamari, and shrimp in a blanket. You will find various soup and salad options on the menu, appealing to all palettes.
The eatery shines with the main courses, offering fried rice and stir-fried noodle dishes, Thai curries with jasmine rice, various stir-fried entrees, and adventurous chef’s creations. You will discover the spicy dishes marked on the menu.
Thai Elephants will occasionally serve street food from a booth at 507 Franklin Street.
Kookalaroc’s Bar & Grill
Location: 107 11th Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Are you in the mood for seafood? Kookalaroc’s specializes in homemade seafood so fresh and delicious you may forget you are in upstate New York. The rustic eatery is spacious and includes a terrace with outdoor seating.
In addition to seafood, Kookalaroc’s carries local favorites like a chophouse burger, Philly cheesesteak, and pulled pork sandwich. If you are feeling adventurous, try the fiesta dog. It is a hot dog filled with cheddar and habanero cheese, topped with slaw and raw onions, and served on a New England-style hot dog roll.
You can enjoy a cold beer or a cocktail with your food and live music. When you visit, be sure to ask about the specials and the tasty desserts.
Graft Wine + Cider Bar
Location: 204 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
If you desire a fun evening with excellent food and drinks, look no further than Graft Wine + Cider Bar. Only open in the evenings, the establishment serves delicious local fare with New York state hand-crafted wines, ciders, and beer. They do not take reservations and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.
Although the menu is short, you will be delighted. Award-winning chef Orlando Rodriguez creates dishes pleasing to the eye and taste buds. The menu includes a charcuterie plate, tapas, oysters, mussels, honey squash, NY strip steak, duck, swordfish, a tofu bowl, rice pudding, and flan.
Jerlando’s Ristorante & Pizza Co.
Location: 400 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Jerlando’s Ristorante & Pizza Co. offers Italian and American cuisine in a casual setting. The restaurant walls, painted with countryside murals, will whisk you away to an Italian piazza.
Jerlando’s has various craft beers on tap and routinely features regional wines. Local partners supply bread, meats, cheeses, and produce.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and has a broad menu. Appetizers include chicken wings, bruschetta, garlic knots, toasted ravioli, and maple-glazed Brussels sprouts. Meals include pizzas, hot sandwiches, burgers, plates of pasta, steak, chicken, fish, veal, and oven-baked dishes like manicotti and lasagna.
Nickel’s Pit Bbq
Location: 207 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
To experience peace, love, and BBQ, go to Nickel’s Pit BBQ. The eatery, located in the historic Watkins Glen fire station, serves authentic American BBQ with an upstate New York edge. They partner with local companies for many of their ingredients.
You can enjoy a craft beer, wine, or a cocktail with your meal inside or on the patio. Nickel’s has rotating specials and live music.
Starters include fried pickles, pig wings, onion rings, and loaded tots. Meal options include pulled pork, slow-smoked brisket, ribs, wings, kielbasa, fried chicken, and more.
You can round out your meal with mouth-watering sides like baked beans, southern greens, mac salad, cornbread, and their delicious roasted corn and black bean salad.
Visit Nickel’s Pitt BBQ site for information about their brunch menu and rotating specials.
Location: 601 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
If you are looking for a casual pizza lunch or dinner, Pudgie’s has you covered. The pizza joint offers dine-in, carry-out, and delivery.
You can order whole pies or by the slice. The pizzeria also makes various appetizers, salads, pasta dishes, stromboli, calzones, chicken wings, boneless wings, and subs. Although not a fancy dining experience, the pizza is hot and tasty.
Blue Pointe Grille
Location: 16 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Blue Pointe Grille, housed inside the AAA Four Diamond property, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, offers lakeside dining. You are not required to stay on the property to dine at Blue Pointe Grille.
Adjacent to Glen Harbor Marina, you have a beautiful view of the water and boats. Inside seating is available, or you can sit on the outdoor patio by the warm glow of a fire pit.
Blue Pointe Grille serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast dishes include eggs, omelets, buttermilk pancakes, Belgian waffles, blueberry stuffed French toast, a yogurt parfait with fruit and granola, oatmeal, bagels, and fresh muffins.
The lunch and dinner menu features steaks, seafood, and plates of pasta. Starters include fried calamari, hot crab dip, and sauteed pierogi. If you are in the mood for a sandwich, they offer burgers, a crab cake sandwich, and Reubens. Entree highlights include the grilled filet mignon, ahi tuna, farfalle gorgonzola chicken, blackened swordfish, and the pork porterhouse.
Beverages include craft brews, award-winning wines from local wineries, and cocktails. Be sure to inquire about their decadent desserts.
El Rancho Mexican Restaurant & Grill
Location: 212 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Open for lunch and dinner El Rancho serves Mexican cuisine in a casual, festive setting. They have a reputation for tasty food, large portions, friendly service, and fantastic margaritas.
Their upstairs dining section offers large-screen televisions, a foosball table, and two pool tables. Or, sit outside and enjoy the fresh air with your meal.
The El Rancho menu covers classic fare like tacos, fajitas, chimichangas, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and tamales. They carry sopapilla, churros, flan, and fried ice cream for dessert. The delicious margaritas come in various flavors.
Glen Mountain Market Bakery & Deli
Location: 200 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
From fresh pastries to locally roasted coffee and hand-pulled espresso shots, Glen Mountain Market Bakery & Deli has you covered for a fantastic breakfast to kickstart your day. The shop operates as a fully functioning cafe, deli, and bakery. They bake fresh bread daily and offer various breakfast sandwiches and wraps.
The shop serves salads and lunch sandwiches featuring various types of bread, deli meats, and crisp produce. Bread choices include white, wheat, rye, and focaccia roll. Wheat, spinach, and roasted red pepper wraps are available as well.
The bakery carries assorted pastries, cookies, brownies, and bars to satisfy your sweet cravings. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are available.
Rooster Fish Brewing Pub
Location: 223 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
If you are in the mood for housemade craft beers and gourmet burgers, visit Rooster Fish Brewing Pub. The brewery rotates beers with five craft-style small-batch beers and up to four special and seasonal brews.
Shareables include nachos, chicken wings, sweet potato fries, pub poutine, fried jalapenos, and Bavarian pub pretzels. Enjoy a fresh salad or savor a juicy burger, hot sandwich, fish taco, or grilled flatbread pizza.
Dive into a delicious creme brulee or a moist piece of flourless chocolate cake and ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce for dessert.
Curly’s Family Restaurant
Location: 2780 NY-14, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Head to Curly’s Family Restaurant for American classics served in a clean country-style diner as you relax in a custom sit-down booth. Let Curly’s treat you to food made from scratch and super-friendly service.
Curly’s, open daily from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, serves breakfast and lunch. It is a gluten-friendly restaurant, making its soups and sauces with rice flour.
Breakfast items include omelets, steak and eggs, Belgian waffles, breakfast sandwiches, corned beef hash, pancakes, French toast, and sausage gravy over biscuits. Try a tasty side of cinnamon bread with glaze.
Lunch offerings include big salads, homemade soups, hot sandwiches, juicy burgers, fried chicken, sirloin tips, Hawaiian ham, fish, steak, lasagna, and chicken parmesan. Sign up as a VIP on Curly’s Family Restaurant site to receive notifications about exclusive events and secret menus.
Bleachers Sports Bar & Grill
Location: 413 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
If you aim to relax with a refreshing cold beer and tasty pub grub, go to Bleachers Sports Bar & Grill. They serve lunch and dinner, offering takeout and dine-in with indoor and outdoor seating.
Although a typical bar and grill with standard pub fare at first glance, you will discover the service and food to be outstanding. If you enjoy games, go on a Tuesday evening for trivia night.
Food offerings include chicken wings, nachos, potato skins, onion rings, loaded tots, chicken sandwiches, burgers, sirloin steak, and a shrimp and scallop basket. For a bar and grill, they offer various salad options, which customers regularly praise.
Seneca Lodge Restaurant
Location: 3600 Walnut Road, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Seneca Lodge is known for its rustic cabins and charming A-frame chalets. Watkins Glen visitors will tell you dining at the Seneca Lodge Restaurant is a treat. You can learn about Watkins Glen’s history while you enjoy delicious food and friendly service in the Adirondack-style lodge.
Appetizers include mushroom caps, potato wedges, mozzarella sticks, and a jumbo shrimp cocktail. Entrees include burgers, surf and turf, bacon-wrapped filet, shrimp scampi, London broil, veal parmesan, lobster tail, pork chops, roast Long Island duckling, and southern fried chicken.
Salads and vegetarian plates are available. Various draft and bottled beers are served, along with excellent wine selections. Relax and enjoy the rustic ambiance.
Seneca Harbor Station
Location: 3 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Originally part of an 1876 train station, Seneca Harbor Station promises a memorable dining experience. The restaurant offers fantastic views of Seneca Lake, a beach patio, and a mahogany bar.
Sand and umbrellas along the beach patio enhance your outdoor experience. You can listen to live music on Fridays and Saturdays during summer. Large windows along the walls provide lake views even if you choose indoor seating.
Seneca Harbor Station serves Caesar, grilled applejack chicken, seafood, steak, southwest chicken, and house salads. Appetizers include New England clam chowder, potstickers, buffalo chicken egg rolls, and lobster wonton.
You can order various wraps, sandwiches, burgers, or entrees like seafood pasta, sirloin steak, St. Louis ribs, and Caprese chicken florentine.
Hang out along the water a little longer and enjoy delicious desserts like peanut butter pie, chocolate lava cake, key lime pie, New York-style cheesecake, homemade bread pudding, and apple crisp. Or, share a harbor raspberry bongo. The decadent dessert features cream puffs engulfed by a mountain of mascarpone and cream cheese, topped with fresh raspberries, and sprinkled with warm fudge and a splash of Chambord.
Location: 1 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Enjoy a dinner cruise aboard the Seneca Legacy, courtesy of Captain Bill. Whether you strive for a relaxing experience with friends or a romantic dinner, the dinner cruise delivers delicious food and alluring views of Seneca Lake.
Things to Do in Watkins Glen
Beyond the outstanding Watkins Glen restaurants, the area offers many things to do. Hike the Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park for surreal views of 200-foot cliffs and 19 waterfalls. Sample wine at the local wineries and enjoy sweeping views of the vineyards.
The area houses farmers’ markets and orchards where you can pick fruits and berries. You can take a boat tour of Seneca Lake or learn about the area’s rich history in car racing.
There are many waterfalls within an hour or two of Watkins Glen. You can see the Grand Canyon of the East at Letchworth State Park with a scenic 1.5-hour drive.
Wrap-Up: Watkins Glen Restaurants
Watkins Glen offers alluring views of rolling vineyards along Seneca Lake. The area is known for its wineries, breweries, and eateries. Plan your Finger Lakes adventure and savor the region’s delicious food at the outstanding Watkins Glen restaurants.
This article originally appeared on Savoteur.