Buffalo’s Awesome Food Scene: 8 Places You Have to Try

Written by: Sarah Sauer, MBA ’25

Buffalo is known for its chicken wings, but there are a lot of delicious food spots that do not have wings on the menu. In this blog, I will share eight of my favorite Buffalo restaurants. I hope it inspires you to try something new and explore Buffalo’s awesome food scene!

If you’re looking for a sandwich, look no further than locally-owned Zio’s Deli in the Elmwood Village. Zio’s offers killer hot and cold heroes, soups and sides. My personal favorite is The Luther (pictured), which is made of a chicken cutlet, pomodoro or vodka sauce, fresh mozzarella, Romano and basil.

The Luther sandwich cut in half showing  a chicken cutlet, pomodoro or vodka sauce, melting mozzarella cheese, melting Romano cheese, and basil.

The best burgers in Buffalo can be found at Allen Burger Venture in Allentown. The menu is comprised of thirteen burgers, including anything from a classic with American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and triple d sauce (the “Four,” pictured) to burgers beyond your most adventurous cravings. For example, the “Five,” is a burger with Jiffy peanut butter, pickled jalapeños, applewood bacon, and white cheddar cheese. 

The "Four" burger, which is a hamburger with American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles and triple d sauce, with parmesan cheese fries on the side.

My favorite sushi spot is Kunis. Kuni’s is known for Japanese specialties, sushi and a variety of sake. Their seafood is fresh and the restaurant is authentic. Pictured are a few of my favorite rolls.

An assortment of different sushi rolls from Kunis.

For Poke, my favorite is Fresh Catch Poke Co. Here, you can build your own poke bowls, lobster rolls and acai bowls using fresh, sustainable seafood and locally sourced produce.

Two poke bowls from Fresh Catch Poke Co. The poke bowls are dressed with many different toppings.

Jay’s Artisan Pizza serves incredible Neapolitan and Detroit-style dishes. Their menu offers a variety of woodfired pizzas, such as their famous “Nduja” (fontal cheese, tempesta, nduja, red onion, chili honey and basil). They have been ranked the #8 pizzeria in the USA (2023), and I can testify that their ranking is well deserved! Pictured is their Margherita Pizza.

Jay's Artisan Pizza's margherita pizza pictured, with basil leaves on top.

Authentic, fresh pasta made from scratch can be found at Inizio, a cozy Italian restaurant in the Elmwood Village. My favorite dishes are Bolognese and caico e pepe (pictured). Make sure you order their country pan bread and butter – you won’t regret it!

Two bowls of pasta from Inizio. Pasta bowl in the back is caico e pepe topped off with tons of cheese. Pasta bowl in the front is bolognese pasta.

Toasted is a very cute café offering a completely vegetarian menu with a variety of toast options. From avocado toast to peanut butter crunch toast, their options are not only healthy but very delicious.

Six plates of toast from a cafe named Toasted. Each slice of toast is garnished differently.

Another one of my favorites, Toutant, is a delicious southern-inspired restaurant in downtown Buffalo. The chef’s Louisiana roots are echoed in delicious offerings such as buttermilk fried chicken, jambalaya, beignets and hot biscuits.

Southern-inspired plate of food from Toutant, with a plate of biscuit and spread on the side. The main dish is a piece of fried chicken with pickle and brown sauce.

Bonus recommendations:

For a sweet treat, the cinnamon rolls at Kaylena Marie’s Bakery are one of Buffalo’s best-kept secrets. The birria tacos at La Divina are an absolute must-try! La Divina is a hip Mexican restaurant in Kenmore serving authentic street-style tacos.

If you’re looking for more recommendations, I have a food account on Instagram (@phoneeatsssfirst)!

Bio: Sarah is a Buffalo native who graduated from UB with a BS in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and International Business. During her undergraduate program, Sarah worked with UB’s Blackstone LaunchPad and had the opportunity to design and lead a student elevator pitch competition that promoted female entrepreneurs on campus. This internship fueled a passion for involvement with Buffalo’s startup community which led Sarah to intern with 43 North, a startup accelerator. Sarah also worked as New Era Cap’s Treasury Intern where she created and implemented a global cash forecasting mechanism using Tableau. Sarah is a Teaching Assistant for Corporation Finance and Fundamentals of Strategic Management for undergraduate students. She hopes to build her leadership skills and continue to gain the expertise related to a successful career in business while pursuing an MBA.

Sarah loves traveling and is passionate about integrating travel with meaningful learning. She sailed on Semester at Sea’s Spring 2022 Voyage where she lived on a cruise ship for four months with 400 college students from around the world and traveled to 12 countries over the course of a semester. She also participated in UB’s International Business in Singapore program, which involved collaboration with students at the Singapore Institute of Management on various consulting projects for both US-based and Singapore-based companies founded by UB alumni. In her free time, Sarah loves to spin at Revolution Buffalo.

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