Local Flavor: Where to Eat in Saranac Lake

When it comes to Saranac Lake restaurants, comfortable and casual seems to be theme. But don’t confuse that with boring. These local eateries feature everything from authentic French food to wood-fired game meats to gourmet chicken wings.

Campfire Adirondack Grill + Bar

Located on the lower level of Hotel Saranac facing the main street, this fun spin on campy cuisine pays tribute to the camp cooking style prevalent during the era of the Great Camps. That means all sorts of game meats and fish (think rabbit, duck, bass, and trout) cooked on a wood-burning grill on display in the dining room, as well as foraged produce like wild leeks, mushrooms, and cranberries. The setting is equally casual and high-style, including a wall covered in cross-sectioned birch logs. It’s the kind of place where you’ll gather with friends for a happy hour drink, or for the big dinner out during your stay at the hotel.

Blue Moon Cafe

This homey neighborhood cafe on Main Street is a locals’ favorite breakfast spot, where six different types of coffee roasts come served in quirky mismatched mugs and hearty breakfast dishes go beyond mere eggs and toast. Try the Brussels Scramble – eggs scrambled with caramelized onions, shaved brussels sprouts, and Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese, or the Maryland Benny – an eggs benedict atop two crab cakes.

Red Fox Restaurant

Saranac Lake’s most charming family-style eatery, located beside Route 3 (next door to Dewey Mountain Recreation Area) is a throwback to your traditional steakhouse, adorned in quaint chandeliers, white linen tables, fresh-cut flowers everywhere, and a centerpiece stacked-stone fireplace. The menu doesn’t try to be trendy or inventive, but rather focuses on high-quality classic cuts of meat, like prime rib, filet mignon, and rack of lamb, cooked to perfection – with soup, salad, and a potato included with every entree.

Bitters & Bones

What appears to be the exterior of a rundown building on Broadway Street leads to this classy-yet-hip joint inside that beautifully balances artistic style with a rough-around-the-edges aesthetic. Atmosphere aside, the eclectic menu offers a wide range of items, including osso buco, a duck reuben, chicken wings (doused in your choice of sauces, including Korean BBQ, Thai maple, and PB&J), and pad Thai.

Downhill Grill

This big, open bistro-style restaurant on Main Street is accented with exposed brick displaying vintage photos of the village and winter sports. Judging by the interior, you’d expect mostly pub-style food, but roughly half the menu is actually dedicated to Mexican-style entrees (i.e. chile con queso, burritos, fajitas, and chimichangas).

Left Bank Cafe

Perched on Broadway Street overlooking the left bank of the Saranac River, this authentic French bistro feels like it could have been plucked right out of the City of Lights, thanks to black and white subway tiles (evoking the Paris Metro), green leather banquettes under warm tongue-and-groove wooden ceilings, and vintage Air France posters. Owner Anne Sterling is a Cordon Bleu chef who works very closely with her cooks to dream up the dishes, including items like duck confit served with braised peaches, pork with parsnip puree, and salmon with olive and tomato couscous.

St. Regis Cafe  

As the learning restaurant for Paul Smith’s College students, located 10 miles north of Hotel Saranac, expect a three-course prix-fixe lunch only on weekdays when college is in session. While the menu rotates weekly, the dishes always feature locally sourced ingredients, from cheese and eggs to meats and veggies. An added bonus: It’s home to one of the best views of Upper St. Regis Lake that can be soaked up from the deck or through the large dining room windows.