Alan's Recommendations for visitors to CCC '98.

UPDATE: Two favorite restaurants have closed; two good ones have opened.

General comment about location:

The North Campus of UB, where the conference will take place, is in Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo. As is typical of suburban locations, there is not much within walking distance of where you will be, and you might feel isolated without a car. The Flint Road hotel complex does have a diner besides the Marriott and Hampton hotel restaurants, and if you are hardy, you can walk from the conference center to a strip that contains several mediocre chains (e.g., Hooters).


The Falls:

There is an excursion to Niagara Falls Tuesday afternoon. One bus will leave the Falls at 6 p.m. and another at 9 p.m. If you are a U.S. citizen or your visa permits you to enter Canada and return, then definitely walk across the Rainbow Bridge to visit the Canadian side, and return on the 9 p.m. bus. The New York side of the Falls is pretty and rustic, but the environs shortly beyond the Falls area becomes fairly rundown all too quickly. There are no restaurants on the New York side of the Falls. The Canada side of the Falls is built-up and beautifully landscaped. Also, the Canada side affords spectacular views of the famous Horseshoe Falls. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from on the Canadian side, and you can amuse yourself at the Casino. You absolutely must visit the Butterfly Conservatory and the gardens. Take the People Mover (a bus that takes visitors to the various attractions) to the Butterfly Conservatory. I will not say more, because I do not want to spoil your absolute delight and enjoyment.


Niagara on the Lake:

Bring your spouse or someone you love (inclusive or intended) and stay a day or two after the conference at Niagara on the Lake, a charming Victorian village at the mouth of the Niagara River, and home of the world famous Shaw Festival. Plan in advance; buy some theater tickets. I can let you know the best restaurants in that area. You need a taxi or rental car for all of these. Also, your hotel can plan excursions. (Yahoo's page on Niagara-on-the-Lake.)


Albright-Knox Art Gallery:

This museum houses one of this country's finest collections of 20th century European masters. Unfortunately they will be undergoing renovation while you are visiting, and much of their collection will be on tour in Japan. I hope that the Clyfford Still's will be open, in case you are into the moderns. (Albright-Knox URL.)


Dining in the Buffalo area:

Buffalo is blessed with restaurants that compare favorably with those in the major cities, restaurants that are described glowingly in Bon Appetit and Saveur. Here I will name a few of my favorites. These all tend to be small places, so you will need to make reservations in advance. Before getting to those, let me mention a couple of Asian restaurants and a few casual places in the general Amherst area that are worth eating at.


  • Kuni's has some of the best Sushi this side of Tokyo. It is on Elmwood Avenue in the city. If you wanted to know where the student environment in Buffalo is, this is where. The problem is that it is close to Buffalo State, and not the University at Buffalo. Kuni's is small and does not take reservations. Plan to wait a while, and have some champagne while you do.
  • There is one Chinese Restaurant in the entire Buffalo area. There are lots of places that call themselves Chinese Restaurants. Anyway, Rita's Crystal Palace on Transit Road in E. Amherst is very good. (Sharon reminds me that Peking Duck in Amherst has very nice peking duck, but that is all that we have ever had there.)
  • Max's Deli. The chopped liver is to die for. So is everything else. Don't forget the blintzes. Alas, they have gone out of business---see update.
  • Dakota Grill. Martini, a good steak, and Frank Sinatra style music. What else could anyone need?
  • Siena is a truly excellent restaurant/trattoria. They serve everything from great pizzas to innovative dinners. They have the very best Osso Bucco. My problem is that I frequently am tempted by one of their daily specials.
  • Janice Okun, the food reviewer for the Buffalo News, gave the restaurant in the University Inn four stars. It's quite a nice place, but four stars is too high.
  • Dacc's is a new, small bistro in the area. The food can be very good.
  • Sigmund's Bistro is worth a visit even though they their service is a bit unsteady and the portions are too large. We eat here frequently nevertheless. The fare is typical California style bistro, but the portions are pure Buffalo. They make the best pizza margherita. Unfortunately, their business was unsteady and they closed.


There is a brewery on Main Street in the Village of Williamsville that serves very nice beer and typical brewery food. I am sure you will find it. It's a good place to prove a theorem.


For the rest of my list, prepare to spend accordingly. Your per diem will not cover these. The next five restaurants are for memorable dining experiences.

This area excels in Italian restaurants:

  • My favorite restaurant is Il Fiorentino. They just moved into the outer suburbs. Everything about this husband and wife owned place is charming. The food is exquisite.
  • San Marco is another excellent Northern Italian restaurant, and possibly easier for you to get to.


The other truly excellent restaurants are in Buffalo (downtown Buffalo is only 15 to 20 minutes away):


  • Fiddleheads is small, eclectic, and very serious about their food. These are creative people. The chef spent five years as sous chef for Biba's in Boston before opening Fiddleheads!
  • Enchant'e is essentially country French, in the modern style.
  • Oliver's is the primary New York style, modern cuisine, excellent, special occasion restaurant.
  • Just Pasta is not just pasta. This is on everyone's favorite restaurant list. Just Pasta is Siena^2.
  • Hutch's is another very good bistro, with a mix of casual to elegant cuisine. I rate this higher than Sigmund's, but the latter is closer.
  • Biac's just reopened with a new chef. I have not yet been there, but the reviews are great. I loved the old Biac's. The chef/owner of the old Biac's is reopening The Park Lane, a venerable Buffalo institution. The old Biac's featured a continental and Middle East fusion. If you visit either of these, please let me know.

Speaking of restaurants we have not yet visited, there is a new Japanese restaurant on Main St., across from the South Campus that opened to glowing reviews.


  • Coffee Spots: Starbucks is everywhere, but locally owned places exist also. Caffe' Aroma in Williamsville and also on Elmwood Ave. in the city are easily the winners. Their desserts are fantastic.


Final Note: There is a shuttle bus from the North Campus to the South Campus. At the South Campus you may take the public transportation subway into the city. There is only one line. If you get off at Allen Street, you will be only a few blocks walk from Enchant'e, Fiddleheads, and Biacs.

UPDATE: (5/31)

Since I wrote my recommendations about two months ago, two of my favorites have unfortunately closed. These are Sigmund's Bistro and Max's Deli. With the latter especially, one must mourn the passing of a signifant attribute of civilization.

Perhaps to compensate, two wonderful new restuarants have opened:

Danny Ocean's, on Transit Road, is named after one of the Rat Pack's movies. This tells you the theme of this restaurant. As might be expected, their steaks and seafood are excellent. However, what makes this place exciting, is that all of their dishes have been updated by a creative and imaginative chef.

Fritz's is located in Clarence Center. Although this is only a fifteen minute drive from the Center for Tomorrow, Clarence Center is a rural community. Consider this: a German restuaranteur has created a continental, modern restuarant in the general California style, with a definite Asian slant. Very interesting, and excellent.