Adirondack chairs line up on the northern shore of Lake Union at Westward."> clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
<span data-author="-1">Adirondack chairs line up on th</span><span data-author="2187728">e northern shore of</span><span data-author="-1"> Lake Union at Westward.</span>
Adirondack chairs line up on the northern shore of Lake Union at Westward.
Suzi Pratt/Eater

Everywhere to Eat and Drink in the Adirondacks

From a laundromat with a doughnut shop to breweries, there are plenty of dining options in this scenic region of upstate New York

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Adirondack chairs line up on the northern shore of Lake Union at Westward.
| Suzi Pratt/Eater

At more than six million acres in size and comprising 46 mountains (known as the High Peaks), more than 3,000 lakes and ponds, and dozens of towns and hamlets, the Adirondacks are the largest publicly protected space in the contiguous United States and the largest National Historic Landmark in the country, larger than Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Great Smokies National Parks combined.

With Lake Placid at its heart (home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics), outdoor sports and recreation dominate Adirondack activities, and all that movement works up an appetite. Most small towns have at least one restaurant, but the bulk of the area’s must-visit eateries are centered around the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake region. The region’s cuisine could be called “Adirdondack-American” — a locally inspired mashup of New and Old World favorites with a French-Canadian tinge (poutine lovers rejoice). French cafes, all-day breakfast joints, restaurants located at historic inns, there’s a little something for every appetite in the North Country.

Note: Restaurants listed in geographical order, West to East.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Washboard/Donut Shoppe

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A full service laundromat combined with a doughnut shop might not seem like a must-visit at first, but one look at the menu might change some minds. With more than a dozen flavors like blueberry, chocolate, bacon, and cinnamon, these freshly fried donuts are almost a bigger draw than the laundromat itself. Campers in particular will find this the ultimate destination: Wash and dry a load of clothes after a few days in the woods and gorge on some doughnuts while they spin.

Left Bank Cafe

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Paris meets the North Country in this cozy Saranac Lake bistro. Recently reopened after the pandemic, the cafe still serves homey, shareable French classics like baked camembert, charcuterie and cheese boards, and spreads like salmon rillettes and olive tapenade to complement a wine menu focused on French classics. Live music is sometimes available. Currently only open evenings, but pre-pandemic it was open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Left Bank Cafe
Left Bank Cafe combines French classics with a touch fo the North Country.
Left Bank Cafe

Barley Sandwich

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This newer addition to Saranac Lake is the perfect place to stock up for an afternoon spent lounging on a boat, canoe, or just lakeside. The chalkboard menu changes often, but the sandwiches garner rave reviews. Recent offerings included beef on weck (roast beef with horseradish sauce on a kimmelweck roll) and roast turkey (turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon jam, cheddar, and mayo on sourdough). Salads and bowls as well as beer and sodas are available for the perfect build-your-own picnic.

Dack Shack

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An extensive offering of American favorites like burgers, fish tacos, wings, and more (hello smoked bacon deviled eggs) fill out the ‘Dack Shack’s menu, but it’s nearly impossible to leave without ordering the popular Shack Mac ‘n Cheese. The menu description reads “creamy cheesy secret recipe,” but there are options to load it up with lobster, bacon, Korean-style pork belly, and buffalo chicken, among other options. The “Mountain of Fries” is the Shack’s take on poutine, and diners looking to grab some food for their vacation rental can visit Simply Gourmet next door for breakfast and lunch catering options like soups, salads, and sandwich platters.

The Breakfast Club, Etc.

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The mimosa menu can be enjoyed with views of Lake Placid. The rostis — piles of roasted potatoes topped with ingredients like bacon and Swiss cheese, apple, sausage, and brie, or corned beef and cheddar — are also popular here. There’s a whole menu of Benedicts as well, and kids (and kids at heart) will love the Palace Pancakes, buttermilk pancakes topped with chocolate caramel popcorn and assorted movie candy — part of the proceeds benefit the independent theater across the street.

Mirror Lake Inn

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Located in the heart of Lake Placid, the historic Mirror Lake Inn offers a variety of dining options. The wood-paneled bar and surrounding cozy lobby is perfect for a glass of wine and small plates, while those looking for a more formal dinner head to the View, the inn’s upscale restaurant. Right across the street is the Cottage, where locals and tourists alike gather on the shore of Mirror Lake to enjoy pub grub, craft beers, and sunset cocktails.

Lisa G's

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A family favorite for generations, Lisa G’s serves pizza, sandwiches, and other comforting fare. The chicken parm is spiced up by a walnut pesto, and the lemon Caesar salad has been a menu mainstay for years. In the busy summer months, the restaurant offers fewer regular entrees so the kitchen can experiment with more specials, which are listed on a board each evening.

Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar

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Lake Placid’s go-to for craft cocktails and innovative small plates is unlike any other restaurant in town. Dishes are meant to be shared and the menu changes frequently; recent offerings include a smoked chicken leg with chorizo rice, a kale caesar with crispy chicken skins, and a roasted asparagus dish that comes with spinach, preserved lemon, brown butter, horseradish, and Little Dickens cheese. One dish that never leaves the menu? The fried Brussels sprouts. The cocktails are the best in town and change as often as the menu, and the draft list is heavy on Northeast brews.

Salt of the Earth Bistro

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Locally and regionally sourced ingredients are transformed into international flavors at Salt of the Earth, with menu options like Ethiopian spicy shrimp, creamy curried corn-and-potato soup, and a grilled heritage pork chop served with a rice salad thats spiced with Kashimiri chili, dried papaya, red bell pepper, bamboo shoots, ginger, and served with a black tea coconut sauce.

Big Slide Brewery & Public House

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One of the North Country’s premiere breweries now operates a family-friendly taphouse on the outskirts of Lake Placid. Brick oven personal pizzas and sandwiches are always on offer, and recent dinner entrees include dishes such as the Chop It Like Its Hot (a tomahawk pork chop with cornbread, braised fennel, and an ale redeye gravy) and fried chicken and grits (a fried chicken breast with creamy cheddar and pork belly grits, pickled apples, and maple chicken jus). The perennial favorite Pretzel Bites appetizer features locally baked pretzel bites served warm with a beer cheese sauce or maple mustard. Wash it all down with one of Big Slide’s many brews.

Adirondack brewery
Big Slide Bewery is one of the area’s most popular breweries.
Big Slide Brewery & Public House

The Hungry Trout Resort

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Located on the road to the ever-popular Whiteface Ski Resort, the Hungry Trout Resort sits on the banks of the trout-filled Ausable River and features two dining options. Hungry Trout Restaurant stays true to its name — trout is always on the menu, in the form of a smoked trout with horseradish aioli appetizer or one of five trout entree options (trout with lemon-caper butter, Campfire Trout with house smoked bacon, and Trout Grand Marnier are all options on the current summer menu). For the fish-averse diner, the menu also includes burgers, steaks, and pasta. Fans of game meat will look to the venison-and-boar stuffed mushrooms or the free range venison rib chops. A more casual meal of sandwiches, burgers, and pub fare can be had at the R. F. McDougall’s Pub, named one of “America’s Top 10 Fishing Bars” by Outdoor Life magazine.

Forty Six

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A restaurant from the folks behind the Dartbrook Lodge and Dartbrook Rustic Goods, Forty Six (a nod to the region’s 46 high peaks), serves lunch and dinner in a rustic setting along Route 73. Lunch includes sandwiches like the smoked brisket (Swiss cheese, red wine braised onions, and dijjonaise on grilled rye) and the Just Climbed A Mountain burger (local beef, Vermont cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion on a brioche bun), while the dinner menu features roasted Atlantic salmon, braised chicken and olives, a vegan spicy tofu sushi, and more. The seasonally changing menu is rounded out by a small selection of appetizers and desserts.

Donnelly's Soft Ice Cream

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Donnelly’s has been popular with locals and vacationers alike since 1953 with its super-creamy soft serve. Lines form at the window — there’s no indoor seating — for orders of whatever flavor is being made that day in the shop’s original 1950s soft-serve machine. The menu of flavors changes weekly, but on any given week, expect vanilla and chocolate as well as swirl, fruit flavors (blueberry and strawberry made recent appearances), and “Surprise Saturdays,” where the flavor is a limited special.

The Washboard/Donut Shoppe

A full service laundromat combined with a doughnut shop might not seem like a must-visit at first, but one look at the menu might change some minds. With more than a dozen flavors like blueberry, chocolate, bacon, and cinnamon, these freshly fried donuts are almost a bigger draw than the laundromat itself. Campers in particular will find this the ultimate destination: Wash and dry a load of clothes after a few days in the woods and gorge on some doughnuts while they spin.

Left Bank Cafe

Left Bank Cafe
Left Bank Cafe combines French classics with a touch fo the North Country.
Left Bank Cafe

Paris meets the North Country in this cozy Saranac Lake bistro. Recently reopened after the pandemic, the cafe still serves homey, shareable French classics like baked camembert, charcuterie and cheese boards, and spreads like salmon rillettes and olive tapenade to complement a wine menu focused on French classics. Live music is sometimes available. Currently only open evenings, but pre-pandemic it was open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Left Bank Cafe
Left Bank Cafe combines French classics with a touch fo the North Country.
Left Bank Cafe

Barley Sandwich

This newer addition to Saranac Lake is the perfect place to stock up for an afternoon spent lounging on a boat, canoe, or just lakeside. The chalkboard menu changes often, but the sandwiches garner rave reviews. Recent offerings included beef on weck (roast beef with horseradish sauce on a kimmelweck roll) and roast turkey (turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon jam, cheddar, and mayo on sourdough). Salads and bowls as well as beer and sodas are available for the perfect build-your-own picnic.

Dack Shack

An extensive offering of American favorites like burgers, fish tacos, wings, and more (hello smoked bacon deviled eggs) fill out the ‘Dack Shack’s menu, but it’s nearly impossible to leave without ordering the popular Shack Mac ‘n Cheese. The menu description reads “creamy cheesy secret recipe,” but there are options to load it up with lobster, bacon, Korean-style pork belly, and buffalo chicken, among other options. The “Mountain of Fries” is the Shack’s take on poutine, and diners looking to grab some food for their vacation rental can visit Simply Gourmet next door for breakfast and lunch catering options like soups, salads, and sandwich platters.

The Breakfast Club, Etc.

The mimosa menu can be enjoyed with views of Lake Placid. The rostis — piles of roasted potatoes topped with ingredients like bacon and Swiss cheese, apple, sausage, and brie, or corned beef and cheddar — are also popular here. There’s a whole menu of Benedicts as well, and kids (and kids at heart) will love the Palace Pancakes, buttermilk pancakes topped with chocolate caramel popcorn and assorted movie candy — part of the proceeds benefit the independent theater across the street.

Mirror Lake Inn

Located in the heart of Lake Placid, the historic Mirror Lake Inn offers a variety of dining options. The wood-paneled bar and surrounding cozy lobby is perfect for a glass of wine and small plates, while those looking for a more formal dinner head to the View, the inn’s upscale restaurant. Right across the street is the Cottage, where locals and tourists alike gather on the shore of Mirror Lake to enjoy pub grub, craft beers, and sunset cocktails.

Lisa G's

A family favorite for generations, Lisa G’s serves pizza, sandwiches, and other comforting fare. The chicken parm is spiced up by a walnut pesto, and the lemon Caesar salad has been a menu mainstay for years. In the busy summer months, the restaurant offers fewer regular entrees so the kitchen can experiment with more specials, which are listed on a board each evening.

Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar

Lake Placid’s go-to for craft cocktails and innovative small plates is unlike any other restaurant in town. Dishes are meant to be shared and the menu changes frequently; recent offerings include a smoked chicken leg with chorizo rice, a kale caesar with crispy chicken skins, and a roasted asparagus dish that comes with spinach, preserved lemon, brown butter, horseradish, and Little Dickens cheese. One dish that never leaves the menu? The fried Brussels sprouts. The cocktails are the best in town and change as often as the menu, and the draft list is heavy on Northeast brews.

Salt of the Earth Bistro

Locally and regionally sourced ingredients are transformed into international flavors at Salt of the Earth, with menu options like Ethiopian spicy shrimp, creamy curried corn-and-potato soup, and a grilled heritage pork chop served with a rice salad thats spiced with Kashimiri chili, dried papaya, red bell pepper, bamboo shoots, ginger, and served with a black tea coconut sauce.

Big Slide Brewery & Public House

Adirondack brewery
Big Slide Bewery is one of the area’s most popular breweries.
Big Slide Brewery & Public House

One of the North Country’s premiere breweries now operates a family-friendly taphouse on the outskirts of Lake Placid. Brick oven personal pizzas and sandwiches are always on offer, and recent dinner entrees include dishes such as the Chop It Like Its Hot (a tomahawk pork chop with cornbread, braised fennel, and an ale redeye gravy) and fried chicken and grits (a fried chicken breast with creamy cheddar and pork belly grits, pickled apples, and maple chicken jus). The perennial favorite Pretzel Bites appetizer features locally baked pretzel bites served warm with a beer cheese sauce or maple mustard. Wash it all down with one of Big Slide’s many brews.

Adirondack brewery
Big Slide Bewery is one of the area’s most popular breweries.
Big Slide Brewery & Public House

The Hungry Trout Resort

Located on the road to the ever-popular Whiteface Ski Resort, the Hungry Trout Resort sits on the banks of the trout-filled Ausable River and features two dining options. Hungry Trout Restaurant stays true to its name — trout is always on the menu, in the form of a smoked trout with horseradish aioli appetizer or one of five trout entree options (trout with lemon-caper butter, Campfire Trout with house smoked bacon, and Trout Grand Marnier are all options on the current summer menu). For the fish-averse diner, the menu also includes burgers, steaks, and pasta. Fans of game meat will look to the venison-and-boar stuffed mushrooms or the free range venison rib chops. A more casual meal of sandwiches, burgers, and pub fare can be had at the R. F. McDougall’s Pub, named one of “America’s Top 10 Fishing Bars” by Outdoor Life magazine.

Forty Six

A restaurant from the folks behind the Dartbrook Lodge and Dartbrook Rustic Goods, Forty Six (a nod to the region’s 46 high peaks), serves lunch and dinner in a rustic setting along Route 73. Lunch includes sandwiches like the smoked brisket (Swiss cheese, red wine braised onions, and dijjonaise on grilled rye) and the Just Climbed A Mountain burger (local beef, Vermont cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and onion on a brioche bun), while the dinner menu features roasted Atlantic salmon, braised chicken and olives, a vegan spicy tofu sushi, and more. The seasonally changing menu is rounded out by a small selection of appetizers and desserts.

Donnelly's Soft Ice Cream

Donnelly’s has been popular with locals and vacationers alike since 1953 with its super-creamy soft serve. Lines form at the window — there’s no indoor seating — for orders of whatever flavor is being made that day in the shop’s original 1950s soft-serve machine. The menu of flavors changes weekly, but on any given week, expect vanilla and chocolate as well as swirl, fruit flavors (blueberry and strawberry made recent appearances), and “Surprise Saturdays,” where the flavor is a limited special.

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