Welcome to the top 10 plates in Rochester, NY (as of January 3, 2022). There are many metrics I use to determine who has the best overall plate experience. It’s worth mentioning that any place on this list offers a fantastic plate. If they made this list, they are the best of the best. At this point, I’ve reviewed close to 100 plates in four different states. I consider myself to be the foremost authority on plates, and since you’re here, you probably do too.
Any place on this list offers a fantastic plate.
Whenever you construct a list like this, there are certain things you should consider. I want to start off by saying that there is a difference between the “Best” and the “Top 10”. The best plates in Rochester can be found on my spreadsheet. Many of the best plates are on this list. That said, these are the top 10 plates. So what’s the difference? This list takes price into account. Here we’re looking for the best “bang for your buck”. If you want a raw score of what I consider to be the “best” plates that is available on the spreadsheet. After the obvious (taste) a few considerations I pay attention to are:
- Meat – Was the burger/dog seasoned? Was it cooked thoroughly?
- Meat Sauce – Was it spicy or bland? Was it greasy? Did they bother putting meat sauce on the plate?
- Potatoes – Were they cooked thoroughly? Were they home made?
- I prefer if my fries are a bit soggy vs crispy; and that may be different from your personal preference.
- Mac Salad – Was it mayo heavy? Was it bland? Did they put other weird veggies in there? Were the noodles soft or al-dente?
- I prefer a mayo heavy Al-Dente mac salad. I’m not averse to veggies but they can sometimes be used to mask the taste.
- Bread – Was it something other than boring white bread? Was the bread stale?
- Composition – Were the ingredients balanced? (did they give you like 3 fries and a bunch of mac salad or vice versa). Did they give you too much/not enough food?
There were two restaurants from last years list didn’t make the cut this year:
- JT’s Pizza and Plates (previously honorable mention) – I reviewed a lot of places this year, and they fell a bit down the list due to the fact that there were so many all-stars this year.
- JB Quimbies (previously #2) – They closed this past year. Their contributions to Rochester culinary scene will not be forgotten.
I wanted to start this list off with an honorable mention:
HONORABLE MENTION: The Angry Goat Pub
The Goat has been a longtime favorite of mine. I had a chance to re-review them and while their plate is still quite good, their quality has declined since my initial review. There were also some newcomers to the list, that bumped them down a bit. That said, it’s still a fantastic place to get a plate, and a beer.
And without further ado, here is my top 10 for 2020:
10. Thirsty Turtle – Victor, NY (NEW!)
Everyone loves the new guy right? Thirsty Turtle took me completely by surprise. Their plate was unpretentious and delightful.
Key features: Meat sauce.
9. Marshall Street Bar and Grill – Rochester, NY (Previously #9)
I had a chance to re-review Marshall Street. It’s still the gluttonous monstrosity that we know and love. There are so many flavors packed in here that it’s hard to pick just a few things to mention.
Key Features: Nacho cheese sauce, unique mac salad.
8. Swiftwater Brewing – Rochester, NY (Previously #10)
Swiftwater is a great little brewery in the South Wedge with an awesome plate. The home fries are to die for and the bread is in a word; incredible.
Key Features: Home Fries, toasted garlic bread.
7. McCann’s Local Meats – Rochester, NY (Previously #6)
What I like about McCann’s is that everything they make tastes homemade. That said, you pay for it. They’ve really set the bar high, but at some point there are diminishing returns as far as plates go.
Key Features: Everything
6. ER Hots – East Rochester, NY (Previously #7)
An East Rochester entry that took me by surprise. It’s an unassuming little place attached to a pizza joint; but they make a damn good plate.
Key Features: Meat Sauce, bread.
5. Charlie’s Restaurant – Webster, NY (Previously #1)
You really can’t go wrong with a plate from Charlie’s. To see them fall so far down on the list (for them) was a bit of a shock to me. That said, when I sat down to re-review it, I realized that their quality hadn’t changed much, but my reviewing had. I hold everyone to a higher standard now. Although they have one of the best plates in town, there is always room for improvement.
Key features: Meat sauce, burgers.
4. The Exchange – Rochester, NY (Previously #5)
The Exchange is a sports bar in Corn hill that serves some great food. I’m quite partial to their hot chicken, but their plate is also one for the books.
Key Features: Cheeseburgers, and well-seasoned fries.
3. Dogtown – Rochester, NY (Previously #3)
I’ve written plenty about Dogtown in the past, extolling the virtues of their plate. I don’t really have much to add. The prices are fair, and their food is delicious. That said, as far as affordability goes, you can’t find a better plate for cheaper.
Key Features: Red/White hots, meat sauce.
2. Sticky Lips – Rochester, NY (Previously #4)
You really can’t go wrong with this one; their brisket is to die for and the cornbread sets a high bar. For my money, it’s the best bread that anybody is serving with any plate, anywhere.
Key Features: Mouth-watering brisket, corn bread.
1. Park Ave Plates and Shakes – Rochester, NY (NEW!)
I realize that this is a controversial pick, and one that I may regret making. I’d like to get back in here to re-review it before 2022 is up so I can ensure that I am delivering the best quality reviews to my audience. I stopped in here not expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s an unassuming little spot on Park Ave that recently opened up. It won’t break the bank, and their meat sauce is quite good. Their shakes are also very good and they take their ingredients seriously.
Key Features: Meat Sauce.