Best Lunch in Buffalo

10 Best Lunch Hot Spots in Buffalo, New York

Buffalo has an interesting mix of restaurants that cater to the lunch crowd, and each year the "foodie" scene continues to evolve. No matter the type of dining experience you are looking for, you'll find it it Buffalo. From hidden gems like Shango Bistro and Wine Bar, which serves up New Orleans-style cuisine to well-known establishments like Anchor Bar, the creator of the Buffalo wings, you'll have no shortage of options. Cuisine types vary from traditional Western New York favorites, pub grub, Italian, Greek, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Southern, and many more.

Typical diner-style restaurants like Vizzi's and The Towne Restaurant offer mouthwatering burgers and weekend comfort food, while Fat Bob's Smokehouse serves up barbecue ribs, pulled pork and other tender meats smoked on the grill.

Those looking for an upscale lunch atmosphere can check out Seabar, a revolutionary new sushi restaurant that also offers a twist on local staples and international dishes. During the summer months, the Filling Station "fills" with patrons in Larkin Square, an innovative new public space that continues to draw residents and travelers downtown.

No matter what your craving for lunch, you'll find it in Buffalo. Our editors have narrowed down some of their favorite lunch spots and present our top choices.


With blues and reggae music flowing and a classic down-home decor, this is one of Buffalo's best barbeque haunts. Located in the trendy Allentown district, Fat Bob's atmosphere is friendly and the food terrific since nearly everything is made from scratch. The sides are scrumptious and include favorites like sausage gravy, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. Main dishes include mainly styles of barbecue and southern cuisine, including St. Louis pork ribs, spice-rubbed catfish, and Texas-style brisket all smoked to perfection. Sandwiches include fried cornmeal catfish, pulled pork, the Memphis burger (topped with bacon and pulled pork), and the "Sloppy Bob, a combination of chicken, pork, and brisket.

Recommended for Lunch because: Showcasing a number of styles of southern cooking, Fat Bobs has a mouthwatering menu.

Amber's expert tip: The mac n cheese is not to be missed.

Read more about Fat Bob's Smokehouse →

This Buffalo newcomer in the dazzling Larkin Square is now open for lunch and serves up classic American favorites like sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Try the chicken sandwich with avocado and citrus chutney or the shrimp tacos with cabbage coleslaw. The Filling Station was named as such because the space used to be a gas station in the 1930s, and is part of the ongoing renovations and rebirth of Larkin Square. This innovative site was the former Larkin Soap Company warehouse buildings, and has been transformed into a public space for events. The Filling Station offers outdoor seating that is ideal for people watching.

Recommended for Lunch because: Although the menu is small, this is a surprising find in the hip, new Hydraulics neighborhood (Larkin District).

Amber's expert tip: The summer months are the best time to visit.

Read more about The Filling Station →

This simple Greek restaurant has served the Buffalo area for the past 30 years. Menu items include classic spanakopita (spinach pie), saganaki (cheese with pitas), and beef and lamb souvlaki (skewers). At lunchtime, they serve items like spinach pita melt, a Greek Burger, open gyro, and specialty salads. You'll also find an assortment of American-style sandwiches like turkey melts, clubs, and tuna. During dinner, the menu expands to include pork chops, shrimp scampi, haddock, and moussaka (eggplant and ground beef with bechamel sauce). The Towne also offers banquet service, catering, and take out. The atmosphere is that of a casual diner setting.

Recommended for Lunch because: If you are just looking for a simple diner, this is a great spot for a really casual lunch.

Amber's expert tip: This is also a top choice for breakfast!

Read more about Towne Restaurant →


Pass through the Gothic gates in front of this Allentown favorite and grab a seat inside, or at the outdoor courtyard. The atmosphere inside is that of a rustic hunter's lodge with antique ceilings from the 1800s. The menu consists of traditional pub fare: fries, chile, French onion soup, BLT's, a huge selection of burgers and classic salad options. Gabriel's often ranks on the city' top five for their Buffalo wings, which come traditional, Cajun, barbecue, or suicidal - all crisped to perfection. Their barbecue spare ribs are equally impressive and the portion sizes are extremely generous. This is a popular nightlife location as well.

Recommended for Lunch because: A bit dive-y, and a hipster scene in the evenings, but during the weekends it's just the ticket for comfort food at lunch time.

Amber's expert tip: Be sure to try Gabriel's Gate Brown Ale.

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Although Curly's been in the same family since the 1930s, it recently began to offer the city classic Caribbean cuisine. The d├ęcor is traditional pub, but there's also a Jamaican room where diners can enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean. Curly's menu is diverse and includes peanut crusted chicken with banana curry sauce, fish fillet with white wine cream sauce, and a range of pastas and desserts and their Jamaican jerk chicken is gluten-free! Curly's is primarily known as a dinner destination and banquet hall, however they are open for lunch during the week for those looking for a quality meal.

Recommended for Lunch because: Curly's Grill is a diamond in the rough in Buffalo. It's off the path, but well worth it.

Amber's expert tip: Try their "Wolf-Ft Skillets" with selected meats, fingerling potatoes, vegetables and chimichurri sauce.

Read more about Curly's Grill and Banquet Center →

North Buffalo
Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan

This local gem serves up sandwiches, salads, beef on weck (that's piled high) and some of Buffalo's best burgers with a massive portion of thick french fries, pasta, red potato salad. The monster burger is legendary,a flavorful patty topped with mayo, tomatoes and lettuce. The ambiance is "corner diner-meets locals bar," and prices are extremely reasonable for the quantity of food ($6.95 for a massive burger). Everything is homemade in house, which can be attributed to quality of the food, and they staff is friendly and accommodating. Weekends can be busy, but it is a great choice for a low-key lunch.

Recommended for Lunch because: Vizzi's is constantly in the running among a handful of others for the "Best Burger" in Buffalo.

Amber's expert tip: They are cash only but there is an ATM machine.

Read more about Vizzi's →


This is the original home of Buffalo wings, which were first concocted in 1964 by the bar's original proprietor as a snack for late night patrons. Still available, the wings are smothered with spicy Buffalo sauce and served with celery and bleu cheese dressing. The Anchor Bar is still a local favorite, and the menu features Italian-American entrees and classics like chicken cacciatore, lasagna and stuffed hot peppers. On weekends traveling jazz bands entertain diners. During lunch, you'll also find classics like beef on weck, grilled bologna steak with onions, a Buffalo bison burger, and an Icelandic haddock fish fry (for just $9).

Recommended for Lunch because: Anchor Bar is an institution in Buffalo, and is a great stop for a beer and lunch bites.

Amber's expert tip: They also sell their wing sauce!

Read more about Anchor Bar →

Elmwood Avenue

This Elmwood Village dining room wins raves from connoisseurs of Indian food. Irresistible masala, a delightful variety of authentic breads, tandoori meats, seafood and vegetarian dishes are skillfully prepared and infused with the flavors of South Asia. If the menu's wide selection is too daunting, don't worry: the restaurant offers a splendid lunch buffet and is the more preferred option for many diners. For starters, try the garlic naan flat bread or the Alu Mater Samosa (homemade pastries stuffed with potatoes and peas). Other menu selections include lamb curry, and chicken Malai served in coconut sauce with authentic basmati rice as the side.

Recommended for Lunch because: With affordable prices and authentic Indian cuisine, India Gate is a top choice for lunch.

Amber's expert tip: Be sure to order the Chai tea.

Read more about India Gate →

Seabar Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan

With a creative menu designed by acclaimed chef, Mike Andrzejewski (the genius behind Mike A's at the Hotel Lafayette), it is no surprise that Seabar continues to delight its visitors. In fact, Anthony Bourdain, the star of No Reservations, frequents the restaurant when in town. The main draw here is freshly-prepared sushi - but it doesn't stop there. Also gracing the menu are appetizers like pork enchiladas, seafood tacos, meatballs, and "Bourdain's Last Meal," a sampling of marrow, pork belly, and foie gras torchon. A sleek, upscale ambiance with affordable prices makes this ideal for a business lunch or just a casual meal with friends.

Recommended for Lunch because: With an eclectic menu and trendy atmosphere, Seabar is revolutionizing downtown Buffalo.

Amber's expert tip: For a unique twist on a Buffalo favorite dish, try the beef on weck sushi rolls.

Read more about Seabar Restaurant →

For a little taste of New Orleans in Buffalo, Shango Bistro and Wine bar offers flavorful Cajun dishes and an excellent selection of wines (170 bottles) and beers. For lunch, try an oyster, steak, or blackened catfish po' boy or opt for the creole Bouillabaisse. Sunday brunch includes award-winning gumbo, New Orleans barbecue shrimp, and stuffed French toast with bananas and caramel rum sauce - washed down with a flavor-infused bellini. With dark wood-paneled booths and tables, a chic bar area, and outdoor patio, Shango's is ideal for a more upscale lunch experience. Live jazz music drives the New Orleans theme home.

Recommended for Lunch because: There aren't many New Orleans-style restaurants in Buffalo, and Shango's cuisine, service, and ambiance is excellent.

Amber's expert tip: Start off with the avocado springs rolls; they're a must!

Read more about Shango Bistro and Wine Bar →


Meet Amber Nolan

Originally from upstate New York, this restless traveler has a knack for befriending interesting characters. You can usually find her just about anywhere that has a hammock. Amber's favorite...  More About Amber