Downtown Ithaca’s dining hub, Restaurant row, is located on Aurora Street, within short walking distance of The Commons.
Looking for fine-dining, ethnic foods, quick bites, outdoor dining? No matter what your craving or dining preference, Aurora Street, dubbed by locals as Restaurant Row, has got you covered.
Every cuisine and atmosphere is represented, from takeout to upscale tapas. And the variety is eclectic!
At one end where Aurora intersects the east end of the Commons, Viva Taqueria offers freshly prepared and inexpensive Mexican food while at the other end of the street, Asia Cuisine boasts an expansive menu featuring Japanese, Chinese, and Korean comfort dishes, while Sahara offers fresh, healthy Mediterranean cuisine.
Ultra-modern hangouts like Luna Inspired Street Food allow you to order your worldly favorite street food right from your phone and online. If your meal isn’t complete without a sophisticated beverage concocted by highly skilled mixologists, then you simply must dine at Simeons, Monks on The Commons or Mercato.
On a balmy Spring or Summer day, you’ll find half the town dining al fresco out in front of the restaurants, or in a backyard garden like the one at Just a Taste.
Aurora Street is also home to downtown Ithaca’s oldest retailer, Bool’s Flower Shop (est. 1894), and the community’s longest operating comic book store, Comics for Collectors. Several other specialty shops are also located on this street.
Annual Events & Attractions on Restaurant Row
Chowder Cook-Off in December
Held in early December on the Saturday of Ice Fest, Downtown Ithaca’s Chowder Cook-Off is the perfect opportunity to sample some of the tastiest chowders in Finger Lakes region.
Local restaurants, including many of those found on Restaurant Row, and regional establishments create a variety of flavorful chowders and guests have the opportunity to taste chowders at booths in front of the participating restaurants, then vote for their favorites.
Popular past chowders have included: Smoked Haddock & Bacon Chowder, Vegan Lentil Black Bean Chowder, Meaty Butternut Squash Chowder, Lobster Bisque, Clam Chowder, Under the Sea Lobster Chowder, and more!
Chili Cook-Off presented by Tompkins Trust Company – held in February
Just a couple months after the Chowder Cook-Off, and in the dead of winter, thousands brave the cold to sample over 40 different gourmet chilis prepared by local restaurants including many on Aurora St.
Guests are encouraged to try as many chilis possible and vote on their favorites. Other fun activities including a beard & mustache competition and a family fun zone.