Visited my daughter at Colgate last weekend and sampled some of the restaurants recommended on this board. Here is my feedback:
* Scotch 'n Sirloin (Syracuse; 315.446.1771):
Nice rustic steakhouse. NY Strip (recommended by waiter) was excellent. Filet Mignon was OK (but at this restaurant, go for the NY Strip). Onion soup was the basic type - very good if you are in the mood for it. Unlimited salad bar is small but fresh and nice. Appple pie and French Silk pie are solid. Service was good.
* Horned Dorset Inn (Leonardsville; on Route 8, 4 miles south of Route 20; 30 minutes east of Hamilton 315.855.7898):
This is a place to go for special events, when you are not in a rush, and maybe to combine with a stay at the small inn (which we did not.
Nice quiet setting; menu changes often; ingredients seem as fresh as they come; plate presentation is a major part of the dinner. A bit annoying/strange was the fact that there is no written menu - the waiter recite it to you and prices are not mentioned (until you get the bill). This year they also have a 3 course fixed price meal for $25. Otherwise, expect to pay about $90 for two excluding wine and tip. Some of the food we had (remember it's a changing menu): Rabbit in cabbage appetizer was good, but the rabbit taste was a bit lost in the cabbage. Salads were nice and fresh. Duck main dish was excellent, including the side vegetables and grilled mashed potatos. Chicken with Feta was very good (but not as special as the duck). Deserts were very good.
* Hamilton Inn (Hamilton 315.824.1245)
Probably the best place in Hamilton for a special dinner (if you dont want to drive out of town). Nice atmosphere, cozy fireplace, reasonable prices. We had excellent crab soup, nice warm cheese and roasted garlic, tasty duck. Deserts were good too. Expect to pay about $70 for two excluding wine and tip. Do not confuse Colgate Inn with Hamilton Inn go for Hamilton Inn.
* Parkside Deli/Café (Hamilton 315.824.3015)
Nice simple place for breakfast and lunch in the center of town. A bit eclectic yuppi/hippy feel. Not a destination place, but wonderful for a quick satisfying meal at a reasonable price.
* Didn't make it to two places in Cazenovia:
(a) The Brewster Inn
(b) Brae Loch Inn
Both were recommended by multiple sources
Many Thanks to Chowhounder Owen O'Neill for his useful recommendations!