Just returned from an annual weekend in Utica, NY and found some gems to make this trip better than the usual. We stayed at the Hotel Utica, a beautifully restored old building with a lovely lobby, spacious, well appointed rooms and a restaurant worth visiting. We had dinner in the restaurant at the hotel one evening and found the selection and service to be excellent, and the food quite good.
Our other dinner was at an inn in Leonardsville (about 20 miles south of Utica) called the Horned Dorset. Charming setting, live guitar music throughout dinner and excellent food and service.
Then, thanks to a Chowhound trip, our final stop in the area was at Chet's Diner in Herkimer (right off the Thruway) for breakfast. It's an old-style diner with great breakfast food at very reasonable prices. Well worth the short detour.