The Best Restaurants In Kingston, New YorkDon’t let the town’s confusing roundabouts dissuade you from having an excellent meal next to the Hudson River.
Kingston was once New York State’s first-ever capitol, but it’s now better known as a great place to antique near the river without the crowds in Hudson, or a pit stop for a coffee and some river views before driving into the Catskills.
Kingston has lots of kitschy stores where you can stock up on everything from knitting supplies to luxury garden tools, but there are also excellent restaurants that you’ll want to plan your entire weekend getaway around. These are the best places in town to stock up on picnic essentials and pastrami sandwiches, or relax after a sunset sailing tour with some wood-fired pizza and housemade pasta.
To say there’s a lot going on at Sonder would be a massive understatement. The dark dining room walls occasionally glow with light from disco balls and taper candles, and an ornate mirror with LED strip lights in the bathroom gives you a full-body view of yourself on the can. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but you’ll want to stick around for the food.
The jammy pickled eggs topped with fried shallots are the perfect little bite, and you’ll find yourself scheduling another trip Upstate just to order the vinegar-marinated roast chicken again. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but if you’re visiting during tomato season and don’t order the tomato vin with garlic cream cheese, you may want to reconsider your life choices.
Does the world (and New York) need another wood-fired pizza and natural wine spot? Probably not, but we’re still glad that Lola exists. While pies topped with robiola and black fig drizzle are the main attraction, try at least one of the non-pizza options, like their housemade rigatoni alla vodka or calamari with tiny spears of fried zucchini. Get a little bit of everything, plus a bottle of barbera to celebrate thrifting the perfect vintage valise to store your throw blankets. For dessert, go for the affogato. Lola’s is made with soft serve instead of hard ice cream, in honor of New York state’s affinity for gravity-defying swirls.
This cafe in Kingston will make you consider moving Upstate just so you can live out your Hudson Valley meet-cute fantasies with a barista that cuts their own firewood. The coffee is excellent here, and their cozy dining room two doors down is a great place to park yourself with a laptop and a breakfast plate full of steelhead trout, folded eggs, sourdough toast, and crème fraîche. It’s also good for lunch, which is when you should get whatever seasonal salad or bowl is available. If you’re not hungry enough for a full meal, head straight to the pastry case filled with tomato focaccia loaves and perfectly laminated croissants.
This spot looks like a Pixar animator’s rendition of an antique shop-slash-general store, right down to the flawless natural light. And while the line at Rosie General can wind all the way around the block on weekends, the wait is worth it for the baked goods and excellent sandwiches.
The bread is some of the best in the area, and you’ll find lots of deli staples like bright, snappy giardiniera and miso potato salad. They’re best known for their thick-cut, grilled pastrami sandwiches, but the smoked trout with dill and mayo on sourdough tastes like it just jumped out of the river (in a good way), and represents everything we love about the Hudson Valley.
The smashburgers at this sleek vegetarian drive-thru are so good you’ll forget that no cows were harmed in their making. The oversized patties are juicy, griddle-crisped, and loaded onto a potato bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and a “special sauce.” They usually have two vegan milkshakes, and one is always a brownie batter variety that tastes exactly like sneaking a lick of boxed Ghirardelli mix off of a spatula. Get an order of crisp, spicy hot fries to round out your meal. You can add cheese to your burger or cheese sauce to your fries, just note that they use real cheese, not the plant-based kind.
Calcutta Kitchens is a grab-and-go lunch spot that also sells Indian grocery items and housemade simmer sauces. There’s usually a plant-based and a meat-based tiffin option, as well as chai and classic snacks like samosa chaat. Dishes include saag lamb with basmati rice, and crisp potato patties topped with pea curry served with tamarind chutney. Calcutta works great when you want a low-effort (and budget-friendly) meal to eat at your AirBnb, or you can grab a table inside and admire the window-side displays of hand-painted tumblers and spice jars as you sip on a cold lemonade.
Where To Eat & Hike On Your Catskills Road Trip
Brunette is a ridiculously charming wine bar—there’s floral wallpaper, a white marble bar, vintage stemware likely sourced from Kingston’s many antique shops, and a pervasive coquette core vibe. While they have limited tables inside, you can always opt for a table out on the side. Either way, make use of the by-the-glass wine list, and order snacks like shrimp rolls, hot dogs, and trout roe nachos.
This is the best place for cocktails in Kingston. Stockade Tavern has an old-timey feel to it, with a fireplace, tin ceilings, and plenty of candles. Outside there's also a patio and cocktail truck serving on-tap drinks. On some nights, Stockade hosts food pop-ups and DJ sets where you might find yourself sipping cocktails next to the cute server from last night’s dinner and a mutual acquaintance you both know from the city.
Mara’s On The Way is a little drive-thru spot on the road that takes you from Kingston into the Catskill Mountains. They open at 6am, early enough for a pre-hike breakfast, and make a wonderfully gooey bacon, egg, and cheese with a crispy hash brown. If you want to stretch your legs after a particularly long road trip, you can pull over and have your meal at their picnic table, but most people eat their sandwiches while driving to their hiking or antiquing destinations.
Hickory BBQ’s roadside spot on Route 28 just outside of Kingston proper makes some of the best smoked meats in the area. Sit at a picnic-style table and inhale a rack of St. Louis-style spare ribs, hush puppies with maple butter, macaroni salad, and a Witte beer from Cooperstown, NY. The restaurant is pretty casual, but you could hypothetically have them cater your wedding reception if you simply must have some brisket on your special day.