photo credit: Read McKendree
The Best Places To Eat & Drink In The Hudson Valley
Our favorite spots in the upper Hudson Valley, from Cold Spring to Hudson and everywhere in between.
The Hudson Valley is always a good option when you’re looking to get out of NYC for a little while. It’s easy to get to by car or train, there’s a whole lot of nature, and “artisanal” applies to more than just $15 cocktails. Before you start researching hiking trails and Airbnbs, let’s address the most important thing first: where you should eat. Here’s a guide to our favorite spots in most of the major towns in the upper part of the region, from Cold Spring to Hudson.
We’ve included some Catskills areas in this guide too, but if you’re looking for more great ideas, check out our guide here.
Cafe Mutton feels like it was made for a rapidly-disappearing version of Hudson—one that remains eccentric, affordable, and connected to the natural world around it. Things like sausages and head cheese are made in house, with the kind of care and attention you couldn’t manage in New York City without charging at least three times as much. The country pâté, served in sandwich form, is the kind of dish to go out of your way to eat again and again. The atmosphere is pretty casual, and it’s best to check the restaurant’s Instagram for the most up-to-date hours and menu, since both seem to change often. Expect crowds and a constant wait on weekends, while weekdays are usually a bit more relaxed.
We recently took a last-minute train to Hudson for a weekend trip and had three of our five meals at Kitty’s, a daytime cafe and restaurant located right across from the train station. Kitty’s sells some very good rotisserie chicken plates, pastries, and one of the better breakfast sandwiches we’ve had in recent memory. Between the blanket of mild muenster cheese, smoky bacon, and a bun that’s been blasted with sesame seeds, this thing should have its own Hudson tourism ad on Amtrak. There’s a free option to add housemade, chunky sauerkraut, which only makes the BEC flavors pop even more. More egg dishes should come with sauerkraut. Make Kitty’s a priority while you’re in Hudson (especially before noon when they stop selling the breakfast sandwich).
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From the outside, this pink little spot with a neon sign in the window looks like a dive bar. But step inside and you’ll feel like you’ve arrived at a tropical artist retreat—with food better than anything you would ever find at an artist retreat. You'll see things like sweet plantains with cilantro yogurt, a fermented lentil dosa, whole fried fish topped with herbs and ginger vinaigrette, and vegan tamales. Everything we try at Lil’ Deb’s is wildly delicious. They’re also serious about wine here, and by serious, we mean they have a huge list of interesting options described with words like “hiding from the chaperone, gucci loafer, nilla wafer, stained glass, Sunday gossip.” We wish we lived in Hudson just so we could be regulars here.
photo credit: JNSilva
The Rivertown Lodge is basically the real-life amalgamation of every well-styled photo of upstate New York on the internet. There’s blonde wood everywhere, mid-century furniture and walls covered in books, and they use and sell the kind of ceramic mugs you decide you want to buy for your apartment, until you realize they’re $45 each. They serve one of our favorite Hudson breakfasts on the weekends, with dishes like chicken hash, eggs and salsa verde, and a maple ricotta Dutch baby. If you stop by for dinner, expect dishes like grilled pork ribs with umeboshi glaze or wild blue fish with grilled cucumber are very good, and a lot less than $45. Remember this place whether you’re staying in the hotel or not.
Located in the back of one of the 3,000 antique stores on the main street in Hudson is Backbar, a cocktail bar that also serves Malaysian small plates. Order some smashed cucumber salad, shrimp shumai, and natural wine, and then find a table in the giant string-light-covered backyard. It's a funky, cool spot where you might even accidentally attend your first "bring your own backgammon" night (check their Instagram for more events).
Talbott & Arding
We highly recommend using Talbott & Arding as a pit stop before heading out into nature for the day. This fancy market in the middle of town has everything you need (and definitely don’t need) for a picnic. And if browsing the vast array of cheeses, cured meats, and bread makes you hungry, Talbott & Arding’s prepared food counter opens at 11am and serves a daily changing menu of salads, sandwiches, and focaccia pizzas.
Hudson Brewing Company
In case you’re going upstate with someone whose ears perk up when they hear about mosaic hops and New England IPAs, take that person to Hudson’s best (and only) brewery. Most of Hudson Brewing Company’s beers are named after historic tidbits about the area, like the Shady Sadie, an homage to a legendary female Hudson River robber pirate named Sadie the Goat. Our favorite approach here is to order a flight, which costs around $15. If you have your dog with you, know that they are more than welcome at the brewery.
photo credit: @angrybaker
Wm. Farmer & Sons
Wm. Farmer & Sons is connected to a hotel, and feels like a much nicer-than-average hotel restaurant. The space is attractive, the service is great, and the food all looks familiar, but includes tweaks like serving roasted oyster mushrooms with béarnaise sauce, or topping a fantastic burger with butter-braised onions and tomato relish. Reservations are encouraged.
Grazin’ is a good, casual option for lunch or weekend brunch in Hudson. They’re known for their burgers and American food, which are available daily inside the diner’s old-school space. If you’d rather get your order to go, you could take your grass-fed beef or salad with goat cheese across the street to 7th Street Park. They also have a tasting room and distillery which showcases their gin, vodka, and whiskey. If Grazin’ sounds familiar, you might have seen them at their Saturday stall at the NYC Union Square Greenmarket.
Halfway through a meal at Bartlett House, we felt the need to ask our server if there happened to be a hotel hiding on the premises. We did not want to leave. Technically this place is in Ghent, about a 15-minute drive outside of Hudson, but you should make the drive. In an old brick building with a striped-awning-covered front porch, Bartlett House is the kind of exceedingly pleasant place you picture when you start daydreaming about a weekend escape on Monday morning. They serve a big menu of French-ish farm-fresh classics, and we haven’t had a disappointing thing here. If you don’t have a car to drive to Bartlett House, the Maker Hotel on Warren Street sells bread and pastries from Bartlett House in their cafe during the day.
Pine Plains isn’t exactly the busiest hamlet in the Hudson Valley, but if you find yourself passing through on the way to Red Hook or Saugerties, make some time to stop at Stissing House. Run by the chef of King in NYC, the history of the revived restaurant includes a tavern and inn for weary travelers, and it was once a biker bar. There are a variety of fireplaces in the dining rooms, but the scene stealer is the open-air kitchen with its two wood-burning ovens and large bar. The menu isn’t extensive and the prices can run expensive—think strip steak for $65 and chicken with a few potatoes for $33—but the ingredients are top-notch and it’s a really good special occasion spot. The coconut cake is delicious and worth seeking out alone.
Hudson Hil’s is the restaurant that will convince you to buy property in Cold Spring. This is a daytime cafe that serves super fresh, locally-sourced food and employs some of the nicest people we’ve met in restaurants. An example of a phrase that was said to us while eating here: “I’m going to warm up your pie for you, is that OK?” It is always OK. And we will always come back to Hudson Hil’s. Everything we’ve tried here for both breakfast and lunch is outstanding, but the biscuits and country sausage gravy should not be missed.
Moo Moo's Creamery
There’s one main street in Cold Spring—filled with charming cafes, antique shops, and design stores that look like they belong in a much bigger city—and after you walk the entirety of it, you’re going to want some ice cream. Get it at Moo Moo’s, then walk across the street to the park on the river for an extremely scenic ice cream experience. If you happen to be the planning type, you can check out their current flavors on their Instagram.
Riverview Restaurant's second-floor wraparound porch overlooks the Hudson River, and this is absolutely where you should try to sit when you make your visit. It's been a Cold Spring landmark since 1941 and an ideal spot to eat pizza with gravlax or maple-brined pork chops at lunch or dinner.
Cold Spring Depot
Eating lunch at Cold Spring Depot, which is right next to some very old train tracks, will make you feel like you’re living in a different century. The American food is enjoyable and the beer list is great, but mostly, there’s something thrilling about eating a burger that’s similar to a Big Mac while a train goes by right in front of you. And if you’ve just come up to Cold Spring for the day (and you should, it’s only an hour and a half train ride from NYC), this place is just a few steps from the station.
For some semblance of a romantic night out, Brasserie Le Bouchon is your best option in Cold Spring for dishes like steak au poivre and onion soup. It sort of feels like the love child of a Little Italy spot and a French bistro, and the very nice outdoor patio has a large covered portion in case rain threatens to derail date night.
Gigi Hudson Valley
Gigi is all about Mediterranean dishes made with as many locally-produced items as possible. The “skizza” flatbread pizzas are a favorite, especially the garden option with peppers, zucchini, and pesto that really showcases nearby farms. The restaurant has a ton of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes, and Rhinebeck also makes for a great town to explore—check out the Beekman Arms hotel or tour the regal Wilderstein Queen Anne-Mansion.
Cinnamon Indian Cuisine
Unlike the staggering amount of Indian restaurants in NYC, they’re more spread out in the Hudson Valley. Cinnamon is your best option in Rhinebeck for dishes like saag paneer, lamb biryani, and goat cheese naan. We’ve visited when they had a buffet with a ton of vegetarian and meat offerings, but there’s still plenty to choose from off their big menu. Plus, they make it really easy to customize any dish to your preferred spice level—and show how hot certain plates are with cute little chili peppers. They've got individual tables, but there is a large one meant for communal meals, so it's great for bigger groups or large parties.
With a giant still-life painting hanging in the dining room, staff in suspenders, and a space inside a brownstone, The Amsterdam feels like a rich Dutch person’s library. But you can avoid that initial stuffiness in two ways: hang out at the bar, or head to the giant backyard filled with Adirondack chairs and firepits. Both are great places to have a quality cocktail and some very good, seasonal American (non-Dutch) food.
Terrapin Restaurant, Bistro & Bar
Terrapin has a lot going for it. The restaurant is located inside a giant old church, and the menu ranges from tapas to quesadillas to pastas. There's also an attractive bar and an airy dining room that work well for anything from a special occasion to a big group dinner.
Market Street is a modern Italian spot that serves some of the best pizza in the Hudson Valley. The pastas here are also great, and if they’re offering a risotto special, that needs to be part of your order. They also have a cute little porch area where you and a date can sit side by side and share a plate of chicken parm.
Rhinebeck Bagels & Cafe
Whether you want a bagel with cream cheese or a sub with roast pork, pepperoncini, and au jus dip, this is where you should go when you need food immediately in the morning. They're always doing worthwhile and out-there specials too, like a BEC on a croissant with Snickers bar seasoning-dusted bacon.
If the idea of the L’Artusi of upstate New York is exciting to you, then you should make it a priority to go to Cucina. If it’s not exciting to you, then we’re curious and a little nervous to hear what is exciting to you. From the seasonal Italian food to the upscale but comfortable space inside a converted farmhouse, to the wraparound porch, this place is easily one of the best dinners you can have in the Hudson Valley.
Tinker Taco Lab
There’s no bad place to drink a good margarita. And at Tinker Taco Lab, you can have one next to a stream while you eat barbacoa tacos on homemade tortillas. This counter-service Mexican spot has nice outdoor seating, and is also connected to Peace, Love & Cupcakes if you want to get something sweet on your way out.
Oriole 9 has an artsy feel, with inspirational quotes written on chalkboards, and plenty of vegan options. In other words, it’s not the spot to bring someone who you’re trying to convince that Woodstock isn’t all tie-dye and Birkenstocks. But it is the place to bring someone who wants a great burger, bucket of fried chicken, or huevos rancheros.
You might buy this brand of bread at the Union Square Greenmarket, but it’s possible you don’t know they have brick-and-mortar cafes sprinkled around upstate. The location in Woodstock is small, but a good stop for coffee and a pastry. Their other locations are in Kingston and Rhinebeck if one of them suits your weekend getaway better.
The Mud Club
The Mud Club is the perfect morning stop for coffee, pastries, and bagels. It’s basically in a gorgeous Hudson Valley backyard, with a bunch of benches and giant rocks where you can spend a couple of hours planning an afternoon hike or a move to Woodstock. If you swing by at night from Friday to Sunday you can order a sourdough pizza, and if you’re in Beacon you should check out their second location.
Sweet Sue's Phoenicia
This homey cafe that recently got a revamp makes great flapjacks the size of a frisbee for breakfast or lunch. Waffle lovers will approve as well, with the yeasty Belgian variety that’s crispy on the outside and dusted with pearlized sugar. This is the place to go before or after some time exploring the quiet region that includes several nearby towns like Woodstock and Saugerties.
Peekamoose is an even better restaurant than it is a word, and that’s saying a lot. We’d put it alongside Cucina as a must-visit for dinner if you’re spending the weekend around Woodstock or Phoenicia. The space feels like a giant ski lodge, with two options for seating: make a reservation for the more formal dining room, or head to the deck where there's plenty of first-come, first-served outdoor seating. As for the food: the menu seems to have been created to make you want to order everything—think wood-grilled octopus and homemade gnudi.
As much as you’ll feel like you’re walking into Portlandia Goes To Woodstock, it’s pretty much impossible not to love Phoenicia Diner. The menu is full of stuff you want to eat, including all-day breakfast with pancakes that need to be part of any order. The inside has a quintessential diner feel, but if you arrive to a long wait on the weekend, don't hesitate to order at the food truck and dine at the picnic tables. Your corned beef skillet or Catskills po'boy will be just as delicious.
Despite the name, Woodstock Brewing is technically located in Phoenicia. The indoor space has huge windows and a tap list that includes tasting notes and varieties of hops, while outside, there are tons of tables and a full food menu, including a phenomenal burger.
photo credit: EJ
The Prospect Restaurant
The people behind the Scribner’s Lodge used a formula discovered by many Williamsburg ex-pats before them: buy an old, run-down Hudson Valley building, make it look like Brooklyn, and the people will come. Scribner’s is a beautiful space, with impressive views of Hunter Mountain on display from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the hotel’s restaurant, Prospect. The smoked trout caesar, lamb burger with beet yogurt, and cocktails are all delicious, as are all of the desserts.
If we lived in Saugerties, the people working at Miss Lucy’s would probably know our first names, our dogs’ middle names, and the fact that we’re not at all ashamed of the fact that we like dipping our fries in mayo. You can’t go wrong with anything on the comfort food-leaning American menu, but you should give a little extra consideration to the turkey confit, andouille, and shrimp jambalaya with cornbread. And whenever you come, try their Bloody Mary.
Olsen & Company
This studio-sized fancy market stocks local, artisanal grocery items, and serves coffee, sandwiches, salads, and sides. It’s an ideal place to pick up something for the road when passing through Saugerties, or to get supplies for a picnic, but if you need to stretch your legs, they have indoor and outdoor seating, too.
Slices of Saugerties
This is where you should stop if you’re looking to grab a slice on your way through Saugerties. You can place your order ahead of time through their website, and it should include multiple grandma slices and an order of garlic knots.
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 bathroom that's giving us interior design inspiration. While they have limited tables inside, you can always opt for a table out on the side. Either way, make use of the highly curated by-the-glass wine list, and order snacks like shrimp rolls, hot dogs, and trout roe nachos.
Hickory BBQ & Smokehouse
There are plenty of arguments about what “good” barbecue means, and don’t even get us started on the debates about the sides. But 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 wash it down with 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.
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 a patio and a cocktail truck serving on-tap cocktails, and on some nights Stockade hosts food pop-ups and DJ sets.
STONE RIDE & ACCORD
Cherries Ice Cream Bar & Grill
Cherries is nothing more than a tiny deli by the side of the road, but don’t let its size fool you. This is maybe the best “deli” in all of upstate New York. The counter-service space with an attached covered patio has a full menu of things that are exactly what you want to eat in the middle of your road trip (fantastic sandwiches, chicken tenders, and curly fries to name a few). But you’re here for one thing above all else: their soft serve.
Hasbrouck House is an old inn that was taken over and renovated, and it has a nice restaurant called Butterfield. The walls are stone, there’s a fireplace, and the whole spot generally makes you feel like you’re in the upstate New York version of a castle. A low-key castle, but still. The restaurant serves brunch and dinner and you can choose from high-end American dishes like squid ink tagliatelle and black trumpet-crusted venison.
This is one of our favorite places in all of upstate New York. Westwind Orchard is a fully-organic farm and pick-your-own-produce destination—a thing that, as it turns out, is actually pretty rare. Once you finish picking your raspberries, pumpkins, or apples, it’s time to eat, and that’s when you’ll head back to the yard that’s covered with picnic tables and a wood-burning pizza oven. Their margherita pizza is on par with what you’ll find at the best spots in NYC, and they also do creative things with their own produce—like the raspberry and sausage-covered pie. If it wasn’t clear from everything we’ve already said, Westwind Orchard is perfect for kids, but it’s also perfect for pretty much anyone else.
Copperfield’s is a pub where locals come to watch sports and sing along loudly to the songs coming out of the jukebox. There’s a chalkboard at the bar of what’s on tap that day (Guinness all the time, though), and like a true sports bar, there are TVs showing whatever big sports game is on. There are several places besides the bar to sit down for British/Irish favorites such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, or even the Irish nachos loaded with ground beef, cheddar cheese, and beef gravy over waffle fries.
photo credit: Nathan Zucker
City Winery, which has locations in NYC and around the country, opened a massive multi-use project on a 22-acre plot centered around a converted mill. The majority of the wine sold across all City Winery locations is made on site, and they have a tasting room and restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking a river and waterfall.
Towne Crier Cafe
It’s not often you get dinner and a show these days, but that’s exactly what you'll find at Town Crier Cafe. You can sit on a couch or at the bar and enjoy a drink, or have a meal at a table and wait for the entertainment to begin from one of the two stages. While you dig into a grilled cheese with a creamy tomato bisque side, or a hearty burger made with a brisket, short rib, and angus mix, you can listen to the open mic on Thursday nights or even see somebody sort of famous perform. Legend has it that Kevin Bacon has even stopped by.
Kitchen & Coffee
Kitchen & Coffee is entirely gluten-free. Whether or not you care about that, you should still drop in whenever you’re in or around Beacon. They serve toasts, sweet and savory bowls, salads and more, making for a great spot for a casual lunch. They also serve coffee, if you need a pick-me-up on your way back to the city.
Homespun Foods serves the kind of food that won’t derail your hiking plans before you’ve decided on a trail. Order a gouda pecan salad and turkey avocado sandwich and take a seat on their back patio if the weather is nice.
The Roundhouse is the most upscale dinner option in Beacon, and the picturesque space is enough of a reason to stop by on its own. Both the dining room and the big, string-light-covered outdoor patio overlook a waterfall, and they're both great places to eat some deviled eggs, blistered shishito peppers, and housemade pasta on a nice evening.
Bank Square Coffeehouse
This is Beacon’s go-to independent coffee shop. As you might expect of a coffee shop around here, it’s an exceedingly pleasant place with a nice outdoor patio where you should have a latte (or a beer) while you plot your next move around town.
Dogwood is a solid pub with very good cocktails and live music almost every night. They have a great selection of beers from upstate New York, and their very good cocktails include an expert Bloody Mary and the "Dogwood Rita." Eat Church is now serving food at Dogwood six days a week, so expect an Asian-influenced menu Tuesday-Saturday, and Indian dishes on Sundays.