These are our “Top Ten” favorite restaurants in the Hudson Valley. The latest addition to the list is the Mill House Brewing Co. in Poughkeepsie. They all serve great home style cooking using local farm products, with a decent bottle of wine (or a local craft beer), in a comfortable and casual atmosphere. No haute cuisine here, just basic good cooking.
Ole Savannah is a nice addition to the Rondout dining landscape, courtesy of the same folks that brought you Mariner’s Harbor and Frank Guido’s Little Italy in uptown Kingston near UPAC. This restaurant is arguably the best of the group, and certainly the one with the nicest views. Our Wednesday night dining crew stopped in a few times for dinner…..
A few weeks ago we were enjoying a conversation at dinner with a couple from the Culinary Institute. They eat out as frequently as we do, and I was most interested in how they were going to respond to the question on the table: who’s doing it right? Who was focusing on local produce? Who was working best with local farmers? And of course, who was doing the best job with all of this stuff in the kitchen. I also asked what their favorite restaurants were. Crew Restaurant, on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie, was their immediate response.
Mercato is a tiny local place, with a cozy wine bar that seats a grand total of eight patrons, and a main dining room that seats a few dozen more. An adjacent dining room is called The Pasta Shop. When they first opened it was ……a pasta shop!….., but more seats were much in need and the retail shop space was sacrificed to make room for more diners. There is a reason that more space was needed. The food here is fantastic.
John Lekic’s Le Express Bistro in Wappingers is the most recent addition to our “Hudson Valley Top 10 Favorite Restaurants.” For some, “farm to table” is a marketing slogan. For John Lekic, it is his life’s mission – to promote the culinary bounty of the Hudson Valley. He is the valley’s farmers’ greatest cheerleader, and his megaphone is his restaurant.
Montgomery Place Orchards gets my vote for the prettiest farm stand in the Hudson Valley. Situated on Route 9G just north of the village of Rhinebeck, this picturesque market becomes a destination each summer for shoppers searching for local fresh produce and dairy products from area creameries. My absolute favorite time to visit is in autumn, when the shelves are adorned with dozens of traditional and heirloom varieties of freshly picked apples, and piles of colorful gourds and winter squash and pumpkins galore.
You will find the Mountain Brauhaus nestled near the base of the Shawangunk ridge, on the road that climbs through a series of switchbacks before reaching Minnewaska. German immigrants settled the area long ago, drawn here for the same reasons as the thousands of climbers and tourists who visit the area each year. The landscape is as close to Bavaria as you will find without getting on a plane to Germany. The region’s most popular restaurant fits right into that setting, serving as a meeting house for area residents and a beacon for the rest of us drawn to the light of the kitchen’s traditional Brauhaus fare.
In our house, Monday is pizza night, and in our house pizza means Cosimo’s. Monday night we can be found at the corner of the bar, nestled in amongst the Monday night regulars from Marist College and the Culinary, with a smattering of legal types and business people. More often that not, everyone at the bar will know each other. If they don’t, they soon will, because our hostess and barkeeper, Joanne Foley a/k/a JoJo, will make sure that happens. After many years of this routine, we are there as much for the company as the pizza, but we certainly started going to Cosimo’s because of the pizza.
It has been two years since the Baxter family teamed with the Crocco brothers to launch what is now, by all appearances, one of the most popular new restaurants in the Hudson Valley. The team created a wonderful dining and entertainment destination, combining a casual but elegant space, beautifully renovating the building that has been home to multiple eateries since the original Mill House opened back in 1977. We have been back numerous times since the most recent reincarnation, often before taking in a show at the nearby Bardavon Opera House.
Blu Pointe on the Newburgh Waterfront is the newest addition to the Bonura family’s restaurant empire, and it is arguably the best.