My summer season in the Catskills has come to an end. We spent most of it in the mid-Hudson area, first near Saugerties and then near Kingston. And I didn’t do any hiking whatsoever. It was so hot and there were so many mosquitoes outside, and did I mention the possibility of ticks? How do people find this type of thing enjoyable? I did occasionally pick some fruits and vegetables, and I did eat out a decent amount. I also did go out to the Ashokan trail once, walked far enough to see the cute sheep on the right and the lake on the left, and then I had had enough.
I learned that the mid-Hudson area is home to some pretty good restaurants that would definitely be competitive to the ones in New York City. If you’re ever in Kingston or Woodstock and are wondering where to eat, here’s a list of some recommended restaurants. I checked off all the greatest hits in the area and these are the results. And yes, these are all child friendly, you don’t have to get dressed up, and they’re probably a 10-15 minute drive from wherever you are.
Kingston Restaurants Kingston is a pretty big city and seems to have three main sections – the old timey Stockade area, the Midtown area (which looks more like a modern day downtown) and the Rondout section near the water.
243 Fair St, Kingston, NY 12401
I love, love Lola Pizza. I probably ate here about three or four times this summer. It has an upscale Brooklyn vibe, the staff is friendly, and the wood fire oven pizzas are excellent. If you’re into pies from Motorino or Roberta’s, you’ll like the ones from Lola. On a nice summer day, nothing beats eating outside on their patio with a craft cocktail in one hand and a slice of pie in another. My ideal order–calamari and stracciatella (basically a creamy, dreamy cheese dish served with a side of bread that tastes like excellent pizza crust), the margherita and the Tiger Paw pizza pies, and the soft serve for dessert.
Located in the Hotel Kinsley
301 Wall St, Kingston NY 12401
Restaurant Kinsley is definitely the “nice” restaurant in town. When you want to go out for date night in Kingston, this is the place to do it. The interior reminds me a lot of the space at Legacy Records in New York City, in that it feels very modern and hip, but it keeps the old antique embellishments of the past in place. The cocktail menu is excellent and the food reflects farm-to-table fare that will appeal to a broad range of palates.
Kingston Bread + Bar
43 N Front St, Kingston, NY 12401
I am also obsessed with Kingston Bread + Bar. The pastries here are out of control good. I’m always so sad by their hours in the off season because they’re only open on the weekend and from 9-3 pm. But the summer hours are thankfully a bit more extended. I love their almond croissant and their miso tahini cookie. Their regular chocolate chip cookie is excellent as well. I ordered something called a bostock one time and was impressed. The only thing I didn’t like was this berry crumble I ordered one time, and that’s always a mistake ordering to-go at a bakery, they’re only good warm straight out of the oven.
291 Wall St, Kingston, NY 12401
Sweet Maresa’s pretty, girly exterior beckons you inside to a magical room full of macarons, cookies and cakes. They should throw tea parties in here, it would be great for that kind of thing. I loved how whimsical and pastel-y everything was. I stepped inside, looked at the glass displays and wanted to try everything. I did get the s’mores chocolate chip cookie, a chocolate-dipped pistachio cookie and some sort of sandwich cookie. Everything was fantastic.
Village Grocery and Refillery
2 Jansen Ave, Kingston, NY 12401
One of my favorite pastimes is walking through beautiful, wonderfully curated food stores. Like walking through Dean and Deluca was one of the highlights of my day. It’s always exciting seeing colorful, eye-catching food products that you can’t buy anywhere else. Village Grocery and Refillery is a specialty store that operates as something of a grocery store / convenience store / food cafe. There’s some produce from local farms, interesting pantry items, grain dispensers, a coffee bar, enticing (very enticing) pastries, a small selection of cooked to-go dishes and even personal care products. I tried their rice bowl, which comes with nori, housemade kimchi and veggies, and it was healthy and delicious. However, I was an even bigger fan of their lemon pistachio muffin–so good.
Half Moon Rondout Cafe Coffee and Doughnuts
36 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401
Half Moon makes really excellent, old school cake doughnuts. They are not about making fancy matcha, PBJ or tres leches doughnuts–which I love, by the way–but there’s also a place for just a more traditional doughnut. Half Moon makes all their doughnuts to order, so you’re always going to eat something fresh and delicious. They offer cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar and plain. My favorite is the cinnamon sugar, and it goes so well with a cup of black coffee. They also make other things besides doughnut. Next time I’ll try their chocolate babka and crumb cake.
39 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401
I first came across Rosie General when I was having a drink at nearby wine bar Brunette. The delicious baked goods in the rustic dining room was what initially drew me in. I learned later, however, that Rosie General has a very interesting backstory. The owner Anthony Sasso used to work at Bar Mono as a head chef and then headed west for a stint at Gjusta, one of my favorite LA spots, before going back east to open Rosie General. There’s more to Rosie General than just baked goods–it also operates as a deli, a butcher shop and a small provisions store. I can’t speak to the other sections just yet, since I only had time to buy the sweets, but the baked goods are fire. Loved the orange poppyseed cake and the pistachio cookies. It seems like this place is still new and under the radar, but I expect that to change soon. And if the plan is to turn this into an upstate Gjusta, I am all for it.
Brunette Wine Bar
33 Broadway, Kingston NY 12401
Brunette is the girliest wine bar I have ever been to, and I so love that. It has that updated Victorian era decor that I’ve seen in Brooklyn and San Francisco. I read the menu, and it described some sparkling rose as like a pretty pink dress or something along the lines. I tried the wine in question and it was so accurate. Sometimes wine bars are pretentious and try to be too edgy with their funky natural wine selections, but the ones at Brunette are interesting but accessible. They also offer light fare like potato chips with roe and a cheese plate. People also bring their dogs inside here. It’s great.
*Worth a small detour drive from Kingston*
4 Bruceville Rd, High Falls, NY 12440
Ollie’s is technically not in Kingston, it’s about a 15-20 minute drive, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Basically in the middle of the nowhere they built this awesome pizza restaurant. You drive through a sleepy town and then you see a bunch of picnic tables and string lights in an outdoor patio area. People bring their dogs and kids to Ollie’s, giving this place a very Brooklyn-esque vibe. The servers looked like college kids on their summer break, and it brought me back to my Cornell days–clam diggers, t shirts and Oakleys. Wood fire oven pizzas are obviously the draw here, especially the margherita pizza, but Ollie’s also makes excellent vegetable and other side dishes. I couldn’t believe how delicious my broccoli rabe was, and we all know broccoli rabe is usually a little bitter and sad. Ollie’s is popular and doesn’t take reservations, so you’re guaranteed some sort of a wait during peak times, but it passes by quickly because you can order drinks and sit on the benches until your table is ready.
3411 US-209, Stone Ridge, NY 12484
There are an abundance of farms in the Hudson Valley, and there are famous weekend farmer’s market in all the major towns. But I really like Davenport Farms. It has a small but well edited selection of not just produce but pantry staples. They also make great coffee and excellent apple cider donuts. And did I mention they are open daily? Even during high season, a lot of Catskills places will only open on the weekend, but not Davenport Farms. It’s closed Mondays, but otherwise, you can get your coffee and donuts at 7:30 am. Yum.
Woodstock is about a 15 minute drive from Kingston, so it’s easy to add restaurants here to your daily itinerary. Just a sidenote, but I was expecting Woodstock to be a hippie dippie town for obvious reasons. I did see the requisite tie-dye gift shops in the downtown shops, but in general, I was surprised by how fancy and pricey some of the restaurants in Woodstock were. My two Woodstock favorites are Cucina and Sylvia. Both excellent but not by any means cheap. At Sylvia, for instance, the average entree is about $30+. These hippies have money.
109 Mill Hill Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498
If you want excellent Italian food in a beautiful upscale country house setting, then Cucina is exactly the place for you. The pastas are so good and comforting, never veering too far from a winning formula of red sauce and cheese. My personal favorite is the fusilli bolognese–the dollop of ricotta on top is perfection. If a seafood or scallop risotto is available, make sure to order that. Cucina’s seafood risotto was the best thing I’ve had there. The side dishes and appetizers are a mix of Italian classics like calamari and more greenmarket fare like watermelon salad. They’re all really good. And what I appreciate is that Cucina keeps the dinner strong until the end. They make EXCELLENT dessert. Save room for it. Especially if it is a peach crumble.
42 Mill Hill Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498
Silvia is a very elegant farm-to-table restaurant, like an ABC Kitchen or Union Square Kitchen. Their menu is actually more international in flavor than what you’d find in a Catskills restaurant, which I appreciate. They’re not afraid to use Middle Eastern or Asian seasonings in their dishes. What impressed me the most about Silvia was how good their steelhead trout was. The Hudson Valley is known for trout, but every time I’ve tried a trout dish I was never that impressed by it. The one in Silvia is delicious and makes me want to eat trout. They also made a lovely kale salad and a really good pita and cheese plate. Ina Garten is a Hamptons person, but if she were in the Catskills, she’d probably come here.
I normally found myself eating out in Kingston or Woodstock when I was staying in Saugerties. But Saugerties also has some solid spots in their downtown area, especially this awesome ice cream place called Alleyway Ice Cream. It was so much better than the overpriced ice cream shop in Woodstock (will not name names).
Alleyway Ice Cream
135 Partition St, Saugerties, NY 12477
The ice cream at Alleyway Ice Cream reminds me of the whimsical flavors at Ample Hills, but the ice cream tastes creamier and richer. I was so excited to see some really unique flavor combinations that you can’t find in other ice cream shops, like ube Heath Bar crunch and Thai iced tea cookies. Everything sounded so good that it was hard to narrow it down to one or two flavors. I guess you should just come here everyday to test it all out.
Love Bites Cafe
69 Partition St, Saugerties, NY 12477
Love Bites Cafe has more of the old school Catskills vibe to it. It’s a little more down to earth and granola in feel, and there are a lot of veggie friendly options on the menu. Again, it reminds me of the places in Ithaca! If you want a solid American style brunch or lunch, like plate of eggs or a soup and sandwich, Love Bites Cafe is a great place to go.