The Catskills may be one of NY’s best-kept secrets. The scenic mountain region is smaller than upstate’s Adirondacks but offers much of the same outdoor appeal including challenging hiking, world-class rock climbing and fly fishing, charming downtowns, and winter skiing and snowboarding. All of this can be reached about two hours from midtown Manhattan.
A huge plus, besides the Catskills’ proximity to NYC? Great food at scenic restaurants that rival the meals you’ll find in New York City. Here are the best restaurants in New York’s Catskills.
New Paltz Restaurants
Home to hippies, rock climbers, and nearly 8,000 college students, New Paltz is a delightful Catskills New York town to explore. The dramatic face of the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge, known as “the Gunks,” provides a feast for the eyes and you’ll find plenty of food options in town, including my personal favorite, the Mountain Brauhaus.
Located between downtown New Paltz and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Gardiner, the Mountain Brauhaus is a delicious bite of Bavaria in the Catskills. It’s so good, hubby and I will often hop in the car on a nothing-much-to-do Saturday afternoon and make the 3-hour round trip from our home, just ‘cause. Friendly servers wearing traditional dirndls and lederhosen bustle sizzling bratwurst plates and steins of beer to tables in the dining room that’s always filled to capacity.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Make a reservation up to two weeks in advance but don’t despair if you arrive and the dining room is full. Outdoor seating is available when weather permits and well-behaved leashed pets are welcome.
If you’re visiting New Paltz to shop its eclectic Main St. stores, Main Course is a beloved farm-to-table restaurant that showcases the bounty of the Hudson Valley. With a commitment to using local and seasonal ingredients, the menu at Main Course features a diverse range of dishes that highlight the flavors of the region.
From creative salads and small plates to hearty entrees like braised short ribs and fresh seafood, visitors can enjoy a delightful culinary experience in a warm and inviting atmosphere. The Main Course has indoor and outdoor seating and also offers takeaway for the perfect picnic.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Looking to make the most of your summer budget while maximizing the fun? With a wide range of deals on local activities, dining, and experiences, Groupon helps you stretch your budget by offering discounted options near you.
In the Catskills for dinner? A Tavola Trattoria offers an authentic Italian dining experience. This charming restaurant serves up traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist. From homemade pasta and wood-fired pizzas to delectable seafood and meat dishes, A Tavola Trattoria aims to transport diners to the heart of Italy. The cozy ambiance and friendly service make it a popular choice for those seeking a taste of Italy in the Catskills.
Want a bite and a beer? You won’t find a lot of atmosphere at the Clemson Bros. Brewery but you’ll find belly-filling burgers and your choice of site-brewed beers to choose from including the playfully named “Blueberry Gunx” and “Brewer’s Mistress.”
Going to a Bethel Woods Concert?
The summer concert season at Bethel Woods draws headliners and huge crowds. But the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival is open year-round and is worth a stop if you’re in the area for its museum dedicated to the Age of Aquarius.
Yasgur’s Farm Cafe is the onsite dining option, open May through October during the museum’s opening hours. It has a beautiful outdoor patio. The menu features a variety of sandwiches and burgers, including The Hendrix Burger with pickled jalapenos, crispy onions, and chipotle aioli.
The standout dining destination in the area is The Homestead, located about 20 minutes south of Bethel Woods at The Eldred Preserve. A multi-million dollar restoration project has transformed this former hunting and fishing preserve into a luxury Catskills resort featuring The Bradstan, a boutique hotel, and The Homestead restaurant.
I’ve eaten here several times and adore it. So many fine-dining restaurants are stuffy and pretentious. Not The Homestead. The staff makes you feel like a welcome guest, cheerfully offering recommendations and encouraging you to linger. The interior’s spectacular, the bar’s cozy, and the grounds feature a babbling brook and landscaping that transitions gracefully into the forested 3,000 acres beyond.
Want something casual? Big Kev’s BBQ is a roadside eatery in nearby White Lake, with great BBQ ribs and delicious cornbread. Enjoy your meal at their picnic tables or bring takeout to show!
Best Catskills Restaurants Near Saugerties
The huge draw to the Saugerties area of the Catskills is Opus 40, the monumental outdoor sculpture park crafted by artist Harvey Fite over the span of nearly four decades. It’s recommended you tour the site early in the day if it’s important to you to avoid the huge crowds that swarm the place on sunny summer weekends.
Saugerties doesn’t have a busy downtown like Woodstock. Its main street is Partition Street and it’s home to one of the area’s top restaurants in the area. Here are great dining options in and near Saugerties:
Miss Lucy’s Kitchen is a farm-to-table restaurant known for its warm and inviting atmosphere. This eatery focuses on using locally sourced ingredients to create delicious and seasonal dishes.
Their menu offers a range of options, from creative salads and hearty sandwiches to mouthwatering entrees like roasted chicken and fresh seafood. Brunch is extremely popular; try the PLT, made with pork belly in place of traditional bacon.
Situated in a historic building on Partition Street, The Red Onion is a cherished Saugerties establishment. This restaurant combines a rustic ambiance with exceptional cuisine, specializing in classic American comfort food with a modern twist.
Patrons can savor dishes like seared scallops, juicy burgers, and flavorful steaks, all made with high-quality ingredients. The menu changes daily so be sure to check the website for the night’s specials. The Red Onion also offers a thoughtfully curated wine list, making it a fantastic choice for a special evening out.
Want fresh bagels for a picnic in Saugerties? Head to Lox of Bagels. . Their bagels are freshly baked and come in a variety of flavors and styles. It has a full range of deli options and burgers too.
The Phoenicia Diner and More
One of the first things I do in a local visitor’s center is quiz the staff about their favorite restaurants. In the Catskills, I wasn’t surprised to hear “The Phoenicia Diner” as the first reply. It usually tops most “Best of the Catskills” lists.
I followed up by asking “Is it really all that?” The vigorously nodded reply sent me straight there – after I climbed to the top of the center’s fire tower to get a panoramic view of the mountains.
And, I’m happy to confirm that its reputation is well-deserved. This iconic eatery combines classic American diner vibes with elevated comfort food using locally sourced ingredients like fresh-caught trout. From fluffy pancakes and farm-fresh omelets to mouthwatering burgers and inventive specials, the Phoenicia Diner offers a delightful dining experience that captures the essence of the Catskills.
SheBuysTravel Tip: They do not take reservations at The Phoenicia Diner, so be prepared to wait. Interior seating is limited, supplemented by a picnic area. Place your outdoor order at the vintage airstream trailer.
The area around Phoenicia is home to many more fantastic restaurants. Here’s a list of some that have been recommended to me by locals and are on my “must-eat” list for future visits:
- Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room: Located in Big Indian, NY, Peekamoose is renowned for its farm-to-table cuisine and artisanal offerings including a charcuterie board featuring a selection of house-cured meats, including prosciutto, salami, and terrines, paired with locally sourced cheeses, pickles, and homemade condiments.
- Brushland Eating House: Located in Bovina Center, NY, Brushland Eating House is a charming restaurant known for its creative and seasonal dishes. Open Thursday-Sunday, the fixed price menu is announced each Tuesday. Of special note are Brushland’s Persian feasts, celebrated on the evening of the monthly full moon.
Dining in “Trout Town USA”
Roscoe’s location on the Delaware River makes it one of the best spots for fly fishing in the US and is the reason the town is proud to call itself “Trout Town USA.”
The best place to fuel up before fishing is the self-declared World Famous Roscoe Diner. If you or someone you know went to college in upstate New York, then they’re familiar with the diner, a must-stop for tuna melts and milkshakes on trips to and from campus. Reliable, cheap, and easy to access from NY Route 17.
If you caught the big one, celebrate at The DeBruce, a renowned restaurant in nearby Livingston Manor. The restaurant focuses on showcasing the flavors of the region, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and a farm-to-table approach. With its elegant and rustic ambiance, attentive service, and creative, seasonally inspired menus, the DeBruce provides a memorable dining experience for guests seeking a sophisticated taste of the Catskills.
Best Restaurants in the Catskills Ski Country
Hunter Mountain and Ski Windham are two of New York’s most popular ski resorts in the Catskills. In summer, these resort areas have a wide range of outdoor fun including mountain biking, scenic sky rides, and hiking. Want water park fun? Head a bit north to East Durham for the Zoom Flume Water Park.
What you’ll also find year-round are great restaurants like the Deer Mountain Inn in Tannersville. The restaurant portion of the inn features large windows that showcase the gorgeous Catskill mountain surroundings. The rustic design is meant to feel like a cozy living room. It’s a super spot to unwind and enjoy fresh takes on local ingredients like corn and trout fritters.
Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in Hunter is a boutique hotel with a Prospect restaurant that boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, providing expansive views of the mountains. The cedar deck with a fire pit is a great place to enjoy a pre-or post-dinner cocktail.
Sometimes you just want a burger. You’re in luck if your Catskills adventures include Greene County. Mama’s Boy Burgers is the region’s go-to spot, crafting mouthwatering burgers made with locally sourced ingredients. Their menu features a variety of creative burger options, as well as salads, sandwiches, fresh-from-the-cow ice cream, and milkshakes.
Like live music paired with fried chicken? The Chicken Run has steak too and stunning views of Ski Windham. This is a super spot to sip a beer and roast s’mores at the fire pit on a summer night in the Catskills.