Westchester Eats? Where to go for Great Food?
- Marla Apr 20, 1999 03:50 PM
I'm looking for a casual place with really good food. I am NOT looking for cheap eats (burgers, ribs, etc). Something more upscale but not too pricey. Fusion food, new french bistro, but it doesn't have to be to "ethnicy." Just great food, and great service. By the way I need this place for this saturday night. Thanks.
try my fave, caffe stega 914 769 4040/pleasantville. casual/tasty/relaxed/delicious/comfort/italian/yet modern. I'm a `little biased, one of my best friends owns the place- but really- its great. order ravioli specials, bruschetta specials, then ask for Joe, he'll tell you what to do for main course- enjoy.
re: Josh Mittleman
I'm looking for a place where a family of four can eat
for $65.00 or under. Chineese (we'll pass on the
Hartsdale Gardens) Italian, Indian, or real pizzza a la
Patsy Grimaldi or the Coney Island Tottonos would be at
the top of our list. This list can also include the
nearby Bronx, as we travel to Riverdale for our
Chineese meals. Thanks.
re: stephen kaye
Yes, all of the Indian places mentioned are quite good,
although a tad expensive when compared with eating on
8th Street in the city.
The Indian and Japanese restaurants in Westchester as
a group fare well. The Chineese restaurants have a way
to go. I've tried all of the ones suggested save for
Pacific Palace. We still drive to the city line
(Riverdale) for Chineese food.
Sharon is right about Valentino's. The food is good
and plentiful. It can get mighty cramped and hard to
get into. Any other decent Italian places? What about
authentic thin crust, fresh mozzarella, wood/coal oven
I haven't found brick oven style pizza in Westchester
on a par with Totonno's in Brooklyn, John's of Bleeker
Street, or Nick's in Forest Hills. (Nor have I found
traditional by-the-slice pizza that's nearly as good
as the typical place in Brooklyn.) The best I've had -
- and the restaurant is great, too -- is at La Manda's
on Rte 119 in White Plains. Cash only place (as is
Valentino's). Compared with Valentino's, it's scaled-
down, more casual and simple and the meals are not as
sumptuous. But while the fare is very basic southern
Italian, it is good, honest food, very reasonable, and
as I said the pizza is terrific. I particularly
recommend the sausage, as it is homemade. Good for
kids too as you can see them make the pizzas in the
Everything you say about La Manda is on the money. It
is one of my favorite places in the county. The food
is good and the people are friendly. Although the pizza
dough seems to have a high oil content, it is still
quite good. My only problem with the place is that it
is often very crowded and can be cramped. It's better
to try it at an off hour. Do you have any other places
similar in spirit and food quality? The food can be
any type of cuisine. If you like La Manda, you might
want to try Johnny's Pizza, on E. Lincoln Road in Mt.
Vernon. The pizza while not made in a coal/wood
burning oven, is thin crusted, slightly blistered and
authentic in it's own right. There are other items
besides the pizza, but the selection is not as broad as
La Manda. Family owned for over fifty years, it's
worth checking out.
Thanks for the tip re: Johnny's; I'll check it out.
Have you been to Angelina's in Tuckahoe? It's a pizza
place with a connecting restaurant that attempts to be
comparatively upscale (it has tablecloths). The pizza
is OK, but nothing special. It is disappointing given
the promise of the crowds and atmoshphere -- it looks
like a real pizza restaurant that's been there
forever; you think maybe it'll be Westchester's answer
to Sally's Apizza or Frank Pepe -- then you get the
pizza, and it's mediocre by the standards of this
No I haven't tried it, and thanks to you I never will.
It is hard to believe that no one has tried to create a
genuine pizza joint like a Totonno, Patsy Grimaldi,
Johns or Sally's in Westchester. It is a pure and
simple dish, requiring only a few high quality
ingredients, and the right oven. Oh well....
I haven't steered you wrong yet, eh?
I feel a little guilty turning people off to
Angelina's. It's not a bad place, really; it's a
popular neighborhood pizza restaurant, a comfortable
place to hang out. The pizza can be enjoyable, it's
pretty good. It's only compared with Totonno's (I
used to live in Trump Village, a few blocks form
there, by the way) or Sally's or the other classic
places I mentioned that you would have to say it sucks
in comparison. (It's nowhere near as good as La
My favorite Indian in Westchester is Dawat in White
Plains. If that's not to your taste -- and many people
don't prefer their style -- try Malabar Hill on Rt.
119 in Elmwood or Bengal Tiger in White Plains.
Neither of them is stunning, but both are good. If you
want to drive a bit further, I recommend Jaipore on Rt.
22 in Brewster, just over the county line. They have
some interesting, unusual dishes.
I can't recommend a really great Italian restaurant in
Westchester. Spaccarelli's in Millwood is good. I'm
not sure it will fall within your budget, which is
pretty tight for four people. Caffe Strega is good,
too, but not particularly authentic and I think it is
more expensive. I'm sure there are great, inexpensive
Italian places in the area; I just haven't looked very
widely for one because if I'm not going to the city and
I want to eat Italian, I'd just as soon cook it myself.
You might try Giorgio's in the Clock Tower mall on Rt.
22 in Brewster; it was recommended to me by someone
For Chinese, my current favorites are Hunan Village on
Rt. 100 in Yonkers, that place across the street from
the Hartsdale train station that was mentioned here a
couple days ago, Hartsdale Garden (sorry, I've still
never had a bad dish there), and, when I don't want to
drive so far, Pacific Palace on Rt. 141 in Thornwood.
re: Josh Mittleman
Josh, have you tried Tony's Trattoria in Croton yet?
It's housed in what used to be a soft ice cream place,
on Riverside Avenue (Rte 9A) at the intersection with
Oneida, and easy walk from the Croton-Harmon train
I've had nothing but terrific meals there, both
lunches and dinners; I believe they are closed only on
Valentino's is located on Bronx River Road in Yonkers,
just north of the Bronx/Yonkers border. It is easily
accessible from the Bronx River Parkway.
In response to the message from a transplanted
Brooklynite dissing Westchester restaurants, well I
too am a transplanted Brooklynite who couln't disagree
more. Valentino's alone proves the worth of
Westchester restaurants vis a vis Brooklyn, as it is a
better Italian restaurant than anything Brooklyn has
to offer -- and basically all Brooklyn has to offer is
All that Brooklyn has is Italian restaurants? You may
not have lived in Brooklyn long or traveled widely
about the borough. Every type of food is available
there. Tell me where I can go for middle eastern food,
a la Atlantic Avenue or just a plain old falafel in
Westchester. Where is real soul/barbeque of Ft.
Greene, the pirogi's of Greenpoint? Hows about Chineese
food like that found in Sunset Park's Chinatown or on
just about every other block throughout the borough.
Valantino's and La Manda are equal to anything in
Brooklyn. Sadly they are the exception rather than
representative of what's available as a whole.
OK, I'll admit I overstated that all Brooklyn offers
is Italian restaurants. Brooklyn is an incredibly
large borough, and I had in mind the vast southern
part where I grew up rather than the downtown Brooklyn
spots you mentioned. Yes, Sunset Park has some great,
authentic Cantonese places (and Avenue U followed suit
in recent years) but Westchester is not lacking for
Chinese food (well, at least it has some good ones).
Prior to the immigrant wave to Sunset Park and Avenue
U there was NO good Chinese food in Brooklyn;
certainly there was none when I was growing up! (I
question your statement that there's good Chinese on
every other corner!) Westchester is becoming
increasingly diverse, even eclectic: as to your query
regarding Middle Eatern food there is Turquoise, a
Turkish restaurant in Mamaroneck. Hogwash (also in
Mamaroneck) is a pretty good barbecue place, good
ribs. There's South African, Goan Indian, Basque,
lots of Portuguese...put it this way: I'm not sorry I
I'm not sorry I moved either but all too often I feel
that I should have left my taste buds in Brooklyn.
You seem to get around Westchester a lot, do tell of
you favorite 2 Chineese restaurants. Also, I've heard
that there are good places for those who travel to
Mamaroneck. What do you like over there? You
mentioned Hogwash. After trying what may be their
sister restaurant, Bayou, in Mt. Vernon, I was not so
sure about Hogwash. But if you say so, maybe I'll give
it a try. If you like southern style, give Yvonne's
Southern Cooking in Pelham a try. It's good, and they
often have live jazz on the weekend.
My two favorite Chinese restaurants in
Westchester...well, Jade Palace (Central Avenue in
Scarsdale) is very good, particularly the soups
(yellow leek and dried something or other is really
good -- hey, it's late, I forgot). Very fresh seafood
as well. Presumably you know Hunan Village (Central
Avenue in Yonkers); it has an insert to the standard
menu with exotic specialties (the insert proudly
mentions John Mariani, the food critic, as having
raved about such dishes). The chef often strolls
around and is excited to share suggestions with
interested clientele. He can offer some specials that
are not on the menu that can definitely make for a
memorable meal. These two restaurants are convenient
to where I live, which is an important factor to
consider inasmuch as I'm not inclined to travel across
the county for Chinese food unless I have reason to
believe it's truly exceptional!
Thanks for the tips. I've been to Hunan Village,
perhaps they are entitled to a second chance. Jade
Palace is within striking distance and we'll give it a
chance. Did you frequent Totonno's when you were
living in Coney Island? That Gerry Piro was some piece
of work. There was a time when you'd wait on line for
a while, then wait for an hour after you were seated
for your pie. My kids both ate in the acncient wooden
high chairs that are still there. I've been back
recently when visiting relatives, and the pizza is
still good, Cookie the waitress (Gerry's niece) is
friendlier, and you can sit right down.
I used to eat at Totonno's frequently, although I
lived in Trump Village for years before I found our
about the place! I moved to Westchester in '90, so my
Totonno's visits were in the late 80's. I used to tip
nicely; I found that made Jerry's niece friendlier!
(But yes, the overall atmosphere was that they were
doing you a tremendous favor allowing you in their
restaurant.) Not long ago I went to Totonno's in the
City; it was a big disappointment. Clean, friendly,
smoke-free -- all the things the COney Island branch
isn't -- but inferior pizza!
I lived in Brooklyn for many years and I've lived in
Westchester for many years. Finding good restaurants
is more difficult in Westchester. HOWEVER, I've found
a reasonably good falafel at the Kosher Pizza parlor
in the Wykagyl strip on North Ave. in New Rochelle;
there's also a Turkish restaurant on the main drag of
Mamaroneck, and I haven't had a great Middle Eastern
meal in Brooklyn since before the Tripoli burned down.
No, there's no restaurant serving perogis or any other
Polish food that I'm aware of, but Yonkers Miasarnia,
a kielbasa-maker on Lockwood Avenue in Yonkers, makes
'em in about 8 different flavors including saurkraut.
They also sell their own killer mustards and
horseradish (and the kielbasas are pretty serious,
too). Chinese food is a lost cause up here unless
you're looking for the comfort food of your youth. I
recommend eating Thai food instead if you're not going
to drive to the City. Bangkok Thai at 1208 Post Rd is
better than average, Siam Sea Grill in Port Chester is
very good, and Reka's, in the basement of an apartment
building where Westchester Ave. and North Broadway
meet (right near the new mall), is excellent, adding
French accents to traditional Thai dishes. Also, there
are a good number of Mexican and South American
restaurants in the lower county. I'm a big fan of the
Mexican Corner Restaurant on Main Street in New
Rochelle, and the guy is open for breakfast on
weekends. Also, there are more places in Port Chester
than you can count -- every time I go there it seems
there are two or three new restaurants catering to
Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Dominicans or Mexicans. Tio
Pepe, the Mexican place between the Capitol Theater
and the train station, is now the venerable lunchroom,
and the Peruvian place on Westchester Ave behind the
Coney Island fast food joint makes very good fish.
Also, I would be remiss if I brought up Port Chester
without mentioning Pat's Hubba Hubba -- the greasiest,
funkiest, hippest poison parlor on the planet. They
put chili on the dogs, they put chili on the burgers,
they put chili on fries, they put chili on the wedges
-- you get the idea: if you're smart you'll keep your
hand off the counter. You get me point -- sure,
Westchester ain't Brooklyn. But what is?
re: Fred Goodman
Fred, could you provide a bit more detail? Just
kidding. Well, it looks like some transplanted food-
obsessed Brooklynites have found a forum. Believe it
or not, you left out a few ethnic types. Off the top
of my head: Cuban cuisine is represented in the Latin
American Cafe in White Plains (Rte 22). It's not the
best Cuban I've had (that would be in South Florida,
of course), but it'll do for a Cuban fix. Get the
chorizos con tostones as an appetizer, lechon asado
(roast pork) if available as an entree, and of course
the cafe con leche and flan for dessert. There's no
Cuban in Brooklyn that I'm aware of, and I ain't
venturing to East New York to look. Also, there are
two authentic Korean barbecue places -- Kang Suh in
Scarsdale (Central Avenue) and Tokyo Seoul in Ardsley
(I haven't been there, but I hear it's good). Not to
mention sushi up the wazoo -- Gyosai in Scarsdale
(Garth Road) is my favorite, some swear by Azuma
Sushi -- no good sushi to my knowledge in Brooklyn (I
went to a place in Bay Ridge once that wasn't so
great). And there's the Spanish restaurants, La
Camilia and Espana, that are excellent -- no good
Spanish to my knowledge in Brooklyn. BUT -- Nathan's
in Coney Island still has that magic that Yonker's
Tokyo Seoul is all right, but not great. Not as bad
as Korean I've had in France, but it certainly doesn't
measure up to Manhattan trendy or Manhattan authentic
Korean. Not to mention the "we're the only Korean
game in town" prices.
When I'm in Westchester, and I order from Tokyo Seoul,
the food is a ghostly reminder of the more tender pork
cuts of NYC eating. This, for me, is the classic
example of a restaurant in Westchester that is good
enough, it seems, to survive, but always a bit of a
letdown. I'm glad to hear of an alternative.
re: Fred Goodman
fred, awesome message, thanks for posting.
But you're cheating. It's comparatively easy to find good eats in eastern Westchester (though you get extra points for doing so without mentioning Brazilian-- the most happening influx right now thereabouts).
It's far tougher toward the west. The Mt. Kisco/Chappaqua/Pleasantville area--where I hang out a bit--is a real desert. In fact, north of White Plains (which ain't exactly a chow mecca itself) is a bit of a disaster right up to the Canadian border, with the exception of a coupla good diners way up by Albany. Maybe an apple farm or two.
re: Jim Leff
Jim, have you yet to visit Zeph's in Peekskill? It's
a truly fine restaurant, not just for Westchester, but
just plain terrific for anywhere.
Vicki Zeph is the CIA-trained chef, and her brother
Michael runs the restaurant.
Please let me know any time you'd like to go there,
I'll come running! They are open only for dinner, on
Wednesdays-Sundays, and reservations are suggested,
especially on weekends.
re: Josh Mittleman
The chef (Vicky Zeph) is a CIA graduate, and the menu
changes each season--plus there are daily specials.
There is usually one dish in each of several
categories (chicken, duck, beef, lamb, fish,
vegetarian, pasta)--inventive and flavorful, usually
with home-grown herbs (many growing right at the site,
on a city street in Peekskill ).
I'm almost at a loss to describe the food, she uses
fresh ingredients in that distinctly CIA way, where
all sorts of different cuisines influence and inform,
often mixing influences from different countries in
All the desserts are made on the premises, and the
chocolate malted ice cream is a particular favorite in
I can be talked into going there for no reason at all,
let me know if you'd like some company when you choose
re: Jim Leff
I know you posted awhile ago, but I haven't been
keepin' up with the board. You won't get a fight out
of me about northern Westchester -- nada. But stickin'
to the south and east ain't cheatin' -- it's goin' for
the eatin'! BTW, there are a couple of good spots in
White Plains, particularly Island Spice on Martine,
which makes a killer roti, and Sunshine Jamaican
Bakery tucked off 119 near the Westchester County
Center. Their steam table looks a little dicey, but
they make a gunko pea soup with coconut milk,
dumplings and goat to travel that's a revelation.
Also, there's a good Cuban restaurant, the Latin
American Cafe, on Post Road near Bengal Tiger. He's
always got fresh roast pig and his ox tails are worth
the trip alone. Don't bother with the Cuban sandwich,
though. There's also a Phillipine market two blocks
further down the Post Road (toward Scarsdale) --
haven't checked it out, but the steam table looks
pretty ambitious. Also, the Oasis Diner, also on Post
Road, is now a combo diner/Latin American restaurant:
if you don't know whether you're in the mood for a
chicken salad sandwich or pernil, this is the place.
As for upstate New York, this is tough. I can't say
I've found any great restaurants, but I'll bet they're
there. I've been thumbing through Jan Greenberg's
"Hudson Valley Bounty" (Berkshire House
Publishers/Lee, MA)and the lists of dairies, butchers,
smokers, orchards, farms and assorted outlets is very
impressive. I've been through there scouting for
smoked shad (unsuccessfully) and taking my kids to
pick asparagus. The book also includes a fairly
detailed restaurant guide.
re: Jim Leff
Food in the Chappaqua/Mt. Kisco area is very "hit or miss". The only consistently really good food (B+ or better) can be found at the City Limits Diner in White Plains. In Mt. Kisco, the Lexington Cafe is good (Grade B) as is the Kittle House on 117. Luna tries to make a show but doesn't make it with the food. 17 Main was great one night and off the next week when the food had no flavor (go figure). I haven't tried the Iron Horse Grill, but assuming you've got aged steak, how could they ruin it except to overcook. Went to Rustica on State Road. Don't waste your time!
The simple stuff at Peabody's in Chappaqua and the predictably fresh fish at the sushi place in Chappaqua and Mt. Kisco is what you should stick with.
Please advise if you find anything I haven't tried.
re: Dan Venet
There are LOTS of other tips for the Chap/Kisco area scattered thru this board and in some of my writings as well. Try the search engine!
IMO, the City Limits Diner is good only for corned beef hash and beer (not necessarily together!). That it's a few steps above most local chow options reflects more on the chow up there than on the diner...
wow, are you all a bunch of pessimistic readers. Are there as many great eats as NYC- nooo-but this is not an impossible request. Ok so you want good if not even some great eats here is goes...Two Moons in Portchester, Iron Horse Grill in Pleasantvillle (excellant everything, they even know to cool a bottle of red to cellar temp), The Fish Cellar in Mount Kisco (great raw bar), Mediterraneo in Pleasantville, Luna in Mt. Kisco (expatriot NYC chef). If you go to any of these let me know your thought.
re: Susan T.
Two Moons is Tex-Mex, or Southwestern, and bigger on the decor and the crowd it attracts (Rye, Scarsdale, etc.) than on the service and quality of food. It was terrific when it first opened, but suffered a significant decline after a few years.
For excellent Brazilian food, try Pantanel (spelling?) in PortChester, especially if you're a voracious carnivore.
I have to disagree with your choice of Mediterraneo
and Luna. Both have been very disappointing. I am a
certified Italian who knows good food (my parents have
owned two successful restaurants and my mom was one of
the cooks)Food is a real passion. Westchester is
lacking restaurants with good food. Kiddle House -
American food- in Pleasantville and L'Europa -French-
in Vista are two pure choices for those who are
looking for a descent meal. Stick to Manhattan if you
really want to eat. Buona Fortuna!!
My wife and I tried Restaurant Luna in Mt. Kisco. (The Fish Cellar was our first choice, but they weren't answering their phone.) It was a pleasant meal and the food was quite good, but seriously overpriced and seriously over-proportioned. We started with a salad advertised as frisee, bacon, and roquefort. It was nice, and it split two ways without a problem; but the cheese was either very poor roquefort or reasonably good Danish-style blue. I enjoyed it, but I was surprised.
Riva had a half roast duck with plum sauce and sweet potato fries, and she loved it. I had a veal chop with wild mushroom-laced rice. It was good once I sent it back to be properly cooked. Both dishes came with a super-abundance of well-prepared mixed vegetables. We could easily have split either dish: I had no idea veal chops could get that big.
Their chocolate volcano (a warm devil's food cake with a warm chocolate sauce on top) was OK. Their coffee was fine, but be careful: A double espresso was the size of a regular American coffee cup!
They have a nice-but-overpriced wine list and a decent-but-overpriced beer list. One appetizer, two entrees, and one dessert came to about $100 (plus wine). The only way we'll go back is if we feel like splitting a dish.
Re Kisco Kosher Deli, did they move, already?
Weren't they on Mamaroneck Ave.? I had a rare visit to WP today, and couldn't find them. I just checked on Mapquest, and they're between Mam'k Ave. and North Broadway. Next time.
Am I wrong about seeing them on a corner on Mamaroneck Ave.?