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Saugerties Area

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Heading up to the Saugerties area to celebrate my girlfriend's bday in a few weeks. Have been tipped off on some good places, but am wondering if anyone can strongly recommend any of the below, for a very special b-day dinner, etc. Is there a better place that i'm not listing? Any insight is appreciated!

New World Home Cooking

Bear Cafe

Blue Mountain Bistro

Cafe Tamayo


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  1. You can also add Terrapin, that is another great place to eat near Suagerties.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rob

      Sorry but I would recommend Bear Cafe only for a steak or a burger. The rest of the menu is way too adventurous given the below average talent in the kitchen and the mediocre quality of their ingredients. Too much tastes like it comes from a can or is frozen or is totally out of season. But the grilled meats are tasty and sitting by the big windows overlooking the creek is lovely. How about going over to Rhinebeck? It's a nice drive and a meal at Le Petit Bistro would be my choice.They've got a great chef (who I hear is the owner now) and it's a sweet place...

    2. Those are all really good places, though I'm not crazy about Cafe Tamayo--I think it's overrated. For the money, I'd sooner go to Terrapin, like Rob suggested. They have a website with VERY NECESSARY directions-it's easy to get lost. My husband asked me to marry him there--a nice romantic spot, and the food is unbelievable. I think New World might be too boisterous for a romantic birthday dinner, though the food is fantastic. Bear is also very good, but too Manhattan-ish in its attitude for my taste. Never been to Blue Mtn Bistro, though it is on my list of places to try!

      Link: http://www.terrapinrestaurant.com

      1. The Bear Cafe is a first class 3.5 - 4 star joint. Way beyond what you would expect in the Woodstock/Bearsville/Saugerties area. You can get a high cuisine stacked plate or a great burger. Not once has a dish disapointed. In the middle of nowhere where cell phones dont work. A must not miss food experience. May even see a local rock star. On one occasion ran into Lesley West of Mountian, West Bruce and Lang, The Vagrants.

        1 Reply
        1. re: phantomdoc

          While reservations at Bear Cafe can be tough, you can always (in my experience) get seats at and eat at the bar, where the ambiance is every bit as good (which is DAMNED good!)

        2. To add another opinion to the mix...

          Bear Cafe is great - always good food and service.

          New World is an enigma to me - we've had 2 meals here that were wonderful/delicious, and 2 that were horrible/inedible! (not trying again because it's too pricey to be hit-or-miss.) bad service, and atmosphere all 4 times.

          WE love Cafe Tamayo, been going for many years. here's a snip form a post I put up recently below...

          We love Cafe Tamayo in Saugerties/Ulster - excellent food, consistently good, lots of deliciousness to be had here! fav meal there is to start with their great French Onion Soup with wonderful sharp gruyere and winey flavor, entree of their fabulous Steak Au Poivre, with Potatoes Au Gratin that are the best I've ever had - seems like 100 layers of potato cut with razor blade, good stinky French cheese, and to finish with the decadent warm chocolate desert (can't remember if soufflé or cake). My girlfriend is an angle hair pasta lover, and the dish they make here is her fav. I've also had an appetizer of spaghetti squash cooked with bacon, cream and parmesan that was out of this world. they close at 10:00 on Friday so we can hit them on our way up too. WE find there food to be as good as any French restaurant in this price range in NYC.

          1. You really should try the Red Onion on Rte 212 at the intersection of Glasco Turnpike about halfway between Saugerties and Woodstock. This place is about a year old and the food is so amazing.
            They were recently reviewed by the Albany Times Union as well as the Kingston Freeman and both gave it 4 stars as well as mentioning that everything that they ate there was flawless.
            The service is the best in the area and if you are a wine drinker, they've got about 30 wines available by the glass which you can't get anywhere else in the area.
            The specials are the way to go. They are always creative and delicious and they've got the freshest fish that I've had upstate.
            Definitely worth a try.

            1. All your choices are good. This is how I would personally rank them.

              Bear Cafe
              Blue Mountain Bistro
              Cafe Tamayo
              New World Home Cooking

              The Bear Cafe is tough to get reservations, so plan ahead if thats your choice. New World Home Cooking is the most casual of the lot.

              All of the places you picked are relatively upscale. If you're looking for something funky, but good, consider the Gypsy Wolf in Bearsville. They serve Mexican food in an offbeat setting. Lotsa of interesting art and a wild collection of Mexican artifacts. Great food. Excellent Margaritas. Outstanding seafood chillie rellenos. Much cheaper than your other choices.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Suzanne

                I've never been to Gypsy Wolf Cantina or Red Onion, but I've been meaning to try both--thanks!

                1. re: Betsy

                  The Gypsy Wolf is always a treat. And the Woodstock vibe (beautiful country setting meets funky-hip) can't be beat

                  1. re: steve(thelil)

                    The Gypsy Woff has awful, overpriced food. The only thing fun about the place is the decor, but even my young children understand that that doesn't make up for mediocre food/service.

              2. OK...so, after all the great rec's, i made reservatiosn for this saturday night at both Bear Cafe and Terrapin....looking for one final call from the masses..this is for my girlfriend's 26th bday, we are both manhattanites, who appreciate some of the best nyc has to offer....ambiance is a plus, but great food always the #1 criteria....Bear or Terrapin? THANKS!!!

                gypsy wolf sounds like a good choice for friday night as well!

                12 Replies
                1. re: chowfreak

                  New World Home Cooking is the most unique place in the Hudson Valley.
                  Killer flavors, colorful, loud and not a cheesy nacho bar!

                  1. re: Ray Crisco

                    made res's at new world home cooking next week. we hated terrapin, loved cafe tamayo & liked the bear.

                    1. re: TBird

                      get the spicy blackened string beans - unique dish to the place, quite good.

                      but you can't go wrong with most dishes on the menu.

                      1. re: bob gaj

                        thanks bob! looking forward to it. :-)

                        1. re: TBird

                          Ditto on the green beans. The thai calamari and the lamb in chipolte with homemade tortillas were also fantastic.

                          1. re: TBird

                            new world was really solid, thanks for the rec. the green beans were excellent! as was the lomi lomi salmon and the ahi with mango & avocado. my wife enjoyed her deviled egg but was disappointed they were out of lobster tamale, settling for a medicore mushroom risotto. the waiter knew next to nothing about the menu, but comped a dessert. he also brought the wrong wine that i ordered(i wanted a gewurtz/muscat blend from spain, ended up with a gewurtz from rhode island. go figure...) but i did not catch it until after i had already approved of it so we drank it anyways and it really wasn't half bad.

                            1. re: TBird

                              ps - we stayed at the saugerties lighthouse. HIGHLY recommended if you can get a reservation. we made our next one already, for JUNE 2009!

                              1. re: TBird

                                June 2009? Wow, you are a real planner TBird. Glad you enjoyed New World. Agree that the waitstaff in there is not up to par but the food generally more than compensates.

                                1. re: laylag

                                  agreed laylag. i wouldn't hesitate to go back.

                                  1. re: TBird

                                    if you get a chance, try saugerties lighthouse in the middle of winter. the river freezes, the ice-breakers plow through it, and the lightkeeper makes the most incredible hot scones for breakfast. take them with a cup of coffee out by the picnic table and watch the locals let their dogs run out on the ice so far you'll be scared for them. it's an amazing place.

                                    1. re: LNG212

                                      while we haven't stayed there in the mid winter, i'd still agree, as the whole area is beautiful in that respect. the sound of the <basically>glaciers flowing down the river alone is worth it's price of admission!

                    2. re: chowfreak

                      The Red Onion is your best bet by far, great drinks and bar crowd but the food is exceptional....

                    3. Miss Lucy's in Saugerties is very nice (and better than Cafe Tamayo IMHO.) Relaxed atmosphere, delicious food, very reasonable children's menu. The menu changes a lot, but always features locally produced stuff.

                      1. chowfreak: how did it go? I see this post started back in 2003 and i'm just wondering how that birthday dinner went! And how's the romance?

                        1. I think there are better options than the Bear Cafe. Dined there Saturday Dec. 8 -- waited almost 10 minutes to be acknowledged. Food only OK - nothing remarkable. Seems like perhaps there are revolving chefs, which would account for some of the extremely positive food reviews and quotes from Gourmet magazine From a NYC Zagat rating perspective, I would give the food and service an 18.