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New Paltz Favorites

  • m

From a local yokel...

Village Tea Room - Best kept secret in New Paltz. Breakfast: Organic egg frittata with potato pancake or arugula salad, scones with clotted cream, muffins. Lunch: Sublime chicken salad with cilantro pesto, red lentil soup. Dinner: Roast meats, grilled fish. Dreamy scratch deserts. Uses local CSA produce. Outdoor deck, kids play area. Closed Mondays.

Mudd Puddle Cafe - Best breakfast in New Paltz: Excellent crepes and omlettes, heavenly coffee roasted on premesis. Lunch: Panini, quiche, wonderful scratch soups. Outdoor seating, Gunks view. Closed Tuesdays.

La Bella Pizzeria - Lunch/Dinner: Inexpensive salad bar with many pleasant surprises, featuring seasonal CSA produce. Vegan options. Eggplant rollatini, green beans in tomato sauce, garbanzo dip, pesto pasta. Broccoli pinwheels, garlic knots. Salad bar weekdays only.

Yanni's - Lunch/Dinner: Traditional Greek menu. Excellent hummus, Horatiki salad, falafel, chicken skewers.

Mexicali Blue - Lunch/Dinner: Cali-style taco joint. Catfish blue corn tacos, Salmon burritos. Mostly takeout, very limited seating, closed for lunch on Mondays.

Locust Tree Restaurant - Dinner: Inspired twists on classic fare. Delmonico steak for two, grilled fish, creative salads. Fine dining with a casual vibe on historic Hugenot St. Romantic setting. Reservations.

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  1. nice list mark...i loved the village tea room when i was there in may. such a lovely setting, and that chicken salad w/ cilantro pesto is sublime. good scones and cookies too (i had the full blown high tea and was pleased w/ everything). and the blue corn catfish tacos from mexicali blues was sooo yummy, i'm pining for one now (cant get em down here in white plains :(). new paltz is such a great food town, like a college town should be, i think i may head there for dinner! dont forget the bakery for desserts as well!

    1 Reply
    1. re: erika

      The food at the Village Tea Room was nice but the service put a damper on the night, a Wednesday. There was one waitress and she served the outdoor deck, main floor and upstairs. She also ran the register where people purchased scones, muffins, etc. The atmosphere is very tasteful and the food quality admirable. I've only been here once so I don't know if short staffing is the norm.

    2. LaBella used to be my favorite till Rocco's opened. I still think LaBella is great, but Rocco's comes closest to the pizza I remember from my childhood on the Brooklyn/Queens border.

      I've been a "local yokel" for many years and I'm almost reluctant to post this recommendation, mainly because I'd hate to have to wade through a mob of snotty downstate weekenders when I come to pick up my pizza. (Just kidding... Kinda). ;)

      1. Happened to be driving through New Paltz today and stopped for a bite at Wrapsody Grill , 25 North Chestnut Street.

        My friend had a BBQ chicken wrap (asked for it grilled instead of "Crispy") and it was fabulous. He also had a side of beans & rice. I had a chicken philly cheesesteak, it was great.

        They also had soup on the menu and homemade iced tea. Service was a little slow. Great lunch spot.

        1. Would you recommend the Village Tea Room for a work dinner for about 8 people? We are looking for entrees in the $15-20 range, good but not fancy. I've been searching earlier posts and came up with the Egg's Nest, Mountain Brauhaus and Would Inn. Beso's sounded great but too pricey. Any suggestions would be very welcome. TIA.

          5 Replies
          1. re: TGO

            I like Casa Mia in Highland. Their stuffed chicken Francese is the best. Prices are within your range and the restaurant is able to accomodate larger parties. I have been to the Village Tea Room for lunch and also for dessert. Their service leaves a lot to be desired. We were told to sit anywhere we wanted to, but we would have had to move a table ourselves. The Tea room menu is very limited. Check it out on line to see if it has what you are looking for. Do try their lemon raspberry cake, though and Rooibos Chocolate mint iced tea.

            1. re: Leslie

              I checked out the TeaRoom menu - breakfast, lunch afternoon tea, tapas, light fare & dinner. I did'nt see any of those food cliches from the 90's liked stuffed chicken francese (people still eat that!) but I found it quite varied. I like to know where my chicken came from and I prefer it not to be a factory or feedlot.

              1. re: realslowfood

                Yes, realslowfood, some of us do still eat stuffed chicken francese, if it is stuffed with proscuitto, eggplant and escarole. Casa Mia may not list "name brand" organics on their menu, like the Village Tea Room, but they do grow their own squash blossoms and other produce in their own garden in season. Some people are so trendy ( Blue Hill? Mojitos? uh hum ) that they forget other worthwhile options for dining. All meals out are not necessarily meant to be momentous occasions. Casa Mia uses fresh ingredients to prepare very good food and offers many options for a large group, which the person asking about the Village Tea Room was looking for. The Tea Room ,which by the way, you say you have ever eaten at, list three entrees on their dinner menu- a roast chicken, a roast carrot and parsnip entree and a roast port tenderloin entree. That is not quite varied to me. They do have an nice lunch menu and lighter fare. And I am not the only poster who had problems with their service.

                1. re: Leslie

                  I did eat there - roast chicken, pork chop, a vegetarian entree I think as well as steak and fish. several appetizers, an extensive tapas menu. Don't know when you ate there last...I understood the question to be "all time favorite restaurants" not places that I eat where they serve mediocre food but I like it anyway. Mediocrity is everywhere...why not celebrate excellence when we find it. Try a mojito...It's been around for decades and finally restaurants are making it well..no lemonex, real juice quality ingredients, basically the starting point for anything worth enjoying. I've worked in many restaurants and more things come out of plastic buckets than people could ever imagine. When I find a place that has integrity & quality I support it even if I occasionally have slow service. Actually the service I had was very warm and hospiatble.

                  1. re: realslowfood

                    Yes, I have had a mojito many times, using mint from my garden and fresh ingredients. It is also one of my favorite drinks and I know I won't looking down my nose and be laughing about all those people who are still drinking them a few years from now because they are so early 2000's. Good is good. Also, I believe that the heading was New Paltz favorites and I was responding to another later post looking for an inexpensive place for workng dinner.One of my favorite restaurants in the area is Aroma Osteria over in Wappingers, also an Italian restaurant, completely different from Casa Mia. Liking one dos not have to belittle the other. Have you ever eaten in Casa Mia? Perhaps you might want to try it before you comment further.

          2. the seafood joint Gadaletos might be worth checking out. Most entree's are below 20 bucks, and the wine list was very reasonable. The new chef in the kitchen is great, and with coming cold weather I keep thinking about the oyster stew. Yum

            2 Replies
            1. re: stevenk

              i definitely second that. freshest seafood in the area. i'd serve it to my grandmother. nice inexpensive wine list, too. if you go, say hi to dan for me!!

              1. re: stevenk

                Gadaleto's has never been right since John Varga left...each time I hear that there is a new chef I give it a TRY. And disappointed again. And the room and the service are horrible. Who ever is running it are clueless.

              2. I love Rocco's pizza! I with there was a GOOD chinese restaurant in New Paltz...we either travel to Rosendale or into Highland for Chinese...

                For a special occassion ~ definately Locust Tree or Besos!

                1 Reply
                1. re: krisfrisrich

                  I'm with you on the lack of good Chinese in New Paltz. (I used to like China House years ago, but... I dunno, something happened). What places do you like in Rosendale or Highland? Do they have a reasonable vegetarian selection? I don't mind driving a few miles out of town if the food is good.

                2. How could you know anything about muddy cup when it is not open yet?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: makeminemarvel

                    Mudd Puddle Cafe- in the Water Street Market, not the Muddy Cup, which is coming to Main Street.

                  2. The Muddy Cup, it's the new place on Main Street and it's a gorgeous location, soaring tin ceilings, huge streetfront windows, bohemian furnishings like circa 1977 orange crushed velvet sofas ... and sucky food and coffee. Sorry. They bring in some bagels from where-ever, and the desserts are basically off the Cisco trailer truck.

                    The Mudd Puddle, on the other hand. This is a true Chowhounder's spot. It's down the hill tucked into the back of Water Street Market (basically a collection of twee shops and an antiques barn). James and Michelle at the Mudd Puddle work magic from the world's smallest open kitchen, it is a marvel to watch them at work: roasted turkey sandwiches and salads, BLTs with horseradish-mayo, scratch soups... the aforementioned crepes and egg dishes.... this place will not disappoint. I get my coffee there (they roast it on the premises) because I like a good honest clean tasting French Roast.

                    1. Mountain Brauhaus - it's 7 or 8 minutes west of New Paltz nestled under the Gunks. Been around for generations and known for giving out kit kat candybars to children. Great food - omg the sauerbraten with spetzla. Just look around the place and you'll see a lot of happy, happy guy guys. I love the place, and they are venturing into inventive cuisine and using local seasonal in addition to their traditional germanic fare. Desserts: go for a special or the apple strudel but skip the black forest cake (they get it somewhere over the mountain and it's just OK, not up to the rest of the quality fare they serve up).

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: localvore

                        The Mountain Brauhaus RULES! But damn, vore, don't you know locals aren't supposed to talk about this place? It's hard enough to get a table from June to November. Next thing you know, folks'll be spilling the beans about the Henry W bypass! ;->

                        1. re: markp

                          Don't even joke about that--that's my route home and enough "citiots" seem to know about it already. I've noticed an increase in aggressive jerks in expensive cars, especially on weekends.

                          1. re: markp

                            Shhh. That bypass is the only thing that allows me to make the occasional necessary trip to NP. Main Street is a complete disaster.

                        2. bump for the Tea Room.

                          i'm partial to the chicken salad sandwich - it changes seasonally and right now it's a mildly sweet-savory chutney. the pulled chicken is always perfectly tender (and from a righteous organic farm).

                          the really genius thing about the Tea Room is the crumb on the baked goods - I'm a pretty great baker if I do say so myself but her cakes and scones are perfection, her biscuits are more tender than mine, her pie crusts are flakier than mine... damn that Agnes!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: localvore

                            The Village Tearoom got a bad rap from this year's Zagat. Zagat praised the food, but threw in some nonsense about "wear your bonnet and lace petticoat." WTF? There's nothing dowdy about the place. It's locally-sourced food, smartly and simply prepared in a relaxed, cozy environment. I had dinner on Easter Sunday at the Tearoom and, if you want to stereotype the place, there were hipsters from the record store noshing and playing Scrabble on the deck. Not a Laura Ingalls Wilder character in sight. The glazed ham dish special was pure soul food, served with cornmeal mush, braised collards with bacon, and a buttermilk biscuit. I hear the sous chef is from New Orleans. Praise be!

                            By the way, the best single thing to eat in New Paltz is the cream puff at the Village Tearoom: real custard filling made from Ronnybrook cream and flecks of vanilla bean... homemade puff pastry, light and flaky... finished with a chocolate ganache. Top shelf ingredients, expertly assembled. For two bucks! I would go tranny and wear the bonnet and petticoats to eat one of these cream puffs.

                          2. I like Rino's Pizza. Has anyone else tried it?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ajs42548

                              Rino's is my favorite NP Pizza joint. Gotta go "grandma" pie.

                            2. Just a couple of questions regarding things brought up earlier in this thread.

                              Casa Mia in Highland: do they have a reasonable selection of vegetarian dishes? How are the prices? I couldn't find a website or a menu online. I've been meaning to visit the place for years, but I don't want to be disappointed by finding nothing I can eat, or prices out of my budget. Most red sauce joints have at least a couple of meatless dishes (e.g., cheese ravioli in pomidoro sauce) and if Casa Mia follows suit, then that's fine with me.

                              Chinese takeout: is there *anything* decent near NP? The two local places are terrible, IMO.

                              Thanks from a local.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: NewYorkDave

                                i thought it was decent.

                                they definitely have non-meat dishes. they have pasta dishes @9.95 which don't have meat (capellini w/broccoli/garlic, linguini, spaghetti, pasta), farfalle for 10.95, linguini carbonara for 11.95. they also have ziti, gnocchi, cavatelli.

                                they have a small garden on the side of the building - i think we had fried squash blossoms or pumpkin? which were pretty good.

                                nice italian comfort food in a decent setting.

                                1. re: NewYorkDave

                                  New Paltz has nothing that even resembles eatable Chinese. You have to drive up to Kingston to China Rose to go, or further up to Woodstock and The Little Bear.