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Monticello & surrounding area

Being a Borscht Belt visitor for the past 30 summers, I have rarely ventured too far off the bungalow colony to find good eats, but lately I have stumbled across some excellent places.
For Italian, Liberty has a place called Picolla Paresse??? or something like that, which could be tops even in NYC (I know sounds crazy, but it was that good).
Also, in Jeffersonville I found and Italian deli that makes hero's that dwarf those I find in from my Italian neighbors in Brooklyn.
I'm curious to find other hidden treasures lurking around the next bend.

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  1. Frankie and Johnnie's, same family as the old El Monaco.

    The Front Porch.

    The Fat Lady Cafe.

    1. Busters BBQ in / on White Lake is very good. Every meal includes the hot and cold salad bar which has all homemade dishes. Also the Clubhouse at the Villa Roma hotel in Calicoon is good. I'm not sure if it's open to the public at the moment because the hotel had a fire.

      1. Well, tried out the Fat Lady. Gotta say, not overly impressed. Had the stuffed fish with seafood over mashed potatoes. It was adequate but not worth the $20 or so price tag. In fact, whole menu seemed overpriced. I go upstate to get away from city prices. Still, it's got a great location on White Lake and is probably best for lunch, not dinner, which my wife and I had.

        Thanks for the suggestion on Busters, maybe I'll try it this week. I luv BBQ

        1. I guess not too many people go to the catskills on this board. But for those needing a second opinion on Buster's BBQ -- it definitely hits the spot. The all-you-can eat fixins bar and entree come out to less than 20 bucks a head. Food was good and filling

          1. I've been working a lot in Napanoch, Ulster County, and usually stay local in Ellenville where my favorite is Lock 31 on Main Street (turn at the Getty gas station). Their burger is great, salads good, and their nachos are more like chile con or sin carne that you need to eat with a fork but very satisfying. The other day I had a raspberry-blueberry crumb pie that was quite good. But I digress.

            I really wanted to tell you about Yiasou Cafe on the outskirts of Liberty (1980 State Route 52 on the other side of Route 17 from downtown Liberty, in a little center called Country Square next to a car dealer). It often has a line out the door for the Greek-themed food they serve inside and out. They bake their own heavy, crusty peasant bread that they bring you to start. I had a calimari Greek salad, fresh ingredients and properly dressed with some marinara to dip the calamari, but too much iceberg lettuce for my taste. I opted to try a dessert since they had some very interesting and innovative-sounding ones. Mine had kataifi, a pudding, and different nuts and cream, and it was heavenly. The cappuccino was also just right. Many people were eating huge plates of salmon and pastas that would serve two. The staff was friendly and efficient. It's modern and bright and not at all historic, but it was the busiest spot in town last week when I was there. With the main-dish salad (which I couldn't finish), soda, free bread, the cap and dessert, my bill came to a bit over $20, but in most cases an entrée will serve two.

            1. the best is The Old Homestead just south of Monticello. Staeks, lobster, great breads, outstanding desserts. Not cheap but very high quality food in a lovely atmosphere.

              1. Eldred Preserve on 55 - it's pricey but good

                there's an Italian place (pizza place) over in Barryville, but it isn't that great

                The Mohican Lake Inn, I've heard good things about it, but haven't tried it yet.

                almost forgot Willies Canjun BBQ a bit past Liberty just off of 17. The portobello appetizer is a must try.

                any places toward Glen Spey, Port Jervis area?

                too bad "the bridge" restaurant closed up 2 years ago, that place was real good

                1. The place in Barryville is, I believe, Frankie and Johnnie's.

                  1. I had the misfortune to stay in Downtown Monticello Saturday night (We were visiting even more depressed Mountain Dale for a family research project). Driving down Broadway looking for a place for dinner that was not a diner, we stumbled upon Buona Fortuna Ristorante, 46 Forestburgh Rd., whose parking lot was overflowing. We decided to give it a try. A nice suprise. The two small dining rooms were filled, but we were managed to snag a table near the bar. The serving staff could not handle the dinner crowd, but the menu and wine list made up for those shortcomings. Tons of pastas, including farfalle with fresh shitake mushrooms and black truffles, chicken, veal, steaks, tuna, Chilean sea bass. We started with a crisp salad of endive and gorgonzola. My wife, who is not a fan of any kind of chicken layered with cheese, was able to obtain a paillard of chicken breast in white wine sauce. A special of soft-shell crabs in wine-butter sauce was pricey at $29 for two small crustaceans, but done just right and accompanied by delicious pan roasted baby spuds. Though I wasn't up for more than a glass of the house CA Chardonnay--it wasn't bad--the wine list offered some top CA reds, Opus ($160), Insignia ($140), et al., at retail prices, if you could still find them on store shelves. Very tempting, but my SO wasn't drinking and I preferred a white with my crabs. The ricotta cheese cake could have been more delicate, but my wife enjoyed her chocolate mousse cake. The total tab $75 before T&T. I'd go back--with table reservations.

                    1. Finally order food from the Mohican Lake Inn (not I actually) we had a B-Day party over the weekend and my cuz ordered a few take out trays to simplify life.

                      the ziti in vodka sauce was ok, not great
                      the chicken marsala was pretty good
                      the eggplant parm however was excellent and easily the first thing to go

                      1. Old Homstead has been around for many years. It was great about 30 years ago.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Raisel

                          Still is great. Crab appetizer is excellent..steaks are wonderful and just about the best lobster tails I've ever had.AND the chocolate cream pie is super. All in all, a really good restaurant

                        2. Amazingly enough, I am a local, or I used to be. Born and bred Liberty, New York. It's been a while since I lived there, though. Many of the following recommendations have been filtered by either time or parents. I can't even promise that all of the following places are still open.

                          We do have some hidden gems. In Jeffersonville there is a diner named Teds that is owned by a Turkish couple. The menu looks like any other diner menu, but the back page has some great middle eastern food. Try it.

                          In Parksville there is the Dead End Cafe. Call in advance and see when the owner plans to belt out some opera. I've never been to Willie's.

                          Piccolo in Liberty is really good. If you like the food here, the owners opened another restaurant in Roscoe.

                          There is a greek place is Liberty - Yansou.

                          Buono Fortuna in Monticello is really tasty.

                          There is supposed to be a new japanese restaurant in Swan Lake.

                          There are several restaurants in White Lake (near where El Monaco's used to be) that are supposed to be good. Same with Main Street in Callicoon.

                          In the summers, try a knish from the knish stand in Loch Sheldrake.

                          Want a slice of pizza? Brother Bruno in Monticello. Italian Delight in Liberty. Second to None in Liberty. Napoli's in Monticello.

                          There are the old standbys: Bernies in Rockhill, Mannies in Liberty, Frankie and Johnnies in Hurleyville, Guiseppe's in Bethel, Mana's in Rockhill, Eldred Preserve in Eldred, Stone Arch Inn in Youngsville. Many of these places are good...just not fantastic.

                          On the whole, the diners in the area are so so? Liberty, Parksville, Roscoe, Blue Horizon, etc. Unless you want some eggs or a burger, don't rely on these places for a high quality meal.

                          I could continue to try to remember names of places, is there anything is specific you are looking for?