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Places to eat in the NY Catskills?

  • c

We usually cook when we head up this way for hiking, but it'd be nice to find some good fallbacks in case we don't want to. Know any good places near or nearish to Margaretville? All I ever see are pizza and soft serve parlours with large carvings of "Indians" or bears in front.

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  1. If you travel about 12 miles west of Margaretville, to Andes, you'll find two good spots, well above the average.

    The Slow Down is a food store and cafe with excellent breakfast and lunch specials, along with artisinal cheeses, breads, olive oils, etc etc.

    The Cantina is the must-visit Mexican, an oddity for sure, but very good for what it does. The owners have (or possibly had) a place in Manhattan, before the bought the Cantina. It's become a huge hit for the weekenders (like me) who inhabit that part of Delaware County.

    If you're prepared to go all the way to Delhi, you'll find a couple of good other restaurants.

    Good luck.

    - Sean

    11 Replies
    1. re: Sean Dell

      This is great, Sean, thanks! I can't tell you how many times I've driven by the Cantina and it never occurred to me that there might be great Mexican out in the Catskills (esp. when it's so hard to find in NYC). Preciate this very much.

      1. re: cimui

        The owners of the Cantina also own a restaurant in NYC. The Windham- Hunter area has a number of good restaurants about 40 min. from Margaretville. If you are interested I will supply info.

        1. re: swarttav

          Very interested--thanks! Do you know which restaurant they own in NYC?

          1. re: cimui

            They own (or owned) Radio Mexico on Front Street - a quick peruse of the web suggests the NYC restaurant closed. In Windham I would suggest the following:

            Millrock - wood oven pizza plus good variety of italian entrees - good wine list, no hard liquor, lots of families go there, ask for a gratis sambucca after dinner

            Brandywine Restaurant - Italian - full service bar - Wednesdays are an inexpensive set of specials but make reservations 518-734-3838

            Bistro Brie and Bordeaux 518-734-4911 - Obviously a French Bistro - good wine list by bottle and glass - limited but quite respectable menu - the food has been consistently good

            Vesuvio Restaurant - Hensonville - 518-734-3663 - again Italian but the best of those Italians I have mentioned.

            I have supplied the phone numbers because this time of year you need to call ahed to make sure they are open - many restaruanters take vacations during the off-season. All are respectable - none are spectaculor, but this is "upstate". If you want more details on any of them let me know - good luck

            1. re: swarttav

              Wow, thanks--this *fantastic*. I appreciate it so much!

              1. re: cimui

                If you make it in to Hamden on rte 10 stop in at the Lucky Dog .Have a Cup of chai,or coffee or home made breads and muffens They sell other stuff from art to antiques,local cheese's.It's a genaral store with a homey backroom

      2. re: Sean Dell

        Hey Sean and swarttav, just wanted to report back. I ate at Cantina this past weekend and it was a lovely place to dine. Thank you for the recommendation!!

        The food was pretty decent--about 10x better than other offerings in the area, though I was a bit disappointed to see that they made beef tacos with ground beef instead of shredded. Drinks were strong and some were made with fresh fruit juice.

        It's not the most authentic Mexican you'll ever find, but the service is sweet, the space is attractive and comfortable, and the food is good enough--which are all just fine by me on a low-key weekend.

        1. re: Sean Dell

          a quick update on these places:

          - the cantina has closed... looks like another art gallery or antique store is opening in its place

          - tried the slow down cafe this weekend. slowness was, as another poster on a different thread once noted, a statement of intent... service was SLOW! to make up for it, however, the ingredients in our lamb burger, accompanying salad and vegetarian chili were all fairly high quality, though small for the price. the staff were nice about us having our dog at the picnic benches outside.

          1. re: cimui

            Are you talking about Gypsy Wolf Cantina in Bearsville/Woodstock? If so, they are def still open b/c my husband and I ate dinner there tonight.

            1. re: cherel

              Nope, was responding to Sean's old post about the Cantina in Andes (which was under the same ownership as Mexican Radio). It's very much closed. So if you have any other suggestions in the vicinity, I'm all ears!

        2. For an interesting experience and good food, try Yvonne's Homecooking, which is a french restaurant located in a little red house on Route 28 outside of Phoenicia (a few minutes drive from Margaretville). It is very easy to miss as it is sort of tucked away from the road.

          The decor and the service are fairly eccentric but the food was quite good and cooked with care. The restaurant is in a little old house full of knickknacks and the ceiling is covered in old quilts. The place has been around for something like thirty years and is run by an elderly french woman who I am guessing is Yvonne. The service was slow but very sweet.

          There was a salad bar located at the front that looked pathetic but was quite good, and had a couple of cold bean dishes that were delicious. We also had very good stuffed mushrooms and a pan-fried trout. They serve wine and beer, but also may be BYOB (as it looked like some diners came in with their own bottle of wine).

          The menu was interesting both for the food and the little admonishments not too take too much food from the salad bar. All in all a very homey and unique establishment.

          4 Replies
          1. re: kentuckyfriedgirl

            Is Yvonne's open again - she was closed all last year. Rumors are rempant that she might be back... any true sightings?

            1. re: getmett

              We ate there over Memorial Day weekend. She said she had just opened for the season.

              1. re: kentuckyfriedgirl

                Hey KYfriedgirl! I looked for this place, but didn't see it. Is it on the right or left when you're coming from Margaretville? (Maybe I just blinked and missed it just as we were driving by. =)

            2. re: kentuckyfriedgirl

              Update on Yvonne's. I drove by what I thought was the restaurant, not too far south of a Hungarian / German? restaurant. (Even further north, there was a fenced graveyard spanning both sides of the road.) The place does not appear to be open as a restaurant, though there was a sign out front that advertised Yvonne's cookbook.

            3. What is the name of that Indian restaurant that is almost at a trailhead (and where is it)? I've been there a couple times (years ago) but can't remember which trail or town.

              1. There are so many great places...Try Peek a Moose - in Big Indian....In Margaretteville is a German Restaurnat - right in town - by the stream -
                Any in Pine Hill - there is a Mexican Restaurant, teh Pine Hill Arms and a few more....

                1 Reply
                1. re: getmett

                  No conclusions drawn about this place, yet, but my one meal so far was pretty mixed. My primary complaint was that our meats, all ordered medium rare, came to us well done. Otherwise, ingredients seem to be pretty good, preparations seem very minimalistic, wait staff is very sweet (and very young and a bit nervous... cute ;). I'll try to give it one or two more tries.

                2. Not sure where Margaretville is but if its near Rock Hill NY, there is a fantastic restaraunt called Bernie's Holiday....FANTASTIC French Onion soup and broiled Lobster. Also, request the double stuffed baked potatos and for an appetizer, the seared tuna won't disappoint. Also in the area is the original Old Homestead for a fantastic steak dinner.

                  277 Rock Hill Dr, Rock Hill, NY
                  Tel: (845) 796-3333

                  Old Homestead
                  472 Bridgeville Rd, Monticello, NY
                  Tel: (845) 794-8973

                  I just checked the map and while its not very close to you its not out of driving distance either.

                  1. in woodstock, there are a few nice places on tinker street, which is the maine street

                    1. I like Joshua's in Woodstock for lunch. Great soups and salads.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Fred19

                        Even further away but well worth the trip is New World Cooking on rt 212 between Woodstock and Saugerties. Amazing food! If you go you must get the blackened green beans. Phone number is 845-246-0900

                        1. re: lupaglupa

                          I love Yvonne's! She's known for her duck and that's what I always get. The soups and her potato puree are excellent also. Can't say much for the salad bar, though. Just be prepared for an extremely eccentric place but to me that's part of the charm.

                          The best restaurant in the area is Peekamoose, right on Rt. 28 about two miles east of Pine Hill. This is the building that used to be Rudy's Big Indian. Peekamoose is run by a couple from NYC and the menu is really inventive and sophisticated and well-executed. The special cocktails are delicious and creative. And I love the space - it's very beautiful. The only downsides are price (it's expensive for the area) and the service is a bit slow and amateurish.

                          Catamount Lodge is another beautiful space, right on the Esopus. The food is mediocre but it's not a bad place for brunch. Pierre (formerly of Pierre & Yvette, a local French favorite for many years) used to make crepes for brunch. Don't know if he still does this.

                          Right in Margaretville you have Cafe on Main Street. Haven't eaten there in a while but the food was always somewhere between good and very good. Fairly creative menu.

                          Also in Margaretville is Binnekill Square. Now mind you, this is not a place favored by the weekender-hipsters so don't go expecting a Williamsburg vibe. But they've been around forever and are locally famous for their schnitzel, which really is excellent. They prepare it a number of ways. It's well worth trying.

                          And the best breakfast in the area is Sweet Sue's in Phoenicia. The very best pancakes you'll ever have along with some other creative breakfast and lunch options (they're not open for dinner). Just be prepared to wait up to an hour for a table on weekends.

                          1. re: angelhair

                            Angelhair, I hope you're still reading and find this: I apologize so much for the belated thanks, but very much appreciate the time you took to post! These look like great suggestions and I'll look into them.

                        2. Hope it's not too late to add my 2 cents. There's a great place for lunch on Route 23 in Leeds, NY called (I think) Bar-B-Q Barn, serving North Carolina-style pulled pork sandwiches and plenty of good sides like beans and cole slaw. Even better last Friday was delicious fresh cod lightly battered and fried. It must have been a half pound filet for about 8 bucks—including sides. The waitstaff and owners couldn't be nicer. They take a lot of pride in what they serve. BTW, Leeds is right next to Catskill, NY—five minutes from NY State Thruway exit 21. Looks like a former Dairy Queen building on the south/east bound side of the road.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: FeelingALittleBreadish

                            It's never too late since we head up that way a lot (mostly to an area between Margaretville and Andes, but we pass nearish to Leeds, I think). Thank you so much for this suggestion!!!

                            1. re: cimui

                              Do yourself a favor and eat at the Andes Hotel. Great food - great people and great onion soupau gratin.

                              1. re: amazer

                                We've had brunch at the Andes Hotel (they were nice about us having our dog on the front porch) and it was pretty good. We'll have to go back for dinner. Thanks for the rec!

                                1. re: amazer

                                  Based on a couple of good reviews from Chow, we headed to ANDES HOTEL RESTAURANT for lunch. Don't bother. The onion soup was not great. It was passable, about the level I'd expect from a diner-lots of cheese but a thin, watery broth really lacking any depth of flavor that characterizes this soup. Also the $10 chicken sandwich was not from fresh chicken breast, it was cut from a smoked/processed chicken-product. The pulled pork was also pretty flat and dry. All in all, it was a $50 lunch of mediocre soup and sandwiches. If you are from NYC and know good food, please skip this one. I'm sure it is fine for locals who don't care, and the atmosphere is charming and the service was fine. This is the first time a Chow recommendation has led me astray so I wanted to warn others.

                            2. If you are looking for atmosphere, this is it! The place is trendy, well decorated, pretty people, etc. We were impressed by the scene. My husband and I were really hoping that this place would blow us away as far as food is concerned and it did not. However, I would highly recommend Bull and Buddha if you were to choose specific things. For example, the steak was excellent. The cuts of meat were great. I ordered the NY Strip Steak and it was a beautiful cut of meat cooked perfectly. My husband ordered the Filet Mignon. Unfortunately, it was not cooked properly (he ordered MR and it came out close to well done). I thought that this was kinda crazy especially since mine was perfect MR. He had to send it back (which is extremely uncommon for us to do) but the waiter didn't seem to blink an eye about it, so we took him up on it. When my husband received it (the second time), it was cooked perfectly and the portion was larger (not sure if that was intentional or not). I had the pork bun thing for a appetizer (small plate) and it was okay...wouldn't suggest it. I also ordered the Tuna Spring Roll which was AWESOME...highly recommend it! My husband got the squash soup. It was pretty good but seemed like it needed some more seasoning or something. He also got the goat cheese and crab wantons. The crispness was great and the taste was pretty good too. We have both had better as far as this type of dish is concerned but I have to say it was pretty yummy. GIANT GIANT BONUS - There is a VERY nice selection of wines by the bottle for $22!!! In general, we won't go back because it was $30 a plate, it wasn't wonderful, and we live 40 minutes away. If the food was better, we would absolutely take the trip again.