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As soon as the days grow long and the mercury climbs upward, it’s time for outdoor dining. And what more glorious backdrop for your al fresco meal than our region’s defining artery of commerce and culture: the Hudson River. Whether you find yourself on the west bank or the east, there is some natural splendor to behold. The east side boasts the Catskill Mountains with their showy sunsets, while the west bank offers vistas of the Hudson Highlands. Here are 14 Hudson River-front restaurants in the Hudson valley, from North to South.
Hagar’s Harbor Bar & Restaurant | Athens
Head to Hagar’s for live music and old American eats on the Athens waterfront. We’re talking New York strip steaks and scallops, shrimp scampi, and chicken marsala with local bands. Music has been temporarily suspended due to COVID but there’s a good chance it returns this summer. Watch their Facebook page. The bar and restaurant is currently open Friday through Monday, 7am to 8pm.
River Grill at the Stewart House | Athens
Set beneath graceful weeping willows on the banks of the Hudson River, the Stewart House’s River Grill is one of the most storybook-romantic places to dine on the Hudson River. During the summer season, everything served at this casual outdoor eatery is cooked on the massive wood-fired grill—Highland Hollow burgers, shellfish, charred vegetables, other hot-weather specialties, accompanied by cocktails, wine, and craft beer. As of mid-April it’s still not open yet, but you can order takeout at the more upscale tavern inside the hotel and sit outside to enjoy the river view. In Hudson? Skip the car and take the ferry over for a meal.
Frank Guido’s Port of Call | Catskill
Frank Guido is the don of a mini restaurant empire that includes Little Italy in Midtown Kingston, Front Street Tavern in Uptown, and Port of Call on the Catskill waterfront. All three eateries engender the same neighborly camaraderie and old-school feel. Port of Call departs from the Italian and American focus of its counterparts with an emphasis on seafood, which feels thematically appropriate to the riverfront location, even if nothing is currently sourced from the waters. (It’ll be a few years before grilled sturgeon is back on local menus.)
The River Pavilion at Hutton Brickyards | Kingston
Slated to open in May, the River Pavilion at Hutton Brickyards in Kingston will serve a menu centered around wood-fired ovens and grills with al fresco dining on the banks of the Hudson. Alongside the newly built guest cabins, operated by Salt Hotels, and the event venue, the waterfront restaurant is the latest facet of the build-out of this 73-acre multipurpose property. The food program will be run by Executive Chef Dan Silverman, whose resume includes stints at Balthazar and Minetta Tavern. The River Pavilion will be open to the public in May and accepting reservations in late April. Stay tuned to HB’s Instagram for menus and a restaurant opening date.
Shadows on the Hudson | Poughkeepsie
Set on a cliff overhanging the river, Shadows on the Hudson offers a dramatic setting to enjoy a meal .This award-winning waterfront restaurant is a local favorite for happy hour (which includes daily cocktail specials, $5 draft beers, a tapas menu, and a spectacular sunset) and Sunday brunch. The New American menu touts an impressive raw bar plus apps ranging from buffalo calamari to Maryland crab cakes. The main menu is divided into land and sea, with the entrees like steamed Maine Lobster, bone-in cowboy ribeye, and French-cut chicken breast. Whether you’re seated inside, or enjoying the fresh air on the wraparound balcony, everyone gets a great view.
River Station | Poughkeepsie
For 40 years, River Station has dished up impressive views of the Walkway over the Hudson and the Catskills alongside a seafood-centric menu. At both lunch and dinner, you’ll find burgers, sandwiches, salads, plus a range of hearty entrees like baby back ribs, chicken parm, penne pomodoro, and salmon piccata. If you feel like knocking back a coupla oysters, River Station offers a broad selection of 12 varieties, served raw on the half shell with cocktail or mignonette sauce. You can also order littlenecks at $1.50 a piece. If you want a little bit of everything, order the cold cocktail tower, which comes with clams, oysters, shrimp, and lobster.
Pamela’s on the Hudson | Newburgh
Located right on the waterfront, Pamela’s on the Hudson offers panoramic views of the river, Mount Beacon, and the Newburgh-Beacon bridge to complement their modern American cuisine. The dinner menu is refreshingly succinct, with some thoughtful deviations from the norm like a beef wellington made with filet mignon; a pappardelle dish with chicken, shrimp, artichoke, and lemon in a white wine sauce; and a rack of lamb with roasted garlic marmalade, dijon, and fresh mint. The menu changes quarterly, as the scratch kitchen sources as much local produce as possible. Head here for an upscale brunch, including seafood-forward appetizers like crab cakes, clams, and a salmon platter, while the mains offer more land-based options like chicken and waffles, eggs Benedict, and hangar steak and eggs. Watch the calendar to catch live music by local musicians, Comedy Nights, and Drag Brunches.
Hudson Taco | Newburgh
Located in the historic West Shore Train station, Hudson Taco is impressive to the eye, with a 60-foot enclosed patio and panoramic views of the river and Hudson Highlands. The interior houses a modern, industrial ambience with exposed brick, hanging lamps that cast a warm glow, and metal-framed prismatic chandeliers. As the name suggests, tacos are the name of the game here. Taking tacos out of their traditional Mexican context, the abstracted food concept plays in new sandboxes with options like BLT, crab cake, Korean short rib, and shoyu filet tacos. There are also empanadas, ceviche, salads, tostadas, rotisserie chicken, and a host of other options for those suffering from taco fatigue.
Blu Pointe | Newburgh
At Blu Pointe, a high-end seafood restaurant on the Newburgh waterfront, enjoy your seafood in sight of the graceful Newburgh-Beacon bridge and the Hudson Highlands beyond. Head to the waterfront eatery for “Prime Time” happy hour Monday through Friday, 3-6pm, for $1 Blue Pointe oysters from the raw bar and a handful of other cheap bites like the tacos and beef sliders ($3 a piece). In addition to their ample seafood selection, they also offer heavily marbled wagyu steaks and USDA prime beef, burgers, and sandwiches.
Cafe Pitti | Newburgh
It seems like every place on the river feels compelled to serve seafood. If that’s not your thing, head straight for Cafe Pitti, where thin-crust wood-fired pizza, paninis, and Italian fare are the order of the day. Order an Italian charcuterie platter (hellooo, prosciutto!) and a fresh burrata to start. The hand-pressed paninis at Pitti bring the grilled sandwich category to a new level with gourmet offerings like the Con la Bresaola, with air-dry cured beef, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, and artichokes. The enclosed three-season patio and deck offer uninterrupted views of the Hudson River and the highlands beyond.
Billy Joe’s Ribworks | Newburgh
Head to Billy Joe’s Ribworks for a rowdy, good-natured crowd and Southern barbeque right on the water. We’re talking ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken, cornbread, fried pickles, mac ‘n’ cheese—the works. Appetizers include bar food favorites like wings, nachos, and calamari, cheese fries. If you go with company, order Billy Joe’s Feast for a little taste of everything. In summers past, on Tuesday nights the riverside patio was host to a well-attended country line-dancing event. Things are a little quieter now but the patio and outdoor bar are both open for al fresco dining and drinking.
Riverview | Cold Spring
Riverview serves up a mixed menu, including fresh seafood from the Fulton Fish Market, brick-oven pizza, pastas, and seasonal cuisine made with produce from local farms. Try the grilled swordfish, the Berkshire pork chop, or homemade ricotta ravioli. This 80-year-old Cold Spring fixture offers spectacular sunset views of the Hudson River and Storm King Mountain.
Hudson House River Inn | Cold Spring
This charming B&B is a fixture of the Cold Spring waterfront. Under chef John Guerrero, the River Room, which is a mere 100 feet from the water, serves up gourmet dishes like dry-aged, hand-cut steaks and market-fresh fish and seafood with a view. Looking for something a little more casual than the River Room’s white table cloth ambiance? The tavern offers a short menu of pub food that includes tasty treats like crab cakes, plus entrees like a burger, a lobster-avocado roll, and a flatbread pizza.
Dolly’s | Garrison
Dolly’s on the Garrison Landing serves up a seasonally changing farm-to-table menu that draws inspiration from global pub and bistro traditions. The current menu includes apps like fried mushrooms and a sourdough skillet focaccia, and simple hearty mains like pan fried black bass with chive puree or rohan duck breast with red wine sauce, served with French fries and pickled peach. The outdoor tables are dockside, right on the Hudson riverbank. Drive or boat out to eat, and enjoy a spectacular sunset over West Point and the Catskills.