A superb meal on the town is one of life’s great joys, whether you’re celebrating something in particular or just have a yen to be pampered. Being welcomed into a beautifully appointed room where you’re given a list of delightful options and fine wine? We’re all the way in, and that’s even before the food is served.
To truly count as fine dining, a restaurant needs to season the finest ingredients with creative culinary genius and graceful warmth. Happily, our region is as richly blessed with culinary genius as it is with agricultural bounty; a fine dining restaurant in these parts is someone's dream made real, and each meal service is a celebration.
So here are some of our our top fine dining restaurants in Ulster County for a memorable meal out. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our picks in the surrounding counties.
Cream of the Crop: Ulster County's Best Restaurants
Le Canard Enchaine
Chef Jean-Jaques Carquillat established a delicious Parisian bistro in the heart of Kingston’s Stockade in 1996, and Le Canard Enchaine has been blowing minds with its festive, authentic, and fabulously indulgent French fare ever since.You’ll find garlic snails, roasted Long Island duck in Grand Marnier and orange sauce, and a delicious sensation of being treated like French royalty and long-lost family at the same time.
- Courtesy of Le Canard
The Red Onion
The Red Onion Restaurant and Bar, located between Woodstock and Saugerties, might just have a resident ghost who met her sad end during the old farmhouse’s time as a brothel. That tale in itself adds a note of drama to casual fine dining, but people get so involved in the food that the ghost is often forgotten — and when you taste the house-made pierogies with black truffle potato puree, the locally smoked trout, or the seafood risotto, you’ll understand how she got upstaged.
SilviaAt Silvia in Woodstock, you can watch them prepare the finest organic farm-to-table in the big open kitchen with its wood-fired oven. Silvia is full of art and delicious aromas. Start off with a helping of housemade bread with whipped butter, apple, raw wildflower honey, pecan and pink peppercorn or some East Coast oysters. It would be easy to make a meal of the artful vegetable offerings, but then someone has to eat the grass-fed steak with seared hakurei turnip, garlic scape butter, and horseradish mustard...
- courtesy of Silvia
- Fluke Crudo, coconut, thai chili, grapefruit, watermelon radish, mint, basil, cilantro, scallion oil
A TavolaA Tavola Trattoria offers rustic Italian fare made from scratch with fresh local ingredients and served with a joyful reverence for the time-honored Italian tradition that food is a form of love made visible. Antipasto here can be Fiddlehead Farms pea shoot salad or truly sumptuous hand-cut steak tartare with capers, cornichons, mustard, truffle, quail yolk, toasted house-made bread and chili oil. And that is quite literally just the beginning; you’ll love the pasta and seafood, and by the time the house-made gelato is served, you’ll feel like a whole new person (and you might need a whole new pants size).
- Thomas Smith
- Crispy duck egg with butternut squash puree, roasted cauliflower, nasturtiums, and pine nuts and dressed in black truffle vinaigrette.
ButterfieldEarly settlers in central Ulster compared the richness of the very soil itself to butter, and Butterfield, housed in a historic Dutch Colonial mansion-turned-chic hotel in Stone Ridge, has earned a global reputation for transforming the bounty of that land into creative, splendid food. Meat is smoked and bread is baked right there on site, as they undoubtedly were back in the day; try the Highland venison or the Catskills smoked trout, but be sure to save room for some butterscotch pudding or perhaps a plum torte.
- Photo by Harrison Lubin
- Delicata squash rings with herb aioli at Butterfield in Stone Ridge
Wilde BeestWilde Beest aims to "settle you in, wind you down, and win your heart” and does exactly that. Located in a historic space in Uptown Kingston that was once a jewelry store, Wilde Beest welcomes you in the door with a flourish of taxidermied pheasants on the wall and warm, friendly service. This cuisine is more sophisticated and experimental than what you'll find at the majority of local establishments. Chef Chris Turgeon serves up avant-garde local fare in a succinct, curated mix of small and large plates that invite sharing and tasting among companions. There’s a characteristic simplicity that blends generational wisdom with an embrace of the moment running through everything from the aesthetic to the artful cuisine.
- Nina Duncan / Paparella Creative
Henry's at the FarmHenry’s at the Farm is the in-house restaurant of the elegant, inviting Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa in Milton, so you’ll be entering a self-contained little universe where you can walk a trail, meet some rescue animals, or even schedule a spa session for after an sumptuous lunch. Ingredients for everything from sophisticated New American to burgers and creative pizza are locally sourced, some of them coming from Buttermilk’s own Millstone Farm and kitchen garden onsite.
Location Details Henry's at the Farm
You might not expect to find a meticulous, mouthwatering, and authentic sushi experience in an out-of the-way Kingston strip mall, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Sushi Makio. In this tiny shoebox restaurant, a master sushi chef crafts each plate of the finest fish with exquisite care. Attentive service and a well-rounded sake list complement the offerings. Make a reservation 24 hours in advance for a seat at the sushi bar and the full Omakase experience, in which you put yourself in Makio's good hands and let him guide you on a sushi journey.
Related The Master's Hands: SushiMakio
- Roy Gumpel
- Spider roll