[First posted 2016; Updated July 2022] Forgive me broader readership, I’m going super local today. Many of you probably know that I live in Westchester County, which borders New York City to the north and is flanked by the sailboat-dotted Long Island Sound to the East and the mighty Hudson River to the West. With the exception of college in Western Mass and a decade in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I’ve lived here for most of my life, and thought that was as good an excuse as any to offer a tour of my regular haunts. To be clear right up front: This is not a Best of Westchester List. It’s my very own, very biased hit list, first compiled in 2016 and now, updated to reflect closings, new discoveries, and my new regular haunts that I can’t believe weren’t even on my radar six years ago. I plan to update this page regularly, so please keep checking back. As with my first round-up, this list is going to be biased towards the Rivertowns (Yonkers, Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Tarrytown) since that’s my neighborhood, and also towards the lower Long Island Sound towns around Larchmont (since that’s where I grew up). But what good is a list if it’s not subjective? ENJOY!
Part 1: Where I Dine
Boro6 (Hastings) I remember reading that owner Paul Molakides wanted his cozy corner restaurant to feel like a cool, comfortable European hotel bar, where you know you can always get a good glass of wine and be treated like a special guest. It’s all that and so much more at Boro6, with its tight, sophisticated menu of toasts, pastas, fish, salads, sandwiches, small bites like their signature cacio e pepe arancini, plus a beautiful selection of cheese and salumi. Every dish is somehow simultaneously a flavor bomb and an exercise in restraint — always the best sign. We go mostly for dinner, but grabbing lunch with a friend on a Friday over a glass of Riesling is a pretty special way to kick off the weekend.
Fantasy Cuisine (Hartsdale) It’s inconceivable to me that I didn’t even know about this place when I wrote my first Westchester round-up six years ago. We go mostly for the dumplings (pork and soup, wontons in chili oil, steamed shrimp) but the menu has all the traditional Sichuan offerings and the space is bright and energetic. (Abby would like me to point out that you can order Boba to chase down those dumplings.) A favorite of the DALS house for Sunday night dinners when we don’t feel like cooking.
Goosefeather (Tarrytown) We first started hitting this Modern Cantonese spot from Chef Dan Talde (Top Chef, Chopped, etc) in spring 2020 for the pretty (and pandemic-friendly) outdoor space. Located in the Tarrytown House Estate, the restaurant overlooks grand lawns sloping down towards the river and was just the place to grab a drink on a warm night. But as the months went on, we kept returning — for the colorful, cool indoor dining space (how great is that bar?), the vegetable courses that change seasonally, and for two of what I think might make my Top 10 dishes in Westchester List: The Dry-Aged Beef Potstickers and the Crab Rice with jalapeño aioli and tobiko.
La Casa (Bronxville) I know I can be overly enthusiastic about things but I don’t think that’s possible when talking about La Casa, the Mexican restaurant that has not one but two Blue Hill at Stone Barns alums at the helm: chef Emily Gonzalez serving up simple magic (like lobster tostadas and a chicken enmolada I’m still thinking about months later) and Julio Enriquez crafting cocktails (hi poblano margarita) that make you weep they are so classy and so pretty. (Also, there is an entirely separate all-vegan menu — vegan dishes that aren’t hiding among the carnitas and chorizo with an asterisk or a “V” next to their name, but a whole entire bonafide MENU devoted to celebrating them.) This is no longer a well-kept secret — it just won Westchester Magazine‘s 2022 Best New Restaurant. Congrats team, well deserved!
Aqui Es Santa Fe (Port Chester) This cafe first entered my radar when Carlos Santos, the son in the mother-son team running it, showed up at the Rivertown Public Market and charmed everyone with his homemade, modern rainbow empanadas. He’s since moved on to Nadas in NYC, but his mother, the warm and welcoming Olga Santos is still presiding over the bright, happy space just across from the Port Chester Metro North train station, dishing up those empanadas along with an array of Colombian specialties — think arepas, fried yucca, and ceviche.
Farmer & the Fish (Purdy’s, North Salem) Full disclosure, I’ve only been here once. But that one night happened to be a chilly winter evening, and as soon as I walked into the bustling bar of the circa 1775 farmhouse, then past the fire blazing in the central stone hearth, and through the cozy, wood-beamed, table-jammed dining room, I knew I was going to love it. The food is A-list — think tavern food meets farm stand meets top shelf raw bar — and the vibe is both Special Occasion Destination Restaurant and a Local Pub where you can throw back a beer or a martini. P.S. For warmer months, the garden patio is supposed to be especially charming. P. P.S. There is also a River outpost, called Hudson Farmer & The Fish, which I love for a drink, overlooking the Hudson and the Tappan Zee.*
*no I will never call it by its new name
Kishuya (Hartsdale) Abby wasn’t home from college for 24 hours before we found ourselves slurping up the addictive shoyu tonkatsu (ask for it with the “spice bomb”) at our favorite ramen spot, located in an unassuming space in a Central Avenue strip mall. No matter which of the many ramen options you decide to order, you’ll find the broth has that meaty depth you just can’t replicate in your own kitchen. I have yet to find ramen in Westchester that can even touch this place. (But please feel free to prove me wrong in the comments.)
Inn at Pound Ridge (Pound Ridge) When you’re a 30-minute train ride away from the restaurant capital of the country, it can sometimes be hard to justify staying in the burbs for a high-qual celebratory dinner. But then we went to The Inn at Pound Ridge, a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant built in a ca. 1833 inn, in the heart of a more rural part of the county, where lawns are sweeping, the roads are windy, and have names like Old Stone Hill and Twin Fawns. It’s not a “restaurant that could be in New York,” which is the way people tend to describe any place in Westchester that does not use parasols in their specialty cocktail or have the game on behind the bar. With its original stone fireplaces, a menu majorly sourced from the Hudson Valley, and an elegant-yet-somehow-still-family-friendly vibe, IPR is uniquely, proudly Westchester and superior by any standard. The lighting alone — soft, golden, romantic is worth the price of admission. Insider tip: Order the crispy rice salmon sushi and the rigatoni with smoked ragu if it’s on the menu. (Updated 2022)
Bread & Brine (Hastings-on-Hudson) Oysters, steamers, fried fish, and All The Rolls (shrimp, clam, lobster) a Maine-loving-girl could ever ask for, we love the Downeast-inspired menu, but not far behind is the great selection of beer and the counter service with cheery, outdoor umbrella’d tables filled with families, couples and friend packs young and old. P.S. Our daughter Phoebe worked here last summer, and said the staff — and founder/managers Alex Sze and Jeremy McLellan — were as supportive and friendly as they come.
Sushi Mikes (Dobbs Ferry) Whenever we talk about Sushi Mikes with our city friends, they always laugh at the name (we did too when we heard it for the first time); it almost seemed to be going out of its way to sound like suburban, watered-down Japanese food. Turns out Mike Suzuki, the chef and owner here, is the one laughing all the way to the bank. People come from all over Westchester to patronize his warm, always-busy little corner spot with mermaid murals on the walls. His sushi boats are regular sights at Rivertown parties — kids’ and parents’ alike. Our go-to take-out order, saved on iPhone notes: Six pieces salmon sushi, spider roll, shrimp tempura app, yellowtail scallion roll, shrimp shumai, chicken teriyaki. (Updated 2022)
Plaza Garibaldi (Yonkers) This is the place we beeline to when we want table-side guac, chicken chilaquiles, tacos al pastor, and what we feel is some of the most authentic Mexican in the county. Best of all: there always seems to be a table available, even though the dining room is buzzing with a good crowd. (We also do takeout from here, even though it’s a good 20 minutes from our house — what can I say, when food is good, we do what it takes to secure it.)
Taco Project (Yonkers, Tarrytown) Anyone who follows me on instagram will not be surprised to see the Taco Project here. (Or, if you live in our house, “the Taco Proj”) This is such a great place to have down the street. The tacos are excellent, but what I love is that it’s counter service with a few tables and a perimeter counter for casual eating. The room itself, with its brick-exposed wall and bright, happy teal and orange palate, is a reminder that it doesn’t take a lot to make a space come to life. When we want to go out to dinner, but don’t want to a) drop a load of cash or b) eat pizza, this is an awesome option. It’s also an awesome option for after-school churros. Just sayin! (Updated 2022)
Harper’s Restaurant and Bar (Dobbs Ferry) We love Harper’s for it’s seasonal menu, pressed tin ceiling, string-lighted garden patio, and most of all for its bar. I mean the drinks, of course — their cocktail menu is fresh and inventive without being gimmicky — but what I really mean is the bar itself. When we find ourselves with a kid-less evening, or when I just want to meet a friend for a quick weeknight dinner, I’ll shoot down here to have, say, a Smoked Orange Boulevardier and a sampler of small plates. (Updated 2022)
Cosmo-Alex Pisano Deli (Mamaroneck) Known only in my family for as long as I can remember as just “Cosmos,” the sandwich and Italian specialty shop is our pick for the kind of Italian combo that one might call a day-ender (see above) as well as a wide array of imported Italian olive oils, jarred treats like roasted red peppers and giardinieria, pastas in all shapes and sizes (that’s Abby’s favorite section), dried beans, and classic Italian prepared foods that belong wedged in between seeded rolls with mozzarella and sauce — meatballs, chicken cutlets and breaded eggplant. Like many places on Mamaroneck’s main drag, this place would be right at home on Arthur Ave. Call ahead to order (lines can be long), then take your to-go sandwiches to Harbor Island Park down the road to have a picnic.
Stanz (Larchmont) I love this place for the breakfast menu — omelets, egg sandwiches, bagel platters, French toast, yogurt parfaits, avocado toasts, paralysis of choice is real, Kids! — but I love it more for the people watching and random run-ins. Lots of good coffee-infused vibrancy, parents coming by after dropping kids off at the elementary school across the street (my alma mater!), friends meeting for lattes, and fathers and daughters (hi Dad!) catching up over lox.
Rocky’s Millwood Deli (Millwood/Briarcliff Manor) When you live in Westchester you spend a lot of time on parkways — truck-less highways that often snake along rivers and lakes, and were built about a century ago in an effort to make trip into New York City a more scenic experience. (Think: The Anti-Bruckner.) Unless it’s rush hour, most of them live up to the mission, but in our house, it’s the Taconic, which cuts through the Hudson Valley straight up to Albany, that wins the prize for most fave. Mostly this is because we can make a pit-stop at 50-year-old Rocky’s Deli to pick up their famous Chicken Cutlet Sandwich. Rocky’s is an institution — equally popular among families on their way to soccer games, cyclists who hop off their trails (the North County Trailway runs right by it), travelers on their way down or upstate, and regulars who take advantage of its decidedly non-suburban hours: Open 24 hours, seven days a week. Honorable Mention for Crispy Chicken Sandwich: Scaperrotta’s Deli, or “Scappy’s,” Dobbs Ferry. (Updated 2022)
Walter’s Hot Dogs (Mamaroneck) I’ve had a lot of good luck in my life, but right up there at the top of the list has to be the fact that I went to high school across the street from Walter’s, home to what Gourmet magazine once awarded America’s best hot dog. (The locals were both honored and outraged by the accolades — as if the lines weren’t already long enough!) I know what you’re thinking: It’s not very hard to make a hot dog taste good — even the water-soaked limp dogs they pull from a street cart in Midtown is going to have its own special appeal — so really, how much better can Walter’s really be than most? Let me tell you the answer to that: A LOT BETTER. To begin with, they go with a blend of beef, pork, and (eek) veal, so right away it tastes a thousand times more flavorful. On top of that, they split the dogs, then fry them cut-side down in butter before slathering them on toasted buttered buns with their signature brown mustard. Lastly, they’re sold through the windows of a nearly 100-year-old Pagoda (below), deemed a National Historic Landmark in the 30s. I mean…how can you top that? (Insider tip: Lines are a lot shorter in the rain.)
Another Walter’s photo because I’m not sure you registered this properly: They sell hot dogs from a one-hundred-year-old Pagoda.
Bagel Round-up (Scarsdale, Hastings, Bronxville, New Rochelle) A common complaint from recent New York transplants is often: I miss the food. We were those complainers. We still are. But one thing you’ll never hear us complain about are the bagels. I can’t seem to drive more than five miles without finding world class options. Two minutes from our house is Hastings Own Bagels; in New Rochelle there’s Sammy’s New York Bagels; In Bronxville there’s Park Place Bagels (above) which also happens to win my heart for best egg sandwich in Westchester. (Get it on a roll, not a bagel!) But after careful consideration and much consumption, the DALS family is in agreement that you’ll find the best Westchester bagel in a strip mall in Scarsdale at Bagel Power. Most of the time they’re warm (key), the flavor is slightly, subtly sweet, the crispy outside and doughy inside offer the ideal contrast, and most important for the under-12 set: They Have Rainbows. Insider tip: You won’t regret picking up a bag of the bagel chips or the rainbow cookies by the register. (Updated 2022)
Coffee Round-up (Hastings, Tarrytown, Mamaroneck) I don’t have any one favorite, but I tend to return to the same handful depending on my mood. Antoinette’s (Hastings) is presided over by the charismatic Kus, who roasts his own small-batch blends (Giacobean) in nearby Yonkers. Though you can no longer lounge around on a Saturday morning at an inside table (since the pandemic it’s only counter-service and outdoor tables, weather permitting) just waiting in line here (it can be a long line) will quickly disabuse you of the notion that everyone in Westchester walks around in tennis whites and Lululemon. The place is packed with screenwriters and media types and cyclists finishing up a long ride, and I find it’s just the right place to connect with locals who I otherwise wouldn’t see. I used to visit Coffee Labs (Tarrytown) a lot, mostly because it was convenient for me to sit there while my kids (who loved the cute latte art) were at some practice or camp nearby — unlike Antoinette’s they have Wi-Fi — but my husband will drive out of his way to go here for the coffee, his top pick in the area. (They blend their own as well.) A shot of espresso at Boiano’s in Mamaroneck (shown above; more under “bakeries”) is not going to let you down either. (Updated 2022)
Pizzeria La Rosa (New Rochelle, above) Where do I begin with this one? I guess the logical place would be the absurdly good pizza which is wood-fired and Neapolitan-style and baked in a 100-year-old oven that has been lovingly restored by founder Matt DiGesu and Frank Pinello of Williamsburg’s Best Pizza fame. (Let it just be said: This is hands-down my most favorite pizza in the county.) But what really makes it special is that I can start the evening with an expertly crafted Negroni or Manhattan; and round out those beautiful Margherita pies with a roasted beet and ricotta salad that feels like a main event (as opposed to a “I guess we have to put salads on this pizza menu”) And the Eggplant Parm! OMG don’t sleep on it! It’s bright and crunchy and will redeem all the mushy eggplant parm episodes you’ve ever endured! We think of this restaurant for special occasions (they have a sorta semi-private room that we filled with balloons for Andy’s birthday last year) or just a weeknight dinner with friends. When La Rosa is in the calendar, it’s all I can think about all week long. (FYI on parking: They have a small lot, but it’s often packed, and street spots can be tricky. I find I get lucky on John Street, which runs parallel to Main St.)
Sal’s (Mamaroneck) You should just assume that the foods I grew up eating while wearing ribbon barrettes and cut-off Esprit sweatshirts, are going to be the ones that instantly rise to the top of a lists like this. That is definitely the case with Sal’s in Mamaroneck, where I went for lunch almost every day in high school to eat a regular slice and throw back a Dr. Pepper. (For reasons that remain mysterious, it is still literally the only place I ever order a Dr. Pepper.) But here’s the thing: when I dragged Andy there soon after we met in college, he grew just as attached to it. As the years went on, we fell in love…with their salad pizza, which features tomatoes and shredded romaine tossed in that oregano-heavy oil and vinegar you can somehow only ever get at a legit Italian American restaurant. That slice alone makes it a destination spot for me, especially since it’s right in the heart of bustling Mamaroneck, and afterwards I can walk up and down Mamaroneck Ave procuring ingredients and Italian speciality items for all my future meals. Insider tip: In high school, my brother, Phil, famously said, “There’s always a parking spot in front of Sal’s.” And it’s true! It’s like magic! (But maybe it only works for those of us who grew up here; keep me posted.) (Updated 2022)
The Parlor (Dobbs Ferry) Dave DiBari (of Cookery fame, and something of a celebrity chef in Westchester) opened up The Parlor eight or nine years ago and ever since, we’ve been mauling his wood-fired artisanal pizzas topped with brussels sprouts and bacon, light-as-air polpette with ricotta, béchamel and hen of the woods, the David Chang-esque fried Brussels Sprouts salad with chili-honey and Rice Krispies. The brick is exposed, the space is industrial, the music is loud. On Thursdays and the weekends it can be a long wait, so if the weather is cooperating, we often order take-out and bring it down to the Dobbs Ferry waterfront, three minutes away, for the world’s greatest picnic.
Al Fresco Dining at Dobbs Ferry’s Waterfront Park Almost every Rivertown has a waterfront park with dramatic views of the Hudson and Manhattan skyline, twenty-ish miles south. But only Dobbs Ferry’s has this picnic table (located at the northern-most point in the park) that is always covered in shade and offers the perfect perch for sunsets, skylines, and sailboats. When the kids were young (this photo makes me all weepy) and we didn’t want to deal with having people over for dinner, we’d invite friends here, throw tablecloth on the table, order our favorite take-out, while all the kids played soccer or cavorted on the playground. I miss those days, but it ain’t so bad on those nights when just Andy and I sit here for glass of chilled rose before heading home to dinner. (Updated 2022)
WHERE I DINE, LIGHTNING ROUND
Favorite Experience: Blue Hill at Stone Barns (Pocantico Hills)
Favorite Drink with River Views: The roof or terrace at Red Hat on the River (Irvington)
Favorite Banh Mi: Saigonese (Hartsdale)
Favorite Hibachi Birthday Party for Kids: Osaka (Tarrytown)
Favorite Egg Sandwich: Park Place Bagels (Bronxville) on a roll, not a bagel!
Favorite Pizza Party for Kids: Frank Pepe (Yonkers)
Favorite Pancakes: Pondfield Cafe (Bronxville) CASH ONLY
Favorite Sushi To-Go: Fjord (Larchmont, no sit-down, just a sushi chef working next to the fish market)
Favorite Cinnamon Bun: Coffee Labs (Tarrytown)
Favorite Food Incentive: Blue Pig Ice Cream (Croton-on-Hudson) after kayaking
Favorite Place I’ve Been Meaning to Hit: Burgers, Shakes, and Fries (Greenwich, but basically Port Chester!)
Favorite Food/Culture Experiences: Go Love NY
Favorite Private Event Caterer: Patty Nusser
Part 2: SPECIALTY/MARKETS
Note: It might strike you as somewhat odd that there is no general supermarket on this list. That is not because I don’t shop at general supermarkets. I do. In fact, in my line of work as a food and cookbook writer, I do almost every day, which I understand is not the way most people shop*. Instead, I chose to focus on a few special places that I go out of my way to patronize, markets and specialty stores that transform errands into events.
[OK Fine: If I had to tell you what my go-to shopping spots were, I’d say it would be some combination of MOM’s Organic Market (Dobbs Ferry, an especially great resource for gluten-free, dairy-free, hard-to-find products, but on the pricier end), H Mart (Hartsdale, such well priced organic produce, Trader Joe’s (Hartsdale, my family would not survive without their nuts and olive oil/condiment aisle) and, of course, the local Stop & Shop for everything else.]
Hastings Farmer’s Market (Hastings-on-Hudson) You can pretty much always find us here on Saturday morning, prowling around for our favorite local treasures like lions on the hunt. Located in the town’s Metro-North train station parking lot, the market has views of the Hudson and the Palisades, and under the guidance of superwoman Pascale LaDraoulec over the past decade, has exploded. You can almost always track down whatever Fetishy Food Find is in season (think: garlic scapes, ramps, rhubarb, favas), but more important, you can’t walk an inch without running into a friend or neighbor. Don’t leave without: Pomegranate chutney from Bombay Emerald, Duck breasts from Hudson Valley Duck; the eggs and cider doughnuts (that one is Abby’s pick) at Wrights Farmers; any of the produce from Neversink; sweet Italian sausages and whatever is local at Pura Vida Fisheries — Grab a bag of Little Necks, soft-shell crabs, striped bass, or grey sole for the best Sunday dinner. (Updated 2022)
Frontier (Hartsdale) Whenever you see sushi or raw fish on this blog, there is a 100% chance that it came from this market, a diamond in the rough on strip-mall-city Central Park Ave, the main drag that runs north-south in Westchester and essentially cuts the county in half. When it’s sushi night (or poke night or sushi bowl night) in our house, we do a one-stop shop here. Not only is the fish the freshest (there is virtually no smell in the seafood section of the store in the back), but they sell beautiful, hard-to-find produce, like shiso leaves and the skinny Japanese cucumbers that are perfect in sushi rolls. My kids will tell you, they also offer an impressive selection of Wacky Pops, which somehow always end up in the shopping cart as well. (Updated 2022)
A. Mercurio Sons (Italian, Mamaroneck) I grew up on this old-school Italian market’s offerings — my childhood freezer was stacked with boxes of cheese ravioli and little plastic pints of bolognese — but it took moving across the county for me to really appreciate it. Now, whenever I’m on that side of Westchester I LOAD up on so much more than I used to: the ravioli and bolognese of course, but also the prepared lasagna, baked ziti, chicken parm, the rigatoni they sell in the freezer at the register, their house-made mozzarella, and loaves of long Italian breads that I’ll slice and freeze (and top with that mozzarella) for the lunch box all week. As the dudes in The Incredibles said, “No School like the Old School.” Insider tip: While you’re on Mamaroneck Ave, head down the street to Cosmos (see above). (Updated 2022)
Rochambeau Wine & Liquors (Dobbs Ferry) From Andy, who is the chief wine patron in our house: “It’s our favorite but not just because they sell great and varied and well-priced wines. It’s great because they care, and because they actually know what they are talking about. There were days when I used to browse at wine stores, looking for things I recognized, trying to learn. Those days are gone. Now I just walk right up to the register and say, ‘Hey Jeff [Jeff Wooddy, the man in charge] we’re having people over for a BBQ tonight and we’re gonna sit outside and eat a bunch or ribs. I’m looking for a good rose.’ And then I will watch Jeff’s eyes light up. He will leave his perch behind the counter and show me what is new, tell me what he likes, and why it’s special. As he talks, I take mental notes so that I can then casually mention all of this to our guests, who will, in turn, assume that I actually know something about wine. The people who work at Rochambeau don’t just work at Rochambeau: they also buy for Rochambeau, and meet with all the best vendors and winemakers, and that kind of passion and knowledge is hard to come by. You can find it here.” (Updated 2022)
La Placita (Port Chester) A one-stop-shop market for authentic Central and South American ingredients, plus a secret weapon for well-priced, hard-to-find quality produce, I never leave without a bag of dried chiles (above, a small sample of the offerings), tortillas, frozen empanada shells, Maseca brand masa harina (for homemade tortillas on ambitious nights), a jar of dulce de leche (I buy a different brand every time for the express purpose of drizzling over ice cream), and various fruits and pulps that you just can’t reliably find anywhere else, like passion fruit and papaya.
Bhavik Market (Elmsford) If you live in Westchester, you’ve probably driven by Bhavik a thousand times without realizing it — on Rte 119, on the way to the Bed Bath and Beyond and Home Goods and Starbucks and Whateversville Strip Mall USA. Next time, do yourself a favor and program your GPS to this small, cheery market, packed with Indian spices, condiments, dry goods, chutneys, a small, but well-curated selection of produce (tamarind pulp, ginger, mangoes, etc), and an assortment of prepared chaat at the register. Fun fact: They also sell classic British biscuits and chocolates — I always stock up on Cadbury Flake bars when I’m there.
Dobbs Ferry Lobster Guys (Dobbs Ferry) These days, every time I walk by the mile-long line for local fish at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, I scratch my head. I mean, the purveyor at the market is excellent, but…do those people in line not know about Dobbs Ferry Lobster Guys? Considering DFLG’s so-small-you-could-miss-it shingle hanging on their storefront on the very outskirts of town, I guess it’s conceivable that people don’t yet, and I really need that to change because I do not want this place to go out of business. I’ve come to depend on it for just-off-the-boat sole, swordfish, scallops, clams every single weekend. The place, run by third-generation commercial fisherman Anthony DeMeglia is as no-frills as it gets, all the better to highlight his show-stealing display. Check their instagram for updates on hours, but usually they are only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Bloomy Cheese and Provisions (Dobbs Ferry) So much more than a cheese shop, and presided over by the charismatic Jessica Galen, Bloomy is indispensable for those times I need local or one-of-a-kind gifts. Look at those beautiful bottles of olive oils! Food lovers will also go crazy over the selection of cured meats, canned fish, vinegars, jams and chutneys, gorgeous pastas, gifty cheese-related cookbooks and reference books, textiles (napkins, table runners, dish towels), hats emblazoned with favorite cheeses.
Yaranush (White Plains) This place reminds me of the home in The Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton. A few blocks away from a I-287 junction, sandwiched in between car dealerships and gas stations, sits this old-school little Armenian-owned gem that offers everything you want a Mediterranean market to offer: dried fruits, grains and spices in bulk, hummus, babaganouj, home-baked pita, halvah, olives, honey, baklava, halloumi, an entire section devoted exclusively to tahini, heirloom dried beans, some of the most beautiful olive oil you’ve ever seen. We like load up on all their apps (stuffed grape leaves and an assortment of pita and dips) when we’re entertaining.(Updated 2022)
By the Way Bakery (Hastings-on-Hudson) Though we can no longer count this as Westchester’s own, we are inspired and proud that Helene Godin’s gluten-free empire has expanded into Manhattan and beyond. (The corporate-lawyer-turned-entrepreneur has come a long way in a few short years!) We are obsessed with her almond cloud cookies and her marble tea cakes, but she seems to have gained a sizable following for big-ticket special occasion cakes, too, like this one we ordered for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday last year. (Updated 2022)
Boiano’s Bakery (Mamaroneck) Last time we went (um, yesterday), we spied Joe Torre sauntering into the back kitchen to a room full of ayyyyyyys and embraces. But dare I say it, even a Red Sox fans will feel welcome at the old-school Italian coffee shop and bakery with an entire wall of display cases showcasing the Italian dolci of your dreams: rainbow cookies, chocolate-dipped, sugar-dusted, sprinkle-coated butter and jam-filled cookies, chewy almond amaretti cookies (Andy’s favorite), old-school birthday cakes, fruit tarts, cannolis, biscottis by the billions! With its chrome-framed chairs and a group of regulars clad in full-on warm-up suits always parked at the tables out front, it feels like you’re in both Rome and an episode of The Sopranos.
Galloway’s (Scarsdale) You gotta love a place that is only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This circa 1956 bakery is famous for its pies (chocolate cream and apple crumb specifically), but if we’re in the neighborhood, we forgo those for their fresh-baked warm doughnut holes dusted with cinnamon sugar. Be warned: The place is packed floor to ceiling with a ridiculous array of baked goods, so if you go with kids, you’ll walk out with way more than just doughnut holes. (Updated 2022)
WHERE I SHOP, LIGHTNING ROUND
Favorite Pop-up Sourdough Scavenger Hunt: Hudson Oven (above)
Favorite Birthday Cakes: Riviera Bakehouse (Ardsley)
Favorite Chocolate Twists: Kneaded Bread (Port Chester)
Favorite Cider Doughnuts: Wright’s Farm stand at the Hastings Farmer’s Market
Favorite Persian Market: Shiraz Mediterranean (when Ash Reshteh calls!)
Favorite Shelves Spilling Over Shop: Mint (Tarrytown)
Favorite Chocolates: CocoaTree (Dobbs Ferry, get the nine-pack for the best host gift)
PS: I’m almost afraid to ask: What am I missing? What did I get wrong? Please clue me in below.
Photo credits: Harper’s Bar: 3Industries; Walter’s Hot Dog: Westchester Magazine; Walter’s Exterior: Purdy’s: Hamlet Hub; Walter’s Hot Dogs; Inn at Pound Ridge: The New York Times; Hudson Oven: Instagram.
Thank you! Thank you!
As a just before pandemic transplant to lower Westchester from the west coast, I find this to be an invaluable list. Now that we can carefully get out, I know where to go for great food experiences. So many places to explore! Thank you so much for sharing this.
It’s a fantastic starting place! I’ve added a few more great spots below 🙂
I live just a bit farther north up the Hudson in Ossining and have to put a plug in for First Village Coffee, for the vibes, amazing coffee and to die for baked goods. And, for the best seafood in Westchester (biased opinion) Brother’s Fish & Chips. Come check them out if you’re ever north of Tarrytown!
I also love the Turkish place up there!
This is a fantastic list! What’s missing?
Try the bagels and lox from The Shop in Ardsley. They pass muster with this transplant from Great Neck, and they even deliver.
ChuChok Thai in Sleepy Hollow. Takeout only. I think you’re the one who first told me about it, and it satisfies our Thai food cravings when we’re not up for a drive to Queens. Tip: place your order by email before 2p on busy nights to guarantee they can accommodate your pickup at the time you want it.
O Mandarin. For takeout/delivery we prefer Fantasy, but the food and experience when dining in is beyond anything else in Westchester. A wide-ranging menu of Sichuanese and other Chinese cuisines — and an INCREDIBLE Peking duck that you don’t have to pre-order. (It holds its own with Goosefeathers’!)
Calcutta Wrap N Roll in Ardsley: we’ve only ever had delivery from there but it’s fantastic authentic Bengali and South Indian food, plus all the typical things you might want, too. Try the chorchori vegetables, the many house specialty chicken dishes, the meat biryanis, and also the tandoori wings!
Saigonese in Hartsdale for good Vietnamese food. We’re not pho people so can’t weigh in on that, but their grilled pork, bun, banh mi, and banh-xeo, an omelette-centered dish filled with deliciousness (my fave).
OHHHHHHH! Brothers Fish & Chips in Ossining. A complete gem in an unassuming strip mall, this place has two sides. The first offers the absolute best fish & chips this side of the pond. The second has an inexpensive tasting menu, devised by Chef Elmer, who cooked at Le Bernardin and presents each course table-side with a wide smile.
Finally, not in Westchester but about an hour’s drive across the river and one of the best casual but delicious meals we’ve had nearby, nestled into the farm that grows much of their produce — Blooming Hill Farm. Nice enough for a date night, tolerant enough to bring the kids (plus they can run around outside between courses).
It freaked me out that currently the first comment on this is also by a Thea- we are few and far between but apparently all flock to DALS.
Check out ODO in Tuckahoe- Abruzzese food in a small space, wonderful staff, great cocktails. Get the scarpetta and speducc and pretty much anything else. And after that (or before) I like to walk over to Bronxville for cocktails at the Whistling Rail, a speakeasy in the train station.
I also live in Westchester but in northern Westchester. Great list. Many places I have been but others I have heard of but have been meaning to go to but others I did not know of. One note there is also a taco project on Pleasantville. We also discovered goose feathers on the summer of 2020 and loved the outdoor dining it has continued to be a favorite spot.
Plaza Garibaldi is a square in Mexico City famous for its mariachi bands!
This list is magic and, as a long-time Hastings resident, it hits almost all the great places. But…you will absolutely kvell when you discover Hala Market in Yonkers on Broadway across from the post office. Bursting with middle eastern ingredients: every kind of grain, acres of spices, olives, halvahs, fetas, kibbeh, a total fantasy. The Grill House next door (used to be called Yahala), amazing falafel, kebabs, babaganoush, etc. You’re welcome!
My husband and I moved to Westchester from Queens during the pandemic and haven’t had many opportunities to explore due to…well, you know. I sent him several links from your list before just sending the whole thing! This is such a gift. Thank you!
I love Climbing Wolf in Dobbs Ferry for coffee! Big, spacious indoor seating with wi-fi.
Oh wow, taking me down memory lane. I lived in Harrison for 2 years about 20 years ago. Just your listing of all the various towns up and down Westchester Co has got me all nostalgic. I miss NY deeply at times, those were two amazing years. We were there from 2000-2002, and experienced 9/11 and the after effects. I hate the term “core memory” as much as I hate “chef’s kiss”… but both wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe living there in my early 30s, child free.
Thanks for the memories!
Love this list! I bookmarked every single one I have not yet been to. For Italian take home meals (frozen -ready to pop in the oven) and endless deli sandwich and platter options (order ahead for catering) – Zuccarellis in Eastchester. The chicken Scarpariello from the freezer is better than restaurants – just make sure you can handle sodium haha. The prices for sandwiches are solid – just over $8 for a double deli meat no cheese sandwich on an epic soft and perfect roll.
I live in New Rochelle and the best bagel place was the one in the Quaker Ridge shopping center. I don’t know what crack they put in the dough, but the cravings were real! Sadly, they closed around Christmas and the space was sold to the owners of Park Place bagels. In my hunt to replace them, I found Lenny’s in Pelham and Long Island Bagel Cafe on Central Ave in Scarsdale. Both have excellent bagels and extensive menus. For coffee and really good breakfast, try Pop’s Espresso Bar on Main St in New Rochelle. Finally, I know you don’t eat a lot of meat, but I have to plug for AJ’s Burgers on North Ave. He has a secret Pat LaFrieda blend that I dream about and he cooks old school Italian food like a Nonna, despite being named Alan Cohen!
Odo in Tuckahoe is amazing.
I love Lenny’s Bagels in Port Chester / Rye Brooke
This is SO great for those new to Westchester! Thank you! We moved up here from Astoria last year and are just getting our bearings. Time to explore – with your article in hand!