Crunchy filets of battered fish and crispy “chips” served in a newspaper cone. A spicy bowl of Hungarian goulash. Buttery spaetzle served with pan-fried schnitzel. Instead of investing hundreds of dollars and many hours visiting Europe to enjoy these authentic dishes, you can eat your way north of New York City along the Hudson River. From Swiss cheese fondue to the best French onion soup in the region, you’ll find a wide range of European-inspired restaurants in the Hudson Valley that will trick your taste buds into believing you’re on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
1. Canterbury Brook Inn
Swiss Continental Restaurant In Cornwall
Just 5 minutes from Storm King State Park, Canterbury Brook Inn is a taste of Switzerland in Upstate New York thanks to the culinary talent of Swiss-trained Chef Hans Baumann.
What began as a creative way to eat hard cheese and stale bread during the long, cold winter months is now the national dish of Switzerland. Start your meal at Canterbury Brook Inn by dipping chunks of bread and slices of apples into Gruyère and Emmental cheese fondue. Or enjoy the raclette Valaisanne, a melted cheese appetizer served with cornichon, pearl onions, and roasted potatoes. And while it’s originally from west of the border in Burgundy, France, the escargots are also quite delicious.
Fun Fact: Fondue gets its name from the French verb fondre, which means “to melt.”
For your entrée, either the rosti or pork tenderloin Zurichoise will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to the Alps. The Swiss Alpen rosti is a fried shredded potato pancake served with smoked bacon and a fried egg. The pan-seared strips of pork tenderloin are served in a rich brown mushroom gravy sauce with spaetzle (thin Swiss dumplings). Or, if you’re craving more fondue, order the mixed grille fondue and cook pork tenderloin, shrimp, chicken breast, and filet mignon in hot oil before dipping into an assortment of sauces.
Then finish off your meal with the housemade warm apple and fruit tarte, served à la mode.
- Special Experience: Chateaubriand Bouquetière, filet mignon for two served with roasted potatoes and assorted vegetables
- Sensational Side: Spaetzle
2. A Tavola Trattoria
A Seasonally-Inspired Italian Restaurant In New Paltz
On the left bank of the Hudson River, at about the same longitude as Hyde Park, A Tavola Trattoria serves Italian-inspired dishes on candlelit tables. It’s located in a country-chic setting along Main Street in New Paltz. Because of its desire to support as many Hudson Valley farms as possible, the restaurant embraces a farm-to-table approach, with a menu that changes seasonally.
As you peruse the menu, sip a classic Negroni with Campari, vermouth, gin, and a twist of orange. No matter what you choose from the antipasti, primi, and secondi menu options, you’re sure to love every bite of the salad, soup, pasta, and meat dishes you select. And while the dessert offerings also change with the seasons, you’ll definitely want to save room for a sweet treat at the end of your meal, whether that’s torta, tart, or tiramisu.
Fun Fact: A tavola is Italian for “at the table,” a common Italian phrase used to invite family and friends to the table to eat.
- Must-Try Pasta: Black truffle mac and cheese topped with toasted bread crumbs
- On Tap: Several regional beers in addition to Italian favorites
Pro Tip: While the primary dining room on the main floor offers a cozy, romantic setting, request a table upstairs near the windows for even better ambiance.
Handmade Polish And European Cuisine In Troy
A great place to enjoy Polish classics, along with other European dishes, is Muza. Located in the under-the-radar town of Troy, this is the place to go for stuffed cabbage and handmade pierogies. Enjoy traditional cabbage rolls filled with pork, beef, and rice topped with a tangy tomato sauce. Or try golombki, a similar dish that essentially swaps buckwheat for rice in the filling. Sticking with Polish classics, Muza also serves potato, cheese, and onion-filled pierogies that they’ll pan fry upon request. These stuffed, boiled dumplings go great with a large link of kielbasa sausage.
But Muza’s menu stretches beyond the Polish border, including spicy Hungarian goulash, warm German potato salad, crispy Vienna-style schnitzel, and creamy chicken marsala. And when you’re ready to finish off your meal with a little something sweet, order a French-inspired crepe filled with fruit or chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar.
- Must-Try Meal: Polish Sampler with two pierogies, two stuffed cabbage rolls, and two potato pancakes
- Decadent Dessert: Chocolate, hazelnut, and banana crepe
Pro Tip: For one of the region’s best outdoor dining spots, including impressive sunset views, check out The Hill at Muza, a European-style beer garden. Built into a terraced hill behind the main restaurant, it’s been recognized by Restaurant Guru for its outdoor seating and ambiance.
Irish Fare In Rhinebeck
While there are several English-style pubs in the Hudson Valley, Bia (pronounced bee-ya) is one of the only restaurants serving Irish fare. While you’ll find ale tempura-battered fish and thrice-cooked chips with minted pea puree on the menu, this Gaelic gem in the heart of downtown Rhinebeck is far from a typical chipper.
Start with the Irish stout, treacle brown bread, and a farmhouse cheese board for the table. Then dive into one of several scrumptious starters, like ravioli filled with Irish black pudding and truffled cheddar champ served in a crispy sage brown butter sauce. For a larger plate, try the steak and ale pie, featuring Irish stout braised beef, or the fresh-caught seasonal fish of the day. And don’t be afraid to drink your dessert by topping things off with an Irish coffee spiked with single-grain Irish whiskey and rich cream.
- Indulgent Entrée: Petite Pennsylvania lamb sirloin
- Sensational Sides: Whiskey-glazed baby carrots and duck fat roasted potatoes
- Must Sip: Irish coffee
Pro Tip: In addition to Rhinebeck, check out these other quaint towns you won’t want to miss when you visit the Hudson Valley.
Greek Restaurant In Albany
If a visit to New York’s castle-like capitol building doesn’t make you feel like you’re in Europe, then stepping into Athos Restaurant is sure to transport you across the Atlantic. The food is as delicious as anything I experienced in Greece, and with its friendly, attentive servers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better Greek restaurant this side of the Atlantic!
Treat your taste buds to a tour of the Greek Isles by starting with the sampler plate of Greek spreads (hummus, tzatziki, and spicy pepper), saganaki (cheese flambéed table-side with ouzo), or grilled octopus. When it comes to main dishes, you’re sure to love all of the Greek classics on the menu, including the moussaka, pastichio, or souvlaki.
With so many delicious choices and generous portions, it’s easy to fill up at Athos, but be sure to save room for dessert! With almonds and walnuts filling flaky layers of honey-drenched phyllo dough, the baklava is a classic choice. Or go for the loukoumades, fried dough puffs served with walnuts and cinnamon.
- Vegetarian Pick: Spanakopita, a grilled vegetable gyro
- Seafood Splurge: Bronzino filet
- Decadent Dessert: Galaktobouriko, a custard-filled phyllo pastry glazed with honey and drizzled with sweet syrup
Pro Tip: Here are some of my other favorite restaurants in Albany, New York.
6. Le Canard Enchaine
Elegant French Food In Kingston
When the New York Times says, “Lift a fork and imagine you’re in France,” you know you’ve discovered the best French restaurant in the Hudson Valley. Whether visiting the Le Canard Enchaine bistro for lunch or dinner — and whether it’s cold outside or not — you’ll want to start your dining experience with a steaming bowl of French onion soup. After all, Chef Jean-Jacques’s version has been voted the best in the Hudson Valley! If you enjoy escargots, you’ll also want to try the garlic snails, but be sure to allow 15–20 minutes for their preparation.
Delicious lunch entrées include the croque monsieur and salade Niçoise. A French bistro classic, the croque monsieur is more than a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Instead of spreading the slices of bread with butter or olive oil before frying, chefs dip the croque monsieur in an egg mixture. Once it’s crispy on the outside and the Gruyère cheese is melted on the inside, it’s plated and smothered in bechamel sauce. And at Le Canard Enchaine, you can add an egg sunny side up, known as a croque madame. For a lighter lunch entrée, the salad Niçoise is another French classic that tops salad greens with chunks of fresh tuna, tomato, hard-boiled egg slices, and other vegetables.
Duck is a common ingredient in French cuisine, and at the restaurant whose name is a shoutout to these feathered creatures (canard is the French word for “duck”), you can enjoy duck two ways. If you’re not familiar with confit, it’s a tender piece of duck thigh that’s been cooked low and slow in duck fat. Both duck dishes are served with fruit, the roast duck with a mixed berry sauce and the confit over apple compote.
With main dishes featuring steak, duck, lamb, chicken, and salmon, vegetarians may be a little hesitant to visit Le Canard Enchaine. However, the vegetable Napoleon, with layers of eggplant, roasted pepper, and cheese, is deliciously filling.
- Vegetarian Pick: Vegetable Napoleon
- Indulgent Entrée: Steak frites
- Seafood Splurge: Moules Marinère