There are many reasons why more and more New York chefs are opening restaurants upstate—and the scenery is one of them. Sure, Paris has its sidewalk cafes and Tavern on the Green has its crowded patio. But when it comes to offering a diverse selection of outdoor dining experiences neither can match the varied scenarios found in the Hudson Valley. Here, diners can savor award-winning, locally sourced gourmet fare or casual comfort food in settings that range from mountain-view tables to small-town courtyards to perches alongside the Hudson. Below are just a few of the exceptional al fresco eateries that populate the region.
Bakar at Back Bar
Bakar at Back Bar is the latest venture of chef Zak Pelaccio, a founder of four-star West Village hot spot Fatty Crab and, more recently, his own high-end local boite, Fish & Game. A former service station that also contains furniture and lighting gallery 347, the site opened its Back Bar libations space last year; the dining area of Bakar, named for a Malaysian grilled fish dish that's emblematic of the new restaurant's menu, serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.Hudson
Crab curry with losi noodles, haddock balls, fish sauce, scallion, cilantro, basil, cilantro, and jasmine rice ($15).
The Tavern at Diamond Mills
Built where a thriving paper mill once stood, the Diamond Mills complex contains a 30-room luxury hotel, a 7,000-square-foot ballroom/event space—and the Tavern at Diamond Mills, a casually elegant restaurant with a table-dotted terrace overlooking the power source of the original facility: the picturesque Esopus Falls. With a menu curated by executive chef Giuseppe Napoli, it specializes in high-quality meat/fish entrees and house-made pastas, breads, and pastries.Saugerties
Lamb ragu with trofie pasta, artichokes, fava beans, olives, and Pernod labna ($23).
For eating outside and close to the source, it's hard to beat a visit to one of the numerous pick-your-own apple orchards that have existed for generations here in the Hudson Valley—just reach up and pluck yourself a delicious McIntosh or Macoun fresh off the tree and consume it right there. Westwind Orchard, however, has improved upon this age-old model by installing a wood-fired outdoor pizza oven, which on weekends bakes pies created with organic ingredients harvested on premises.Accord
Margherita ($16) and pancetta pizzas ($19).
Located in Kingston's historic Rondout waterfront district, the family-friendly Ole Savannah prepares "Authentic Barbeque and Comfort Food with a Modern Twist" seven days a week. Situated right on the Rondout Creek, the massive, brick building was originally a shop that built boilers for steamboats. The bistro is available for special events and has a bar—as well as a gorgeous creekside dining deck. The Sunday buffet brunch is popular among regulars.Kingston
Low Country shrimp and grits with sautéed shrimp, bacon, mushrooms, and green onions over grits. ($22.95).
This craft beer-centric bar and restaurant quickly became so popular that it outgrew its original location, moving to larger digs in 2014. The new spot has a biergarten with space for as many as 100 people and is the site of a monthly pig roast and other events. The interior bar seats 20 and features classic cocktails, a rotating draft list of 16 craft beers and ciders, and a burgeoning bottled beer list. The modest menu is high on quality, utilizing local and artisan cheeses and other ingredients. The charcuterie is made in-house.Beacon
Buffalo-fried frog legs with Old Chatham Ewe's Blue dressing, mustard-sherry vinaigrette, and carrot and celery slaw ($13).
Besides being one of the region's premier small music venues, the Falcon, now in its third location, a former button factory, is a raved-about restaurant serving brunch and dinner. The nightspot recently opened the New York Tap Room on its lower level and an adjacent biergarten/deck with seating overlooking Marlboro Falls. Complementing the tap room's craft beers and other spirits is a rotating pub menu that draws on fresh local ingredients.Marlboro
Shrimp mac and cheese with gorgonazola, cheddar, and parmesan ($18).