18 Riverside Restaurants

Dock ’n dine: Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely lunch, sunset dinner, or cocktails alfresco, the Valley’s riverside restaurants have it all



The idyllic outdoor setting at the Stewart House includes mature willow trees and an unparalleled view of the Hudson

When you live in the Hudson Valley, how can you not want to head to the river to dine? In olden times (read: the ’90s), that usually meant so-so food served on paper plates with a big emphasis on the view. Although the view remains spectacular, nowadays you have so many more options, and they don’t necessarily involve spending tons of money or making elaborate plans. These days, you can have just a glass of wine and some bar fare, or savor an easy-breezy alfresco lunch. At some of these places, you can even pull your boat right up to the front of the restaurant and dine onboard. To sate this appetite for waterside eateries, it seems that new places are popping up all the time.

One of the newest spots, at least in its present incarnation, is the Stewart House at the Athens Hotel in Greene County. Dating from 1883 and now owned by magazine entrepreneur Owen Lipstein (of Spy and Mother Earth News fame), the building sustained heavy damage from Hurricane Irene in 2011 and was closed for three years for an ambitious refurbishing project. Recently reopened, it offers a gazebo bar shaded by a willow tree right on the banks of the Hudson. It’s an idyllic spot to enjoy simple, picnic-perfect fare. The ever-changing, market-driven menu features personal pizzas made with homemade dough, burgers, chicken wings, steak, grilled salmon, and seasonal salads, including a lemony Caesar.

The location of the Stewart House is especially magical. It is situated near an island that shields diners from the main river traffic, offering instead a view of moored pleasure boats bobbing placidly in the water. The building itself has a taproom/restaurant, too, so you have a backup plan if it starts to sprinkle. But even if the sun is shining, take a peek inside anyway: You never know who you’ll see — film directors like to house their casts at the hotel when they’re on location.

pier 701
Jack Daniels BBQ baby back ribs, sweet potato fries and corn soufflé is a popular summertime dish at Pier 701. In addition to Mediterranean cuisine, chef-owner Denis Whitman is known for his preparation of wild game

When Pier 701 Restaurant & Bar opened last July in the chichi Rockland County town of Piermont, the crowds immediately poured in, hungry to soak up the sun’s rays on the enormous deck, gather around the tiki bar, and enjoy the spectacular view of the Tappan Zee Bridge (which should be especially interesting this summer with the construction of the new span now underway). “It was like opening on New Year’s Eve for five weeks straight!” recalls executive chef-owner Denis Whitton — who worked in this exact location (when it was another restaurant) as a teenage cook before moving to Manhattan to be mentored by European chefs. Expect a “very Mediterranean” lunch and dinner menu dominated by fresh fish dishes, such as grilled Atlantic salmon with a tomato, olive, and caper sauce. A lively bar menu, which includes lobster sliders, appeals to more-casual diners. The seafood theme continues at Sunday brunch, when a raw bar overflows with oysters, clams, mussels, and shrimp. Feel free to arrive by water: The restaurant has docking for six boats, with more spaces at the dock next door after six p.m.

Upper Valley and Capital Region

Riverfront Bar & Grill Albany
Billing itself as Albany’s only riverside restaurant, this popular eatery buzzes all summer long with nightly drink specials, bingo on Tuesdays, trivia on Wednesdays, and live bands throughout the season. Housed on an old barge in the 15-acre Corning City Preserve, it serves up the expected seafood, steaks, burgers, and more. 518-426-4738; www.riverfrontbarge.com

Athens Riverside Café Athens
Located directly across from the town’s riverside park, this casual café is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu offers both a selection of classic Italian dishes and American standbys like burgers, Philly cheese steaks, fried fish, shrimp, and clam baskets with French fries. 518-945-1110

Stewart House at the Athens Hotel Athens
Open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday. Appetizers $9.95; entrées $16-$28
2 North Water St. 518-947-1587; www.stewarthouse.com

Mid-Valley

Mariner’s on the Hudson Highland
Recently forced to rebuild their restaurant (twice!) due to damage from Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, the owners of this longtime casual spot last year extended the deck — which juts right into the river — to allow more room for dining and dancing. According to General Manager Rich Dutra, the offer of free docking has helped attract “boater traffic from Canada and other countries, and we’ve seen people who have literally sailed throughout the world.” Guests can order meals straight to their vessels or enjoy live music and drinks at the outdoor tiki bar. 845-691-4711; www.marinersonhudson.com

Poughkeepsie Waterfront

River Station Restaurant Poughkeepsie
As the oldest continually operating restaurant in Poughkeepsie (it started as a saloon in 1866), River Station treats diners to a special menu for each month of the year (May’s celebrates Cinco de Mayo). The eatery offers free shuttle service to the Walkway Over the Hudson; retractable awnings to ensure outdoor dining is available rain or shine; tiki bar specials; and a one-of-a-kind Chowder Bar, with five selections daily. 845-452-9207; www.riverstationrest.com

Poughkeepsie Ice House Poughkeepsie
The newest Queen City waterfront hot spot, located between the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Mid-Hudson Bridge, is literally steps from the water’s edge. Dine inside or out (your pooch is welcome outside), or park your boat at the public dock and enjoy the extensive seasonal menu. Book a dinner/cruise package: Savor a 5:30 p.m. restaurant meal before boarding the 60-foot motor vessel Mystère for a sunset cruise. 845-232-5783; www.poughkeepsieicehouse.com

Shadows on the Hudson Poughkeepsie
Situated on a 40-foot cliff above the river, Shadows provides a beautiful view of the Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Walkway Over the Hudson, as well as a massive menu which changes seasonally. Dockside ordering and dining is available at the Shadows Marina, and their water taxi offers rides to the Newburgh Marina for $15. In the works for this summer: a new outdoor raw bar that will feature clams, oysters, and shrimp. 845-486-9500; www.shadowsonthehudson.com

Rondout Landing

Mariner’s Harbor Kingston
This nautically themed restaurant on the Rondout Creek features an old-fashioned lobster bake complete with clams, shrimp, mussels — and you can choose your own lobster from their tank. The Kingston city marina is located directly in front of the eatery, so seafaring guests can have their meals delivered straight to their vessels. Newly opened last year, Social at Mariner’s Harbor offers a tapas menu, as well as cocktails, wine, and desserts. 845-340-8051; www.marinersharbor.com

Steel House Restaurant & Catering Kingston
Winner of our 2011 and 2012 Best of Hudson Valley awards for “Best Thursday Night Out,” the Steel House hosts country night complete with line dancing every Thursday. This summer they’re unveiling an overhauled and healthier menu that focus on fresh seafood and farm-to-table ingredients. 845-338-7847; www.steelhouse.us

pier 701
At Piermont’s Pier 701, grilled Mediterranean branzino is served over a piquant stew of artichokes, fennel, tomatoes, and Kalamata olives

Newburgh Waterfront

Cafe Pitti Newburgh
With a colorful decor and affordable menu filled with Italian-American favorites (think individual pizzettas or toasted Italian sandwiches), this casual trattoria also has a delicious selection of gelato and sorbet. 845-565-1444; www.cafepitti.com

Cena 2000 Newburgh
Dine on traditional Italian specialties under the canopy overlooking the Hudson. Top choices for the summer include the cucumber martini and the Salami di Chocolato — a chocolate “salami” filled with raisins and walnuts served with raspberry sauce and whipped cream. 845-561-7676; www.cena2000.com

Torches on the Hudson Newburgh
Dock at the marina and check out Torches’ updated menu, which highlights local ingredients, as well as its revamped list of cocktails and regional craft beers. The dining room features a 6,000-gallon aquarium, which is home to 30 varieties of fish, and a new outdoor bar and pavilion are in the works for this summer. 845-568-0100; www.torchesonthehudson.com

Billy Joe’s Ribworks Newburgh
Barbecue is a summer staple, and Billy Joe’s has perfected its recipe: Kitchen staff prepare all meats with a hand rub before smoking them. A jam-packed entertainment schedule includes a quiz show, country line dancing, and rock and acoustic performances. This funky, sprawling space has three bars (two outdoors, one in); in the warmer months, the dividers are opened to expose the restaurant’s interior to the waterfront, too. Bring the family on Sundays between 12-4 p.m. for face painting and the chance to meet mascot Billy Joe the goat. 845-565-1560; www.ribworks.com

Captain Jake’s Waterfront Newburgh
Complete with an indoor and outdoor bar, Captain Jake’s is known for its seafood dishes, including the popular lobster mac and cheese with white truffle oil. 845-565-3939; www.captainjakeswaterfront.com

The River Grill Newburgh
Open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, this spot highlights sandwiches, seafood, and a raw bar. Dine on the riverside patio or in the elegant dining room. 845-561-9444; www.therivergrill.com

Gully’s Restaurant Newburgh
This longtime party spot (27 years and counting) serves up casual food, booze, and lots of fun on an old barge at the south end of the waterfront. 845-565-0077

Lower Valley

Hudson Water Club West Haverstraw
Located at the Haverstraw Marina, the Water Club offers free docking and boat-side dining. Rhythm and blues and rock musicians perform at the tiki bar on weekends. Staffer Monica Keeperman describes the eats — such as seafood and wood-fired pizza — as “casual food, but also a white cloth menu.” 845-271-4046; www.hudsonwaterclub.com

Pier 701 Restaurant & Bar Piermont
Open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday. Small plates $8-$14; lunch $12-$18; dinner $18-$29
701 Piermont Ave. 845-848-2550; www.pier701ny.com

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