These standouts represent the county at its culinary finest.
It should come as no surprise that we eat out a lot, and have strong opinions about which restaurants we love. This year for the first time, we’ve turned those opinions into a ranking (gulp!) of the county's very best. The 38 we selected — a mix of celebrity chef-driven hotspots, perennial favorites, and lesser-known gems — represent the true elite (indeed, just 6 percent of our more than 600 full-service restaurants). These are the places where the food, service, décor, and ambience all combine into a can't get-enough-of-it dining experience.
— 1 —
Blue Hill at Stone Barns | Pocantico Hills
In the four-hour tasting menu (expect 25–30 dishes), every artistically plated bite is meant to maximize those tenets. Roasted nectarines are so simple, they make you wonder why they’re better than any nectarine you’ve ever had before, and new flavors, like the meat of the sunflower stalk, challenge your definition of what’s edible and delicious.
The service only heightens the experience, imbuing every course with a touch of graceful theatricality. Be warned: There’s only one menu, and it’s priced at $258 per person. It’s expensive, to be sure, but not insanely priced when you realize you’re paying for dinner and a show the likes of which you’ve never experienced before.
Awards Alert: The restaurant is ranked 11th on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List and was named the Best Restaurant in America by Eater in 2016.
— 2 —
X2O Xaviars on the Hudson | Yonkers
Bang for Your Buck: Brunch is typically a bountiful meal, sure, but X2O takes it to a new level, with unlimited Champagne, breads, and multiple butlered trays, including coconut shrimp and wild mushroom ravioli, plus three plated courses — for $45.
— 3 —
Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish | North Salem
Sustainability Star: Pre-consumer food waste is composted; a 4,000-gallon rainwater tank captures water from the greenhouse gutters and is used for hydroponic growing; and they make their own fertilizer with seaweed and unused fish parts.
— 4 —
The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges | Pound Ridge
Best Table: The 24-seat stone wine cellar for a private dining affair — it has no electricity, only candlelight.
— 5 —
The Cookery | Dobbs Ferry
Best Table: If you’re going on a weekend, make a reservation; while you’re at it,
— 6 —
La Panetière | Rye
Bang for Your Buck: The two- or three-course prix-fixe lunch menu ($25 and $32, respectively) is an exceptional deal.
— 7 —
L’inizio | Ardsley
In a county with a preponderance of Italian restaurants, why is L’inizio worth singling out? It’s because the fresh pastas, like ricotta cavatelli with fennel-sausage Bolognese and brick-red tomato campanelle with charred corn, are sublime. It’s because Chef Scott Fratangelo seamlessly blends traditional Italian flavors with unexpected ingredients, like Chinese five-spice powder. It’s because pastry chef Heather Fratangelo’s desserts — seasonal semifreddi, earthy hazelnut brown-butter cake — are worth a reservation in their own right. It doesn’t hurt, either, that the wine list is reasonably priced, the service warm, the bar menu creative, and the dining experience entirely unpretentious. Honestly, what else do you need?
Bang for Your Buck: Get in on some of the weekly specials, like a $33 three-course menu Mondays to Wednesdays and family-style pasta for $36 on Sundays.
— 8 —
Burrata Wood Fired Pizza | Eastchester
Drink Smart: Don’t overlook the Liquid Kitchen menu; the craft cocktails are some of the best you’ll find in the county.
— 9 —
RiverMarket Bar and Kitchen | Tarrytown
Easy-to-Miss Menu Item(s): The county’s best choice of elective pizza toppings, including house-made meatballs, artisan pepperoni, Montauk littlenecks, Sicilian anchovies, and Maine lobster.
— 10 —
One Twenty One | North Salem
For South County folks who think North Salem is too far of a drive, this farmhouse charmer waving a flag of intense locavorism and dispensing thoughtful small plates and homespun entrées ought to change your mind. The connections to area farms, Cabbage Hill in Mount Kisco among them, ensures the ingredients are as fresh as possible, and traces of global influences (e.g., tahini, chimichurri, tamarind, wakame) throughout the menu of American comfort favorites add enlivening twists to typically routine dishes. The kitchen understands clever plating, but no surprise here — Chef Beck Bolender was previously executive sous chef at Manhattan’s acclaimed Jean-Georges. Reclaimed oak tables, tobacco wool, steel-frame chairs, a white-marble bar, and vintage pendant lighting dictate modish country elegance.
Signature Dish: The whole cauliflower, charred in the wood-fired oven and placed atop a pool of goat cheese and drizzled with sherry vinaigrette, is tender and delicious.
— 11 —
273 Kitchen | Harrison
Special Menu: There’s a wallet-savvy $45 option comprising three courses, plus dessert.
— 12 —
Mediterraneo | White Plains
Yelpers Rave About: Kobe beef and spinach ravioli in Marsala wine with wild mushrooms and Calabrian chili.
— 13 —
Saltaire Oyster Bar and Fish House | Port Chester
Bang for Your Buck: There are $1 oysters, $7 wines and craft cocktails, $4 beers, and a host of tasty small bites (order the house-made pâté and the house-cured gravlax) at the Wine & Brine Happy Hour.
— 14 —
Nanase | White Plains
The traditional sushi-dining experience is omakase (or, “I’ll let the chef decide,” figuratively speaking), and Yoshimichi Takeda, former Nobu and Masa chef, does it here the Old Tokyo way. Attention to detail (e.g., he has dozen or more salts, to match to the different fish) and a nuanced approach to artful cuts will have you swearing off the sushi at your local Asian-fusion bistro. There are no walk-ins at this 18-seat gem, so make a reservation!
Yelpers Rave About: The raw scallops with shaved black truffle and sea salt.
— 15 —
Crabtree’s Kittle House | Chappaqua
Sustainability Star: Surplus food is regularly donated; they have a composting partnership with Ridgefield Farm and use an in-house filtration system to reduce reliance on bottled sparkling water.
— 16 —
Saint George Bistro | Hastings-on-Hudson
An absinthe fountain pour and plate of house charcuterie. A marble-topped table under a pressed-tin ceiling. One might think they’ve landed in Bordeaux or Lyon. Instead, it’s a Rivertown bistro with a menu of outstanding French classics (soul-warming coq au vin, heady steak frites), as well as reinterpretations (duck-broth onion soup with Gruyère croutons). A sexy date-night can be had at the mahogany bar with some stellar briny oysters and a bottle from the all-French wine list.
— 17 —
Moderne Barn | Armonk
Restaurant Sibling: While not quite ready for this list, White Plains’ City Limits (also from Livanos Restaurant Group) is nonetheless a Westchester County institution.
— 18 —
MP Taverna | Irvington
Signature Dish: One of the lower-priced entrées ($18.95), the light and pillowy dumplings mixed with bits of spicy lamb sausage, sun-dried tomato, pine nuts, spinach, and feta is also their best.
— 19 —
Sonora Restaurant | Port Chester
One of the county’s true modern-dining adventures, Sonora is well-respected Colombian chef Rafael Palomino’s culinary love letter to Nuevo Latino cuisine. The menu offers upmarket takes on dishes hailing from Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile. Even the basic quesadilla gets a glossy remake: shredded duck, roasted peppers, and smoked Gouda cheese served with roasted corn salsita and pomegranate reduction. One would be remiss not to order a glass from the well-conceived beverage program.
Yelpers Rave About: The seafood paella with shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster, chorizo, and saffron rice, topped with sofrito sauce.
— 20 —
Ocean House | Croton-on-Hudson
Recurring Special: Soft-shell crabs — the textbook balance of salty-sweet and crispy-tender.
— 21 —
Mulino’s of Westchester | White Plains
Must-Order: The gamberi, or shrimp, in any one of four-or-so dishes, the biggest and juiciest your lips will ever kiss.
— 22 —
BLT Steak | White Plains
Signature Dish: The popovers, which precede every meal, will convince those anti-carb folks that yes, indeed, grain is good.
— 23 —
The Twisted Oak | Tarrytown
There’s a quirky thoughtfulness behind the farmhouse dishes at this second of three Tarrytown restaurants to make the list. Chef/owner Michael Cutney’s daily changing menu combines his background cooking in Italian kitchens in Europe and at Union Square and Tabla in Manhattan with his love for Italian “Grandma” cuisine and Hudson Valley agriculture. His famous duck lasagna is a must-order, as is the handmade tonnarelli with ramps and pecorino.
Sweet Endings: You won’t want to share the Chocolate in a Jar — neat layers of chocolate, pudding, chocolate mousse, and whipped cream.
— 24 —
Little Mumbai Market | Pleasantville
— 25 —
Acuario | Port Chester
Peruse any top-restaurants-of-the-world list, and Peruvian cuisine is well represented. Lucky for us, we have a superb exemplar of this melting-pot cuisine (Inca Empire, Spain, Italy, Germany, West Africa, China, Japan) on Port Chester’s Main Street. A kicky ají amarillo sauce at every table signals the vibrant dining experience ahead. Peruvian fried rice (chaufa) will make you forget the typical Chinese variety. And bright and flavor-bursting ceviche, and seafood stew in a tomato and beer sauce with onions, peppers, and yucca may have you booking a direct flight to Lima.
Yelpers Rave About: Any of a trio of the Japanese-immigrant-influenced tiradito — raw sushi-grade seafood sliced like Italian crudo, served with Peruvian yellow peppers and lime.
— 26 —
Coriander Modern Indian | Larchmont/White Plains
The majority of county Indian restaurants are indistinguishable from the last: garish décor and heavy use of oils and ghee. In contrast is this understated pair, which live up to the “modern” moniker with dishes that don’t rely as much on fats yet are rich, complex, and fragrant (spices are roasted in-house). You’d be hard-pressed to find a superior seafood dish than the tandoori tiger shrimp. Local sourcing is in place and extends beyond the kitchen to the bar, where New York-centric craft beer and wine lists are on offer.
Flexible Kitchen: Not seeing your desired dish on the menu? Assuming the ingredients are readily available, the chefs will prepare it for you.
Step into the natural-light-filled dining room with white tablecloths and fine plateware for a primer on inventively plated New American cuisine featuring local ingredients. And don’t worry: Despite the classy dining interior and multiple James Beard Award nominations, there’s no fine-dining pretense; instead, it’s a genuine enthusiasm radiating from the staff for restaurant’s mission of sustainability and farm-fresh fare. The creative, delicious plates on the oft-changing menu (largely based on whatever the farmers drop off) include seasonal selections such as sweet potato agnolotti and Montauk tilefish with lentils, shiitake, and fennel.
Casual Sibling: Across the street is North’s market/café for local jams, breakfast burritos, grain bowls, and artisan sandwiches.
— 27 —
Mint Premium Foods | Tarrytown
An original, fun concept and cool without trying to be, owner Hassan Jarane’s ode to world foods is part gourmet-food shop (the front) and part eclectic world-cuisine restaurant (the back). Wend your way around the globe past barrels of fleshy Mediterranean olives, jars of amazing dried fruit, and chock-a-block shelves with Swedish lingonberry preserves, Greek olive oil, and English biscuits. The menu is similarly diverse, with warm tuna Niçoise, jambalaya rice, and grilled octopus salad, plus noteworthy specials, like mussels with boar sausage in a stout broth. Pair your meal with expertly made Moroccan mint tea or one of the many Belgian beers.
Turophile Alert: The front market offers superior cheeses, including a caramelized onion cheddar you’ll shove Grandma aside to grab.
— 28 —
The Parlor | Dobbs Ferry
Sweet Ending: Bring three friends and order the Pizza Ice Cream Sandwich, a giant round of dough filled with nine scoops of vanilla ice cream, Nutella crunch, and bacon-caramel popcorn.
— 29 —
Durian | Larchmont
Within a cozy and serene temple-like space is the antithesis of the wan, sugary offerings at the typical neighborhood Thai joint. Durian does Thai fare justice, respecting the delicate balance between sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy, combining disparate components into harmonious dishes and aptly using robust aromatics. Try the addictive sautéed chive dumplings, modish green-curry pizza, yum khun chieng salad with Thai sausage and cucumber in a sweet-smelling lime-garlic dressing, and the gingery, earthy khing sauté.
Sweet endings: Durian’s sweet sticky rice with fresh durian and crullers with pandan pot de crème are both exceptional.
— 30 —
Mima Vinoteca | Irvington
Sweet Ending: The fudgy chocolate fuso, served with vanilla gelato and intensely sweet-tart Amarena cherries, is bravissimo!
— 31 —
Eastchester Fish Gourmet | Scarsdale
Bang for the Buck: The year-round Monday Night Lobster Special cages a 1½ pound steamed, cracked lobster, with a baked potato and coleslaw, for $31.
— 32 —
Aberdeen Seafood & Dim Sum | White Plains
The space is an unassuming banquet hall set in the first floor of the Residence Inn White Plains, yet the fare bursts with authentic Cantonese flavors: lots of ginger, garlic, scallion, bean curd, and fresh seafood (the salt-and-pepper shrimp with baby bok choy is a standout). The bustle of lunchtime dim sum is the best time to dine, where cart ladies proffer mini-bamboo steamers of soft, pork-laden shu mai; craggy-textured eggrolls; delicate, purse-like soup dumplings; deep-fried sweet pork dumplings; and savory turnip cakes. Gloppy, greasy strip-mall Chinese food no more!
Sweet Ending: Sesame balls are sticky-soft treats, often eaten between savory bites of the dim-sum meal.
— 33 —
Johnny’s Pizzeria | Mount Vernon
Signature Dish: Order pizza; anything else is a mistake because, well, that means you’re not having the pizza.
— 34 —
Polpettina | Larchmont/Eastchester
Special Specials: Peruse the blackboard for saffron cream spaghetti with bacon, zucchini, and roasted cherry tomatoes.
— 35 —
Chutney Masala | Irvington
There’s a grown-up authenticity to the farm-to-table — or, more fittingly, farm-to-tandoori — Indian fare of Chef Navjot Arora. Wholesome ingredients, such as free-range lamb, wild seafood, antibiotic-free chicken, non-bromated unbleached organic flour, and local produce are used to create tart chutneys, complex sauces, fluffy and sweet-scented naan, juicy tandoori-cooked meats, and plump, flaky-crusted samosas. The whole-roasted pompano — a showstopper.
Cooking Classes: Does your aloo gobi come out tasting like aloo matar? The first Monday of every month, Chef Arora holds interactive classes ($55 and includes dinner).
— 36 —
Fortina | Armonk/Rye Brook/Yonkers
Signature Dish: The famous Luigi Bianco pie features an almost ungodly amount of black-truffle purée.