Best of Westchester 2015 Eat & Drink Editors’ Picks

Wine Geeks

559 Main St, Armonk

(914) 273-9463;

A table in the center of the room holds a curated selection of 40+ bottles (more than half of which are organic) priced under $15 and hand-picked by owners Derek and Carol Todd, who like to emphasize artisanal, family-run producers.

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Campagna at Bedford Post Inn

954 Old Post Rd, Bedford

(914) 234-7800;

Michael White is the latest Manhattan chef to venture north to Westchester. The menu at Campagna features dishes like supple fluke crudo salad and a juicy rib-eye. But the star of the show is pasta—plump cappelletti with peas, lamb, and mint; curly fusilli with pork ragù; sheets of fresh pasta rolled up with Bolognese bianco—all made on-site.

Emma’s Ale House

68 Gedney Way, White Plains

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(914) 683-3662;

This cozy pub offers more than just beer on tap. Classic American favorites like macaroni ’n’ cheese studded with bacon; buttermilk-fried chicken; rich chicken pot pie; and some of the county’s best homemade potato chips deserve top billing.

Bagelicious Cafe

1026 Broadway, Thornwood

(914) 239-8448;

Forget those leaden, gummy, doughy-in-a-bad-way belly bombs that pass as bagels in so many shops and delis. This bright, cheerful (and clean!) café offers 22 varieties of hot, fresh (made four or five times throughout the day), pleasantly plump, delicious bagels—the kind you think about before you go to bed, happy that it’ll be just a few hours ’til you can get one in the morning.

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City Limits Diner

200 Central Ave, White Plains

(914) 686-9000;

A diner with a gourmand’s sensibility, there’s so much to love about this 21-year-old county institution. From the basket of house-made breads to the daily dinner specials (roast turkey Tuesday!) to the dessert counter, we have never had a bad meal and usually find something to rave about. Thank you Livanos family!

Greyston Bakery

(914) 375-1510;

Mouth-watering and delicious brownies are served with a side of social enterprise at this Yonkers establishment. Thanks to an open hiring policy and its longstanding contract with Ben & Jerry’s, Greyston Bakery has helped lift hundreds out of poverty while making one hell of a brownie. What’s not to love?

The Kneaded Bread

181 N Main St, Port Chester

(914) 937-9489;

Calling all coconut lovers: This American-style coconut macaroon is a snowy, chewy tower of tropical paradise. The peak is generously dipped in melted dark chocolate, trickling down to harden into a shell that keeps the inside moist—the polar opposite of a snow-peaked mountain.

Piccola Trattoria

41 Cedar St, Dobbs Ferry

(914) 674-8427;

The fettuccine con nocciole is a carb lover’s creamy dream. Fresh, flat ribbons of pasta carouse in a cream sauce brightened by sweet butternut squash (a vegetable that might change seasonally). Hazelnuts ground the dish
with nutty flavor and an oh-so satisfying crunch.

Zuppa Restaurant & Lounge

59 Main St, Yonkers

(914) 376-6500;

All pasta is made in-house, and it shows. The fat pappardelle with veal Bolognese and sugo mint is no ho-hum red-sauce rendition. Look for other creative pasta with lamb, squid ink, smoked ricotta, egg yolk, squash, walnuts, and truffles.

El Tio

143 Westchester Ave, Port Chester 

(914) 934-1494;

This Mexican eatery may be small, but its menu is packed with palate-pleasing, authentic dishes (from classics to one-of-a-kind chef specials like menudo soup) and drinks (think house-made sangria). Even its corner spot between The Capitol Theatre and Port Chester train station is ideal.

Bhog Indian Restaurant

68 Wheeler Ave, Pleasantville 

(914) 769-4100;  

Bhog’s lunch specials are substantial, savory, and, best of all, the right price ($12-$15). Choose from three entrées (the shrimp curry is delish) served with spinach paneer, puréed lentil soup, and gulab jamun (fluffy, fried milk cheese balls in spiced sugar) for dessert. Yum!

Swaddee House of Thai

886 Franklin Ave, Thornwood 

(914) 769-8007 

Deceptively cozy and quaint, this vegetarian-friendly restaurant serves authentic Thai (not Thai fusion) in a big way, from presentation to flavor-filled dishes that are as appetizing as they are pleasing to the eye. We suggest the chicken massaman curry and pineapple fried rice with shrimp.

Zachys WIne & Liquor

16 E Parkway, Scarsdale

(914) 874-8000; 

Long before Zachys co-owner Andrew McMurray became famous for securing the largest deal in Shark Tank history, the wine store, founded in 1944, was making customers happy with an exceptional selection of wines and spirits. Today it offers one of the largest (and finest) selections of wines and liquors in the country.

Candy Rox

84 Purchase St, Rye 

(914) 844-6750;

There’s still a great place to snag retro candy and the best of sweet memories. From licorice laces (reimagined to include a rainbow of flavors) to Charleston Chew bars, Candy Rox carries the real stuff—no imitation wannabes. No ordinary candy shop, this hot spot for all ages—from Boomers to their grands—will even rock out your event with candy catering.

Village Creamery & Sweetshop

32 Broadway, Valhalla

(914) 421-1300;

John Caldarola went from fire (he’s a retired White Plains firefighter) to ice when he opened the shop a year ago, offering 20+ varieties of sometimes zany but always delicious house-made ice cream. Our pick? Cookie Monster Meets Peanut

Morgan’s Fish House

22 Elm Pl, Rye

(914) 921-8190;

Try this for a “you have one last week to eat” scenario: whole broiled lobster Monday, stuffed lobster atop angel hair in a garlic white wine sauce on Tuesday, steamed whole lobster for Wednesday, lobster paella on Thursday, and a lobster roll Friday. You could have it all at Morgan’s…

Zero Otto Nove

55 Old Rte 22, Armonk 

(914) 273-0089;

There are Bronx-Italian roots (owner Roberto Paciullo is the Roberto of Arthur Avenue’s Roberto’s Restaurant) in the puffy, wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas at Zero Otto Nove. The finest is the San Matteo (fresh mozzarella, sausage, and broccoli rabe), but you really can’t go wrong with any of the charred rounds here.

Mario’s Pizza & Pasta

1 Kirby Plz, Mount Kisco

(914) 666-6338;

Waiting for the train? Or just want a Neapolitan-style pizza slice that delivers what it promises? This wide, thin slice is crunchy and soft in the right places, with wood-fired, melted mozzarella, crisp shreds of basil, sweet tomato sauce, and, yes, those meaty mounds.

Napoli’s Pizza Restaurant

1012 E Main St, Mohegan Lake

(914) 528-0282 

This North-County joint serves up a delicious, authentic Neapolitan-style slice: thin-crusted yet chewy, with a zesty sauce. Napoli’s exterior is forgettable (so forgettable we had to describe it to our photographer as, “If you’ve passed Wallauer’s, you missed it”), but the pizza is definitely not.

Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse

29 N Main St, Port Chester

(914) 939-6894;

Everyone’s had a Mojito, but have you tried the Caipirinha—a muddle of lime, sugar, and Brazilian cachaça? At Copacabana, the bartenders are pros at striking the exact balance, resulting in cocktails that are tangy and slightly sweet with just the right amount of potency.

The Huddle

92 Beekman Ave, Sleepy Hollow

(914) 909-5644

This hidden-in-plain-sight bar trades frills and hoity-toity mixology for all the rare beers your taste buds may desire. The Huddle makes it a point to stock uncommon, once-in-a-blue-moon brews like Sam Adams Utopias (just $32 a shot—yes, a shot) and Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (up to 20 percent ABV).


911 South St, Peekskill 

(914) 402-1950;

When you sip a Manhattan made by the hands of Gleason’s bartender Garry Leavy, it’s as magical as drinking from a waterfall in Narnia. We’ve quaffed so many of these perfectly crafted elixirs (the spiciness of the rye never outshone by the bitters or vermouth), it’s officially become our lifeblood—and we’re not mad.

Q Restaurant & Bar

112 Main St, Port Chester

(914) 933-7427;

Q’s Kentucky Lemonade will give you a taste of the South’s slow-paced, take-it-all-in way of life and transport you onto a breezy porch in southern Kentucky at sunset. The bourbon masked with the sweet, thirst-quenching lemonade is just what y’all need when looking for that just-get-me-through-this-day cocktail.

Pumpkin Week at The Craftsman Ale House

235 Harrison Ave, Harrison

(914) 630-7484;

The scary-cool paper menu at this mid-October fest reads like the pumpkin beer phone book. There’s 40 to 50 kegs rotating on all eight taps and 60+ bottled beers, and they color-code what’s just been added and what’s about to run dry (collect stamps to win a prize). Sample the drafts, compare notes with the geeks you’re jammed in with, and don’t leave without trying a wacky beer-battered food special.

Little Mexican Cafe

581 Main St, New Rochelle

(914) 636-3926;

The bartender isn’t giving away any secrets about what makes this classic blend of Bacardi rum, Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut, and fresh pineapple juice, garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry, the best we’ve ever had. All we know is, we want this perfectly balanced drink year-round, especially at a dimly lit bar with music cranking and delicious Mexican food.

The Sidecar at The Tavern at Croton Landing

41 N Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson

(914) 271-8020;

Whether you’re in it for the crumbs or for the cake, this old-fashioned crumb cake, sold whole and by the slice, has you covered: a deep layer of oversized, cinnamon-sweet crumbles clinging to the freshest of vanilla-flavored cake. If you’re used to the packaged junk-food version (we’re not naming names), prepare to be amazed.

Penny Lick Ice Cream Company

At large; visit for a schedule of pushcart locations

What we love most about Penny Lick is a toss up: Owner Ellen Sledge’s bright red hair, her all-natural, custard-based, filler- and stabilizer-free ice cream, or that the ice cream is sold at area farmers’ markets from the cutest old-fashioned pink pushcarts we’ve ever seen.

License 2 Grill

802 Commerce St, Thornwood

(914) 747-0009;

Let’s just say, if we were to commit a serious crime in Westchester, we’d have a tough time deciding between a bank robbery and a License 2 Grill heist, where we force owner Erica Gendler to make us all the delicious golden-fried empanadas our little stomachs could handle…

Kathleen’s Tea Room

979 Main St, Peekskill 

(914) 734-2520;

Entering Kathleen’s is like climbing into the wardrobe and finding yourself in a grown-up English dollhouse. Except this dollhouse has airy crumpets and soft, warm croissant sandwiches smothered with cranberry mayonnaise, plus all the tea varieties you could ever wish for.


380 Downing Dr, Yorktown Heights

(914) 243-9100;

Preston Turco is obsessed with quality food at his Yorktown gourmet market. Look no further than the meat counter as a shining emblem of that creed: Sterling Silver, Certified Angus, and USDA Prime cuts are standard fare, all prepared by a friendly and expert staff.

Boiano Bakery

258 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck

(914) 698-2070; 

The way ricotta cheesecake moistens just the tiniest bit when you bite in. The hint of orange. This traditional family recipe uses a special secret ricotta to nail that ratio of airy to smooth. By the time you hit the cookie dough crust, you’re sold.

City Limits Diner

200 Central Ave, White Plains 

(914) 686-9000;

The Livanos family is doing their Greek heritage proud with this delicious yogurt (no fruit or honey necessary). The mouth-feel is like thick whipped cream, and the flavor begins tart and finishes subtly sweet.


66 Garth Rd, Scarsdale

(914) 874-5674;

If you’re not yet on board with the Greek-yogurt-as-dessert thing, try it here. Petra’s house-made yiaourti, nearly cream-cheese thick and strewn with walnuts and honey or Greek sour cherry preserves, is as crave-worthy as its sugary counterparts and a cosmos apart from the grocery store.

Galaktoboureko at Santorini

175 Valley St, Sleepy Hollow

(914) 631-4300;

Move over, baklava. Santorini’s galaktoboureko proves this traditional dessert is worthy of its own fame: warm, silky, faintly grainy semolina custard encased in phyllo, drenched with syrup fragrant with cloves, cinnamon, and fresh orange and lemon.

MP Taverna

1 Bridge St, Irvington

(914) 231-7854;

Gyro-spiced beef sliders topped with pepperoncini and onion on a potato roll, with yogurt dip and a cornichon—are not only insanely good but (at $9.95 for three) put you in serious danger of turning into Wimpy, the hamburger mooch from Popeye. With meze like this, from Chef Michael Psilakis, who needs a meal?

Tortoni at Fortina

17 Maple Ave, Armonk

(914) 273-0900

136 S Ridge St, Rye Brook

(914) 937-0900;

This dessert staple from back in the day has sentiment and scarcity on its side, but it’s delightful in its own right. Grazie mille to Fortina for bringing it back: a pleated paper soufflé cup filled with a frozen frappé of cream, eggs, almonds, and almond extract, with a dusting of ground almonds and a maraschino cherry on top.

Vegetarian wild mushroom burger at Cafe of Love

38 Main St, Mount Kisco

(914) 242-1002;

Not only is this the most meaty-tasting veggie burger we’ve tried, but it even resembles a conventional burger and has a texture you can sink your teeth into (in genteel, farm-to-table restaurant style, of course). Its umami comes from a collage of local, seasonal mushrooms (such as oyster and shiitake) sautéed and blended with shallots, fresh-picked thyme, panko, and egg, topped with slow-cooked onion marmalade and served on a brioche bun.

Cedar Street Grill

23 Cedar St, Dobbs Ferry 

(914) 674-0706;

All the Brussels sprout haters out there probably haven’t had Chef Matt Kay’s starter. Bacon, almonds, and first-rate Crown Maple syrup are tossed with slightly charred and salty sprouts. Haters, you’ll change your mind.

Chef’s Table NY

1096 Wilmot Rd, Scarsdale 

(914) 725-1062;

A spin on a mushroom breakfast omelet, the delish factor of this appetizer starts when you break open the yolk of the poached egg sitting atop an array of forest mushrooms (e.g., morel, porcini) that have been sautéed in earthy, rich truffle butter and ends only when the last drippings have been mopped up with a house-made roll.

Fantasy Cuisine

20 N Central Ave, Hartsdale 

(914) 358-9046;

Oily, leaden takeout Chinese dumplings no more! These tender, handmade, made-to-order dumplings come six in a bamboo-steaming basket, plump and juicy with either ground pork and ginger or ground pork, ginger, and minced crab meat.

Chef/Partner Billy Etzel of Coals in Port Chester/Bronxville served the winning burger to take the Manhattan Beer/Blue Moon Trophy at the 4th annual Burger & Beer Blast in June. Etzel defeated 27 other competing chefs, including Peter Kelly of X2O in Yonkers, who had won the previous three years. The winning burger had tequila-cured bacon, cheddar, and spicy cilantro sauce.

Truffle grilled cheese at Rye House

126 N Main St, Port Chester

(914) 481-8771;

Aged Fontina and aged goat cheese, floating a heady cargo of black truffle shavings, oozes over sourdough from The Kneaded Bread—a fine match for craft cocktails and serious spirits. A side salad of baby arugula and oyster mushrooms in Champagne vinaigrette, garnished with taro chips, seals the deal.

Mint Premium Foods

19 Main St, Tarrytown

(914) 703-6511;

Tasked with living up to the restaurant’s name, Moroccan mint tea packs a garden full of fresh mint sprigs into a Moroccan teapot, along with gunpowder green tea and honey or brown sugar to taste. Pour into a tea glass and enjoy with creative Mediterranean-inspired fare.

Traditional Bagel Café

1279 North Ave, New Rochelle

(914) 632-1045;

When does cream cheese attract a following? When the freshly made, ingredient-packed mounds include bacon and basil, hot cherry pepper, hazelnut cocoa, pimento-stuffed olive, strawberry, and walnut raisin. But traditionalists will be happy with a plain, scallion, or veggie schmear (in regular or low-fat) on a hand-rolled bagel or a flat everything “flagel.”

Fiamma Trattoria

501 Halstead Ave, Mamaroneck

(914) 341-1620

Hunks of poached lobster wrapped in spongy homemade crêpes, flooded with a creamy sauce of jumbo lump crab, plum tomato, shallots, basil, white wine, and pecorino—once you’ve tried Chef Dougie Tucci’s manicotti, it’s hard to break away and order any of his other excellent food. Never mind that it comes with salad, bruschetta, and warm, crusty bread.

Los Gemelos Restaurant & Tortilleria

6 N Pearl St, Port Chester

(914) 934-0372;

Not only is Los Gemelos an authentic Mexican restaurant, it’s also a tortilla factory that ships throughout the tri-state area (they’ve been served everywhere from Citi Field to Saratoga Raceway). The limey, remarkably soft whole-grain corn tortillas are best enjoyed in delicious double-rolled tacos and oil-slicked taquitos at a wooden booth, but pick up a package to take home—regular or half-size (for making your own taquitos).

La Catena Italian Restaurant

871 Saw Mill River Rd, Ardsley

(914) 231-9260;

The top choice among the many house-made offerings on the two-level dessert cart is the Napoleon; its alternating layers of crunchy and soft puff pastry with creamy, smooth vanilla custard make for a flawless example of the classic French dessert. And when asked about the accompanying spoonful of fresh whipped cream, say yes!

Daido Market

522 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains 

(914) 683-6735;

You go to a Japanese market for ramen, seaweed snacks, or daikon, sure, but warm, filled-to-order cream puffs? Yup, just head to the corner next to the bakery counter and behind the cashiers’ stations. No Japanese language skills necessary to order—just go on a weekend with $1.50.


130 E Main St, Mount Kisco 

(914) 244-9780; 

There’s an unmistakable buzz at this tri-level New American restaurant. The place sports a happening gastropub bar scene with handcrafted cocktails on the first floor; a classy, white-tablecloth fine dining element on the second; and an open-air roof-top bar on the third. On any of the levels: killer people watching.

Kumo Sushi and Lounge

777 White Plains Rd, Scarsdale 

(914) 713-8899; 

Handsome plating, imaginative sushi roll combinations, and a modish lounge décor are just a few reasons this 85-seat raw fish bastion is a must-try. Partner/Chef Hua Chen studied sushi in Japan for 15 years and frequently brings in specialty fish like triggerfish from Japan and bluefin tuna from Spain.

The Smokehouse of NY

434 Waverly Ave, Mamaroneck

(914) 630-4787;

Owner Brett Portier dry-brines (salt and sugar and no preservatives) and smokes fresh salmon daily without coloring agents or additives, resulting in a truly artisanal product. The Scottish smoked salmon is like butter (hey, it’s marinated in scotch and then cold smoked over hardwood). The pastrami-smoked salmon is excellent too, but we swooned over the cured gravlax.

Ben’s of Scarsdale

718 Central Ave, Scarsdale

(914) 468-2367;

Ben’s keeps up the tradition of old-school Jewish deli fare with aplomb via homemade soups, hot open roast beef sandwiches with house-made gravy, baked knishes, crunchy AYCE pickles, and the standout, fresh-cut coleslaw. It’s creamy without being gloppy and has the perfect balance between a sweet and sour tang.

Little Mumbai Market

475 Bedford Rd, Pleasantville 

(914) 773-0500;

Inexpensive (everything is under $10) and delicious, there’s a lot to love about Chef Bonnie Saran’s ode to the street foods of Paris (crêpes) and Mumbai (Indian grilled bread wraps and rice bowls). And don’t forget a fig or mango lassi drink!

Cooper’s Mill at Westchester Marriott

670 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown

(914) 333-1216;

Vanilla ice cream is so, well, vanilla. Those adventuresome palates looking for tasty yet unusually flavored ice creams should try one of the nightly specials, which have included banana s’mores, honeycomb, beet honey, duck-fig-Gorgonzola, and gummy bears and vodka.

NeHa Palace

27 Meyer Ave, Yonkers

(914) 476-5900;

Tikka is essentially Indian barbecue; NeHa’s tip-top version uses red chilies, ginger, and garlic among other flavorings to marinate small pieces of boneless chicken in yogurt, which is then cooked on skewers in a clay oven. South Asian comfort food at its best.

Sorell Wine Bar Bistro

282 Huguenot St, New Rochelle

(914) 341-1579;

Chef Christopher Daly’s chicken from Snowdance Farm in the Catskills is seasoned and crisped to perfection with a technique he learned at Bouley, using Maldon sea salt, fresh-ground pepper, Mission olive oil, sweet butter, garlic, and lemon thyme, with a gorgeous presentation to match.

Jerry’s Post Road Market

1000 Boston Post Rd, Rye

(914) 967-7033;

Open since 1937, Jerry’s Post Road Market is now run by the third generation of its owners, who lovingly prepare fresh batches of the market’s signature dishes—including its scrumptious chicken salad—from scratch every day. With the perfect amount of celery for some crunch, a winning, secret mixture of seasonings for some kick, and just enough mayo to hold it all together, Jerry’s chicken salad goes great on a roll, in a wrap—or eaten by itself.

Churrasqueira Ribatejo

39 Spring St, Ossining

(914) 941-5928

Is there anything more soul-satisfying than a golden-brown, juicy roast chicken? This no-frills Portuguese joint spit-roasts deliciously simple birds that are some of the best we’ve had anywhere. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also super affordable—chicken, rice, and beans for four comes in at under $20.

The Twisted Oak

61 Main St, Tarrytown

(914) 332-1992;

Perhaps you won’t recognize Chef Michael Cutney’s spin on lasagna with house-made noodles, duck, mushrooms, and kale (complete with sunny-side up duck egg atop), but you’ll likely eat up the delectable creation just the same.

The Cookery

39 Chestnut St, Dobbs Ferry 

(914) 305-2336;

In Northern Italy, especially Bologna and Emilia-Romagna, lasagna is made not with a red sauce but a thick white sauce (besciamella) made from butter, flour, and milk. The Cookery’s excellent white version, typically found on their fall/winter menu, uses house-made ricotta and mozzarella plus ham and mushrooms.

T&J Italian Restaurant

227 Westchester Ave, Port Chester 

(914) 939-4134;

The meat lasagna at T&Js is a classic example of grandmother-inspired, Neapolitan cuisine. A generously portioned and comforting dish, its rich tomato sauce is flavored with onions, garlic, basil, and plenty of good Italian olive oil.

A. Mercurio & Sons

363 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck 

(914) 698-4127;

This cash-only pasta shop offers four varieties of frozen heat-and-serve lasagnas (cheese, meat and cheese, vegetable, and spinach) you can bring home and pop in the oven. Then you can either claim to your family/roomies/significant other you made it or acknowledge its retail origins. Whichever you decide, they’ll be impressed.

One Twenty One

2 Dingle Ridge Rd, North Salem 

(914) 669-0121;

Former Jean-Georges sous chef Beck Bolender offers innovative, contemporary American cuisine—much of it locally sourced and served in the form of shareable plates—in a quaint farmhouse with veranda dining. Order the lobster roll, tagliatelle with littleneck clams, or a wood-fired pizza.


698 Saw Mill River Rd, Ardsley

(914) 693-5400; 

A refined take on traditional Italian fare can be had at this tiny pearl of a restaurant run by Scott and Heather Fratangelo (formerly owners of Manhattan’s well-regarded Spigolo). You can’t go wrong ordering most anything on the short menu; just save room for delectable and original house-made desserts such as s’mores baked Alaska with graham cake, chocolate semifreddo, and meringue.

Torta di Spaghetti at Wolfert’s Roost

100 Main St, Irvington

(914) 231-7576;

Chef Eric Korn and Jennie Werts playfully elevate eclectic comfort fare at this homey BYOB eatery. Case in point: the torta di spaghetti, a slightly crunchy quiche-sized slice of skillet pasta paired with a rich pork ragù and smooth, nutty piave cheese. It’s so tasty you may order seconds.

Zanni at Mariani Gardens*

45 Bedford Rd, Armonk

(914) 273-6700;

The farm-to-table restaurant located at upmarket landscape center Mariani Gardens was designed to complement the nursery; the resulting organic look evolves with the seasons: There are beach grasses in spring/summer that flow out onto the patio, sunflowers in fall, 10-foot-tall birch logs in winter, plus a Napa room with fern planters and high ceilings with lots of glass for natural light.

* per the owners, the name of the restaurant may change

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