The 20 Best Suburban Restaurants Outside NYC
New Jersey, CT, upstate, and beyond.
Suburban dining outside of NYC is better than ever. With many former city chefs relocating to towns outside of the Big Apple to set up shop over the past few years (and especially during the COVID exodus of 2020), you’ll find first-rate options in the suburban and rural regions of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Connecticut. For example, Del Posto vet Tony Scotto decamped to Nyack in Rockland County and launched pasta palace DPNB Pasta & Provisions in 2019, a casual Italian haunt offering inspired house-made pasta for dine-in or to-go.
Of course, the most vaunted property outside the city that attracts dining enthusiasts from around the world is chef Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the farmstead restaurant and non-profit educational space situated on a picturesque 80-acre plot in Westchester’s Pocantico Hills.
But, there’s so much more. Here are 20 solid restaurants outside of NYC to explore this weekend.
While White Plains might be best-known for its more casual eats, as of this past May there’s a new fine-dining contender in town. Perched on the 42nd floor of Westchester’s five-star hotel, The Opus, and an offshoot of events venue Kanopi, The Restaurant at Kanopi—with its floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive views—offers a Portuguese meets seasonal New American menu with most ingredients sourced from nearby producers in the Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania. Here, chef Anthony Goncalves helms the six-course $125 tasting menu, which changes daily based on what his farmers deliver. Of course, one might score bacalhau laced with olive oil and piparra peppers, or dishes like hamachi with Iberian seaweed, and surf clam linguini.
The second concept from chef Jesse Schenker (formerly of NYC’s Recette and The Gander) and partner Claudia Taglich, Four—house in a restored, nearly century-old cottage—is Schenker’s newest engagement, which manifests as an intimate, 10-seat tasting counter from behind which the chef will plate a seasonal 12-course tasting menu ($245). With a spate of shiny new toys, like a binchotan grill and a custom-designed, cobalt blue Bonnet cooking suite, Schenker’s menu flows from a yuzu-spiked oyster tartlet to a foie gras and duck fat croissant to a ravioli with squash and brown butter. Meanwhile, the 500-bottle wine list celebrates wines from Champagne and Burgundy, in addition to bottles from Italy, Australia, and the U.S.
New Jersey’s most authentic option for traditional omakase sushi, eight-seat Sushi Aoki debuted this past February under command of Masashi Aoki, former executive chef of New York’s Sushi of Gari 46. Here, Aoki offers edomae chef’s choice menus priced at $120, $150 and $180—which just might be some of the best sushi deals in town. Chef sources his seasonal ingredients from Japan’s Toyosu fish market three times per week, like firefly squid and buri (mature yellowtail). Right now, you can call to pre-order hairy crab that the chef serves beside a bowl of kani miso (crab guts).
This nine-year-old, wood-fired pizzeria that’s won rave reviews for its classic and seasonally-topped pies, continues to impress pizza enthusiasts near and far. A rustic joint hinged on excellent ingredients and near-perfect sourdough rcusts, owner Dan Richer typically ferments his pizza dough overnight, and fires his pies for around two and a half to three minutes at anywhere from 500 to 900°F. Richer sources many of his ingredients locally from the tri-state area, working with small-production growers, millers, and cheesemakers. And it’s those ingredients which often dictate his seasonal pies, like the recent chanterelle special, or the current hazelnut pie, which calls for mozzarella, ricotta, local honey, and hazelnuts sourced through Rutgers University’s nut breeding program. While right now Razza is offering takeout/delivery, and outdoor dining; the team has also taken over an adjacent space and construction is underway to expand Razza’s dining room. Once completed this winter, indoor dining will resume.
The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean Georges
A chef that needs no introduction, for the last seven years, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has operated one of Westchester’s top fine dining attractions, the casually-elegant, roughly farmhouse inspired Inn at Pound Ridge, situated within a building that dates back to 1833 and once served as an inn, hence the restaurant’s moniker. Wed to seasonal and locally-sourced eats procured from the Hudson Valley and New England, the current bill of fare is overseen by chef de cuisine Ron Gallo and weaves in inspiration from both Europe and Asia, with extra attention to Italy. Think burrata with pomegranate and hibiscus, crispy salmon sushi, and larger dishes like rigatoni with meatballs, and a Parmesan-crusted chicken with lemon and basil.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Because this crimson-hued house, a cheap sports bar dive on a busy stretch of Central Park Avenue in tawny Scarsdale, New York, serves some of the most delicious and addictive hot sauce-soaked chicken wings in the state. And it’s been doing so, beside bottles of Bud Light, since 1955. Attracting a mix of pub-goers and local high school students looking for a late-night snack, around 10 pm, you’ll notice a line out the door for the orange-tinged, spicy and tangy hot sauce, offered in varying levels of heat, cloaking wings, but also chicken fingers, and additionally offered as an accompaniment to waffle cheese fries. Note: It’s not an inn, and there’s certainly no candlelight. But what feels very on-brand is that it’s cash only.
An old-school pie joint built upon family recipes, Johnny’s Pizzeria has been part of the Piscopo family since Joseph Piscopo opened it in 1942. Over the decades, the wood-paneled, retro-feeling place—with its Yankees memorabilia-bedecked walls and cash-only policy—has earned a stellar reputation for its killer round pies with a super thin crust and tangy-sweet tomato topping. This is no floppy pizza (note: no slices here, just whole pies), slices are cracker-crispy, and come with toppings like hot peppers or pepperoni. There’s also an abundance of Italian specialties, from chicken parm to veal piccata.
Blue Hill Stone Barns
Avid diners from around the world trek to New York City, then drive 40 minutes north to the grassy hamlet of Pocantico Hills, home to chef Dan Barber’s globally-recognized, 80-acre farmstead restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Part restaurant, part non-profit educational space Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, the stunning property—with its ample and ubiquitous gardens, pastures, compost centers and more—produces much of what appears on guests’ hyper seasonal, 30-course tasting menu, from house-grown and milled grains for breads, to produce plucked from the ground just hours before hitting a plate. There’s no shortage of things to say about Barber and his low-waste, eco-friendly efforts; his work to develop nutrient-rich, flavor-forward, disease resistant seeds; and most recently with Blue Hill’s reopening this month, add-ons to the restaurant’s dinner service where guests can spend the afternoon touring the farm and research lab before dining.
Peter Luger Steak House
Brooklyn’s bastion of beef, Peter Luger—which dates as far back as 1887 when the steakhouse debuted in Williamsburg as a café, billiards and bowling alley—counts a second outlet in Great Neck, Long Island. In operation for more than half a century, and bearing a similar austere German tavern aesthetic with an exposed beam ceiling, dark wood paneling, and glowing gold chandeliers, just like in Brooklyn, out on Long Island, this is a place for beef. Dry-aged (the number of days is a secret!) USDA Prime to be exact, in portions for one, two, three or four guests, alongside classic surf and turf selects like a whole Maine lobster, shrimp cocktail, lamb chops, and the requisite steakhouse sides: creamed spinach, onion rings, and French fries. It doesn’t get more classic American steakhouse than this. Call 516-487-8800 for reservations.
New Fu Run
New Fu Run is the offshoot of Flushing’s now-shuttered Fu Run, an excellent, full-flavored Northern Chinese haunt lauded for specialties from Dongbei. The modest, and perpetually-packed place earned street cred for its unctuous rack of lamb topped with a mountain of whole toasted cumin seeds, and good news for those out on the Island: this dish is also served at its newer location. Expect bold flavors, ample vinegar and heapings of fresh herbs like cilantro.
Four years ago, chef Paolo Garcia Mendoza and partner Cheryl Baun debuted Karenderya, a cozy and casual, community-oriented Filipino carinderia (canteen), inspired by the popular roadside eateries offering a quick home-cooked meal, found all over the Philippines. Drop in for affordably-priced Filipino eats like silogs, bowls with garlic fried rice, a protein, and a fried egg; beef sotanghon soup, which comes with mung bean noodles, beef bone broth, shredded short rib, shiitake chips, a six-minute egg, and napa cabbage; and chicken wings tossed in a tamarind caramel. There’s also local beer and wine. Call 845-875-7557 for takeout and reservation info.
Jack's Lobster Shack
Counting a handful of New Jersey locations, Jack’s Lobster Shack is the totally unfussy seafood seller inspired by the ubiquitous seaside shacks dotting New England. Lauded for its high-quality ocean animals, locals come for myriad straightforward seafood preps from a steamed, whole Maine lobster to fried oysters to seafood casserole. Pro tip: You can BYOB.
This quaint Japanese bistro—with blond wood paneling from floor to ceiling—has been serving ramen to Westport denizens for the last seven years. Executive chef and owner Bill Taibe, along with partner Massimo Tullio, are behind the concept, with kitchen help from chef de cuisine Will Friedman. The team focuses on a handful of different ramens, including spicy miso, mushroom dashi, and pork and garlic, which come with noodles sourced via Sun Noodle. In addition to soups, guests can also choose from small starters like short rib onigiri, and a shaved broccoli salad with miso.
All American Hamburger Drive In
The epitome of a retro drive-in fast food spot, the name All American Hamburger Drive-In explains it well. Offering takeout only at the moment, this quick-serve burger stop—with its old school façade and red, white, and blue signage—harkens back to the old days, and to the place’s inception back in 1963. It’s still a family-run operation to this day, with a commitment to quality. Burger patties are delivered fresh daily from an undisclosed butcher, griddled then stacked between squishy buns, offered with or without American cheese. Meanwhile, the requisite accompaniment, fries, are made in house from fresh potatoes. And don’t forget to try a thick and creamy milkshake, either vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.
One of Danbury’s few Vietnamese restaurants, and the area favorite, family-owned Pho Vietnam offers a classic, yet well-made menu of Vietnamese classics in an intimate space. Choose from a number of pho options (short rib, chicken breast, mixed seafood) to rice noodle salads, to larger dishes like coconut milk curry soup, and pork fried rice with Vietnamese sausage. Pro tip: You can BYOB.
The Barn at Bedford Post
This eight-room, country-inspired Relais & Chateau hotel is home to three restaurants, The Barn, the Farmhouse, and The Terrace, but presently only bistro-centered The Barn is serving. With a regularly-changing, seasonally-driven New American bill of fare, executive chef and partner Roxanne Spruance sources many ingredients from growers in the Hudson Valley, which fortify dishes like a sunchoke and fig salad, wild rice-stuffed honeynut squash, and crisp fried chicken alongside five-spice pear butter. There’s also raw bar selections and bistro classics from steak tartare to steak frites.
For anyone heading upstate, DPNB Pasta & Provisions is the perfect stop along the way—about an hour north of the city—to grab a quick lunch (on weekends) or dinner, or stock up on Italian larder goods alongside excellent house-made pastas and sauces. After working in Manhattan at places like Lupa and Del Posto, co-owner Tony Scotto launched DPNB Pasta & Provisions with help from wife Louiedell Gargantiel Scotto, offering a compact, 10-seat dining space, with additional outdoor seats when weather permits. A wholly quality-minded operation, Scotto sources his ingredients from the Hudson Valley, along with local farmers markets. And using all that’s good and local, he creates a mix of both classic pasta preps, like house-made rigatoni with heritage pork ragu Bolognese, alongside a number of inspired seasonal specials. Right now one will find beet ravioli with butter poppy seeds, orange, and buckwheat honey, and tripoline with sweet corn and gouda. There’s also some starters, such as house-made focaccia with John Fazio Farms burrata, and larger protein plates like sausage with romesco. Order takeout via Square.
Bread & Salt
As its name suggests, bread is the name of the game at this day-time bakery and café in Jersey City. Master baker Rick Easton is behind the place, and over the last two years he’s earned acclaim for his excellent Roman-style pizzas with simple toppings, alongside his focaccia barese, a softer style of focaccia that’s made with potatoes. He often garnishes those with tomatoes, olives, and oregano. It’s important to note that Bread & Salt is only open Friday through Sunday until 4 pm and there are tall tables outside for diners to stand and eat. And beyond bread, Easton offers seasonal soups, sandwiches, and veggie sides. Pro tip: Don’t miss the bombolini for dessert.
This lodge-designed eatery—with ubiquitous honeyed wood from floor to ceiling—was originally built in 1781, but ownership has expanded and renovated it over the years. Regardless, the venue’s rustic country charm remains. Hinged on farm-focused cuisine, and more specifically, seasonally-topped, wood-fired sourdough pizzas, the Swyft team works closely with nearby Rock Cobble Farm to procure much of its produce, along with dairy products, which enables Swyft to make its own mozzarella and burrata. Beyond Neapolitan pizza, there’s a concise menu of vegetable-forward small plates like smoked farm carrots, and larger plates that range from gnocchi with foraged mushrooms, and a wood-fired chicken with tahini and lime.
One of New York’s most iconic and beloved chefs, April Bloomfield, has moved on from her Spotted Pig days to helm the kitchen at The Mayflower Inn, the stunning English country house-designed resort in Washington, CT. And her English background is a perfect fit for the property, where she’s overseeing the venue’s seasonal English meets New England-leaning menus, the most formal of which is served in four or six-course tastings at The Garden Room, priced between $155- $250. Bloomfield sources many ingredients from local Connecticut farms, yielding dishes like kohlrabi-rosemary velouté with porcini hollandaise, and a house clam chowder with New England clam ravioli and parsley oil.