I’ve traveled to Dutchess County, New York on two separate trips: once during the spring exploring its small towns and villages, and once close to Christmastime to see decorated historic sites and mansions. While this county in the Hudson Valley offers so much to see and do, I enjoyed some fantastic meals in between the activities and attractions. Not only are there loads of vegan options at many Dutchess County restaurants, but I had no idea that it’s such a diverse foodie region, too.
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Dutchess County is home to the Culinary Institute of America, and many talented chefs stay in the region to open up restaurants. Many restaurants pride themselves on using local ingredients from the Hudson Valley that are fresh and in season. If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or introducing some plant-based meals into your life, here are the best Dutchess County restaurants for yummy vegan dishes.
Veggie Go-Go in Wappingers Falls
Veggie Go-Go is a mostly vegetarian restaurant in Dutchess County, offering a few meat options on the menu. You’ll mostly find vegan and vegetarian dishes, including a lot of customizable meals. They use fresh and local produce from the Hudson Valley.
The menu features a huge variety of fruit smoothies, fresh pressed juices, salad bowls, hot bowls, create your own bowls, and more. In the grab and go section, there are lots of nourishing salads, soups, and curried vegetable pocket pies. I ordered the spicy peanut noodle salad and the dragonberry smoothie. The smoothie was so refreshing, and the noodle salad was perfectly spiced with a good amount of veggies and toppings.
If you’re looking for a sweet treat, there are vegan cupcakes in a few different flavors. There’s also a few shelves with locally made products to bring home with you, like chocolate bars and maple syrup.
Twisted Soul in Poughkeepsie
Twisted Soul in downtown Poughkeepsie is an eclectic restaurant taking inspiration from Asian and South American cuisine. It’s a really interesting combination, and they also feature tons of vegan options on the menu. It’s one of the best vegan restaurants in Poughkeepsie and one of the top Dutchess County restaurants.
Everything that’s vegan on the menu is clearly marked. You can choose from noodle bowls, Korean grilled tofu steamed buns, rice bowls, and empanadas. I ordered the Malaysian curry tofu noodle bowl, a sweet potato empanada, and shared some yuca fries and chickpea fries. It was an amazing feast. The noodle bowl had the perfect amount of spice, and the empanada bursted with flavor.
Essie’s Restaurant in Poughkeepsie
Essie’s Restaurant has the atmosphere of a casual restaurant with fine dining appeal. Executive Chef and Owner, Brandon Walker, named the restaurant after his grandmother. He’s a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and his menu takes inspiration from flavors of the Caribbean and the American South. Chef Walker uses local ingredients from the Hudson Valley wherever possible to support the local food economy and serve the freshest meals.
Essie’s is one of the best Dutchess County restaurants and there are a couple of vegan options on the menu. While they aren’t marked directly on the menu, they are marked on the website’s menu. Pop over to the website to see which items are vegan-friendly, or you can always ask your server for more details.
I ordered the crispy plantains as a starter, which are one of the best things I’ve eaten in the Hudson Valley, hands down. As my main, I got the Root Vegetable Stew (legumes, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, garlic, onions, turnips, farro), which is such a hearty and comforting meal to eat in the winter. Other options on the menu that can be prepared vegan: fall squash soup, autumn lettuce salad, and roasted beet nachos.
Brasserie 292 in Poughkeepsie
Brasserie 292 is a French inspired restaurant in downtown Poughkeepsie. I just love the style of this restaurant with its white subway tiles, massive mirrors, checkerboard floors and deep red booths. It’s got classic appeal with originality and flair, much like the dishes on the menu.
You wouldn’t expect to find any vegan food on a French restaurant menu, but Brasserie 292 can accommodate many dietary restrictions or preferences. To start, I had a kale salad with a creamy cashew dressing. For my main, I enjoyed a roasted and stuffed acorn squash with local grains, baby kale, and dried cranberries. It arrived artfully presented inside an entire acorn squash!
The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park
Dining at the Culinary Institute of America is such a unique experience. They have several restaurants that are open to the public. Everyone from the chefs, the hosts, and the servers are all students at CIA. They learn how to cook and operate a restaurant as one of their classes at school, and rotate on the various positions to learn them all. Let me tell you, the food was cooked to perfection and our server was absolutely delightful!
I dined at the American Bounty restaurant, and they took my vegan preference very seriously. For instance, there’s usually bread on the table that has animal ingredients in it. Our server went to a different restaurant in the building to find bread that was vegan for me. I really appreciated the extra effort!
To start, I ordered a mixed greens salad (with roasted grapes and a hazelnut white wine dressing). You can order any of the soups and salads made vegan. For my main, I had the Roasted Honeynut Squash (with a curried whole grain salad, charred onion puree, and spiced pickled beets). They also had several kinds of sorbet in really cool and different flavors: I got a dark chocolate sorbet and a guava sorbet. Everything tasted so fresh and delicious, and you could really tell that only the best ingredients were used in very interesting ways.
While you’re at the Culinary Institute of America, feel free to walk around the campus itself to admire the architecture both indoors and outdoors. Anthony Bourdain was a student at the CIA, and there’s a hallway in the school to commemorate him.
Cinnamon Indian Cuisine in Rhinebeck
Do you love Indian food? You simply must go directly to Cinnamon Indian Cuisine in Rhinebeck! It’s one of the best Dutchess County restaurants, whether you’re vegan or not. The flavors and spices at Cinnamon Indian Cuisine are absolutely perfect. They serve up a great mix of innovative and traditional meals, according to ingredients that are fresh and in season.
Their menu has all of the vegan items clearly marked with a “V”. There’s even an option to make a dish vegan if it’s possible, and that’s marked, too. It’s very easy to dine at Cinnamon Indian Cuisine if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. Furthermore, 95% of the menu is gluten-free. And there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go as it’s one of the best Dutchess County restaurants, right on the main shopping street in Rhinebeck.
They serve items that are fresh and local, so the menu changes according to the seasons. To start, I tried a vegetable samosa, crispy cauliflower, and a traditional street food on the side. Next, it was a plate of crispy spinach with chickpea flour that tasted a little like kale chips, but way more flavorful. And I also sampled one of the best lentil soups I’ve ever had, perfectly spiced.
Then, I tried a whole feast of vegan delights, including a chickpea and asparagus dish (typically made with cauliflower, but asparagus was in season), fried okra, spinach and corn mixed with turmeric and spices, plain dosa, lemon rice, and mango chutney. To drink, I drank a hibiscus, white tea, ginger, and peach beverage. For dessert, there was a vegan rice pudding with rose water, cardamom and saffron alongside a mini scoop of mango sorbet.
Wildflower Cafe in Red Hook
You can’t visit Dutchess County as a vegan and not dine at Wildflower Cafe. It’s one of the yummiest vegan restaurants in Dutchess County. And I could really feel the passion for veganism and plant-based living from its owner. Try one of their burgers: I’m convinced that you won’t be able to tell that it’s vegan, and it’ll be one of the best burgers you’ve ever had.
From burgers to tacos, flatbreads to desserts, Wildflower Cafe has something for every taste. It was really difficult to choose what to order, but I went with the Onion Lover Burger (Impossible burger patty, a toasted pretzel bun, lettuce, caramelized onion, onion rings, and signature sauce). We also sampled a Greek flatbread with seasoned meat and feta cheez.
The food was so satisfying, tasty, and I’d love to visit again to try even more food. To top it all off, there were decadent milkshakes for dessert, and I couldn’t resist trying one made with Oreos. I loved dining at Wildflower Cafe, and it’s one of my favorite Dutchess County restaurants.
Vegetalien in Beacon
There’s a vegan restaurant in Beacon, New York that you need to check out. It’s called Vegetalien and they’re serving up meals and beverages made from locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. This plant-based cafe has smoothies, build your own Buddha bowls, acai bowls, salads, BBQ jackfruit tacos, paninis, avocado toast, and so much more.
I couldn’t resist trying the “Tun’ah Sandwich” made out of chickpeas, slaw, lemon vinaigrette on harvest grain bread. Paired with a purple haze smoothie (blueberry, banana, apple and mint), it was so yummy, filling, and nutritious. Also pictured, the avocado and black bean toast. After your meal, treat yourself to a rich and sweet dessert, made by a local vegan bakery.
Trax Coffee in Beacon
Trax Coffee isn’t really a restaurant because it’s a coffee shop, but there are lots of vegan options. It’s right across the street from Vegetalien, making it the perfect place to go right after lunch for a coffee. Not only is Trax Coffee a micro-batch artisan coffee roaster, but they have lots of plant-based milk options for your lattes and cappuccinos. In addition, there are also some sweet vegan treats, too.
Harney & Sons Tea Room in Millerton
Have you ever had Harney & Sons tea? It’s straight out of Dutchess County, and it’s so delicious! When you visit the Harney & Sons tea room in Millerton, you can sample teas, browse the shop and enjoy a meal.
I was very impressed with all of the vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, clearly marked. There’s also the massive tea menu to peruse, and it’s so difficult to decide on just one tea to order. You can order it iced or hot, whatever you choose from their huge variety of over 250 teas.
For food, I chose the hummus and veggie platter, which is always one of my favorite things to eat. For my main course, I tried the mushroom risotto (brown rice risotto topped with sauteed mushroom of the day and balsamic reduction, served with greens), just remember to ask for the vegan version without cheese. And there’s even a vegan choice of dessert, a rice pudding made with plant-based milk topped with fruit. Yum! Harney & Sons isn’t just one of the top Dutchess County restaurants, but it’s also a unique dining experience with its restaurant/tea room combo.
Oakhurst Dinner in Millerton
Oakhurt Diner in Millerton might look like a “greasy spoon” diner, but they have one very yummy vegan dish on the menu. It’s pretty much the opposite of a greasy spoon dish, too. They have a healthy Macrobiotic Plate: steamed broccoli, carrots, acorn squash, black beans and organic brown rice with tahini dill dressing and seaweed. It’s absolutely delicious and more filling than it looks. The diner itself is a total 1950s throwback and oozes with charm. It’s one of my favorite Dutchess County restaurants for the overall vibes, and the food is great, too.
Pizza & Stuff in Fishkill
Pizza and Stuff might not sound like much, but it’s a super yummy pizza place in Fishkill that offers vegan cheese on any of their pizzas. There is a small dining area in the restaurant, but this place mostly does orders to go. And let me tell you, this place was busy! It must be a favorite spot among the locals. If you’re looking for a vegan pizza, head straight to Pizza & Stuff!
Map of Dutchess County Restaurants
Here are all of the vegan Dutchess County restaurants that I mentioned above, visually displayed on a map.
So, there you have it! There’s a great variety of Dutchess County restaurants with vegan and vegetarian options, as well as entirely vegan restaurants in the Hudson Valley. Do you have any more recommendations for my next visit? Let me know in the comments section!