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Date Week 2013 Lancaster/Harrisburg

Sorry, yes. I haven't been posting much, and I know I owe you guys all a full review. I'm at the point where I'm not sure I can recall everything we had. We ate at Tellus 360, Himalayan Curry, Aussie and the Fox, Ma(i)son, (all in Lancaster,) the John Wright Restaurant Patio in Wrightsville and Andalusia in Carlisle.

I think it is safe to say that Himalayan Curry was our favorite meal of the week with Aussie and the Fox coming in second. The food and service at both were excellent. Of course, you couldn't get more different then these two places, but I think both can be counted on for an enjoyable dining experience. I admit that I was a little worried about Aussie because the one time I had lunch there I thought it was just ok. But the dinner menu was great.

I felt like I had had better experiences at Ma(i)son in the past. We had some service issues, and in the end, they comped our dessert without us even asking. Maybe it's not fair based on one bad night, but it is so similar to Citronelle that I think it bumps Citronelle up ahead of the pack at this time.

Nothing "chow worthy" at the John Wright pizza patio. The pizza crust is too thick for my taste and the toppings were over too much in richness. We could have eaten at the main restaurant inside, but it was such a nice night we wanted to be out by the river. And you really can't beat the pleasant location of The John Wright. A couple decent orange crushes from the bar put me in a good mood for a pleasant evening.

Andalusia was ok. I'm no expert on Spanish food by any stretch. I thought everything we had was good, but nothing to knock my socks off. It all felt very standard, if that makes sense. We got a few tapas and shared a small seafood paella. Something about the atmosphere there really turned me off. I can't quite explain it. It felt dingy and on top of it, the lights were really bright and it just didn't feel comfortable. I was surprised, because I feel the opposite way at the owner's other restaurant, Cafe Bruges, which is one of our favorite places.

We didn't go to Zuckfoltzfus. My DH has a good friend whose opinion on food and beverage he greatly values (for good reason.) They have been a few times and gave it horrible reviews, so he had no interest in even considering it.

I met a friend for lunch at Upohar. I will have to make it back for dinner sometime. It was an interesting experience and the food was great. But it is a very simple meal in a very simple space. You serve yourself at a small buffet with about 6-8 options (I tried them all) and there is a person there to take your payment and explain some of the dishes if you ask questions. They were all curry like stews and roasted vegetables and a rice when I was there. No meats. I believe the menu changes daily.

Ha! I had more to say then I thought. I should have created a whole new post!

Sep 05, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Places to eat in Lancaster Co., Pa.

I think this kind of highlights the problem There are plenty of great restaurants in Lancaster Co., Dauphin Co. and a few in York Co. (Accomac certainly being one.) But we get so many visitors that never leave the eastern Lancaster Co. corridor of Amish tourism, cheep buffets, and chain restaurants, that they think that is all we have.

I haven't given any recommendations on this thread for a couple reasons. One, I've been avoiding Chowhound since some of the recent changes. Two, it helps to know where the OP has been in the past, what they haven't liked, where in the area they want to be, and how much they want to spend. With kids, without? Special occasion, casual? etc.

There are numerous threads describing the excellent restaurants in Lancaster City, if people are willing to make the effort to go into town.

Sep 05, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Date Week 2013 Lancaster/Harrisburg

Great idea! I totally forgot about it and it is very close to home! Thanks! Can't wait to report back on our week of dining out this year. :)

Jul 24, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Date Week 2013 Lancaster/Harrisburg

It's time for date week 2014 and we are looking for suggestions this year.

Since we didn't make it to Himalayan Curry, that is on my list. We have reservations for Ma(i)son for Friday night since we haven't been in such a long time.

We want that to be our most expensive meal. We've had lots of expenses this year, so I think we are more in the mood more casual, probably more ethnic eateries. I'm very sad that Upohar only does lunch, so we may need to plan a lunch date.

We tend to stick to Lancaster and Harrisburg, but are willing to travel further afield.

Jul 24, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Vegan-friendly Lancaster?

Rice and Noodles is a Vietnamese restaurant not far from your hotel that is very vegan friendly. Near the Choo-choo barn in Strasburg is Isaac's Deli. It is a local chain, and there are other locations throughout the county that might be convenient for you.

Also, here is a website. I am not familiar with all the restaurants and don't know how up to date it is. Most of them, you can see, are Asian. Rice and Noodles is my favorite among those.


Jul 24, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Lancaster BYOB suggestions

As Ahab pretty much stated, you are limited to Citronelle and Ma(i)son for finer dining BYOB's. Any other BYO restaurants in the Lancaster area are small ethnic eateries.

I also agree with the suggestions of Stockyard and John J. Jeffries. If you truly are looking for a traditional steakhouse, Stockyard is your place. I've been and enjoyed it greatly.

If you truly want to drive for the best steak in the region, there is always Mangia Qui in Harrisburg. Also not a BYO, but their Tuscan rib eye is famous. But it is their only steak option, being an Italian restaurant, not a steak house. It is an all around fantastic restaurant.

Jul 14, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

lancaster buffets: best of the bunch

Six is not a large group for Oregon Dairy. We do a family breakfast at various eateries in the county once a month and when we do Oregon Dairy (one of my faves), we can call ahead and get a back room for our group of 15. When meeting up with my IL's for breakfast or lunch, we are a group of 6 and have never waited more than 10 minutes. If your wait is longer, you can pass the time in the adjacent gift shop or grocery store, or an adult can take the little ones to the playground if the weather is nice. They have a menu and buffet. Some of your party could choose to do the buffet and others choose to order off the menu (which is tons better.)

So Oregon Dairy would be my first choice, and Shady Maple would be my distant second just because it is a tourist attraction in and of itself. I've never been to Deinner's but it gets very good reviews. The wait with little kids would be a turn off.

However, I generally avoid the buffets like the plague. And just so you know, none of these places are "Amish" although they are PA Dutch, which I will assume is what you meant.

Jun 12, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Need appetizer ideas for 80 people in a venue without kitchen facilities! [in Singapore]

What about chafing dishes and crock pots? You can keep things warm in those, especially a meatball of some type. Gougeres are good warm or at room temp. A hearty quinoa or tabouli salad is good at room temp as well.

Hershey, PA family-friendly eats

Nothing is at the Cafe Cambelltown spot right now. But you can get great sandwiches at the Brass Rail Deli, not too far west on 322, also in Cambelltown.

In Hershey, I think that everywhere is surprisingly kid friendly. They know that families will have children with them when visiting the "Sweetest Place on Earth." We've been taking our kids to Devon Seafood Grill since my youngest was about 5 and they always catered very nicely to them. You may enjoy Chocolate Avenue Grill, as well. They have a large menu, and I enjoy the atmosphere there - relaxed, but nicer then the chains. There is now a barbecue place in town, Smoked. Honestly, I hear mixed reviews and haven't been yet. People either seem to love it, or come away disappointed after hearing the rave reviews.

I think Piazza Sorrento is better than Bricker's. I hear great things about Soprano's, but have never been. Fenicci's is popular, and I do like their "upside down" pizza, but I find the other Italian dishes too sweet for my taste.

You may also want to consider The Hershey Pantry for Monday. They are especially known for their breakfasts, but are open all day and do a nice lunch as well. It can be crowded with a long wait, as the place is not very large. The wait could be trying for a hungry toddler.

May 31, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Mother's Day in Lancaster

You may have trouble getting reservations at Eden on Mother's Day. It is, by far, the most popular brunch buffet in the area.

If you can't get in there, you might want to look at smaller venues in the city such as Commonwealth on Queen and Fork n Spoon. Greenfield in will have a Mother's Day meal, but I can't speak to the quality.

May 01, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Lancaster Central Market

There is something for everyone. Get a cookie at Wendy Jo's. I like the Middle Eastern at Saif's

Restaurants in Lancaster

I just want to say that I agree with everything Mizzy said 100%. When I think of Gibraltar, I do not think of Italian at all, but I do think of wonderful seafood.

I don't think I could say that one is necessarily better than the other, because they are so different.

Apr 29, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Best Pizza Within an Hour of Harrisburg

This thread got bumped and it made me think of pizza at The Fridge in downtown Lancaster. Been there? It's not traditional pizza, more gourmet toppings based on seasonal availability, thin crust. I think it's great, but perhaps not what you are looking for?

Apr 26, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Laban does Lancaster

I was just about to post this article myself! I'm always trying to encourage tourists to visit the downtown area. Hope this article will help!

Apr 24, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania


I use it only for pie crust. My mother taught me to keep it in the fridge purely because it is then cold for use, thus better crusts. But this is a trick she didn't start until I was in college and she had more fridge space. As a child, I remember her always storing it in the pantry.

Apr 24, 2014
centralpadiner in General Topics

Central Market in Lancaster

That is correct. Tues, Fri., Sat. Also, where were you trying to park? Best place is Prince St. garage.

Apr 21, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Central Market in Lancaster

You definitely hit the Easter rush, I can only imagine as a normal Saturday will be packed. I was able to go this past Tuesday before the noon rush and it was practically empty. It almost felt like I wasn't shopping at Central Market, LOL! From what I've heard, early Friday morning can be pretty good too.

Apr 20, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Fine Dining in or near Lancaster- Dinner Recs?

Ok, that's fair. But I don't find the menus to have anything really outrageous. I know we are "hounds" at my house, but my kids have been to JJJ and Citronelle and had a wonderful experience at both. Gibraltar is a fairly typical seafood restaurant with Mediterranean leanings. But these are the places I think of when I think of "fine dining" especially in regards to food quality. I thought she meant not ethnic - as in not Japanese, Ethiopian, Indian, etc. (not that we have any places like that which are "fine dining" in Lancaster, anyway except, perhaps, the fine, private, dining they have available at El Serrano.)

If I had to pick a place for steak and baked potato that also had a "fine dining" atmosphere, I guess I'd pick The Stockyard. I thought of including it on my original list, but I don't know why, I just don't think of it as a special occasion place.

Apr 10, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Fine Dining in or near Lancaster- Dinner Recs?

My favorite fine dining restaurants are all in downtown Lancaster and include the following in order of preference. Check out their websites to see what you would think appeals to you most:

John J. Jeffries

Apr 09, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Lancaster Doouble Tree -- fast, inexpensive

I'm not down that way much, and when I am it is usually driving through so I don't stop to eat. Unfortunately, aside from the hotel, there isn't a whole lot in the area beyond fast food. But there is one place that I have heard about repeatedly - Wasabi Japanese restaurant is reported to have the best sushi in the area, and some say the best Asian, overall. It should be a bright spot for you that is pretty close by. It is in the Kendig Square shopping center.

Good luck, and be sure to report back.

Apr 02, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Help fill in the blanks....Lancaster

Most of your plan sounds great! The Rice and Noodles idea for the first night is perfect.

Personally, I wouldn't leave the park for lunch on Day 2. Traffic around Dutch Wonderland in the summer is a nightmare. Leaving the park, IMO, will be a huge waste of time and take much more of it than you anticipate. I believe at least one of the eating places in the park is air conditioned. Plus, it is a small park. With the preview the night before, how much time you want to spend there the next day will depend on if you plan significant time in the waterpark area - which is great, but not everyone wants to do that, change clothes, etc. - and how crowded it is.

Very close to your hotel is an Isaac's (as was mentioned, there is also one in Strasburg). It would be a much easier dinner and more kid friendly then heading downtown to The Fridge. While I cannot deny for one second that the Fridge is anything less than the best pizza around and definitely hound worthy food, I don't consider it the most kid friendly of places and again, the trek into Lancaster may be too much after a long day. Isaac's is a great family friendly deli, a local chain, and surprisingly good.

Hershey has some good restaurants, and I would consider dining there before heading home. My kids' favorite is Devon Seafood Grill and it is a finer dining experience for mom and dad, too. If your kids are old enough to read, I'd consider the Hershey Story Museum in addition to Chocolate World. Pay the extra for the Apprentice Program, which creates a scavenger hunt around the museum for answers about Milton Hershey and the company.

Baloney Cups with Taters & Cheese: Funky Snacks from Your Past

Ha! My mom called it "tuna fish on toast" and skipped the hard work and went straight for the can of cream of mushroom soup (or celery, depending on what she had on hand.) I hate it, but it is still my brother's favorite comfort food. Always over toast (as the name suggests) never noodles. This was mom's "no time to cook" or "no fresh food in the house" meal.

Mar 03, 2014
centralpadiner in Features

Cuisinart Combi Oven

Picked up some Wegman's crab cakes and used the steam-broil feature. Twelve minutes at 450*. They were fantastic. Nicely browned without drying out.

Feb 23, 2014
centralpadiner in Cookware

The Melting Pot

It's a gimmick. My kids had fun with it. I can see it for a group for "girls' night." But, yeah, expensive for what it actually is (food and quality wise)

Feb 23, 2014
centralpadiner in Chains

Seafood Restaurant

If you go there, I'll be curious to hear a report back about what you thought! My IL's love it there and regularly take road trips just to eat there.

Feb 06, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Mangia, Mangia, Italian Grill -Hershey

When my brother's family is in Lebanon visiting my father, we always struggle to find a convenient place to have dinner that is a reasonable distance for them and for us in Northwestern Lanc. Co. T.J. Rockwell's is popular, always crowded, but just . . . . well, blech (to all of us, except, maybe, the kids.)

Mangia, Mangia Italian Grill is a place along Rt. 743, south of Hershey that we have passed a hundred times and never looked into. However, the parking lot is always full, making us think they are doing something right. So we called to see if they could handle our group of 9 and then headed over.

It was a Saturday night, and parking was hard to come by, but we found spots and got inside. We were greeted warmly and seated at our prepared table immediately. There were lots of other family groups and the atmosphere was bustling.

It is a BYOB, and we brought 2 bottles of wine (one that my husband and I had opened the night before and each had one glass out of.) They brought us glasses and took the kids drink orders very quickly. Then we were told about the specials.

We were given plenty of time to peruse the menu and get the younger kids settled. We got 2 orders of fried calamari for the table and one of hot chicken wings. I didn't take a look at the kids menu, as mine were ordering off the regular. One child got the kids portion of spaghetti and meatball. I overheard part of a conversation about the other young child in our group. From what I could tell, he was not interested in the kid's menu, so they were very accommodating and ordered him a half portion of the ravioli on the main menu with a tomato sauce (rather than the walnut and pesto it typically comes with.) My daughter got the regular spaghetti and meatball and my son ordered a pizza with sausage. We had another adult get the spaghetti and meatball, one get the spaghetti fruitti di mare (also in their red sauce), I got the raviolone with toasted walnuts and pesto. My husband got veal Milanese and my sister in law got pollo Florentina.

The calamari was under seasoned, but the aioli made up for it. As long as you dipped, you were happy. I didn't have a wing, but everyone that did seemed pretty happy with them. They looked meaty. Hot was ordered, but I was assured that they weren't really "that hot."

I was extremely pleased with my ravioli. Just a simple filling of ricotta, the sauce was more of a broth flavored with pesto and topped with the toasted walnuts and shaved pecorino. It was delicious and the server told me it was her favorite dish in the restaurant. The only negative was the sautéed summer squash on the side. It just didn't fit with the dish and was a bit undercooked for my taste, besides. I didn't feel guilty not finishing it, since I had ordered a side salad in addition to my meal. I did note that salads did not come with the pasta dishes, which is unusual for this type of restaurant.

My husband and sister in law were equally happy. Everyone that got a red sauce dish felt that the sauce was missing something. It just lacked flavor. But the other elements of their dishes were good. I heard comments ranging from excellent meatballs to perfectly cooked seafood. My son's pizza also looked spectacular, I have to say. If I had been disappointed with my own meal, I would have been stealing slices. The crust had perfect color and looked nice and crisp. The sausage was my preferred sliced rather then crumbled. He didn't talk once his food arrived, so I take that as a good sign.

This place is definitely going onto our regular rotation. Easier to get to for us then Harrisburg, Lancaster, or even downtown Hershey. I see this as an alternative to McCleary's (in Marietta) for us when we want to take the kids out to a nice but casual meal. The service was great. And while not ALL the food was spectacular, this is the kind of family owned restaurant I'd like to see more of in our area. A real Italian restaurant, rather than just a pizza place.

Feb 05, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Aussie and the Fox - Lancaster

Finally got to eat at Aussie and the Fox for lunch on Saturday after a trip to Central Market.

First of all, the space is beautiful. They've done a great job with it. The banquette seating was comfortable. All in all, a very inviting place.

I thought we were going to have a long wait, but it was just a large group all together waiting for a large enough table to be set up for them. So, we got seated right away, just my husband and me.

A fairly small detail that I really appreciated was the pitcher of filtered water we received upon being seated. Why don't more places do this?

Unfortunately, you could tell our server was flustered from the get-go. She took our drink orders although she couldn't recall the beers on tap and had to go back and check. Everything felt like it took just a little too long. To get our drinks, to take our order, to get our food. It was the big disappointment of our visit.

The food itself was above average, but I think we were so frustrated with the service that we couldn't get very enthusiastic about it. Husband got the Aussie burger. A huge creation that has everything from pickled beet to a fried egg on top of a cheeseburger. It's the kind of thing he typically oohs and awws over, but all I could get out of him was "yeah, it's good." He wouldn't say anything negative when pressed, but wasn't too excited either.

I was going to get the Fox burger (the basic one) but was too intrigued by the soup of the day, so I got the lunch combo which was a cup of the cauliflower cheese bisque with half of the turkey panini and a small side salad. The bisque was very, very good. Sadly, the panini was mediocre, with pancetta that was not crisp enough and turkey that was bland, and generally "under-stuffed." It was saved by an onion jam and very good bread that was grilled to perfection. The salad looked nice and fresh, but again, the dressing that accompanied it was very bland.

Despite this, I do think it is a place we will give another try. There were enough hits to balance the misses and the dinner menu looks intriguing. A second incident of bad service would knock this place off our list, though. I'd love to hear what kind of experience others have had.

Feb 05, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

Seafood Restaurant

Since you were willing to look as far as Baltimore, perhaps Woody's Crab House would suit your needs. About an hr. south of Lancaster in North East, MD. Casual, fun, eat seafood with your hands kind of spot.


Feb 05, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

New(ish) ethnic eats in Lancaster?

My husband had a very disappointing meal there and refuses to even consider going back. I have not heard anything good any time I ask others about it, unfortunately.

My cousin looked into having her wedding there and was disappointed all around, with the staff she spoke to, the options available, and combined with the very high cost. She chose the Marriott, even though the space is not nearly as unique.

Jan 22, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania

New(ish) ethnic eats in Lancaster?

He would have had the pho. He did say the broth was very good. But something about the noodles didn't seem right. I don't recall getting any more detail then that. Like I said, he's been adopted by Rice and Noodles.... ;)

Jan 18, 2014
centralpadiner in Pennsylvania