The Quaker State might have fewer Quakers this day, but there're also way more options for great food. To help you keep up with the changing times, we've rounded up 10 must-hit restaurants around PA, and as an added bonus, avoided Philadelphia altogether.
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Helmed by a James Beard nominee and a Food & Wine award winner, this place is serving beautifully plated, locally sourced takes on Mediterranean eats, especially (as the name suggests) charcuterie, as well as things like strawberry gazpacho and whiskey cocktails that'll make you feel great. But they won't actually cure you of anything you pick up in... ugh, Pittsburgh.
Legume is Western PA's answer to a New York City bistro, thanks to a simple menu that changes everyday (expect things like Puntarelle with pickled beef tongue, spaghetti with garlic scape pesto and fried egg, and grass-fed beef rib loin with grilled radicchio, etc.), and that it calls "a seven-year conversation" with its customers, something which no one at an actual NYC bistro would put up with.
This takeout-style meatery on the Strip makes the list thanks to seriously sweet Argentinian BBQ cooked up on a wood-burning grill, where it's doing five different cuts of cow, next-level sandwiches, and the only kind of vegetables worth eating -- ones that taste like meat.
People wandering Scranton in search of Michael Scott will STILL remember that awesome Italian dish that they had at Libassi’s, even after they’ve snapped that PA Paper & Supply Co. sign.
Bolete, nestled in a 200-year-old building in Lehigh Valley, is mixing historic local charm with high-end cuisine from founders who have worked in the industry from Boston to San Francisco. The menu stays fresh and changes almost daily for the best in local produce.
Sette Luna makes authentic wood-fired pizzas, like the fresh clams,parsley and lemon Amalfi Coast or the Gamberetti, which's basically a Margherita plus sautéed shrimp, pesto, and lemon, that makes for a perfect end to your day at the Crayola Factory.
You could be out of luck when trying to feed yourself in our state’s capital, so make sure to make a reservation at Harrisburg’s top restaurant, where the folks there are doing farm-to-table dining in a place surrounded by actual farms.
Considered by some to be out-of-place for Erie, PA, 1201 offers a dizzying array of Latin and Asian-inspired dishes, like fresh sushi, smoked brisket enchiladas, and even a dry-aged porterhouse.
Locals of Williamsport swear by Franco’s as the best restaurant in town, thanks to a homey atmosphere and its seriously good signature garlic bread, and possibly also to the fact it observes the beloved Philly tradition of live music on First Friday.
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This article originally published on June 18, 2014.
1. Cure5336 Butler St, Pittsburgh
2. Legume214 N Craig St, Pittsburgh
3. Gaucho Parilla Argentina1607 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh
4. Libassi's Restaurant and Pizzeria401 Railroad Ave, Scranton
5. Bolete Restaurant & Inn1740 Seidersville Rd, Bethlehem
6. Sette Luna219 Ferry St, Easton
7. Home 231231 North St, Harrisburg
8. Victor's Italian Restaurant554 S Ogontz St, York
9. 1201 Kitchen1201 State Street, Erie
10. Franco's Lounge Restaurant & Music Club12 West Fourth Street, Williamsport
Chef Justin Severino presents a cure to your food ethics concerns at his hyper-local Mediterranean-leaning restaurant in Lawrenceville, where all of the meats come from ethically raised and butchered animals. True to the name, charcuterie is king here, and the epic salumi platter is reason enough to eat here. The rest of the menu is both meaty and thoughtful: beef tartare is spiked with pickled chili, oyster aioli, and black garlic; smoked lamb is tossed with ricotta cavatelli; and steak au poivre can be topped with foie gras. The stuffed boar heads overlooking Cure's country-casual dining room are almost as much of a red flag as the menu to any vegetarians who wander in.
What was once a tiny BYOB in Regent Square went big-league when Legume reopened in Oakland, bigger and better. The 90-seat space (roughly three times larger than the original) has a New American menu with French and European influences that changes daily, in true bistro fashion. Diners can expect meals that traditionally blend seasonal vegetables with meat and fish: slow-cooked veal shoulder is rosemary sprinkled with red Russian kale and roasted potatoes while braised monkfish gets served with cranberry beans and pea shoots. Sharing plates can serve as appetizers, or accompany your bar fix, with a country-style pate made with duck, prosciutto, and pistachio as a must-order.
This Latin American steak joint in the Strip District serves up five cuts of beef in their bright, al fresco eatery. The restaurant exclusively offers counter service -- chefs call out customer's names as they line wood-fired steak, chicken, and fish dishes (including a build-your-own-paella entree) onto the food bar, and hungry guests are expected to seat themselves after placing their orders. The entrees are best paired with a classic rice and beans plate, grilled corn on the cob, or an order of the famous Gaucho Parilla empanadas. The place has a lax BYOB policy, plenty of communal seating, and a private sub-ground event space called The Bodega.
Remember that awesome meal you had in Scranton while you were searching for Michael Scott? No? That's because it wasn't at Libassi’s. They've got some sweet pizzas... and other Italian food... but we all know you want the pizza.
Bolete is all about high-end cuisine and has a menu that changes daily so you're always getting the freshest food.
Sette Luna -- seventh moon for those who don't know -- is brought to you by three local Easton friends who want to make the best Italian you've ever tried.
Home 231 is comfortable and stylish. It is big on featuring farm-to-table food. Oh, there's indoors and outdoors seating too.
It's got a bit of a rocky past -- including a fire and non-functioning bell tower -- but Victor's is still kicking and serving fabulous Italian food. Even Philly Italians find the fried risotto up to snuff.
If you're looking for traditional Latin and Asian food with a twist on the same menu, this is the place to go. 1201 Kitchen is Eire's go to resto for a raw bar, sushi, rigatoni, and much, much more.
Franco's has been a fixture in downtown Williamsport for more than 20 years for a good reason: it's been committed to serving artists and visionaries for years. Franco invites you to come be a part of the family ehether you're a local, or just passing through.