Harrisburg Chowhound shoutout!
Anybody else out there?
What's your take on Harriburg's ever-evolving restaurant scene? Winners? Losers? What's in store for the future?
OK, I'll bite. The dining scene in Harrisburg has improved tremendously over the past 10 years. That said, most of the new places on 2nd Street are primarily bars that cater to 20-somethings and have so-so food, at best. The tops in town for grown ups are:
Mangia Qui (and the upstairs tapas bar, Suba)
Bricco (a collaboration between the cooking school at the community college and the Hilton. The food's terrific and the wine list's large enough and reasonable, but the service is sometimes a bit slow).
Max's has a loud bar scene late at night, but the food is pretty good and the pizzas are very good. Skewers, a Middle-Eastern BYOB, is charming and the food is very nicely spiced. Skewers also has the best samosas that I have ever had.
I was just as Stock's on 2nd a couple of weeks ago and the food there was pretty good. The French Onion soup was tasty as was the Chicken/Shrimp over saffron linguini. The peanut butter pie for dessert there is very good, waiter told me the owner's mom makes it.
I was also at Leeds and didn't care for it as well as the Appalachian Brewing CO downtown. Average food but pretty good beer and the service wasn't too swift at times.
I've heard the Progress Grill is pretty good as well and not sure if I'll go there next time I'm in town.
Any other ideas for an out of towner?
I agree that the 2nd scene has gravitated more toward nightlife than dining, but I'm fine with that as long as other options remain. Perhaps I feel this way because I am a 20-something AND a foodie. I agree with all of profjmm's suggestions for the discrimiating palette; they are the tops in town.
I also agree with aldadshsta's assessment of ABC: so-so food and beer. However, the atmosphere in their facility is great, and they are basically the only place in town regularly promoting live music. Upstairs, they've got an excellent selection of Belgain Beers if that's your thing.
I've been impressed by Bayou, located on 2nd in Midtown a world away from the nightlife. They serve up unpretenious, tasty cajun and southern cooking. Their sunday brunch is fun as well.
Thank the gods we've got Troegs as well. Troegs has really developed into a top-notch brewery, as attested by the numerous awards their brews have won. Troegs is everything that ABC is not; they focus on the beer and just the beer. With such a quality product, there isn't much else for them to worry about.
We moved out here to the Harrisburg area almost 9 years ago from the Philly area. I remember before we moved asking a saleman who was from this area what the good italian restaurants were and he just shook his head and said there weren't any. I found his general assessment of the dining situation pretty accurate once we were out here. It has gotten much better since that time. When we go downtown we usually eat at Scott's. Always had a good meal there (their linguine with clam sauce is top notch, the wife just dies for their crab cakes) and they know how to make a good martini, which for me is always key with a good meal.
Al Mediteranneo in Hummelstown, out off 322 on the way to Hershey is one of my favorites.
Just went to Gabriella on Jonestown road just a couple of blocks off 83 for the first time last weekend (the couple we were going out with suggested it). Excellent pasta (though the martini's were not great).
Joshk - thanks for the heads up on Bayou, have to try it next time we go dowtown. I love cajun but the only decent cajun I ever had in central PA is at Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia, off route 30 between York and Lancaster, but it is such a hike to get down there I haven't made the trip in ages.
Profjmm - thanks for the heads up on Bricco - I'll definitely put that on the culinary to do list also. I've been meaninig to try it but we just have not been getting out as much as we would like lately, what with kids and babysitting and all that.
Does it bother any other Central Pennsylvanians when you read the annual Partiot-News reader polls every year and see places like Outback, Olive Garden and Red Lobster listed as top chioces? Makes me want to hang my head in shame that I live here when I see that.
re: clam sauce
Oh yeah! It bothers me to no end when I see that!! It also blows my mind that there's frequently an hour wait at the Olive Garden on a friday night. (The only reason I know is because I have a relative who insists on giving me an Olive Garden gift card for Christmas every year)
Scott's is very good, although I've only been there once for dinner. However, it is my favorite place in Harrisburg for happy hour.
I admit that I do not get out to eat very often outside the downtown Harrisburg area, but that's because I live and work right in town. My favorite Italian is probably Sammy's right across from the Capitol.
Who's got a good seafood restaurant recommendation?
Thank you for the suggestions! I live between Harrisburg and Philly and usually am short on time when in town, so I frequently don't cruise around trying to discover where to eat.