Thanks for all the recommendations for budget/vegetarian/good pubs in Philly. After a few days in the city we'll be visiting the Dutch County area (around Paradise/Bird-in-Hand). All I can find are places doing Smorgasbord! Any recommendations for decent restaurants/diners that will offer an alternative to this??
You didn't specify what type of place you are looking for, but here are a few that I like:
If you like Sushi, Blue Pacific in Lancaster is my fave.
If you like Thai, try Lemongrass on Rt 30, across from Rockvale Square Outlets.
If you are looking for more upscale dining, Doneckers in Ephrata often gets good reviews.
One of my favorite places in the area is Stoudt's Brewery on Rt. 272 in Adamstown. Stoudt's is well known as one of the better microbreweries on the east coast. They have both a formal dining room and a more casual pub area.
The smorgasbords are a truly Amish tourist experience, you may want to consider one of the family style, PA dutch cooking attractions: 'Good & Plenty' or 'Plain & Fancy.'
The food is really down-home farm cooking, including buttered noodles and mushy vegetables. But, if you want to immerse yourself in the experience, it would be fun. And, no alcohol.
On the other hand - being a hound - I HIGHLY recommend Doneckers, although it may be a drive. Another place that looks promising (I have not been since the change in managment) that is closer to the tourism location is the Netherland Inn and Spa Orange. Here's a link to their website: http://www.netherlandsinn.com/
Enjoy your trip
On Rt. 30, in the heart of the outlet area, in the back of the cluster of restaurants that includes Applebees, Fudrucker's, Roadhouse, etc. is a place called Olive and Jasmine Asian Bistro that serves really good Asian fusion. People who have been left with impressions of the dingy, greasy burger joint that formerly occupied that space will be impressed to see the inside makeover. And a big plus -- the restaurant is BYO, which is not very common in that part of Lancaster.
In that same area, there's an Italian restaurant, Italian Villa, that serves pretty good food.
This place is wonderful and everyone going to the outlets or somewhere in vicinity of the area should stop by Asian Bistro. The food quality is superb. Yumm.....the Roti Canai, Malaysian Beef Satay, and their Jungle Roll are the most tasty and beautifully presented foods that I have came across. The staff is also very well trained to meet the demands of the customers and serving with quality service. The building itself is as interesting as their food, their design, furniture, and decorations help create a romantic and elegant atmosphere; including their restroom which surpasses any 5 stars hotel bathroom. All the luxurious things that you can in this incredible restaurant located in a small town like Lancaster is fascinating.