bethlehem / allentown
I haven't lived there for almost 5 yrs but I grew up there. The Apollo Grill in Bethlehem is good. Right down the block from that is the Starfish Brasserie, also good (I was sous chef there for over a year) In the Allentown area is the Farmhouse in Emmaus and the Savory Grill in Schiethlotzvill (sp?) Hope this helps.
I'll second the Apollo. Starfish Brasserie is slumping at the moment. Savory Grille in Seisholtsville is outstanding. Mexico Lindo is tasty and tiny. Mom and pop for sure.
The Cafe on Broad in Bethlehem and The Bay Leaf on Hamilton in Allentown both serve excellent Thai influenced fare. The Bay Leaf suffers from its Hamilton Street frontage and a temperamental server, but I've yet to have a dud in many many meals there. The Cafe is in an old home, so you have to be OK with that dining in someone's living room feel. The food is fantastic, though, and the desserts actually have a room of their own. The Cafe is our current favorite Valley eatery.
The Olive Branch (BYO) on the south side of Bethlehem serves excellent Middle Eastern fare. It's a little place in a row home, but surprisingly cozy once inside. The kebabs are always perfectly prepared and they have an excellent special for two on weeknights - $40 gets you a big spread of all the familiar appetizers, salads, kebabs, coffee, and baklava. We always carry some kebab out.
We just got a Shula's at the Promenade Shops in Saucon Valley. They can set you up with a fine steak if you'll bear the rate. Melt and Pacifico are also there. Pacifico is tasty, but overpriced. Melt is just overpriced. White Orchids is a Thai joint hidden in the back of the Promenade. Visited there their first week. Tasty food, but the service had yet to materialize. Perhaps I'll check again.
We head out of town for sushi, to Ooka in Doylestown or Willow Grove (BYO). Several of the local offerings are OK for a fix but Ooka's nice enough to warrant the drive.
I'd love to know if anyone knows of a casual, reasonably priced bar or restaurant serving tasty American (whatever that means) fare with a decent selection of beers. I have not known one in this area since the loss of Cannon's.
Whenever I am in Allentown, I eat at Aci Halal, a no-frills Turkish restaurant with wonderful meze (babaghanoush, labneh, tabbouleh, cacık - cucumber with yogurt, dried mint and olive oil, etc.) and kebobs. Order any appetizer and you will get wonderful samples of middle eastern cooking. Prices are moderate, service is very nice.
Aci Halal, 34 N 2nd St, Allentown (610) 439-8782)
just west of allentown on a residential street is a restaurant called "willows restaurant".
it's only open fri, sat, & sun, but, when it is open, it always has decent rendition of baked stuffed pig's stomach. also, has a salad bar with home-make pepper slaw and zucchini bread.