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Sep 8, 2008 01:37 PM

Carlisle PA

I will be visiting Carlisle for one night (Dickinson College tour with daughter) .
Piatto, Visaggio (in Enola) and Tavern on the Hill (in Enola) have been suggested. We are interested in quality of the food, not ambience; cost is not an issue. Which would you recommend based on recent experience? Your guidance is much appreciated.

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  1. I've eaten many many times at Piatto and Visaggio's (used to live in Carlisle). I would strongly recommend Piatto of the two, especially if your interested solely on the quality of food. Try the gelati (it's made in house and the flavors change almost daily)

    1 Reply
    1. re: corbs

      they are good but have recently downgraded their menu. another thing that is terrible is you can't even choose your side dish. I wanted to sub the side for a side of pasta and couldn't. I was forced to have polenta instead. If I wanted pasta I had to pay 14.00 for a dish of it. NO THANKS

      22 W Pomfret St, Carlisle, PA 17013

    2. Visaggio's is pretty far outside of Carlisle and IMO, not worth the drive. I'd give Piatto my vote. Another option a few doors down from Piatto is The California Cafe. you can always walk past both of the resto's to check out their menus, which should be posted outside.

      1. I agree with corbs and Boognish. Piatto is a great choice.

        Years ago, my sister attended Dickinson College. Without fail, once we discovered this restaurant, each time we’d make the visit to Carlisle, we'd eat at Piatto. (Just thinking about the seafood stew “Ciuppin” makes my mouth water!!!) The Victorian neighborhood is also beautiful to walk through.

        I’ve included the restaurant’s website. Your family will love the food!

        1. We always go to Piatto when we visit Carlisle. Menu is nice, atmosphere lovely. There is also The California Cafe which is french contemporary, and just a couple doors away from Piatto, but cannot say for sure if it is still good since we always book at Piatto when we take out son out to dinner.
          I would also recommend Back Door Cafe for casual lunch. The food seems so fresh. In August, their gazpacho is cravable.

          1. Well, I have dined in Carlisle. IMO, NOT a foodie destination. I ate at 3 places recommended on the Board: The Hamilton, The Back Door and Piatto. The first 2 were for lunches. Let us just say I would rather have eaten elsewhere. The food at the Hamilton was poorly done greasy spoon (and I do like"good" greasy spoon food). The salads and sandwiches at The Back Door were mediocre. Piatto for dinner was OK, at best, if you find yourself in Carlisle. The pasta was good, the veal was tough and the fish was overcooked. I did not have a chance to try The Calif. Cafe, recommended on this Board and by others.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mlzeats

              Wow, you must have REALLY HIGH standards to knock the Hamilton. I'm interested: What constitutes a "good" greasy spoon in your mind? Maybe Carlisle just isn't the right place for you or your family. And you're absolutely right, it isn't a "foodie" destination. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but, really, what small town really is?

              1. re: jme90

                I do not consider my standards particluarly high. Our experience at lunch at the Hamilton were a tasteless cheesburger, fries that were limp and unappealing, a wilted salad, a tuna melt that was mostly mayonnaise topped by a single pat of processed cheese and a slice of pie that was gooey, blue and called blueberry by our waitress but would have been difficult to identify as blueberry by taste. The waitress was nice.

                1. re: mlzeats

                  I completely agree with you about The Hamilton. I've eaten there twice with friends, trying hard to like it, on recommendations from people who have lived in Carlisle for years. Some are even "regulars." The first time I went I got a "legendary hotchi dog" which was a rather small hotdog with nicely chopped onions and very greasy chili. It was nothing special at all. The fries there were fine, no seasoning, no salt, but I will say they were hot and the most edible item on my plate. Just be thankful yours didn't come out slathered with chicken gravy. What's scary is The Hamilton's take on Chicken and Waffles! Priced at over $10, it is a thin, Waffle House-style waffle (not belgian), with piles and piles of shredded chicken on top of it and then slathered in chicken gravy. No mention of chicken gravy atop this dish on the menu, btw. I had them remake it without the chicken gravy and it was still horrible. The rest of the food was so bad, I could not bring myself to try a dessert. What I like the most about The Hamilton are the cross-stitches they have hanging on the walls. All in all, The Hamilton is a real let-down unless you have low expectations.