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Dec 12, 2008 09:32 AM

Upscale Grown Up Dining in Lancaster

Hi all.

Would appreciate some guidance on finding an upscale restuarant for grown ups in the Lanscaster. A group of my friends (5 couples in all) are planning to meet in January to celebrate surviving the holiday crush. Half of us live in the Hershey area, half in Philly. One is a vegetarian. None of us are from Lancaster but would like the meet in the middle for an evening a good wine, good food and good fellowship. Some place with round tables or least intimate seating would be a bonus. Thanks in advance for your expertise!

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  1. My current fave for fine dining in Lancaster right now is John J. Jeffries, at the Lancaster Arts Hotel
    It also happens to be located in a beautiful boutique hotel, if any one in your group were interested in an overnight stay.

    1. John J Jeffries is very good, but your vegetarian friend will hate you. Not a single vegetarian entree on the menu. Try Gibraltar, you're friend will be happier with the menu, you will all get a terrific meal, and if I remember, they have round 6-top tables.

      1 Reply
      1. re: frackit

        I guess I just don't understand everyone's fascination with Gibralter, but it's been a few years so perhaps I should give it another try. And, looking at the menu, the gnocchi was the only truly vegetarian entree - although, better than none.
        Thinking more about the vegetarian issue, I'm going to recommend Culturas, the tapas restaurant upstairs at El Serrano. I had a fantastic meal there with a large group of adults, and there are many options for all types of diners.

      2. The Fenz is near John J Jeffries as is good as well. More lively atmosphere but very good food. More funky than most of Lancaster restaurants

        2 Replies
        1. re: phillydinner25

          Thanks so much for the quick responses! A friend here at work also suggested Josephines (Marietta area, I think) and Carr's. Any thoughts?

          Very interested in exploring the Fenz - is it loud?

          Thanks again

          1. re: suzanne0115

            Josephine's is fantastic however, it will be significantly closer to you, in Hershey, than your friends in Philly. If they don't mind, it is a really lovely restaurant - but you may need to talk to someone about accommodating a large group.

        2. John J. Jeffries is our favorite restaurant in Central PA. The menu is mostly local grass fed organic meats. The produce is local organic with many farmers growing in green houses throughout the winter. They have a large vegetarian following also. There are always vegetarian options on the menu. Our vegetarian friends often comment about there use of organic sprouted whole grains and beans that are incorporated into the vegetable entries. A vegetarian friend ate there last week with us. She had a baby kale, escarole, wild mushrooms with sweet potato and cauliflower puree and sprouted organic quinoa. It was delightful. The past few times we were there they seemed to be getting a draw from New York, Philly, and DC.

          1. Strawberry Hill: http://www.strawberryhillrestaurant.c...
            Very creative and tasty menu items, especially seasonal appetizers. Not sure there is anything vegetarian though. Best known for their amazing wine selection. My husband and I love it here, and frequent it, although it is a special occassion place where we usually fret about how much is leaving our wallet.

            It is one of my favorites, although they haven't changed their menu (significantly) in over a year. Very nice "gourmet" appetizers, and the fish specials never fail to be delicious and well-prepared. We also very much like their bar -nice cocktails. Service can be hit or miss, but one of our very favorite waiters in the city works here.

            Yep - I think it is too loud. We much prefer the after dinner bar scene here, than the food. Having said that, the food is above average. My husband drools over the steak diane. The crowd is becoming increasingly blue-hair around dinner time.

            The Belvedere Inn
            Another one of our favorites. Might struggle with the vegetarian. Their menu changes frequently to match the ingredients to what tastes best. We love their soups. I almost always order their specials, knowing that they will be very tasty (although usually the most expensive option). The service is very nice, and the atmosphere is lovely, decorated in rich tones and dim (although not too dim) lighting.

            JJJ (John J Jeffries
            )Our favorite thing to do here is to get several small plates and some organic cocktails. The atmosphere is a little to open and loud for a romantic meal, and you may have trouble hearing the person who is furthest from you in a group of 5. I am surprised to hear that another poster doesn't think they have vegetarian food. Get 3 small veggie only plates. You won't be disappointed. Best known for their local/sustainable menu. They have great relationships with local farmers and purveyors. We never miss the cheese plate (surprising how good local cheese can be), and if they have the mint chocolate homemade ice cream - DO NOT SKIP IT! (We may be addicted). Another nice feature is their reasonably priced tasting menu, which you can pair with wine or beer. Kinda cool, huh? And, great waiters!

            1 Reply
            1. re: armartin

              sorry guys, i was basing my 'no vegetarian' statement on the menu they have posted on their site..which has no vegetarian entrees. i know many restaurants dont' keep that menu up to date..sounds like this is one of them