Restaurants near Quakertown, Allentown and Bethlehem
My sister just moved from Manhattan to Coopersburg (yikes) which is equidistant from Quakertown, Allentown and Bethlehem. I want to be able to recommend some restaurants to her but really don't know the area. any suggestions for some upscale and casual meals in the area. she especially likes sushi and Italian food.
your sister is going to have to put some miles on the car to find places, but it isn't all lost. While not approaching Manhattan diversity or accessibility, there are plenty of places for her to try. I have heard great things about a couple sushi places in Bethlehem, but haven't been to either. The Other Fish is just east of the main downtown area and a friend raves about it. There are other options in Bethlehem. She can try Johnny's for bagels. I know they aren't manhattan quality, but they're closer than she'll find elsewhere in the Lehigh Valley, much less coopersburg. The Sushi place in Quakertown isn't bad, but it's not great, either. It does it in a pinch, though.
I don't know Coopersburg well, but the Quakertown Farmers Market has good produce and meats at good prices. The people watching is phenomenal, so it's worth a visit if only for that.
There's a great mexican place in Q-town by the old train station, but I think they recently changed their name.
Bolete is new-american slow-food, and is getting rave reviews. I haven't been able to make it yet, but it's not far from Coopersburg, just S/SW of Bethlehem.
There's a bunch of stuff for her in the area, but it will take some exploring. If you want to compile a list, you can just search the PA board for town names in an ever expanding circle from coopersburg. While not Philly, the upper bucks/lehigh valley area is reasonably represented here. Good luck and tell your sister that all is not lost. It just takes a little to re-calibrate to the area.
Grille 3501 in Allentown is very good. I'll 2nd Bolete in Bethlehem who's chef I believe is a CIA grad. Also in Bethlehem at the new casino is Emeril's Chop House, it's very pricey but the one time I ate there it was very good. A favorite little chow spot in Allentown is Wert's Cafe. They have great burgers and this onion loaf thing that you should never eat but can't resist. If she cooks at all, the Allentown Farmer's Market open Thursday through Saturday has great selections of meats, fish and produce as well as baked goods.
She will love the area and won't be disappointed with the restaurants. There are at least 2 dozen great restaurants. She should try every one of these on the list to develop her favorites
Emeril's Chop House
Allentown & Bethlehem BrewWorks locations
PigPen Sports Bar
The Italian places are often glorified pizza parlors and while many turn out good Italian food my favorite is Bellisimo in Allentown.
Chinese - Hunan Springs in Wescosville
There is wealth of ethnic restaurants including Greek, Chinese, Thai, Syrian, Mexican, BBQ, .
I forgot my back yard. About 20-25 min south is Sellersville, and a lot of bands stop in at the Sellersville Theater on their way to or from NYC. Eating next door at the Washington House is good, but not far is Arielle's Country Inn, which is really good, but off the beaten path and maybe a little hard to find. They only do one seating a night, but they do it well. Also not very far from the Sellersville Theater (maybe 15 minutes if you go the back way) is the Mainland Inn, which is a little expensive, but very good.
We just spent a weekend in Allentown and tried Farmhouse and Bolete. Both meals were worth having -- Bolete won on innovative dishes, but Farmhouse had the edge on service and the most amazing beer selection we've seen in awhile. A rundown:
Farmhouse: the menu was not particularly exciting; we ordered the specials: duck and steak. The duck was delicious, the steak was so-so. The cucumber shallot mignonette that came with our oysters was out of this world. The heirloom tomato salad was a bit bland, but I think it has more to do with the blandness of tomatoes this summer (we also ordered the tomato salad at Bolete, and there it was better with the addition of cherry tomatoes, but not great). It was our 18 year old server’s first night working, and I got the impression he reported all of our comments back to the kitchen – the chef came out and chatted with us at the end of our meal which was a nice touch. If you are a beer fan, it is worth the trip alone – my Framboise Boon lambic was even served in a Framboise Boon glass! There were pages upon pages of specialty beers…could easily compete with specialty beer bars in NYC.
Bolete: the menu was exciting, and the food was great – the gazpacho was fresh, had kick and was well executed, the scallop cru was delicious too. The duck egg/periwinkle snails dish was delicious with great texture. The first plates menu was much more interesting than the main plates menu, and we ended up sharing the striped bass for the entrée. It was a good dish. Service was good but not great. Granted we were there on a Friday night which probably made the difference in service (we were at Farmhouse on a Thursday)
We were pleasantly surprised by both restaurants and highly recommend both if you are in Allentown. (We also went to Youell's Oyster House which sounds like such a cute idea on the corner of a suburban street – it was the worst food I’ve had in awhile. No further comment).