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Looking for restaurant in Reading, PA

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A good friend is moving to Reading and we wanted to give her a gift certificate to someplace fairly nice for a romantic meal. She is not really a foodie but does love to go out. I can't seem to find any highly rated restaurants... does anyone have any suggestions?? THANKS!!

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  1. I've lived in Reading for 30 years and it is a bit of a wasteland as far as fine/nice dining goes. We generally travel closer to Philly for truly special dinners. With that in mind, I do have some recommendations.

    Judy's on Cherry. It's downtown with easily accessible parking. Good food, nice atmosphere-- it's got a warm Tuscan theme with an open bread oven in the middle.

    Dan's Restaurant. I haven't been there since it opened a few years ago, but I've heard good things for others in the area. It's downtown, too, and parking is an issue.

    Green Hills. It has slipped a bit, but it is still quite nice. It's in the suburbs and depending on where they live it could be convenient (for me it's a five minute drive) or rather far away.

    Hope this helps!

    4 Replies
    1. re: kitchen_kat

      I'll vouch for Judy's and Green Hills (though it's been a while for me), as well as Dans. I actually went there for my wedding anniversary this year, and it was quite lovely, though a bit expensive. The service was excellent.

      Another idea is Stokesay Castle. It's a fine-dining landmark in Reading which had declined in quality over the years and shut maybe a year or two ago. There was just an article in the paper about how it has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation and is set to open this month. Obviously I can't vouch for the quality of the food, but I'm sure it will be romantic.

      1. re: kitchen_kat

        have your tried Papillon on Penn Ave? I can recommend. BYOB so you save some money too. Good fresh ingredients and unlike most REading restaurants it is quality food rather than vast quantities.

        1. re: judithuk

          Papillion is way too French for me. On our first visit we asked for some butter for our bread; the waiter looked at us with dismay and told us that the chef guards the butter closely. No butter was ever served and there was no further discussion. On our second visit, I asked for bread with our salad. Again, the waitperson looked at me with horror and told me that there might not be enough bread for the rest of the evening if we had more than the alloted 2 skinny pieces per person! No bread was forthcoming. Oh, the second time we brought our own butter! This place is too cheesy for me and we'll never go back.

          1. re: OleyValleyGirl

            Sounds like they are trying to cut down on costs! Prior to closing? The French eat butter on their bread. Maybe they are trying to emulate the pretentitious of Judy's... I haven't been back to Reading since my mother in law died and I don't miss any of the restaurants.but the supermarkets are a lot cheaper than Manhattan, bigger too. However there are a couple of crucial to my cooking ingredients that are going to require restocking soon so I may be forced to make a pilgrimage.

      2. One of my favorites is Frank and Diannah's Arbor Inn. I believe it is in St. Lawrence, but really near Reading. If I recall correctly, the owners are CIA graduates. It is small, but the food is excellent. I also like the American House in Hamburg, and Landis Store Hotel in Landis Store, but the official address is Boyertown. Both are worth the drive in my opinion.

        1. Like everyone else I thought of Dan's first. Highly recommended if your budget allows.

          Also consider Stouch Tavern in Womesldorf, west of Reading via Rt 422. Someone new to the area might find it interesting - lots of Berks County history. Colonial stagecoach stop, Washington slept there, etc....

          Outside of Reading to the east, consider Moselem Springs Inn. - almost in Kutztown. Also a colonial stagecoach stop, the decor is a little overblown because they seem to do a lot fo weddings. But you gotta love a place that runs their own smokehouse.

          all of these places have websites.

          1. I have not been to Dan's in a while, but I do recall it being a great experience. I will add my vote for Judy's also.