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I need a little help picking two Harrisburg restaurants

My wife and I will be in Harrisburg/Hershey for an event in October. The event will take up one evening, but I'll be looking for "foodie" type dining spots for a Saturday and a Monday night.

I have read MWB's post and it may be all I need, but it never hurts to get second and third opinions (I particularly agree with his assessment of the wine markup at Bricco. A curse of knowing the wholesale price of wines is that I rarely got to enjoy a nice bottle:))

I am wondering if Suba has a decent selection of Spanish wines. The Mangia Qui website's wine list is from 10/2009. I can't believe that they'd have a Spanish Tapas bar and present an exclusively Italian wine list!

So, back on point; since our strike zone is inventive, well prepared dishes using fresh ingredients should we target only Suba for Saturday night and Bricco for Monday?

All opinions are welcome:)

Thanks.

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Mangia Qui
268 North St, Harrisburg, PA 17101

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  1. Have you tried El Sol/El Sol Express? Sounds like you might be interested in a BYOB restaurant, and if you're up for an "informal" night, they have "El Sol Express" on the west shore that is BYOB with fresh ingredients and a creative menu... not quite up to the mothership (El Sol downtown) or Suba, Bricco, etc, but a fun option.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tolkiennut

      Is El Sol / Express a Spanish restaurant or a Mexican?

    2. I would add Char's Bellamundo to your list. It is definitely top 3 (IMO) with Bricco and Mangia Qui. I actually didn't like Suba much, and was surprisingly disappointed considering how wonderful my meal at Mangia Qui was. Char's had it all for me - service atmosphere and food. Like Mangia Qui, the space is small and intimate. Bricco is much larger and more modern feeling. I don't now what the mark up is typically like at Char's for wine. We ate there on a Wed. and they have a special wine list on Wed. In fact, we will be back again this Wed with a large group of friends they were willing to accommodate.

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      Mangia Qui
      268 North St, Harrisburg, PA 17101

      4 Replies
      1. re: centralpadiner

        I wholeheartedly agree with this post, but in a sad turn of events, Char had to shut down her restaurant following the recent flood that hit our area and that neighborhood, in particular. Her building was devastated. She's opening a new place, though. However, it won't be ready for another six months. Too bad, Char had a fine establishment and a great staff that will be sorely missed. Can you tell I was a huge fan?

        1. re: jme90

          I don't live in Harrisburg, and my Mr. CentralPADiner and I have been wondering about this and concerned about the restaurant. So horribly sad, and I was hoping to have my 40th birthday dinner there this coming Winter! We were also huge fans, and I am glad I was able to enjoy the restaurant the few times I was there. Do you know where the new location will be? I look forward to being able to give Char my business as soon as she is ready. If you know her personally, please let her know that those that love her restaurant wish her well and look forward to her new endeavor.

          1. re: centralpadiner

            I believe that her new restaurant will be somewhere on Front Street overlooking the Susquehanna, although upriver in a less flood-prone location. Closing Char's after the flood was purely a business decision, since she intended to close it anyway once the new place is ready.

            1. re: cheesemaestro

              After seeing the post on the 22nd, I did a little looking around and found a little info about the development at Tracy Manor on Front St. It does indeed sound like this has been in the works for quite some time. Looks like it has the potential to be a great space, so I hope it works out well.

              http://www.tracymanor.com/commercial....

      2. Any thoughts on Confit? I love French and bistro is one of our favorites.

        6 Replies
        1. re: altajoe

          Fantastic! I would have mentioned it in my other post, but assumed you wanted to stay in Harrisburg. I will say, though, that I have enjoyed Char's more. But, we all have different tastes, and the meal that makes me swoon will not necessarily have the same effect on someone else. But, to me, that's part of the fun of trying new places.

          Out of curiosity, I went back and re-read MWB's post. While I can't disagree with his point 100% don't let that discourage you from dining in Harrisburg. I think it is a more frustrating situation as a local, since it seems to be the same few places that are worthwhile, and these places then become "stale" to the diner looking for something new and innovative. To me it seems cyclical, only when the old places get truly tired and lose business does something new and exciting crop up. As for wine mark-ups, well - it is so hard, IMO, to get great wine in PA due to the state monopoly, the market has just come to tolerate it, I guess.

          I just noticed you will be in Hershey as well. I enjoy Devon Seafood Grill in Hershey for a fun night out if you are looking for something in that area as a possibility.

          1. re: altajoe

            Confit is closed at least until Labor Day for "kitchen remodeling." Yeah, right. Rumor (actually, more than rumor) has it that the restaurant has been sold. If and when it reopens, it may not be anything like the place it was.

            I agree with others that Char's Bella Mundo, Mangia Qui and Bricco are the top three in Harrisburg for upscale dining. As for wine and liquor, that's where restaurants make most of their money. Mark-ups of 400%+ seem to have become the norm. The bottle of wine that sets you back $60 at your favorite restaurant probably would cost about $14.99 if you bought it at the store.

            1. re: cheesemaestro

              That makes me very sad to hear about Confit . . . quite a hike for my hubby and I to get there, but when we made it we always had a great meal. What about the bakery?

              1. re: centralpadiner

                The bakery is still in business, but if the rumors about the restaurant prove true, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the bakery will also be closing. I'd be sadder to see the restaurant go than the bakery. Their breads haven't impressed me.

              2. re: cheesemaestro

                That's a shame. The more I look at the menu, the more I feel that it would have been my Monday evening destination. Since we won't be there until October, perhaps the "Kitchen Renovation" will have actually been a kitchen reno and my next dilemma will be where to buy a decent wine, since it's BYOB (I think).

                1. re: altajoe

                  The earlier post about the Confit rumors proved to be on mark. That restaurant also has been sold and the bakery closed, too.

            2. I'm not a fan of Bricco, the cioppino tastes like V8. Mangia Qui/Suba (same kitchen) has always been fantastic, but I don't know anything about their wine selection.

              Chalit's Thai Bistro on the west shore is pretty amazing, it is much more than your average Thai place. Plus, it is BYOB.

              3 Replies
              1. re: spopodopolis

                Once I saw that Confit was likely not to reopen, I decided to try Char's Bellamundo. I just can't believe that it too is closed. Maybe I should just pack some sandwiches.

                1. re: altajoe

                  No, you should go to Mangia Qui. It's worth it, just for their Tuscan Grill alone (their version of bistecca Fiorentina) = 23 oz. rib-eye. A-MAZing.

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                  Mangia Qui
                  268 North St, Harrisburg, PA 17101

                  1. re: linguafood

                    Agreed. Go to Mangia Qui. You won't be disappointed.

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                    Mangia Qui
                    268 North St, Harrisburg, PA 17101

              2. Just to follow up

                Ended up with a change of plans, so only had one night in Harrisburg. Didn't make it to Mangia Qui, but did enjoy Bricco. The Sage Pappardelle paired with the Nicolas Potel Savigny les Baune was off the charts, BUT get that Burgundy opened the minute you get there and linger over the apps. It took an hour for it to open up.

                Thanks for all the help.

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                Mangia Qui
                268 North St, Harrisburg, PA 17101