York, PA - casual dinner
Hi, all! I will be in York in early November. I am going to dinner with a small group and need recommendations. Neither cuisine nor price matter, just looking of something good with a casual atmosphere. No chain restaurants, please. Thanks in advance!
I'm in the area frequently for biz and have found the Left Bank in York to be my local fav.
Inviting bar with well mixed cocktails on one side and a nice dining room on the opposite side.
Chef owned for 15 yrs with a seasonal menu and frequent specials. White tablecloths make the dining room seem a bit more formal, but it's "smart casual" dining. Best to call for a res.
I used to live in York, and it had some pretty decent eats. I cannot attest to the quality on all these independently-owned places now, but I sure frequented them back in the day!
* El Serrano is Mexican food with a Peruvian flair. The owner, Manuel, is from Peru and a super-nice guy. My colleagues and I used to get over there for lunch at least a couple of times a month. My personal favorite was the shredded beef taco, which bore little resemblance to anything at Taco Bell, thank goodness.
* Bel Paese has rustic Italian food. The owner when I lived there was an Italian immigrant named Sal, and the food was a very good example of its genre.
* First Wok on Leader Heights Road is a little south of town, but I never minded the drive. When I wrote an article about it, the kitchen was immaculate. A Yelp review references some unsanitary practices, but that is totally at odds with what I saw. If Kevin is still running the place, it should be fine.
* White Rose Bar and Grill is downtown. When I lived in York, the White Rose was an utter dive, but it changed ownership some years back and had a total makeover. I was there a couple of years ago, and the bistro-type food was quite tasty.
* For pizza and beer, try Vito's, which is south of downtown. It's a favorite of emergency workers, and they put out a competent pizza.
If you are in York on a Saturday, by all means go to Central Market, downtown on Market Street. It's been around for at least 100 years in its present form and is home to all kinds of food- and small-business vendors. Lots of Mennonite ladies, farmers and old-time Yorkers. It'll give you a good feel for the city. There used to be a chicken place inside that sold fried chicken livers that were insanely popular, as well as chicken and fries, but I haven't been in a couple of years, and do not know if it's still there. The market opens early and closes around 1 or 2, so go early.
Nikki. I am not from the area you reference but have had similar challenges when looking for a nice dinner in that area. centralpadiner has, IMHO, good sensibilities or at least those that resemble mine, for what in that area is good and/or good enough. I would say you can take her/his recs "to the bank".
Well, not all the way to Lancaster (although, I agree you'll do your best there). My husband recently had lunch with colleagues at the John Wright restaurant in Wrightsville (Eastern edge of York Co., along the Susquehanna river) and was pleasantly surprised. Granted, his expectations were quite low. However, he came home and suggested we eat there sometime, as it would be a good, casual place for us to eat as a family. A good alternative to our usuals.
For something fancier, in the same area, you could try the Accomac. Always reliable, it is a classic in the area.
If you find yourself traveling to Lancaster Co. for food, but don't want to have to go all the way in to Lancaster City, get off at the first exit after the river and head north to Marietta and go to McCleary's Public House. Good beers, decent pub food, and often live music. It is a fun place to hang out for an evening.
re: Nikki NYC
Nikki, the answer to the question you posed above is a resounding YES! My suggestion is make a short drive to Lancaster where you will find some options for a nice group dinner or perhaps the Hotel Hershey for excellent in house choices. A bit of travel but definitely worth it. Perhaps the small group should convene elsewhere?