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Jan 11, 2014 10:03 PM

New(ish) ethnic eats in Lancaster?

Happened to pass by Himalyan on Orange today and realized that there might be others I've been missing out on. Any recommendations?

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  1. I don't know of anything particularly new myself. What are your favorites? A lot of people are unfamiliar with Addisu Ethiopian. It's been too long since I've been there, but I was a little unimpressed with the "new" location. Sure, it seemed cleaner and it had the nice hand washing sinks, but the service didn't seem as good.

    9 Replies
    1. re: centralpadiner

      I haven't been to Addisu, but have heard great things- it's at the top of my "to do" list. I love Taj Mahal, Blue Pacific, Ginmiya, Cocina Mexicana, and Lemon Grass, and I'm ridiculously sad that Tsunami has closed and haven't had a chance to take a look at Le Viet Bistro. Any old favorites of yours I should add to my list (rather than new ones)? Thanks for your response!

      1. re: mizzyfreak7

        Here are some options that you haven't mentioned. Not all new, but all worth a visit if you haven’t been.

        As for Himalayan Curry and Grill, I've only been for the weekend buffet lunch, but was impressed with the food. Everything I had was nicely done.

        Rice and Noodles – Vietnamese – Lancaster: Love this place. Great friendly service. Beyond well-executed versions of the standard pho, grilled pork, spring rolls, etc. are some interesting dishes – Xoi Ga Lap Xuong (steamed sweet sticky rice with shredded chicken, pork sausage and shallots), Banh Uot Cha Chien (flat rice noodles and Vietnamese pork bologna), decent banh mi, and a variety of good soups.

        Onion’s Café - Korean – Lancaster: Serves diner food (omelets, French toast, burgers) and Korean. Still working my way through the menu, but soups have been really good. Ramen Duk Kuk (choose spicy) is ramen soup with chewy half-moon rice cakes. Tofu stew is wholesome and satisfying. Kim Chee stew adds some more tangy flavor (and a bit of meat.) Service can be frustratingly slow, but food is worth it. BYOB.

        Manna – Asian Fusion and Sushi – Oregon Pike, Lancaster: We enjoy this on occasion. A cut above the other Local Asian Fusion places like Mojo. Good sushi for the area. Fish is fresh and good, on par with Blue Pacific. But chefs can be a bit heavy-handed with sweet sauces on the sushi rolls. Other dishes are done with obvious care in ingredients and execution. BYOB.

        La Borimex – Mexican – Ephrata: My favorite Mexican in the area. (Not exactly a lot of competition, I know.) Very casual place, a dozen or so tables in a Mexican store. Some hits, some misses, but misses are easily forgiven since we're happy to have an option other than the typical PA chain Mexican. Good tacos, especially the Campechano chorizo/asada combination. Excellent house salsas. Good red rice and black beans that come with platters.

        Khom’s Egg Roll Paradise – Cambodian – Eggrolls are outstanding. Filled with pork and shrimp and angel hair noodles, denser (and more addictive) than the typical Chinese egg roll. Vegetable egg rolls are great too. Curry Stew with sweet potato and eggplant is so satisfying and full of flavor. Other dishes generally very good, mostly hits with the occasional miss.

        La Costena – Peruvian – Lancaster: Great rotisserie chicken if they have it. Get the Peruvian hot sauce to go with it. Other dishes are generally good as well.

        El Maizal – Colombian – Lancaster: Bandeja Paisa for a meal that will require a nap. Variety of creole dishes.

        1. re: ahab

          Wow, I have only even heard of two of these places- Rice and Noodles and Onion's Cafe. I will definitely be checking these out, and thank you for your comprehensive and appetizing recommendations!

          1. re: mizzyfreak7

            Hope they all live up to my recommendation. One more note: I don't believe that any of the above serve alcohol. So if that's important, you may want to confirm and BYO if allowed.

          2. re: ahab

            Great list Ahab! I have never heard of many of these myself.

            I totally forgot about La Costena. Actually, that's not true. I had been there so long ago, and haven't heard anything about it since, that I assumed it wasn't open anymore. We were the only people there (on a weekend evening) when we went (with a couple friends.) We loved the food and had a fun time, but it was an odd atmosphere, with just the 4 of us in an empty restaurant while the owners/staff watched Latin soap operas over by the counter seating. No one even came in for takeout while we were there, so we just assumed it's days were numbered.

            1. re: centralpadiner

              Ha! We've only been there for lunch, and never has there been more than one other table of diners. We figured they must do a killer dinner business. Looks like they're still around, but I wonder how they survive. I think they've started doing the rotisserie chicken only at night now, so we may have to go back for dinner and check it out. Shame they're not busier. Their food really is good.

            2. re: ahab

              Can anyone confirm that El Maizal is still open. Went there once and had a great meal. Went back earlier this year, and it looked to me like they had closed. But, maybe they were away or something like that and just closed temporarily.

              1. re: sballard

                Called earlier today, and they're still open.

        2. Well, your list introduced me to ones that I am not familiar with. We don't live in the city so tend to go to more suburban spots like Cafe East. Ginmiya looks great! I wouldn't mind checking it out, honestly, but I can't remember the last time I was anywhere near the Manor. LOL, definitely before kids . . . We just rarely have a reason to head in that direction.

          My husband is the Vietnamese expert in the family. His college roommate is Vietnamese and he spent lots of weekends getting fed well by his mother long before Vietnamese was a popular restaurant cuisine. He hit up Le Viet Bistro one time. He didn't like their noodles . . . LOL! Anyway, he has been adopted by the owners of Rice and Noodles, so we almost always go there. And when I say always, I mean, pretty much any time we have a reason to get within a mile of the place, even driving by, he wants to stop and eat. :) So I am up against a lot of resistance to trying something new when in the area.

          Himalayan has been on my list for at least a year. I'm always afraid little places like that will close before I have the chance to check them out. I've also been wanting to try Khom's Eggroll Paradise. Have you been there? I need to be my husband out of his rut, or find more adventurous dining companions besides him.

          10 Replies
          1. re: centralpadiner

            Haha, love your response. Cafe East is near where I work, and I have been a few times- really enjoyed it, particularly the pad thai and the lunch specials. I have been meaning to take a look at Rice and Noodles, and now that I have two recommendations, it's definitely on my list. As for Khom's Eggroll Paradise, I've never even heard of it, but both you and ahab are suggesting I check it out so I'm convinced. I'll be cautious about Le Viet Bistro, particularly since I was so fond of Tsnuami :) Thanks again for all of your recommendations!

            1. re: mizzyfreak7

              Should have warned in my post above that Khom's is primarily takeout. One or two small tables inside which are fine for a quick lunch, but not much more.

              1. re: ahab

                Awesome- I often prefer takeout. I guess you'll be seeing centralpadiner and me there picking up next time :)

            2. re: centralpadiner

              We tried Le Viet Bistro tonight for the first time and were pretty impressed. Banh Mi was great. Absolutely perfect bread for the sandwich! Didn't love the noodles in my Bun Bo Hue (is this what your husband had?), but liked it overall. Kids loved the pho, and the spoonful of broth I had was good and brightly flavored. Other food coming out of the kitchen looked interesting, especially the crepes. Good to have an alternative to Rice and Noodles (which we love) and will definitely be back.

              1. re: ahab

                He would have had the pho. He did say the broth was very good. But something about the noodles didn't seem right. I don't recall getting any more detail then that. Like I said, he's been adopted by Rice and Noodles.... ;)

                1. re: ahab

                  Another alternative to Rice and Noodles (and my personal favorite) is Saigon Café in the Granite Run shopping center.

                  1. re: sballard

                    What are your favorite dishes there? We were there once, but it didn't leave a lasting impression either way. Will definitely give it another try!

                    1. re: ahab

                      We really like their fresh spring rolls, and always start with those. My favorite dish is the gilled pork chop with a fried egg, broken rice, and fresh veggies. I also like the beef Pho with rare beef and tendons. Their beef stew with French bread is also very good. My wife always gets the Shrimp and Crab Meat pho.

                      1. re: sballard

                        Thanks. Will definitely make another visit! The pork chop sounds great.

                      2. re: ahab

                        We've been there many times. My favorite is the chicken soup with roast pork, shrimp, noodles and lots of other goodies. I'd always ask them to add a couple of wontons, too.

                2. My daughter, who lives in New York City, just asked me if I'm familiar with the Cork & Cap restaurant in the Cork Factory Hotel. I had never even heard of it before. It looks really nice from what I can see on their website. Why isn't this place mentioned when people are looking for new restaurants in Lancaster?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: CindyJ

                    It wouldn't be mentioned on this specific thread because it doesn't fall into the "ethnic" category.

                    As far as being mentioned in other posts, my guess is that it just doesn't generate that much excitement. It's a beautiful place, but I found the menu and food to be a bit boring during my one visit. (Not bad I should say, just boring.) If I'm going out for a fairly expensive dinner in Lancaster (or anywhere) I want the possibility of being blown away. And that's much more likely to happen at a restaurant like Maison or a few others. I'd almost certainly receive more pleasure from a meal at any of the above "ethnic" restaurants than at Cork & Cap -- and at 1/3 the price, saving enough for the occasional splurge at Maison, Citronelle, etc. At least that's my pleasure maximization calculation! Everyone's is different.

                    1. re: CindyJ

                      It was on my radar a few years ago when it opened, but most of the reviews I read were that it was a very nice space but the food and service wasn't up to par. So, I never took the risk. Would love to try it though if there are any recent experiences of great food there.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        My husband had a very disappointing meal there and refuses to even consider going back. I have not heard anything good any time I ask others about it, unfortunately.

                        My cousin looked into having her wedding there and was disappointed all around, with the staff she spoke to, the options available, and combined with the very high cost. She chose the Marriott, even though the space is not nearly as unique.

                        1. re: centralpadiner

                          Now I understand why there are so few mentions of the place here on CH. Thanks! I thought I'd been missing out.

                      2. Interesting thread, indeed. Ahab, thanks for you list and comments on ethnic eats. You have presented a road map for an adventure in eating in Lancaster, thanks. Given the range of personal tastes I would not be too concerned about wether your recommendations are liked by any one person. The journey, tasting new cuisines, is itself part of the pleasure.