The 5 Best Restaurants in Allentown, PA
Allentown, Pennsylvania, has been growing into a gem of a place with so much to offer visitors and residents alike for many years. Its bustling downtown and surrounding area are full of nightlife, shopping, historic architecture, parks to visit, and fantastic dining. In fact, so many restaurants have sprung up in Allentown, it can be difficult to choose just one for your night out. Luckily, we’ve narrowed down your search for you with our list of the five best restaurants you just have to visit in, or around, Allentown.
1740 Seidersville Rd, Bethlehem, PA
Although not in Allentown, it’s a short 18-minute drive down Broadway to Bethlehem and more than worthy to be added to our list. Bolete, Latin for “wild mushrooms,” is the creation of a wife and husband team in a 200-year-old stagecoach inn. The setting is enough to draw you in, with its incredibly charming cobblestone facade and wooden bar that’s original to the building. There are two dining rooms, the main dining room, and the tavern room. The rooms are both quaint and sophisticated in a farm-to-table kind of way, which is exactly the guiding principle behind their revolving menu.
Lee Chizmar, the chef, and husband of the pair was a semifinalist for a James Beard Award. Also, his favored cauliflower and wild mushroom soup were featured on Food Network’s “The Best Things I Ever Ate.” They’re dedicated to local farmers, incorporating the ingredients in house-made own stocks, sauces, and pasta, while butchering their own meat and fish.
A few (perhaps fleeting) noteworthy dishes have included Steak Tartare with truffle mushrooms and black garlic mustard, Cast Iron Lancaster Grass Fed Beef Burger, and Sourdough Crusted Halibut with saffron gnocchi, artichoke, grilled fennel, cippolini, pioppini, white anchovy, mussels, calamari, and mushroom saffron broth. The entire menu reads like poetry. If you consider yourself a foodie, this is your perfect dining spot.
2. Savory Grille
2934 Seisholtzville Road, Macungie, PA
The husband and wife proprietors share a philosophy on the romance of sharing food and view the experience as more meaningful than satisfying your hunger, but also to settle your mind and soul. It's a lofty aspiration but one that Savory Grille strives toward with every delicately plated dish and the setting itself.
Savory Grille is housed in the historic Seisholtzville Hotel and surrounded by a rolling topography that also communicates a certain romance. The charming original portion of the old hotel is constructed using stone and half timber framing, with a wood sided addition to offer covered outdoor seating. The quaint interior space is unassuming, especially for the artful presentation of the cuisine. Linen tablecloths cover every table that's surrounded by inviting Winsor chairs that beg patrons to sit and stay for a good talk over spectacular food.
Start your meal with the clam and roasted butternut squash chowder or foie gras torchon. Follow with an entrée of pine nut crusted lamb rack, duck breast with potato croquette, or egg battered veal medallions. Don't worry if these items aren't on the menu when you schedule your visit. Savory Grille changes the menu frequently to reflect what's in season to ensure the utmost quality and freshness.
2880 Center Valley Pkwy Suite 624
Melt is all about perfectly balanced contradictions. The environment is high-end but exceptionally friendly. The menu is at once inventive and traditional. The setting is industrial contemporary, but also warm and comfortable.
Massive polished steel posts dotted with rivets are balanced with warm wood tones throughout the space, along with exposed beams and a towering open staircase clad in white stone with a glass banister. All in an open two-story-tall dining room. Large contemporary cylindrical lighting fixtures in the main dining space set the tone with a warm glow. Choose from the lower main dining room or the mezzanine, each with its own bar. For a more private function, they also offer a small dining room with a special prix fixe menu.
Melt offers its guests upscale dining with outstanding dishes from start to finish. Start with the char grilled octopus with a citrus fennel salad topped with orange vinaigrette and fresh herbs. Choose one of their unique pizzas, such as the Manzo, with braised short rib, brie, grilled sweet onions, house fig jam, and baby arugula.
Interested in trying their house made pasta? You truly can't go wrong with any, and you may have to bring friends to try multiple, family-style. Popular main dishes include the garlic herb buttered scallops, braised lamb shank, or the seafood stew on a chilly day. Finish with a classic tiramisu. Melt also boasts a full specialty cocktail menu, an impressive spirits menu, as well as wine and local beers.
4. Henry's Salt of the Sea
1926 Allen St
You might not expect French cuisine in a restaurant that evokes the sounds of sea shanties, but that’s what makes Henry’s so special. With a seafood-stacked menu that offers French-inspired dishes that are accessible and fantastic, the restaurant is both casual and impressive at once.
Fans of Henry’s–and there are many–will tell you that it’s like being transported into the hull of an old ship, complete with every surface covered in well-loved wooden planks, an open kitchen, a hefty wooden bar that demands attention, and hanging lanterns that look to come straight from docks. The rustic restaurant has gone mostly unchanged for decades, which can be a comforting aspect of a crowd favorite.
The menu is filled with seafood-centric dishes, of course, but also includes chicken, beef, and veal. Some popular dishes include Onion Soup Bordeaux, Broiled Fresh Sea Scallops, Baked Filet of Sole with Crab Stuffing, Seafood Fra Diablo, Veal Chop au Poivre, and Henry VIII, which is a petite filet mignon with mushroom caps, béarnaise, jumbo crab, and brown butter.
This local favorite is in high demand, so reservations are recommended.
5. Grille 3501
Grille 3501 is a favorite in Lehigh Valley, offering an interesting spin on New American cuisine with various Asian and European influences. The building has been a restaurant or pub for more than 90 years, but now houses the industrial-chic contemporary flare that is Grille 3501. Large worn wooden beams and posts, exposed brick walls, and swirling contemporary pendant lights that hang over one of the two large bars give this place its sophisticated vibe.
The restaurant is huge but because the space is divided into smaller dining spaces, including a mezzanine, you won’t feel lost in the space. When you’re making a reservation, be sure to specify in which part of the restaurant you’d like to dine: the open-air and upbeat Loft space, or the more chic main dining area.
Some of the menu favorites include Crispy Chicken Dumplings, Tuna Tartare, and Boneless Beef Short Ribs with a crispy potato cake, braised spinach, beech mushrooms, and pomegranate jus, and a Grilled Prime Pork Chop with duck fat Yukon gold potatoes, pancetta, brussels sprouts, pickled pears, and pear gastrique. Pair like cuisine with like cuisine or travel the globe with flavors from different continents. Grille 3501 boasts an impressive wine menu from around the world as well. Finish your meal with their Mango Cardamom Crème Brûlée or the Flourless Peanut Butter Torte.
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