Must-try restaurants in Lancaster, PA

Lancaster, Pennsylvania is an up-in-coming city with charm and a young population. The city is located nearby many farms so restaurants in the area are often farm to table. Because of the city’s  propensity for resettling refugees and accepting immigrants, they are many different flavor destinations that can be found in one spot. Here are some of my favorites after having lived ten minutes from Lancaster for four years.

More affordable restaurants

  • La Cocina Mexicana 

This by far is my favorite restaurant in Lancaster. Its an authentic Mexican cuisine is sure to please anyone. It’s cheap and good quality. Although it’s very small inside, the bright atmosphere warms your heart, especially on a cold winter day. I would highly suggest ordering a “pelona” which is a sandwich with queso fresco, guacamole, sour cream, refried beans, and pork.

  • La cocina

Not be confused with La Cocina Mexicana, La Cocina serves authentic Dominican food. The restaurant is set up in a cafeteria style with open setting and food being served to you buffet style. You can get a large amount of food for a cheap price. This includes many choices of rice and beans and meat options including pork, beef, chicken, and goat. Plus, yucca and platanos are always available along with empanadas. To go or eat in, you’ll still be getting a taste of the Caribbean.

  • Sprout by Rice and Noodles

If you love Vietnamese, you will love Sprout. Sprout is a recently opened small restaurant whose mother restaurant is Rice in Noodles, located a few minutes outside of Lancaster. The pho is amazing along with the Ban Mi. They have plenty options for vegans and vegetarians too.

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  • Issei Noodles

Issei noodles is another great Pho place in Lancaster, but it is often crowded. I suggest getting to the restaurant early. Issei has a more intimate atmosphere that would be a great first date spot. Make sure to try the spring rolls.

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  • Root

Speaking of places with vegan options, Root is a completely vegan restaurant. I am not a vegan myself but I didn’t feel deprived or hungry that multiple times I have given this restaurant a try. I highly suggest ordering the sweet potato fritters and pretzel bites.

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  • Soulvaki Boys

One of my favorite food types is Greek. Slovaki Boys take the cake for Greek comfort foods. Their gyro options are expansive, including many different toppings along with many different meat options. One gyro even includes fries inside. Don’t leave without tasting their Greek fries: fresh cut fries topped with crumbles of feta.

  • Spyro Gyro

Spyro gyro is another great Greek eatery. The gyro platter needs to be tried for anyone who has a large appetite. I enjoy their lamb gyro with the tzatziki sauce that is spicier. You must  try their Greek desserts also.

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More expensive

  • Iron Hill Brewery

Iron Hill is on the more expensive end of Lancaster, closer to Franklin and Marshall college. The restaurant has good quality food with different origins of dishes to try. Their back room can also be rented out for a special occasion.

  • Lancaster Brewing Company

Lancaster Brewing Company has a lot of charm inside. This brewery also serves amazing entries. It is typically always crowded so make sure to call in advanced!

  • Checker’s Bistro

Checker’s Bistro is where I had my graduation dinner with my family. I had the scallops and they were great. The dishes were often extravagant and had exotic pairings. The portions were small. I did get a free creme brulee because I graduated though!

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  • Lambardos

Lambardos is a great quality Italian restaurant in Lancaster. Their chicken parmesan was amazing. The portions are large so the price won’t pain you as much.

Cafes

  • The Italian Bakery 

The namesake explains it all. The fresh baked cookies and cakes are heavenly. This cafe has the most amazing chai lattees and even a frozen chai latte.

  • Lancaster Cupcake

Lancaster Cupcake was featured on the show “Cupcake Wars”. The flavors are incredible and the cake is always soft and moist. My favorite is the cookie dough cupcake filled with cookie dough inside. Skip their beverages.

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  • Prince Street Cafe

The Prince Street Cafe is popular among students and young professionals alike. I have spent many a Sunday afternoons journaling to destress or writing articles in this cafe. The cafe has a great view of the street so it allows your mind to wander. The salads and sandwiches are always fresh. The desserts are amazing, especially the peanut butter pie and the nutella filled cookie sandwiches. Please don’t leave without trying a London Fog or their famous hot chocolate. Who knows, you may even run into a former US president? 

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  • Rachel’s Crepery 

With sweet and savory crepes alike being served at Rachel’s, it is no wonder why it’s a popular brunch spot. My favorites are the egg, cheese, and ham breakfast crepe and the Greek one.

  • The Colombian Bakery 

The Colombian bakery serves, you guessed it, Colombian baked goods. You must try the amazing savory cheese pastry.

Keep an eye out for part two of this article that includes my favorite bars in Lancaster, PA!

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