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The Top Places to Eat in Lancaster

The ultimate Lancaster restaurant guide for when you want a night out.

Lancaster is one of the most underrated food cities in Pennsylvania. While it’s famous for Amish country, theatre, and rich history, there’s more than mashed potatoes and gravy in this charming city!

Lancaster might seem like a big city randomly nestled in the middle of Pennsylvania farmland. The historic city center is remarkably quaint, and the number of businesses and hotels increase the quality of life in the city. Of course, this means that the Lancaster restaurants are some of the finest around.

Lancaster is hopping with breweries, cafes, and restaurants. Within a few blocks of downtown, there’s a vast array of restaurants, ranging from fancy French bistros to more down-to-earth kitchens and grills. No matter what you’re craving, you’ll find it on this list of best Lancaster restaurants below! 

Best Restaurants in Lancaster

  1. Bistro Barberet & Bakery
  2. Arthur’s Terrace Restaurant
  3. Citronnelle
  4. The Belvedere Inn
  5. Callaloo Trinidadian Kitchen
  6. John J Jeffries
  7. Cork & Cap Restaurant
  8. El Serrano
  9. Gibraltar Lancaster
  10. Himalayan Curry & Grill
  11. Lancaster Brewing Company
  12. JB Dawson’s Restaurant & Bar
  13. LUCA
  14. Amorette
  15. C’est La Vie
  16. Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar
  17. Sukhothai

Bistro Barberet & Bakery

26 E King St, Lancaster, PA 17602
Phone: (717) 690-2354
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Located in the middle of the historic downtown area, Bistro Barberet and Bakery is an excellent place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s a modern French-inspired restaurant with divine pastries and baked goods in the morning and equally delicious bistro fare. 

If you’re anywhere near downtown, the Bistro is a must-stop for a sweet treat. Try the eclairs, the tiramisu, or the (gluten-free!) coco bomb with your coffee. The bistro menu is also impressive in the evening. My favorite dishes include the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Pan Seared Salmon, Truffled-parmesan fries. They even offer $22 express meals!


Arthur’s Terrace Restaurant

222 Eden Rd, Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone: (717) 569-6444
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Arthur’s Terrace at Eden Resort might be the best hotel restaurant in the city. It’s open for all visitors and has an eclectic mix of American and worldwide classics to suit any taste palette. Known for its excellent and professional waitstaff, Arthur’s Terrace is an experience not to be missed. 

The selection for breakfast, lunch, or dinner is delicious at Arthur’s Terrace. The prime rib is the most popular dinner selection, but we also recommend any of their burgers. T

The Backyard Steak Burger is made with 100% Angus beef and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, your choice of cheese, neatly placed on a lightly toasted brioche bun. 

If you’re vegetarian, you have to try the Eden Impossible burger made with a Beyond Burger patty and topped with avocado, tomato, lettuce, delicious green goddess dressing, and your choice of cheese. Yum!


Citronnelle

110 W Orange St, Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 208-6697
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Love fancy French food? Citronnelle is a necessary stop on your trip to Lancaster. It has all the French classics, from escargot to quiche, but the menu often changes throughout the season. The restaurant offers an elegant array of food in a cozy atmosphere. 

Citronelle is one of Lancaster’s locally sourced and seasonal restaurants, meaning that whatever time of the year you go, you’ll find something fresh, local, and unforgettable. They also allow you to bring your alcoholic beverages (with a small corking fee per bottle). Don’t just go to Citronelle once – go multiple times to try everything new and unique.

If you’re interested in a unique meal, try the Grilled Octopus A La Basque. It’s paired with Spanish chorizo, purple fingerling potatoes, heirloom greens, fried capers, fresh herb aioli, and chorizo oil to add a delicate touch. 


The Belvedere Inn

402 N Queen St, Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 394-2422
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Downtown on Queen Street, there’s a more intimate restaurant attached to the Belvedere Inn. It has the feel of a vintage smoking lounge, without any of the smoke. The dark walls and low-hanging chandeliers reflect the luxury of the food itself. 

I can’t even begin with menu recommendations for the Belvedere – anything from the ocean is worth ordering in my opinion. Whether you order the shrimp salad, stuffed lobster tail, salmon, or one of the daily specials, you won’t regret it! 

Get a bottle of merlot or top off your dinner with a custom-made cocktail from the bar. The Chipotle Peach Margarita is worth the trip alone!


Callaloo Trinidadian Kitchen

351 N Mulberry St, Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 824-3964
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Callaloo Kitchen is on Mulberry Street, just a few blocks outside of the actual downtown area. It’s a relaxed restaurant serving Trinidadian classics. They have sandwiches, platters, rice bowls, and many more options for relatively low prices. 

What’s a Trinidadian classic, you may ask? You won’t know until you try Callaloo’s excellent entrees. If you’re new to Caribbean cuisine’s Asian and African fusion, try their coconut jerk chicken with a side of loaded cassava fries (crispy cassava served with your choice of sauces: chadon beni, garlic sauce, tamarind sauce, or habanero aioli). You won’t regret it, I promise. You might even have to come back for more Trinidadian food!

Pair your meal with a unique signature drink, the Peanut Punch. This customized beverage is a worldly combination of peanuts, milk, turbinado sugar, and nutmeg!


John J Jeffries

300 Harrisburg Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 431-3307
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Another locally sourced and farm-fresh restaurant, John J. Jeffries, doesn’t disappoint when it comes to keeping things local. It’s a comfortable brick restaurant with some of the most delicious seasonal dishes in Pennsylvania. If you are looking for an authentic taste of Lancaster, look no further than this entirely locally-sourced restaurant. 

The menu changes as their food sources (locally family-owned farms) go through the various seasons. The in-house chefs, one of whom is John J. Jeffries himself, make each daily special a labor of love. The beers and wine are also local, which makes this restaurant the ideal Lancaster experience! 


Cork & Cap Restaurant

480 New Holland Ave #3000, Lancaster, PA 17602
Phone: (717) 735-2025
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Cork and Cap personifies the dual nature of Lancaster – eighteenth-century brick next to modern leather seats. To top it all off, they provide comfort food in a fancy, contemporary setting. Cork and Cap offer great food at a fantastic location. 

Fancy comfort food is the best combination – you can order a Manhattan cocktail with fried chicken or brisket at Cork and Cap. If you want a variety of meat, I highly recommend the surf-and-turf when it’s in season. 


El Serrano

2151 Columbia Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 397-6191
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If you’re craving food from somewhat farther south, why not try a Latin-American restaurant? El Serrano is the total Peruvian experience – their restaurant was remodeled extensively to reflect Peruvian culture and enhance your dining experience. 

Food from Peru has many similarities to Mexican food but with a unique flair. To try something new and exciting, get yucca fingers (like french fries made with yucca) or ceviche, a classic Peruvian seafood dish. If you don’t want to be that adventurous, the tapas and quesadillas are also delicious. Come hungry – the serving sizes are enormous at El Serrano! 


Gibraltar Lancaster

488 Royer Dr #101, Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone: (717) 397-2790
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Gibraltar might be the fanciest restaurant on this list. Are you planning an anniversary or Valentine’s date? You’ll wow your partner with a reservation at Gibraltar. It’s an incredibly upscale Mediterranean restaurant, with a raw bar and some of the fanciest wines available. 

All the food at Gibraltar is incredible, whether it’s seafood, steak, or chicken. The lobster ravioli is delicious. However, you have to save room for dessert because Gibraltar’s molten lava cake is a delight in every bit. Get a reservation – the restaurant fills up quickly! 


Himalayan Curry & Grill

22 E Orange St, Lancaster, PA 17602
Phone: (717) 393-2330
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If you’re a fan of eastern Asian cuisine, then this is the restaurant you’ve been waiting for. Himalayan Curry and Grill offers a wide array of Nepalese and Indian foods in an upscale atmosphere. 

While their dining room is currently closed, Himalayan Curry and Grill offers takeout and curbside pickup. It’s worth it for the mango chicken curry, lamb vindaloo, or tandoori vegetables (seriously, they’re delicious). The restaurant has several naturally gluten-free and vegetarian options. 


Lancaster Brewing Company

302 N Plum St, Lancaster, PA 17602
Phone: (717) 391-6258
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Lancaster does a lot of things well, from fine dining to foreign cuisines. In all this talk about food, however, it can be easy to forget the drinks. At Lancaster Brewing Company, you can relax with comfort food and some of the best beer around. 

Do you like darker, smoother beers? Try the double chocolate milk stout. Lighter, fruitier? The Blue Trail shandy. Is a hoppy beer just right for you? The Pog Hog IPA is outstanding. Oh, and did we mention food? Lancaster Brewing Company has gourmet pizza and burgers and some of the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever eaten! 


JB Dawson’s Restaurant & Bar

491 Park City Center, Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone: (717) 399-3996
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Like many other Lancaster restaurants, JB Dawson offers a variety of comfort food, Southern classics, and seafood. It’s a bar, sure, but it also has a slightly upscale feel to it. If you don’t know where you want to eat but know you want lots of food, try JB Dawson’s! 

I could recommend the baby back ribs or pulled pork, and you would probably love it. However, the hidden surprise on JB Dawson’s menu is their pasta! I’m serious – the chicken bruschetta pasta is terrific (and can be subbed gluten-free for a small upcharge!). 


LUCA

436 W James St #101, Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 553-5770
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LUCA is not just an Italian place – it’s one of the most popular Italian restaurants in Lancaster. With a modern warehouse feel, LUCA welcomes you to try their woodfired pizza and pasta dishes. Get a reservation – although it’s not a fancy restaurant, LUCA doesn’t always have open tables! 

The appetizers and plates of pasta are delicious, but locals only get one thing at LUCA: they get pizza. Try the “Tropea” – Tropea onions, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, pecorino, and crema. It’s amazing. 


Amorette

401 N Prince St, Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 947-7710
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There are several French restaurants on this list, but Amorette is the top choice among Lancaster restaurants if you want French fine dining. The lounge and dining area are classy and chic, and the Michelin-trained waitstaff will make your experience the best night of dining you’ve had in a while. 

Make sure you have a reservation if you plan on eating at Amorette, and come prepared for the finest of fine dining. The food is prepared like art, with multiple menus (you can even get a tasting menu and taste up to eleven of the different hors-d’oeuvres. Amorette is the priciest restaurant on this list, but it brings dinner to the highest level of mastery and sophistication. 


C’est La Vie

18 N Market St, Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 299-7319
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There are plenty of bistros that serve French food, but C’est La Vie takes the experience one step further. This restaurant doesn’t merely serve French cuisine – it embodies the atmosphere of a sunny, carefree day in Paris. 

The atmosphere of this bistro is uniquely elegant, inviting fine dining with a touch of casual laissez-faire. Another locally sourced restaurant, C’est La Vie, creates an ever-changing menu of seasonal favorites and a full tap menu. If it’s there, the mango pineapple cheesecake is worth a try! 


Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar

1573 Fruitville Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone: (717) 740-5282
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If you can only stop by Lancaster on your way through, you don’t have to skimp on food! Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar is located directly off the interstate but offers some of the best seasonal food in the area, making it one of the best Lancaster restaurants to visit. 

Harvest looks like a regular restaurant on the outside but feels much more upscale once you enter. They have outdoor garden seating as well. Everything is local and fresh, which means the menu changes around. However, they always have fantastic vegan or vegetarian options available and cater to several dietary restrictions! 


Sukhothai

398 Harrisburg Ave #450, Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 517-9422
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Sukhothai doesn’t look like much – it’s nestled inside a strip mall on Harrisburg Avenue. However, like many Thai places, you shouldn’t judge this restaurant by its outside (or even by the inside). 

Sukhothai has some of the best Thai noodle dishes in the area. They offer the classics like pad thai or curry but also have some unique lunch options. The sweet and spicy mango salad will wake up your mouth on a summer afternoon. Of course, you can’t go wrong with pad thai noodles either. Sukhothai is a Thai experience not to be missed! 


Final Thoughts

These establishments are some of the finest Lancaster restaurants in Pennsylvania. If you’ve looked through these and still haven’t found one, don’t worry! Lancaster is full of excellent restaurants, cafes, and bars. 

Whether you choose classic American food at JB Dawson’s, Trinidadian classics at Callaloo, or the best pizza in Lancaster at LUCA, your trip to this hidden gem of a city will improve with some high-quality food. 

Did we leave one of your favorite Lancaster restaurants out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!

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Written by Kevin Jacobs