By Joseph K. Hall Jr.
In Harrisburg, there are a variety of great restaurants to fit any appetite. Whether you are craving European or some good ole American cuisine, there is a Harrisburg restaurant to suit your taste. Check out our 10Best list to pick out the perfect Harrisburg dining experience.
8 Tavern on the Hill
This European-influenced restaurant has an amazing wine list and an elaborate menu,making it ideal for special occasions and celebrations. The sommelier makes excellent suggestions for wines that go with each course. Dishes may include local trout with mushroom stuffing, grilled free-range chicken with corn and sausage in Riesling sauce, and sautéed duck breast with wild mushrooms and port wine sauce. The fresh seafood is delivered daily. Tavern on the Hill is a must for lovers of fine wine and elegant cuisine. (717-732-2077, 717-732-4519)
7 What If ... Café
This charming BYOB has the look and feel of a European café, and after one visit, it's easy to see why the place has so many "regulars." The kitchen, meanwhile, looks far and wide to find influences for its unique fare — that is to say, one person at your table may be savoring a Med-inspired dish like lobster ravioli or Greek shrimp while someone else enjoys something more "domestic," like crab cakes or New York strip. NB There's a sister restaurant in Hershey on Chocolate Avenue. (717-238-1155)
6 Union Canal House
Take a few steps back in time at the Union Canal House, a roadside charmer that's been serving food and drink since the 18th century. Located in the small village of Union Deposit, this building began as Ye Olde Tavern and remains one of the county's oldest-standing buildings. Today, travelers still stop by to enjoy the place's old fashioned charm. For some, it's savoring roast Long Island duckling or flounder stuffed with Maryland crab meat in the restaurant. Others, meanwhile, stay the night in one of seven individually decorated rooms, all of which are en-suite and feature cable television and phone. (717-566-0054)
5 Firehouse Restaurant
Located along Harrisburg's bustling "Restaurant Row," this restaurant occupies the old, redbrick Hope Station #2. The decor pays homage to the Hope Company, from the customized hydrant beer taps to the original doors and windows to framed pieces of memorabilia. As to the fare, 1st Alarm dishes include Little Neck clams and crab and cheese-stuffed mushroom caps. After you've made your way through one of those, it'll be time for something more substantial — Phoenician baked trout with frizzled spinach, wasabi-stuffed tuna or the Hook & Ladder (a pairing of lobster tail and half a rack of baby-back ribs). A great place to enjoy a brew or two as well. (717-234-6064)
4 Zia's at Red Door
Second Street, also known as Restaurant Row, is a busy strip that offers a terrific cross-sample of restaurants and nightlife. One of the top draws for food is this inviting, big city spot that features sidewalk seating, homestyle Italian specialties and a great selection of vino by the glass and bottle. (717-920-0330)
3 Gingerbread Man Downtown
With dark, intimate atmosphere and a diverse, lengthy menu, the Gingerbread Man is a Harrisburg favorite. Contemporary music provides a fitting counterpoint to the teak booths and punched tin ceilings. The salads are a specialty; the Chinatown Chicken Salad, with crunchy Oriental noodles dressed with sesame vinaigrette, is a meal by itself. For a heartier appetite, choose the prime rib, fish and chips, or the garden burger. The bar features numerous microbrews. Casual attire is appropriate. (717-221-8400)
2 Stocks on 2nd
This restaurant has a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere, with banquette seating, Art Deco lighting, and a full-service bar. The dinner menu changes with the seasons, but it may include dishes such as char-roasted veal tenderloin with Fontina cheese and a red trout dressed in three-herb mustard crust. The fresh, flavorful dishes are complemented with a good wine list and professional service. Live jazz is featured on Saturday nights. Business casual attire is appropriate. (717-233-6699)
1 Visaggio's Ristorante
Famed columnist George Will says this is one of the best restaurants in the country, and it has received numerous other accolades for its exquisite Italian cuisine. American fare is presented as well in this family-owned, refurbished barn-turned-restaurant. Visaggio's is one of the most elegant dining rooms in town, and the Victorian cocktail lounge is a great place to relax with a glass of wine. After a drink, head to the serene dining room for incredible seafood, the freshest veal, and fantastic filet mignon. (717-697-8082)
About Joseph K. Hall Jr.
Joseph K. Hall, Jr. is an editor for 10Best, Inc. His travels have allowed him to sing for pints in Inistioge and eat octopus in Athens. He served as city editor on the 10Best Travel Guides for Atlanta, Dallas and Washington, DC. His work has also appeared in business and collegiate sports publications. In his spare time – when he has it – he serves as a college English Literature instructor. He and his wife live in Greenville, SC.
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