Bethlehem, a city of 75,000 people in eastern Pennsylvania, is perhaps best known for its industrial history, as the former home of Bethlehem Steel. Like many cities in the USA, many of Bethlehem’s restaurants are whole-heartedly embracing the local food movement, with new restaurants adding to an already rich dining scene of long-standing local favorites. Read on to discover ten of the best places to eat in Bethlehem.
Set in a 200-year-old stone farmhouse, Bolete strikes the ideal balance between upscale and homey, offering a fine-dining experience that’s free of pretension. The restaurant is divided into an elegant dining room and a more low-key tavern. Bolete makes everything in-house, including its sauces, pastas, and stocks. They even butcher and smoke their own meats. The menu in both the restaurant and tavern changes daily to feature the freshest possible ingredients, but be sure to try the Maine lobster roll if it’s available. This dish features lobster salad, crème fraîche, and pickled shallots, served on a house-made roll alongside house-made chips.
Apollo Grill is a charming bistro known for its diverse menu, which features more than 30 different appetizers. Aside from appetizers, the menu offers a crowd-pleasing mix of pastas, sandwiches, pizzas, as well as meat and fish dishes, such as Szechwan duck breast and pan-seared ahi tuna. The restaurant’s inviting interior features a selection of work by local artists, which rotates every three months. Check out ‘Therapeutic Thursday,’ when Apollo offers discounts on wine, appetizers, and a signature martini of the week from 5 to 7 PM.
CORKED Wine Bar & Steak House is a hip restaurant offering 32 speciality wines by the glass. Wines can be sampled in 1-, 2.5- or 5-ounce pours, and there are also over 80 wines available by the bottle. The restaurant’s interior is decorated in romantic shades of maroon, red, and black. The bar features an eye-catching light display, and an open kitchen allows diners to see their meals being prepared. The restaurant also offers 20 speciality beers on tap, as well as a classic American steak house menu. Meats are brought in daily from Pat LaFrieda Meats, including handpicked, aged, steaks. The majority of the menu, including fresh crab cakes, is prepared in-house.
Social Still is a unique restaurant and distillery, which distills their own vodka and gin on-site. Diners can sample these spirits in a shot, or try them in a cocktail or speciality drink. There’s also the option of letting the bartender create a custom cocktail based on your preferences. The restaurant is set in a prohibition-era bank building and retains a few elements from the original bank, including an old vault and safety deposit boxes. The restaurant’s small but thoughtful menu includes flatbreads, sandwiches, small plates such as meat-and-cheese platters, as well as large plates like blackened salmon and penne.
Opened in 2002, Edge Restaurant is a contemporary restaurant that offers a menu of French and Asian– inspired cuisine. The restaurant’s welcoming yet chic interior features marble and hardwood accents. Seating is available in the dining room, at the bar, or a seasonal patio. The menu is divided into small, medium, and large plates, as well as salads. The menu changes seasonally, but expect to see dishes like tamarind BBQ chicken breast, tarragon gnocchi, or New York strip au poivre. A fine selection of cocktails and wines rounds out the menu.
blue grillhouse is a trendy steakhouse with sophisticated indoor and seasonal outdoor bar areas. The restaurant’s interior features mahogany walls and ceilings, live plants, as well as hand-blown blue and white glass vases dotted throughout. The menu includes prime steaks, chops, and seafood, along with a huge wine list of more than 60 vintages by the glass. The wine bar offers creative martinis, cocktails, and cognacs. The restaurant is also open for brunch, featuring omelets, benedicts, as well as more lunch-like dishes such as seafood linguine pasta and steak frites
Yianni’s Taverna is a family-owned restaurant specializing in traditional Greek cuisine. Dishes stay true to the principles of Mediterranean cuisine with their simple, flavorful preparation, and the restaurant’s menu changes seasonally to reflect the freshest available ingredients. In addition to classic Greek dishes like pastitsio and moussaka, the restaurant offers fresh seafood dishes and an excellent raw bar. Yianni’s hosts regular special events, such as live music performances and mixology classes. Stop by for Happy Hour on weekday evenings, or try the brunch, which features a mix of classic breakfast dishes and Greek-inspired breakfasts.
The Bayou’s menu fuses traditional Southern flavors with contemporary influences to offer an imaginative interpretation of NOLA soul food. The restaurant’s menu is fine dining in quality, but its ambiance is relaxed and inviting, with hardwood floors and exposed brick walls. Try the johnny cakes made with duck confit, arugula, cilantro aioli, and pickled red onion or the BBQ shrimp and grits with roasted tomato relish and scallion. The restaurant encourages diners to pick a few different dishes and share with their group, in order to sample various flavors. There are 24 craft beers on tap, along with a great selection of cocktails to wash it all down.
Twisted Olive is a casual bistro-style restaurant focused on farm-to-the-table fare. The restaurant’s ever-changing menu of world cuisine features diverse influences ranging from Moroccan to Thai. Many of the veggies and herbs used in the dishes come directly from Chef Steve Kershner’s garden, and the restaurant makes many other ingredients in-house, including corn tortillas, smoked meats, and infused cocktails. Be sure to try the restaurant’s signature appetizer, the Twisted Olive, which features green olives stuffed with sausage and Parmesan cheese. The olives are deep fried and served in a martini glass with garlic aioli.
theMINT Gastropub offers modern interpretations of classic comforts foods. Expect dishes like truffle mac and cheese, and ramen noodles with pistachio-porcini butter. The restaurant also offers an excellent selection of mainly American craft beers, as well as wines, martinis, and cocktails. Set in a former bank, the once drive-thru teller windows have been transformed into a patio. The restaurant’s colorful interior features large windows and a vibrant palette of bright purple and lime green.