Where To Eat Out In Allentown, Pennsylvania

Bethany Stuart

The fastest-growing population in Pennsylvania, Allentown’s amazing expansion is being matched with an increasingly strong and diverse culinary scene: from classic all-American diners to the best of the East, the city has something for every food lover. Here is an updated collection of the 10 best cultural restaurants you should try in Allentown.
© James Benetzky/Flickr

Bamboo Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar

This restaurant is a must-try for anyone who loves Asian cuisine, offering a great range of meals as well as a sushi bar. At Bamboo, dishes arrive at your table like pieces of artwork, all beautifully presented and using top-quality ingredients. There is a huge selection of sushi, including a special roll menu with dishes such as The Fancy Dragon – shrimp tempura, eel, smoked salmon, egg, sweet soy sauce and tobiko – available. If you’d rather opt for a meal, try the Volcano Salad, which tops crispy thin noodles with spiced crabmeat, or one of their many more traditional dishes such as paad thai.
Bamboo Asian Cuisine & Sushi Bar, 345 S Cedar Crest Blvd, Allentown, PA, USA, +1 610-770-8899

Bay Leaf

Located in the heart of downtown Allentown, the Bay Leaf has been serving up its combination of Thai and New American cuisine for over 30 years, establishing itself as a consistent name in this region of Pennsylvania. Their lengthy presence in the area is testament to the strength of their menu, with dishes such as the tequila salmon appetiser and the soft shell crab special exemplifying the Bay Leaf’s ability to fuse flavours successfully. For dessert try the classic crème brûlée and, whether dining for lunch or dinner, enjoy being in a restaurant that holds a little piece of Allentown history.
Bay Leaf, 935 Hamilton St, Allentown, PA, USA, +1 610-433-4211

Copperhead Grille

Considering itself to be the ‘Evolution of the Sports Bar’, Copperhead Grille was founded in 2002 by cousins by Michael L. Dontas and Michael P. Dontas, both named after their grandfather, who moved from Greece to New York in the 1970s. After running and owning a stream of restaurants, they established the Copperhead Grill with the aim of combining ‘the values that we had learned from our fathers, with a scratch kitchen, and sports’, giving the restaurant a relaxed environment perfect for catching up on a game with friends and family. Simple fare, well done is their speciality, producing to-die-for mozzarella sticks, chicken wings and steaks.
Copperhead Grille, 1731 Airport Rd, Allentown, PA, USA, +1 610-403-4600

1. Damascus

Restaurant, Syrian, Fast Food, Vegetarian

Syrian-born Jamil and Marie Jarrah brought the flavours of Mishtayeh, the small village in which they grew up, with them when they moved to Pennsylvania 16 years ago. Specialising in Middle Eastern dining, their tagline is ‘Food so good you’ll think we’ve stolen your mother’, and indeed generations of traditional recipes inform their dishes. Highlights of the menu include the fried zucchini, baba gannouj – cooked eggplant mixed with olive oil, tomatoes, onion and seasoning – and, for dessert, the decadent chocolate baklava. Damascus delivers on great Syrian dining with a homemade feel.

2. Grille 3501

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, American, French, Mediterranean

Established in 2001 by owners John Trapan and Chef John Pukanecz, Grille 3501 represents a fusion of Asian, French and Mediterranean cuisine which is delivered in a self-described ‘sophisticated yet unpretentious’ atmosphere. Since its opening, the restaurant has earned itself many awards and the prestige of being recognised as one of the top dining venues in the Lehigh Valley. Diners should sample the Thai lobster soup, filet mignon and crème brûlée – all of which come highly recommended – and indulge in one of the Grille’s signature martinis, which have a menu of their very own.

3. Henry’s Salt of the Sea

Henry’s Salt of the Sea

Probably Allentown’s best option for seafood, Henry’s Salt of the Sea delivers French-inspired dishes in an authentic, rustic environment. The owner states he is proud to be wearing ‘an apron, not a tie’ and proves himself a master of his trade by serving up fried, baked, broiled and sautéed fish and shrimp in imaginative and flavoursome combinations. The jumbo lump crabmeat in brown butter and lobster française are not to be missed. Whilst not your typical fine dining establishment, diners shouldn’t judge this book by its cover, as the proof is on the plate.
Henry’s Salt of the Sea, 1926 W Allen St, Allentown, PA, USA, +1 610 434 2628

Lazeez Fresh Mediterranean Grill

Showcasing the best of Middle Eastern fare, Lazeez offers its customers a truly Arabian experience from the restaurant’s ambient music to its flavours – using traditional Mediterranean ingredients and recipes. Whilst not the most lavishly decorated of restaurants, it is clear that the owners – a Syrian-American family – are very much in touch with their culture, and keen for customers to enjoy their dining experience. Lazeez’s shawarma, spinach pie and baklava come highly recommended and arr all freshly prepared with a very reasonable price tag.
Lazeez Fresh Mediterranean Grill, 4666 Broadway, Allentown, PA, USA, +1 610-351-6897

Queen’s City Diner

A quintessential 1950s American diner, Queen’s City Diner serves up huge portions of classic American fare with a vintage charm. Everything from the homemade cake display on the counter to the famous Queen City burger – topped with bacon, cheese and onions – screams of old-school service and quality. Other recommendations include the veal parmesan and beef barley soup, and not forgetting their extensive breakfast menu. With never-ending coffee and service with a smile, you won’t regret taking a step back in time with Queen’s City Diner.
Queen’s City Diner, 1801 Lehigh St, Allentown, PA, USA, +1 610-791-0240

4. Robata of Tokyo

Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, Sushi

Robata of Tokyo promises not only a great Japanese meal, but rounds off its customers’ dining experiences with an impressive showcase of their prowess in the kitchen – cooking on an open grill when guests choose a hibachi dinner. Haruyoshi Shindo, owner and chef, is master of the sushi bar, expertly slicing and plating beautiful platters of sushi and sashimi for his diners. Sushi recommendations include the Dragon Roll and spicy tuna, whilst the speciality sake and the green tea ice cream, amongst other favourites, all are prepared in accordance with typical Japanese attention to detail.

5. Roma Ristorante

Roma Ristorante

Conveniently located for those travelling to and from the airport, Roma Ristorante promises hearty Italian food in an elegant environment. With ingredients that taste as if they’ve just been picked from the chef’s own garden, everything from the house salad to their freshly cut 12oz New York strip steak is bursting with flavour. The Veal Fantasy – breaded tender veal sautéed with shrimp, sea scallops and little neck clams, mushrooms and spinach in a pink vodka sauce – has received rave reviews, along with the shrimp limoncello and eggplant romano. Roma’s is perfect when you’re craving classic Italian dishes, delivering them with a contemporary kick.
Roma Ristorante, 925 Airport Center Rd, Allentown, PA, USA, +1 610-841-7662

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