One of the best parts of traveling is the opportunity to try foods from around the world, but if you can’t travel, you can do the next best thing: try some worldly foods at various ethnic restaurants. Lucky for us, Pennsylvania is home to a bunch of different cuisines from pretty much every region in the world. Here are some of the best ethnic restaurants in our state…
1. Polish: The Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is known for many things, two of which are its Polish heritage and its amazing restaurants. The two collide here at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, which has possibly the best Polish food I've ever had. Upon entering, the owner told me, "We have the second best Polish food in the world!" I asked where the best was, and he told me... "If you have a Polish relative, at their house!"
2. Japanese: Zama, Philadelphia
The head chef at Zama, Chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka is a completely self-taught sushi chef who specializes in updated Japanese cuisine. Zama made Philadelphia Magazine's "50 Best Restaurants List" and is also recognized by Zagat as one of the best sushi restaurants.
3. Australian: Aussie and the Fox, Lancaster
Outback Steakhouse is the place known for serving up Australian cuisine stateside, but Aussie and The Fox in Lancaster offers a more authentic experience. Co-owned by Julia Garber, a Lancaster native, and Colin Morrell, who is from Australia, the menu is a unique blend of Australian and American cuisine. You will not be disappointed.
4. Mexican: El Sol, Harrisburg
El Sol Mexican Restaurant in Harrisburg has not only a delicious array of food, but the largest tequila selection in Harrisburg. They have won numerous awards, including Central Pennsylvania Magazine's best Mexican food category for five years running from 2008-2011 and "simply the best margarita" in 2012.
5. Lebanese: Mezza Cafe, Lemoyne
Mezza Cafe is a family owned and operated restaurant with two locations in Lemoyne that offers traditional Lebanese shish kebabs, sandwiches, salads, and much more including dessert and Turkish coffee. These made-from-scratch recipes have been passed down for generations.
6. Ethiopian and Eritrean: Dahlak Paradise, Philadelphia
If you've never tried Ethiopian or Eritrean cuisine, you've got to come here to give it a taste. Not only does Dahlak's serve incredible food, but they are a bustling hub of nightlife on Baltimore Avenue in West Philly. Come out for a great dinner followed by karaoke or a live show.
7. Brazilian: Ipanema Grille, Scranton
Ipanema Grille has been recognized as one of the best restaurants in Scranton, and also the only Brazilian steakhouse in the area. They offer an incredible selection of more than twelve fire-roasted and hand-carved meats. Yum...
8. Thai: Sukhothai, Lancaster
Each meal at Sukhothai is made by scratch on the premise, promising a delicious, fresh, and authentic meal each visit. Their expansive menu won't disappoint.
9. Greek: Pastitio, Pittsburgh
Who doesn't love Greek food? I guess some people don't, but that's beside the point. Come to Pastitio on Butler Street in Pittsburgh to enjoy traditional recipes that come from Greece made from locally sourced ingredients. The menu is seasonal, rotating items depending on what's available locally so that you are guaranteed the freshest dining experience possible.
10. Indian: IndeBlue, Philadelphia
Located in Washington Square West, IndeBlue is an award-winning bistro serving up delicious traditional Indian fare, as well as American food with a touch of Indian flair. This restaurant is also a destination for Sunday brunch and live sitar and tabla every Tuesday evening.
BONUS: Conflict Kitchen, Pittsburgh
Talk about a cool concept for a restaurant. Conflict Kitchen is a small (no indoor seating) restaurant that only serves food from countries with which the United States is in conflict. Along with serving up delicious cuisine, customers are invited to attend events and performances that expand the public's engagement with that country's politics, culture, and history. Conflict Kitchen's identity rotates with world events. Right now, the restaurant is serving Iranian food; in the past, they have brought Afghan, Venezuelan, North Korean and Palestinian food to Pittsburgh.
What restaurants would you like to see on this list? Share your opinions below. What’s your favorite type of food?