Located in the high desert of Southern California, Lancaster isn’t exactly known as a foodie mecca. Yet that is exactly where we are headed. If you know where to look, you’ll find several great places to dine. That said, and in no particular order, here are 14 unique restaurants to try in Lancaster, California.
A several-block section of a revitalized downtown Lancaster known as BLVD has become a destination in itself. In addition to shops and museums, a number of restaurants have settled on the BLVD. Our top five restaurants are on the BLVD.
1. Café Katz N ‘Jammers
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Katz N ‘Jammers is a great place to have that meal. This 1950s-style cafe has been located in downtown Lancaster for 50 years. In case you were wondering, yes the restaurant is named after the cartoon.
Step inside and you are transported back to the 1950s. Collectible 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records and 1950s icons adorn the walls, a working jukebox catches your eye in the back and revs regular music from the greatest of the time plays on the speakers. Home-style dishes include classic breakfast items, burgers, and sundaes. Open only for breakfast and lunch.
2. The modern tea room
“A modern take on an old taste” is how The Modern Tea Room describes itself. By “modern,” it means items like Texas Vanilla Tea, Tea Infused Pop-Tarts, Trail Mix Pancakes, and Raw Nut Tacos. The restaurant specializes in loose tea and healthy cuisine. Vegetarian, vegan, not-so-vegan, and fresh baked goods can be found on the menu.
From time to time, the chef changes the menu. The restaurant also has an in-house art gallery which rotates every 6 weeks or so. If you like his teas, you can order them to enjoy at home. Closed on Mondays.
3. Mediterranean coffee with olives
Olives Mediterranean Café has been present on the BLVD for 8 years now. The restaurant is known for its healthy food. The menu offers Armenian, Greek and Lebanese dishes, most of which are made from family recipes.
Owner and Chef Harry Mkrtchian has been in the restaurant business for over 20 years. Establishments owned by Harry and his wife Lusine have won numerous awards. It’s immediately evident that Mkrtchian has won these awards the moment you immerse yourself in your meal. Because it is cooked fresh, the menu advises diners to allow 20 minutes for your meal to be prepared.
4. Rio Brazilian Grill
Rio Brazilian Grill serves more than Brazilian dishes. The full menu includes specialties from Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico. It’s like eating through Latin America without leaving the United States. Cocktails, sodas and other drinks are available. (I was pleasantly surprised to see guava pisco and chicha morada (both are Peruvian drinks) and Brazilian lemonade offered). And, of course, the best churrasco meats are there in the Brazilian section of the menu.
Rio offers a catering service if you want to bring the experience to your home or at a special event.
5. The Butterfly
Opened just before the pandemic, La Papillon was successful and is now entering its 4th year of operation. This cozy restaurant offers a full menu. The brunch menu alone lists several types of pancakes, French toast, pancakes, and four kinds of Egg Benedict.
The bread served while waiting for your meal is incredibly delicious! Take a few moments to appreciate the photographs on the wall. The Three Stooges photo would seem out of place, but it kind of blends in with the rest of the setting.
There is a separate room for private functions. La Papillon can take care of your special event.
Pro tip: Dishes like beef bourguignon and coq au vin are even better the next day.
6. Restaurant of the Great Wall
The Great Wall Restaurant has been a staple in Lancaster since 1988. Its longevity is undoubtedly the result of being good enough to be named Best Chinese Restaurant for AV Readers’ Choice awards every year since it opened.
Great Wall specializes in Mandarin and Sichuan styles of Chinese cuisine. You’ll probably find most, if not all of your favorite items on her menu. The restaurant is spacious and offers banquet facilities.
7. Indian cuisine of Malhi
Right next to the Great Wall and also in Lancaster since 1988 is Malhi’s Indian cuisine. If you are new to Indian cuisine, try its buffet first.
All of Malhi’s food offerings are made from scratch. You can choose your spice level from mild, to medium, to hot, to Indian hot. I would not recommend the latter option.
Its extensive menu includes more than two dozen starters and vegetarian entrees. Naan (Indian bread) is served hot straight out of the tandoor oven. Indian beers are also available.
Pro tip: Plan to bring some home. Sauce dishes like curries and masalas are even better the next day.
8. Thai coffee
Tucked away in an unlikely spot in a mall, the Thai Café can be a bit difficult to locate. It’s between Target and Big Lots. Once you arrive, you will be rewarded with exceptionally tasty food. Its menu lists well over 100 items. Vegetarian options are well represented. Closed on Mondays.
Pro tip: For those who love Thai tea and are up for a new twist, have the waiter brew it with coconut milk.
9. Red salmon
Relatively new to Lancaster, Red Salmon is already making its presence known. It was voted AV’s Best Japanese Restaurant in the AV 2021 Best Reader’s Choice Awards.
Its menu offers many choices. (On a personal note, her teriyaki tastes better than most I’ve tried.) The restaurant also makes almost 100 different types of sushi, sashimi, and rolls, all beautifully presented, which you can order at the sushi bar. or at your table. . A wide selection of sakes and Japanese beers are available.
Pro tip: Dinner time can be very busy. Call first to get an idea of wait times or choose a less popular time. Another option is to order take out.
10. The third place bar and kitchen
Sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term third place. Which means The Third Place Barroom and Kitchen lives up to its name in every way: it’s a sociable place to get together and build relationships, there’s definitely a bar and food that turns out to be very tasty and done. from zero.
Pro tip: If you are adventurous with beers, try the Liliko’i Kepolo. It is a white beer infused with passion fruit. It’s a decidedly different and refreshing beer.
11. Wine Lounge & Restaurant Complex
Another newcomer to Lancaster is Complexity Wine Lounge & Restaurant. Although its name indicates that it is a wine bar, Complexity has a full dinner menu and has brunch on Sundays. A good thing about Complexity is that its dinner menu lists suggested food and wine pairings. Don’t know which wine to order? Try a flight of wines, a choice of four reds, whites, or a blend of wines from the selections by the glass. Wine courses are offered to both budding and seasoned wine lovers. Check his calendar for dates and times.
12. Time 2 Grub
Having failed to find soul food restaurants in the Antelope Valley, owner Tanya decided to create her own. Time 2 Grub has grown rapidly through word of mouth and social media. You will find the restaurant inside the Sol Plaza indoor shopping center. I was delighted to find some of my favorites on the menu – items like oxtails, smothered turkey, and barbecued ribs. Although I’m not a fan, he also serves andouilles (fancy name for chitlins).
Expect to wait around 20 minutes while preparing your meal. Closed on Mondays.
Pro tip: Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park is less than one mile away. It is a very pleasant place to transform your meal into a picnic.
13. Gino’s Italian restaurant
Gino’s Italian restaurant is a must-see in Lancaster. The residents have voted it the best Italian restaurant on several occasions in the AV’s Best Reader’s Choice Awards. Gino’s is known for its cheese pizza and claims to have the best pizza in Lancaster.
His sub-sandwiches are hearty. The portions of its entrees are huge, easily enough for two meals. I was delighted to find that Gino’s serves Italian sodas. A must-try is his tiramisu, which is homemade.
Pro tip: Test the cheese pizza’s claim by ordering half a cheese and the other half with any toppings of your choice.
14. The broken piece
The list is completed by The Broken Bit. It was voted AV’s Best in many categories at the AV’s Best Reader’s Choice Awards.
The Broken Bit bills itself as a classic American cowboy steakhouse, a nod to the region’s country western heritage. Although famous for its steaks, locals love its oatmeal-braised pork knuckle. Its equally famous whiskey menu lists well over 150 entrees.
This is by far the most expensive restaurant on the list. My solo meal cost over $ 100 for a steak, a drink, and a dessert. Closed on Mondays.
Pro tip: Make reservations. Broken Bit makes appointments but you may have to wait 15-30 minutes or more to be seated.
Note: COVID guidelines and restrictions continue to be constantly evolving, particularly in California. It would be wise to call the above restaurants before visiting to find out about the restaurant’s current policies.
If you’re a foodie, here are a few more articles that will help you decide where to dine the next time you visit California: