Happy Valley Flavors Span the Globe
Thanks to Penn State attracting students and faculty from around the globe, you don’t have to go far to find authentic ethnic food in Happy Valley. Whether you’ve got a craving for a particular cuisine or want to try something for the first time, there are plenty of options in Happy Valley to taste different foods from around the world.
Kimchi Korean Restaurant
Celebrating a decade in Happy Valley, Kimchi Korean Restaurant is named after a fermented cabbage dish that is marinated with hot peppers--the most popular Korean side dish that is served with every meal. With more than 80 options on the menu, Kimchi features plenty of ways to taste Korean food, like Woo Tang (yes, it's a thing: Korean cabbage soup with bean sprouts and green onions, served with rice), Bulgogi (thin slices of beef rib eye marinated with homemade BBQ sauce), and Jambong (spicy thick wheat noodle soup with squid, shrimp, mussels, egg, Korean cabbage, carrots, zucchini, and onions). They have a weekday lunch special, and allow BYOB with no cork charge. Plenty of free parking!
1100 N. Atherton St., State College; 814-237-2096; www.kimchistatecollege.com
Cozy Thai Bistro
For a taste of Thai, check out Cozy Thai Bistro, which serves signature dishes of Lemongrass Chicken (crispy chicken with sweet & sour lemongrass sauce), Cozy Thai Canapes (deep fried shrimp and pork mixture spread on wheat bread and served with sweet and sour sauce), and Mee-Ka-ti (Thai red curry and coconut sauce mixed with egg, crushed peanut, fresh tofu, and ground chicken), in addition to more popular Thai dishes such as Pad Thai, Tom Yum, and Red and Green Curry. Cozy Thai's lunch menu features an entree sampler menu, where you can choose two smaller entree portions to taste, as well as a $7.95 lunch special with 53 options to choose from (25 of them vegetarian!). Be sure to also check out their casual eatery, Galanga by Cozy Thai, on College Avenue.
232 S. Allen St., State College; 814-237-0139; cozythaibistro.com
India Pavilion serves authentic North Indian cuisine featuring vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared with the finest ingredients and carefully selected blends of spices. Choose from a variety of traditional Indian meals from the dinner menu, including Lamb Vindaloo (lamb cooked with potatoes in a very spicy tangy, highly spiced sauce), Chicken Tikka Masala (boneless chicken cooked in a thick creamy tomato sauce), and Saag (fresh spinach cooked with mild spices and your choice of Panner (cheese), Aloo (potato), or Chana (chickpeas). Or, sample a variety of dishes on the daily lunch buffet (which comes with free naan). You can also BYOB with no cork charge.
222 E. Calder Way, State College; indiapavilion.net
Opa! After many years of serving Happy Valley's most popular breakfast, the original Waffle Shop's founder, John Dimakopoulos, is bringing traditional Greek cuisine to State College. The restaurant serves authentic Greek cuisines, including appetizers like Saganaki (flaming fried cheese), sandwiches like Gyros, and entrees like Moussaka (eggplant layered with spicy meat and topped with a creamy bechamel sauce). You can BYOB to enjoy with your meal.
102 E. Clinton Ave., State College; 814-308-8822; www.thegreekrestaurant.net
Plaza Mexican Bar and Grill
The newest Mexican spot in town, it’s slowly gaining in popularity to become one of the best. In addition to fresh tableside guacamole service, they serve traditional Mexican dishes as well as some more contemporary selections, like La Revolucion Sliders (two beef and Mexican chorizo patties with spicy guacamole spread, melted cheese and Applewood bacon).
1550 S. Atherton St., State College; 814-954-7451
Tadashi serves some of the best Japanese food in State College. While they have great sushi, their ramen dishes steal the show (hot tip: ramen is not available for takeout). Even hotter tip: the spicy ramen is SPICY.
206 W. College Ave., State College; 814-862-9111; www.tadashipa.com
Herwig’s Austrian Bistro
For a type of cuisine that's hard to come by in many other cities, check out Herwig's Austrian Bistro, "where bacon is an herb" (if that doesn't sell you, what will?). The menu changes daily to reflect the personal tastes of the staff and the ingredients on hand. This place is sure to please the meat eater in your crowd, with plenty of sausage, pork, and bacon that make up the establishment's most popular dishes, like schnitzel, Schweinshaxn (slow roasted local pig leg), and Leberkase (a finely ground sausage baked in a loaf pan). Did we mention that they serve bacon? Sure, you may find that on any restaurant's menu, but how about for dessert? Herwig's features several bacon-laden dessert options, like dark chocolate bacon cheesecake, cinnabaconrolls, chocolate covered bacon, and Nutella and bacon puffed pastries. You won't leave hungry!
132 W. College Ave., State College; 814-272-0738; herwigsaustrianbistro.com