I know this is dedicated to the DC/Md area but the Pennsylvania chowhound seems to be centered mainly on Philly.
And I know there are a lot of Pittsburgh ex-pats here in Washington, so if someone could please steer me in the right direction I'd appreciate it.
I'm going to be in the Burgh on April 13-14 for family business on that Sunday.
But we have Saturday to ourselves, we're planning on going to Primanti's for a sandwich for lunch and then the Bucs-Cubs game.
Does anyone have a suggestion for a little more upscale dining for after the game?
We're going to be staying most likely at the Omni William Penn or the Renaissance Pittsburgh and want to do a 'Burgh thing-any cuisine as long as we can say we did the Burgh?
You obviously know enough about Pittsburgh to pick out the best of the best for starters. If you give me your fax number, I will send you my article about Primanti Bros. from Penthouse. Believe it or not, the piece was originally commissioned by The Wall Street Journal for their planned magazine that never became a reality. Their impulse was that Primanti customers, esp. those from the fruit and vegetable market, were people who read the tables in the Journal, rather than the columns. Penthouse took it for other reasons. I was happy -- I was paid twice.
Briefly, Primanti's is the highest-energy restaurant I have ever been to. From bib-and-tuck to bib overalls, its clientele spans society -- and everybody sits together.
My view, as I think you will agree, is that the best of Pittsburgh is not the imitation French joints around the Golden Triangle, but the various ethnic places, Greek, Italian, Ukranian, etc., plus the country & western bars near the steel mills, where at 8 a.m. the overnight shift coming off, and the morning shift going in, meet to share a beer with a gin chaser (or is it a gin with a beer chaser?).
I just got back from Pittsburgh over Easter weekend and posed the same question to the Pgh board, as I was considering going to Lidia's (Bastianich) on the Strip.
Result of several mailings was that Cafe Allegro, on about 15th just west of Carson and near the old Market in Southside is superior to Lidia's (I've eaten there before and it was fab and $ for Pgh) Also recommended Davio/Paliio/Alle Familiglia three restaurants owned by the same family in different parts of Pgh featuring Sicilian fare. I went to the one in Allentown, just down from where the incline used to be on Warrington, and it was just wonderful food and very friendly chef, open kitchen, expensive, though not an upscale enviornment or location, maybe 10-15 tables, and BYOB. I can email you the websites of the latter if you like.
I've been to Mallorca, around 24th/Carson,(3/4 years ago) and had a wonderful meal and evening, also priced above what you'd expect and a bit more upscale. They have a lovely garden area for dining.
Roe (former Burgher)
I used to spend a lot of time in downtown Pittsburgh with work, but that was a few years ago. What I would recommend for better dining are:
1) Mallorca - Spanish cuisine on the Southside. A short cab ride from the Wm Penn. Excellent and very reasonable - was there last year on a visit and loved it.
2) Grand Concourse - right across the bridge in the Station Square complex, a renovated train station that has good food and a great atmosphere. Can walk or "subway" from downtown hotels. Avoid everywhere else in Station Square, they're not that good.
3) Steelhead Grill - in the downtown Marriott by the Civic Center. Good seafood, especially their Pittsburgh Seared Tuna, sushi quality - very rare in the middle seared on the outside.
4) Monterrey Bay Fish (?) - I think that's the name, on Mt. Washington. A large assortment of fresh fish, really good. Was the best restaurant on Mt. Washington, the others were mainly disappointments (i.e. Lamont's, Grandview). Plus you can get up there via the incline plane and have a great view of the city.
5) Common Plea - right downtown by the courthouse. Most formal of the bunch, really good food - I would say it caters an older crowd.
Note: last Spring I visited Pittsburgh on the weekend and used Priceline to select a 3 star + hotel downtown and got the Wm. Penn for $50/night.