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Pittsburgh "musts"

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I am most interested in characteristic food and restaurants, either stuff that you don't see so much elsewhere or places that are just synonymous with the city for some reason - whether cheap, expensive or in-between. I have poked around a bit and it seems like Primanti Bros. is on most lists of must-have Pgh food. I'll be in town for two breakfasts, two lunches, one dinner, plus a Pirates game. (Should I have the Primanti sandwich there or is it better to go to one of the actual stores, and eat something else at the ballgame?) thx much to all!

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  1. For hometown breakfasts, DeLucas and Pamalla's in the strip district. For one of your lunches, hit Fathead's on the South Side. Where else are ya gonna get a headwich with perrogi's on it, for example. You should try to get a dinner up on Mt Washington just for the view. The restaurants are fine, too, but where else are you going to get THAT view. Hope you enjoy your stay and even see a Pirates victory.

    1. Primanti's is a must, but it should also be considered a great place to hit up post-bars, if that is your scene. I agree, Fathead's is a must. Tessaro's in Bloomfield (Little Italy section of town) has some of the best burgers on the planet. If you are going to head up to Mt. Washington, got to hit Monterrey Bay. Great seafood restaurant, plus the aforementioned view. LeMont, Tin Angel, etc. are all very good, but very pricy, probably dropping $50-70pp without alcohol.

      1. The "O" in Oakland is synonymous with Pittsburgh and has amazing french fries and hot dogs. Ack, I'm jonesing.

        1. I lived in Pgh a few years back, and Primanti Bros. is highly overrated. It's all a gimmick. So they put the fries in the sandwich - so what? It's famous and it's very popular with the locals, but that doesn't make it good.

          Pamela's, OTOH, is the real deal. Three locations - strip, shadyside, squirrel hill.

          7 Replies
          1. re: minsc

            Agreed! I like to tell people that Fathead's is the new Primanti's. Go for the Headwich.

            Pamela's in the strip has some different menu items than the others.

            1. re: yayadave

              What the heck is a headwich? It sure doesn't sound good.

              1. re: G Goo

                Check the menu on the web site.

                https://www.fatheads.com/

                1. re: yayadave

                  So it's a big sandwich? I assuming the size of a head?

                  1. re: G Goo

                    At least. Or maybe it's a play on the name of the joint.

            2. re: minsc

              I second that, and I'm in PGH; Primanti's is coasting on its name, and its pretty much where the out-of-towners go on Steeler Sundays and after hitting the bars.

              Pamela's is good, but it depends on which location you go to- Squirrel Hill is bad, Shadyside can be hit or miss, Oakland is good (except for the coffee- consistently weak), and the Strip is the best; there's also the P&G Diner in Millvale, but it was flooded awhile ago, and I haven't been back there in years (but I remember it was great).

              If you want a good burger, Tessaro's on Liberty in Bloomfield, or Piper's Pub on East Carson in the South Side is where it's at.

              1. re: minsc

                there are actually 5 Pamela's. Strip, Oakland, Millvale, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside

              2. Any recs for vegetarian in Pgh?

                1 Reply
                1. re: mhoffman

                  Yes- the Quiet Storm, at 5430 Penn Ave (Garfield), is vegetarian. Lulu's Noodles on South Craig St. has a lot of good vegetarian choices, and can make just about anything into a vegetarian entree (they cater to a ton of Pitt and CMU students, profs, and staff, so they take the vegetarian thing seriously).

                2. Second Tessaro's - I'm partial to the Gourment chicken sandwiches and potato salad.

                  For vegetarian I recommend Spice Islands Tea House on Atwood Street in Oakland - Burmese/Thai food. Decent wine and beer list - closed Sundays.

                  If you have some time for lunch or just drinks a different view of Pgh try Red Fin Blues - food is good not great but the atmosphere is unique in Pgh. http://www.redfinblues.com/

                  1. Go to Pamela's in the Strip and make you try the pancakes! I recommend the Morning After, you get a little of everything. Make sure you get a side of lyonaise potatoes too. Just around the corner from Pamela's on Penn Ave. is Cafe Richard. Cafe Richard has great sandwiches and their scones are the best in the city. While you're there, you might as well try Enrico's biscotti located next to Pennsylvania Macaroni. All of these places are located within two blocks of each other.

                    1. Not so much a Pgh must as a Western PA must, and maybe a little messy for a ballgame, but consider treating yourself to some wings at PNC Park from Quaker Steak and Lube!

                      1. I happened to be walking around the Strip one afternoon and stepped into Sunseri Bros. Italian Market to take a look. They have a small deli counter inside and I decided to give it a shot. I ordered a meatball sub with peppers and onions, on crusty homemade bread, oozing with homemade marinara and sprinkled generously with parmesean not expecting anything out of the ordinary. The meatballs were large and succulent, unlike any Italian meatball I have ever tasted. No longer in Pittsburgh, I wake up in the middle of the night desperately craving a meatball sub of that quality.

                        1. They make that sub with eggplant and meatballs, even better!