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Dining tips for Pittsburgh

hi all:

i'm a NYC hound who's coming to Pittsburgh this weekend to check out the city and i have a major job interview on Monday, so i'm obviously considering a move to PGH. i'm not expecting the dining to the the same as NYC, but am hoping that i can find a few good restaurants, some of which i hope to sample this weekend.

specifically:

life will be empty without Vietnamese -- any Vietnamese that's good?

i'm a total sushi-snob, should i even bother? need impeccibly fresh fish. traditional or fusion is OK. need to have excellent uni. a good fatty tuna, hamachi, etc. preferred. occaisional esoteric optics always appreciated. is there any place that does omakase?

is there authentic Chinese food in Pittsburgh? i don't like americanized Chinese, but love authentic in a variety of styles/provinces: Cantonese, esp. Hong-Kong style, Shanghaiese, real Sichuan, and can't miss Peking Duck.

other seafood?

other Asian?

Mexican? Italian? Turkish? Greek? Middle-Eastern?

any regional or local specialties?

am looking for stuff in all price ranges as general information ... for trying over the weekend, i'll probably only go for the cheap stuff.

thanks,
alekz

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  1. for Viet can't beat "Trams" which is on Penn Ave east of Downtown on the border of Lawrenceville & Bloomfield.

    for good old red sauce Italian try "Dels" in Bloomfield

    in Squirell Hill tons of restaurants including Alladin (sp) for middle eastern/greek cuisine. Also Ali Baba in Oakland on Craig St, Oakland home of hospitals and Pitt.

    Be sure to grab a "City Paper" or "Pittsburgh" magazine

    Koran cuisine with sushi is on Penn ave b/w Strip District and Downtown called Sushi Kim.

    Southside, also lots of bars/clubs and restaurants the is mid east "Kessaab" (sp) on Carson St

    for great asian takeout in Sq Hill try "Zaws", Sq Hill Pizza Mineo.

    great Thai in Regent Square called Green Mango Noodle Hut, outrageous. good bar across the street for beer selection.

    for interesting, tourist attraction with decent food, not cheap, you could check out Grand Concourse at station square across Smithfield Street bridge, also convenient to incline.

    don't miss top of Mt Washingon there is great seafood restaurant Monterrey Bay

    in Shadyside excellent gelato called Mulberry Street, on Copeland restaurant below them is Giresole on-red sauce Italian

    Cafe Point Brugge has a Belgian flair including beer selection.

    gee, I guess Pgh has some places to eat!

    enjoy, it's a great city with an inferiority complex,

    also

    1. I hate to say it, but coming from New York to Pittsburgh, I don't think there will be a whole lot of extremely authentic asian food. I haven't been, but it seems that the only great sushi place in Pgh is Umi, check www.bigburritogroup.com I haven't personally been there. When I had sushi from a vendor in Chelsea Market in NYC (The Lobster Place?), it was better than anything I've had in Pgh, so use that as a gauge.

      For Vietnamese my favorite in Pgh is Me Lyng in Homestead on Eighth Ave. Sesame Inn on Washington Rd. in Mt. Lebanon has good chinese, but I'm not certain it'll be exactly what you're looking for.

      We have PLENTY of Italian in Pittsburgh, my favorite far and away is Alla Famiglia in Allentown. 804 E. Warrington Ave, ZIP: 15210 The menu is just fine, be Johnathan excels at his fresh fish dishes.

      Mexican, all of the good authentic places seem to close up real quick. Mandosa Express in Crafton/Greentree is the best "authentic" place we have now. I love Mexican and it's frustrating to find what I'm looking for in Pittsburgh.

      We have a handful of Indian Restaurants, my favorite being Maharaja, a dive buffet located in Holiday Inn in Dormont.

      One thing that is great about Pittsburgh is the prices of restaurants. My wife and I always have a real hard time spending more than $100 on dinner. It's usually $50 or less for dinner for two. Note we are not big drinkers.

      While you're here, definitely check out the Strip District and be sure not to miss Cafe Richar, Enrico Biscotti, and if you need breakfast, try Pamela's (get the pancakes).

      1. I recently ate at Tram's it found it to be fine, but prefer Me Lyng much more. Del's in Bloomfield I'd personally stay away from.

        1. hey Rick!

          does Me Lyng have many veggie options? we're from Butler and haven't been there yet. It's interesting to read what you like and how that's impacted geographically. I've been curious about Maharaja but Butler to Dormont??? It's that whole crossing rivers thing (LOL) Have you tried much South Indian? Monroeville has Udipi Cafe. excellent and interesting. all vegetarian, non-smoking. we'll have to venture out to that mexican place too. good thinking on big burrito too!

          1. Wish I would have seen your post before I left. I just got back from eating at Me Lyng and I knew exactly what I wanted (Pho Bo) so I didn't even look at the menu. I only order off of the Vietnamese section there, they also have a Chinese section but that's not what you go there for. I recall they had some vietnamase pancakes and I THINK they were vegetarian, and my wife loved them.

            Keep in mind that Maharaja is a dive in the biggest sense but we love it. It's non smoking, the nan when hot and fresh is awesome, but sometimes you hit it on slow period and the nan doesn't turn over quick enough and it sucks. The buffet also includes Mango Lassi and Chai Tea. We've been to many places in in Pittsburgh, Indica Cafe, Taj Mahal, India Garden, but we keep going back to Maharaja. Also, I highly recommend not ordering off the menu as I've seen take out orders go directly from the buffet tray into the take out container. My wife and I go here enough to be able to tell when someone different is cooking in the kitchen. About eight months ago we had really bad dinners there twice in a row and gave up on the place. Then we went back for a last ditch effor and it was great again, and has been ever since. Try it!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Rick

              ok, i tried Tram's last night and thought it was pretty bad. my husband's pho was OK and pleasingly not too salty -- but not traditional and wasn't available to order with all the weird bits (tripe, tendons, omasa, etc.) that is traditional.

              i got the coconut vermicelli and found it both bland and too sweet.

              not sure if we'll try Me Lyng tonight or if we'll go for Indian or something else.

              thanks for your help.