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Apr 25, 2007 12:41 PM

Downtown Pittsburgh recs?

Hi! My sister and I are going to stay in downtown Pittsburgh at the Marriott for a bridal shower the weekend of May 4-6. We live in Center City Philadelphia, so we're used to being within walking distance of most places. We are in our early 30's, like places with character (not chains), local specialities, microbrews, and good food. We would also like some suggestions for good places to get coffee (not Starbucks) and light breakfast. Thanks!

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  1. I'll let someone else discuss the food. But happy to discuss coffee - there are currently only two worthy options in downtown proper, neither of which is an actual "cafe" setting:

    1) Simpatico, a kiosk in the old Alcoa Building, (425 6th Ave., kittycorner from the Wm. Penn hotel). Ward Payne is the owner and he serves LaPrima's Miscela Blend for espresso. Simpatico may have Saturday AM hours.

    2) Caffe Intermezzo's kiosk in the Frick Building (437 Grant), which serves Intelligentsia (both Black Cat and Kid O). It is only open on weekdays. It's owned by a husband and wife, Luke and Alexis. Luke is usually at Frick, Alexis at their other location.

    Farther afield, the Strip District offers Intermezzo's other place, a tiny storefront at 21st and Smallman, again, serving Intelly. La Prima's retail outlet is on 21st between Penn and Liberty. It's a standup bar with some plastic chairs on the sidewalk. If Matt is on bar, you're guaranteed a good drink. They're not open on Sunday and close at 3pm other days.

    The next closest good places are Beleza on the North Side and Enrico's Tazza d'Oro in Highland Park. Both good choices and both are open on Sundays. Neither are walkable from the Marriott.

    If you go to, a North American industry peer-review site, there's only one place listed in all of Pittsburgh. It's also open Sunday, but it's six miles south of your hotel and the trolley to Mt. Lebanon is out of service until November. As disclosure, I have an interest in it, so I'm not saying more. I mention that primarily to put some weight behind the other recommendations.

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    1. Lydia Bastianich has a restaurant in Pittsburgh that we love. The food is as close to authentic Italian that we have found in the States and is reasonably priced. The place is called Lydias' and is on the strip near downtown. Easily walkable.