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Can I survive a move form Manhattan to Pittsburgh?

Help! I would appreciate any suggestions for restaurants that will convince me to move with my husband of 30 years from Manhattan to Pittsburgh. Can a person who lives across the street from Per Se and down the street from Fairway, Citarella and Zabar's find happiness west of the Hudson? Can anyone tell me about the restaurant/ food scene in Pittsburgh?

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  1. I live in Manhattan - visited Pittsburgh for a family funeral last year, so we didn't really eat out at all, but I did get a chance to visit an area - I'm sure local hounds will pitch in with the name - that had wonderful Italian markets, butchers and a Penzey's - lots of interesting chow/ingredients. My impression also is that Pittsburgh has become a much more sophisticated food city than it was 20/30 years ago - but that is an anecdotal impression from things I've read, etc.

    1. While I do not know that I could survive from Philly to Pittsburgh (mostly because of the Steelers, I guess), just remember, there is good and bad in all places. You will not have NY level dining, but you can have good chow. Its up to you to make of it what you will. My last time there I had a great meal at a Indian-French fusion place that totally blew me away. Never expected that in Pittsburgh.

      1. Pittsburgh has some great dining and the area that MMRuth is referring to is the Strip District. It's wonderful. There are a wide range of good restaurants covering all price ranges and ethnicity. I would recommend ELEVEN, BONA TERRA, CASBAH, DISH, LIDIA's, NINE ON NINE, KAYA, TYPHOON, GIRASOLE and SOBA for finer dining. And you have to try TESSARO's for the best burger you've ever had and PAMELA's, DeLUCA's and JOJO's for obscene breakfasts. There are numerous grills, diners and bars for casual food. Shopping in the Strip for produce, meats, seafood, etc. is a must. The big grocery store chain in this area is Giant Eagle. Some are better than others though we're lucky to have WHOLE FOODS and TRADER JOES. Pittsburgh is a wonderful place. The people are incredibly fun and friendly and it's VERY affordable to live here. I hope you both like football because this town is all about the STEELERS!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: olivertwist

          Thank you, Oliver! I'm looking forward to trying your suggestions and thank you for your enthusiasm. And, one of us likes football---he's originally from Nebraska!

        2. I survived a move from Manhattan to Reading (admittedly, I still get my hair done in NYC, but that's a different discussion board). It's not so bad, you just have to look around and try a few things.

          1. We moved from DC to Pittsburgh 10 years ago. The restaurant scene has improved significantly since we moved here. Olivertwist has some great recommendations - I would add Red Room Cafe and Umi (sushi). We are regulars at Tessaros and love the burgers. There are very few chain restaurants - most of the good restaurants are independent. There are also many neighborhoods here - all of them with different ethnic backgrounds and restaurants. We live in the East End where we can walk to 20 good restaurants. It will be great - just live in the right area. Pittsburgh Magazine just came out with their 25 Best Restaurants - check it out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: AbbyFMiller

              It'll likely take some more work to find some great places but they're out there. Oliver gave you many great places and I'll add Alla Famiglia the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Link here: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05188/...

              Remember too that Pittsburgh is much smaller than NYC so the quantity of great food may not be as high, but it is out there. Also, in my opinion Pittsburgh is a lot less stuffy and a lot more casual than NYC. I've never felt out of place at even the top end restaurants in Pittsburgh and it seems like less people are out to impress than in many other cities.

            2. I'm a recent NY--> Pittsburgh transplant, though I live in Pitt only part of the year. There are many good restaurant options, for sure, but if you eat out almost every night like many New Yorkers, you will run out of options quite fast.

              There are very few restaurants with "NY quality" ambiance, but there are plenty with good food. Tessaro's, like others suggested, is great for a burger. I also like Soba Lounge (Pan-Asian and excellent cocktails) and La Casa (Tapas) on Ellsworth st. in Shadyside, and also Ibiza Tapas on the South Side. For beer lovers, the Sharp Edge and Church Brew Works, which is a brewhouse in an old church, are fabulous options. The "big burrito" restaurant group owns several of the best restaurants (Soba, Kaya, Cashbah, etc.) as well as good casual dining options like the Café at Phipps Conservatory. But, most of the places in Pittsburgh are independent and locally-owned, and lack the pretension of many high-end New York places.

              It's not the same as living down the block from Zabar's, but you'll figure out where to get the good stuff:) I think you have to think of it as Pittsburgh, and not as an inferior New York. Perhaps it is a better foodie-who-cooks city than a foodie-who-eats-out city. The Strip District, and myriad family-owned specialty food shops in Bloomfied, the south side, etc., make it a great place to cook and entertain. And with the money you'll save in real estate, you can buy a home with a huge kitchen and a gorgeous formal dining room!

              1. If you could afford living across the street from PerSe and really lived like a Manhattanite, you'll be in a different universe here. It's not so much the food quality, it's the breadth of what's available in any cuisine and the style of living that's different.

                I used to work in Manhattan and lived all around the metro NY area. Been in Pgh five years now. I don't eat out nearly as much as I used to because I used to love inexpensive ethnic in the different neighborhoods as much or more than the big splurge in Midtown. And with few exceptions, that's just not Pittsburgh.

                Hope you like Italian and meat/ribs/bbq. Pittsburgh can go up against most cities in that area (except in the area of Sicilian for some odd reason). We're also competent in contemporary "American" - not TFL/Per Se quality, but there are some pretty good places around (and much less of the egocentric ordering off the menu at top places that has become so annoyingly common in NYC).

                That said, there is no true "top end" here like in NYC - no PerSe, Masa, Jean Georges or even Babbo (although I think Vivo and Girasole can surprise sophisticated lovers of Italian).

                But that's not the important thing.

                What the true difference is is in the lack of high quality Chinese (any region), Mexican (couple of good taco places, but nothing remotely close to Maya or even Rosa Mexicana) and Middle Eastern/East Africa/Greek/Turkish is both rare and unremarkable.

                Good sushi can be found, but other Japanese style dining outside hibachi is limited. Thai is OK, but overpriced (although Silk Elephant is a standout). Indian is fairly tame by Lower East Side standards. Very little on the deli front either - mostly chain sandwiches (and pickles w/o character or bite). If you find a true steam table pastrami, let us know. (btw, IMO best deli and Chinese are in Dormont - Fredo's and Hong Kong).

                Also, fewer places in the city with 24 hour convenience - next to zippo for delivery. Not much for street food, especially since carts are basically gone from Pitt campus (though the two Asian vendors on Penn Ave. in the Strip could make it in NY). Pizza is mostly forgettable (Squirrel Hlll area most even for quality of NYC-style/slices.) Same for bagels (try to find someplace selling Mediterra Bakehouse - they do the traditional NY water bagel).

                That all sounds mostly horrible, but, there are some gems here for dining and shopping and there is a lot to be said for living here. It's not Manhattan, but no place is, not Boston, not Atlanta, not Los Angeles (maybe SF and DC for ethnic, but that's about it). Having also lived in Boston, that's a fairer comparison. Pittsburgh can come pretty close to Boston.

                As someone else mentioned, most everything you'd want to eat is available and cheaper for a competent home cook. There are good markets (and farmer's markets) and bakeries in many areas of the city. Home entertaining is decidedly different - it's not a competitive sport as in Manhattan. People actually enjoy themselves nibbling on anything, even if its unfamiliar.

                There are even places where food is demonstrably better than in NY -- the sports venues. You can eat and drink very well at PNC Park.

                After all is said and done, the food isn't what makes living here either great or agonizing. What NYers find disturbing is that the Jets/Giants have to actually win the Super Bowl to be front page news. Here, the PG/Trib are veritable Steelers house organs year-round... so welcome to the neighborhood and get ready to learn more than you ever wanted to know about Big Ben.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Panini Guy

                  Panini Guy, I'm not sure what you mean by Sicilian. Dish Osteria on the South Side is as close to authentic Sicilian that I have had outside of Palermo. In fact, my meal there sparked my interest in going to Sicily.

                  Rifbat, as a native NY'er who spent a few months living in Pittsburgh, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by how nice Pittsburgh is. No place is NY, but as the other posters have pointed out, you can find terrific things in Pittsburgh.

                  1. re: profjmm

                    Dish is great. Love it. But in the context of the OP, Dish is just one place out of hundreds of Italian places around Pittsbugh, 95% of which seem to have the exact same menu - the half "generic" northern, half Neapolitan, but little Sicilian, or Calabrian for that matter. And other than Enotera (the wine bar behind Il Pizzaiolo), does anyone here serve Calabrian or Sardinian wines?
                    In NYC there are entire neighborhoods dedicated to Sicilian (e.g. Red Hook). That was the point I was trying to make. Definitely do Dish, but what else?

                2. Well rifbat, I moved to Pgh seven years ago with high expectations. I have lived and travelled all over the world but just spent 16 years in a small college town in the the midwest where there were 12 pizza places within 4 blocks- and not a lot else. We got here and were delighted to see the ' Best Of' signs in many places around our neighborhood. But it was a cruel joke. All I can say is that I hope you like to cook! Food standards are abysmal in this town. There are some wonderul places to buy ingredients. Benkowitz on Smallman has the best fish Ihave ever bought. Really!. Decent bread and produce. Good farmers markets in the summer. Pittsburgh is a fantiastic town to live in. I love it. but the restaurants and baseball team suck. Sorry to break the news. I know of what I speak.

                  1. Olivertwist had some good suggestions, though he(she) likes the Big Burrito Group (Eleven, Casbah, Kaya, Soba) more than I do. Tessaro's has great burgers. I would add THE POINT in Point Breeze for perfect Belgian Mussels and frites, Thai Gourmet in Bloomfield for Thai, Rose Tea Room is Squirrel Hill for Taiwan/Chinese.
                    I also highly recommend spending a morning in the strip district near downtown.Here the streets are lined with food stores, including Oriental, Italian, Middle Eastern, etc. Not to be missed is the coffee at La Prima Espresso, or the incredible Vietnamese Hoagie sold outside the My Ngoc Vietnamese restaurant on Penn near 16th St. (but do not eat inside.
                    I think you'll find the city to be friendly and embracing, though a bit provincial relative to NYC. BTW, the housing here is great and CHEAP!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: swami49

                      welcome to the 'burgh...I echo most all of what the above have said ...except jlfunderjl..
                      Certainly Pittsburgh is no NYC...but there are plenty of good dining options that will take you through some great neighborhoods. Look...anything after NYc will be a bit of a come-down...but the people are warm and welcoming...enjoy it is a great city..I know of what I speak

                    2. BTW, this is the Pittsburgh Magazine Best Restaurants feature: http://www.wqed.org/mag/features/0607... Keeping in mind it is written from a Pittsburgh point of view, that is. They aren't necessarily considering what would hold up against restaurants elsewhere.

                      Since a number of transplants have already chimed in, there isn't a whole lot to add. I know too little of the Manhattan dining scene to compare it anywa, but I do know a bit about how some Manhattanites live. If you never use your kitchen like some Manhattan couples I know, you'd likely be relearning soon after arriving. ;-) It isn't, as someone else already mentioned, that there is nowhere worth going out to. It's that you'll run out of choices really quickly if you try to go out every night, even if you drive around a lot (and you'll probably have that to get used to as well). I don't know where you're planning to live, but even the most convenient (services-wise) urban neighborhoods we have don't work well without at least an occasional drive in the car for something. And yeah, eating out at 9pm or so on weeknights? Pretty much forget that idea.

                      If dining scene is the #1 priority in your life, you'd be making a mistake moving. But apart from that, there is much to offer here. The cost of living is far lower, particularly in housing cost but others as well. (I wouldn't always necessarily expect to pay less money for a similar quality meal out. Particularly at the low end this is something that can be as cheap in a larger city as it is here.) There are places to get great ingredients for eating at home such as the shops in the Strip District, farmers markets and community supported agriculture. With the amount of money you would likely save, you could make frequent trips to Manhattan and probably still be ahead!

                      Curious what is drawing you here, though, if your husband isn't from here. I assume it isn't Places Rated Almanac. ;-) ("Most Livable City" Okay, it's pretty good overall, but it can be frustratingly backward at times!)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CrazyOne

                        That is a good question...if you are basing the move just on restaurant food...you can't help but be disappointed...it is a step down in scope...but look at it like anything a new experience, meet some new people, take in an excellent theatre district, great museums, great outdoor ammenities, churches, and great neighborhoods

                      2. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and live in Boston, so I've spent countless trips back to the 'Burgh to visit family comparing the dining scene between the two. I don't know if I fully agree with Panini Guy on an even comparison of Pittsburgh and Boston though. Pittsburgh definitely has fewer places that will "wow" you like you'd find in a bigger city like NY or Bos, but I have always enjoyed trying some of the smaller places where you can get a really solid meal without breaking the bank.

                        I also second the comments about the need to give up your desire to eat late on weeknights, or go out for dinner every day...that is not so likely in Pittsburgh. However, I have seen a definite increase in the quality of the restaurants in the 10+ years since I've been gone, and I still always enjoy returning to check out the new offerings.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: italyinmind

                          I also think that people need to consider the fact that Pittsburgh is miniscule in comparison to NYC...the restaurant selection is obviously going to be smaller in a city that serves a much smaller population.

                        2. Interesting -- it's been about two years to the day since I moved from your neighborhood (we were near 58th St and 9th) to Pittsburgh. First, some downsides: nowhere to get a quality bagel, no sushi place with the quality and ambiance of Bar Masa, no Beard Papa's cream puffs, no hole-in-the-wall Middle Eastern approaching Cafe Azuri, no dim sum. But hey, when we first moved to Manhattan from Santa Fe, we bemoaned the lack of green chile, desserts from Harry's Roadhouse, steak at the Bobcat Bite -- and c'mon, why is it impossible to simply find a decent burrito in New York? I'm echoing what others have said: every place has its strengths and weaknesses.

                          I would also agree with the lack of stratospheric restaurants, balanced by the availability of some fine restaurants at various price points. The comparison to Boston is a fair one (I've also lived near there, as well as in Chicago), but my initial reaction is that Pittsburgh resembles Brooklyn -- if you can imagine plucking Brooklyn (minus the Williamsburg hipster scene) from the rest of New York.

                          For a variety of reasons we've learned to cook for ourselves much more here than when we lived in New York. Except for a couple of specialty items (coffee, smoked fish -- which is better from Barney Greengrass anyway), I find Zabar's more than supplanted by the trio of excellent groceries on Penn Avenue: Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and the Giant Eagle flagship in Shadyside. Fairway and Citarella were never my scene; I just walked over to Whole Foods or the Associated. The Strip, though a bit of a drive from where I live, is a good food shopping location too, as others have said. Frankly, we miss very little from the New York grocery scene, for what we buy.

                          Overall, the main barrier to our perceiving the food choices in Pittsburgh has to do with geography. While we would barely blink to take the subway to Chinatown or even Flushing for dim sum on a Sunday morning, somehow the hills and rivers here discourage us from taking a trip of shorter duration to explore the food choices. As always, YMMV.

                          Oh, one thing that others haven't mentioned, and which doesn't affect me at all because I've become a teetotaler: Pennsylvania has stupid laws regarding retail alcohol (e.g., wine only from state liquor stores; beer only in cases). I suspect this would trouble some people. Also, Pittsburgh hasn't been able to make stick a no-smoking policy in restaurants and bars -- this means I need to plan ahead to make sure a restaurant doesn't allow smoking (fortunately, many don't).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: WLA

                            I've never lived in either Manhattan or Pittsburgh, but have spent a fair amount of time in Pgh since hubby has family there, and I have to say that if I were to move to the area (coming from CA) it would be the liquor laws that would bug me more than anything. Some of the state stores are decent but finding good wine retail can be a challenge....

                            OTOH, the difference in housing prices will probably make you dance and give you lots of excuses to spend money going back to Manhattan (or Philly for that matter: Philly is a great eating town, IMO) for long weekends.... :-)

                            and I have certainly had some very good meals in and around Pittsburgh. There is good food to be found...Central Pennsylvania, now that would be a challenge....

                          2. Hi Rifbat! Pittsburgh's wonderful - of course, I'm a native (we now live in the South Side, so my recommendations are a bit slanted - but even MORE suggestions that will whet your appetite are: Zenith (an all vegetarian restaurant/antique store on the South Side that has THE best Sunday brunch; Double Wide Grill, another South Side restaurant that used to be an old car repair shop and takes classic Americana fare and adds a trailer-twist to it; Mallorca (again, the South Side) has a gorgeous outdoor area to eat and serves yummy Spanish continental food like seafood paella; and then there's Azul, a wonderful Mexican restaurant, about 1/2 hour outside of the city, in Leetsdale - the best salsa around; The Strip district (downtown) is where you can buy all the unique and delicious ingredients if you cook at home in addition to flowers, fresh fish, shoes and chocolate! I think, with the right tour guides, you're going to LOVE Pittsburgh!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: afewsocks

                              I didn't realize many in NYC eat out EVERY night, that never occured to me. If you eat out every night then yes Pgh might get old if you don't like eating at the same restaurants often. But, most people I know inlcluding myself don't eat out every night and so I don't consider that a problem for us. I've been to NYC, San Francisco, DC, Boston, and Chicago, and while of course those places have more options and a wider breadth of cuisines, I never feel like I'm being punished living in Pgh with our food options. Aside from jlfunderjl, everyone else seems to agree.

                            2. I'm originally from Pittsburgh but was just at NYU for 4 years. I moved back, and all I can say for anyone else planning to come is "Welcome to Hell." I grew up in the suburbs so admittedly, I am finding more variety in the oakland/shadyside area, but very VERY few places even come close to the indian cart on the south side of washington square. The people here seem to have an aversion to spices, and there is very little cheap and actually great food as there is in NY. Sun Penang on Forbes has relatively decent Malaysian food, it's probably the best I've had since I've been here. Seriously, figure out how to get to whole foods and trader joe's and plan on cooking a lot.
                              and as I said before, Welcome to Hell :)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: lwm208

                                C'mon, it's not that bad. I grew up in the NYC area and have also lived in Mexico City, Boston and DC. Pittsburgh might be purgatory in comparison (and the argument has been made elsewhere that the DF is a far better food city than NYC).

                                Anyway, I used to visit a client in Tulsa and spend time trying to find CH-worthy restaurants there. Now that's hell.

                              2. If you love Italian food, avoid Bloomfield, which is Pittsburgh's Little Italy. They should call it Very Little Italy. There's not a restauarant there I can't outcook, even when I have a full-on migraine.

                                For good Italian, go to Piccolo Forno in Lawrenceville. They make lasagne Bolognese, like in Marcella Hazan's books, and other nice pastas. It's $13, which includes a salad. Their $7 grilled vegetable appetizer is just wonderful, and enough for two. It's BYOB.

                                There's also Lidia's (Bastanich, who also has places in Manhattan) in the Strip District, but it is touch-and-go. I always order the pasta sampler--choice of three, all-you-can-eat, of which some are better than others.

                                However, Lidia's does a wonderful $20 brunch on Sunday.

                                1. I love eating in Pittsburgh. It's way more laid back, good variety, good ethnic food (I think a lot of it is better there then in DC), fabulous ice cream, good local cafe scene and a lot of varying neighborhood charm.

                                  the places already listed are a good start.

                                  Ellsworth Ave has two places I always like to go for lunch when I'm in town - Enricos and Cafe Zinho (I think it's still open for lunch, right?).

                                  I love Pittsburgh, so have fun. It's not "upscale" a lot of the time, but it's awesome.

                                  Oh, and go to the O for a dog and fries. there are always rumors it's going to close, so just go and get your fries well done. :)

                                  1. Swami49- hasn't been to Point Breeze recently- because "The Point" has been defunct for some time now. But "Point Brugge Cafe" took it's place- and is much better than the former point. Think casual sunday brunch in brooklyn- with great mussles!

                                    wfesocks- has NO CLUE! if you call the double wide grille good chow- i should cut out your tongue! the whole place is an insult to the sences, an I'll leave it at that.

                                    Most of the other comments here are very accurate (i've lived in NYC, DC, Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and various places in India) you'll cook much more... but certainly learn about the neighborhoods and all the unique "pittsburgh" food like perogis, haluski, and the various eastern european influences. Palate Bistro was just voted best French in the city- and it doesn't have much competiton for the title- so don't go expecting the ambiance or decor at either Per Se or TFL. It's sad that the ambiance doesn't match the food, since Chef Ryan Racicote has so much talent. The food and plating is superb. I would also recomend Mio Kitchen & Wine Bar in Aspinwall- a short drive from the city proper. Chef/Owner Mathew Porcco does a great job replicating Veritas- where he trained. The food is very good, American-Italian country fusion. Olive or Twist and 9on9 have had great reviews, but I haven't been to eather yet. IMO the "big Burrito" group has the atmosphere but is over priced for the meal you recieve. Don't get me worng, I think the food is good- I just feel the creativity and perfection isn't there for what they expet from the customer. UUBU has had a nice review- but
                                    I can't end the post without plugging 2 of my favorite little places- Roladin is a great little Kosher deli, and Zeinith Tea Room is a crazy eclectic Vegitarian/Vegan, Tea Room, Art Gallery, and swap shop. Go to Zenith on Sunday for the Brunch. If you're dying for stellar food and up for a nice weekend in the mountains- just a short drive away is Nemicolan Woodlands with Lautrec and Aqueos- both AAA 4 Diamonds rated.

                                    It's not so much about survival, but adeptation- and take comfort that we're only 4-5 hours from the likes of Philly, DC, & Baltimore when you tire of perogis and the STILLERS. (you'll find the local dialect as alarming as some of the bridge & tunnel dwellers)

                                    Good Luck!!

                                    1. rifbat,
                                      We have been out of NJ and there is only one City (nyc). We do most of our fine dining in. That said hand down favorite resturant in Pittsburgh is Vivo in Bellevue. Sam and Lori a husband and wife team's place. He is the chef she does the desserts. 5 course served Italian style-plan on 2 1/2 hrs or so for dinner and it's byob!

                                      Very thankful we have the strip district cant imagine living here with without it. That said once a month or so we do our shopping at the West Side Market in Clevevland about a 2 hr 15 min drive. www.westsidemarket.com . Best part of the day is that the market is only a Block away from Great Lakes Brewing the best Mirco Brew in the country. Get the stuff you need first Great lakes for lunch (great beer lousy food) then if you pass through the market on the way out near closing time produce vendors are absolutely giving stuff away...


                                      1. lots of good recommendations here, but i have to speak up for at least one pgh chinese restaurant - zaw's is amazing. it's just a tiny little takeout place in squirrel hill, owned by an indonesian man of chinese descent, and the food is an interesting mix of chinese and southeast asian. really great stuff. the recently closed hunan kitchen on forbes was decent too. for the most part chinese in pgh is pretty mediocre though, it's true.

                                        i don't think the indian food there is too bad either - no there's no 6th st. indian restaurant corridor but tamarind in scott township has one of the best buffets i've ever had, udipi in monroeville has great south indian food, and taste of india and people's aren't bad, for lunch buffet and dinner.

                                        green mango noodle hut in regent square is excellent for thai, and sweet basil/la philipiniana, which has locations in lawrenceville and squirrel hill, is good but sort of expensive. tram's has very good vietnamese food that's pretty cheap.

                                        oh and by the way i moved here from nyc. i miss cheap groceries in chinatown (although there are cheap groceries in the strip), and groceries in general are more expensive. pgh is also shorter on REALLY cheap, good food, and i definitely miss the variety of things available late at night and for delivery. i was never much of a fancy restaurant-goer though, and i like to cook at home. there are lots of good restaurants in pgh, just less than in nyc, of course.

                                        1. Happiness west of the Hudson? I don't know, but the fact that Pittsburgh has retained a fairly distinct character despite the corporate blandness that is taking over so many cities makes me happy.

                                          I don't know what turns you on, but D's Six Pax & Dogs is essential for anyone who likes weiners (and beer). All kidding aside, they've got the best selection of microbrews/imports in the city, and you're free to mix bottles when getting a six-pack. They used to offer all of this with a pretty divey ambiance, but recent renovations have taken things way over-the-top in an absolutely Pittsburgh fashion.

                                          I'm surprised no one's mentioned Cafe du Jour on the SouthSide--really one of the best all-around dining experiences to be had in the city. Good people running a small French bistro with no pretensions.

                                          Unfortunately, the most visible Italian places do serve it up 50's Italian-American style, so you'll have to poke around for the better places, but hopefully some other folks can offer up suggestions along the lines of Dish. I'm more of a cook than one who goes out to eat, and I second the comment above about entertaining. There's definitely a thriving culture of true foodies who like to fill in the holes of the Pittsburgh culinary scene with fun potlucks and amazing dinner parties.

                                          1. Well Candy, you're posting from info that's far, far outdated. While that may have been true 10-20 years ago, it's not the case now. I moved here in 2001 after living in Boston, NY Metro, and Mexico City. It was right about that time that the restaurant scene started exploding. It gets better every month. Places opening all the time offering different concepts. Yes, it's about 5 years behind NYC in adopting food ideas. But that's OK. It'll never be NYC. No place can be NYC. As for new ideas... we have a 26 year old mayor and Google just moved in. America's Most Liveable City you know...

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Panini Guy

                                              seriously panini guy, i moved here in late 2000 and have never felt unwelcome. pgh is a city that is losing population and is DESPERATE for new people, with some area towns going to interesting lengths to attract people (try googling john fetterman). back on the food tip: most pittsburghers i know were ecstatic when an ethiopian restaurant finally opened up, and the buzz around the molecular gastronomy night at bigelow grille has been huge. granted these are passé food trends in nyc already i am sure, but that's a fact of life when you don't live there (or maybe in la, chicago, or sf).

                                              by the way, thanks for talking up hong kong in dormont on other threads, i am definitely going to check it out.

                                              1. re: rachelc

                                                pittsburgh is making an admirable attempt at adding new dining options all over the area. as a lifetime pittsburgher and avid traveler, it's easy to be discouraged by food-related comparisons to larger cities. all of the postings noting the near impossibility of eating out every night in pittsburgh are spot-on; the dining scene is a long way from operating on that scale. sometimes i think that pittsburgh has a hard time with dining spots because it lacks an influx of people who are willing to try new places. some of the hole in the wall, diner-style places have the most loyal clientele. the geography of the area makes a difference, too. people don't like to drive too far to eat, and it's difficult to find late-night spots downtown.

                                                however, there are several places worth trying, namely a new addition downtown called palate bistro. the food was fresh and a welcome change from many of the run of the mill dining options downtown. i would rate it comparably with eleven (mentioned several times in earlier posts) in terms of the quality of the meal, but must admit to being disappointed with service at both places. ibiza (next to mallorca), located on the south side, has a wonderful assortment of spanish and south american wine offerings and a serviceable tapas menu. i realize that every restauarnt these days seems to offer tapas, but the food i've eaten there has been good, and most of the menu items are authentically spanish. try dining outside on the patio. i went to seviche on penn avenue for the first time a few weeks ago. great drinks,semi-kitschy caribbean feel, delicious empanadas and plaintain chips, terrible wait staff. but i'm hoping it catches up because downtown needs an infusion of something new and different.

                                                my advice to anyone moving to the 'burgh is to try and find out as much as you can about your prospective neighborhood. read the dining reviews in the city paper and look for the magazine "plate" that comes out quarterly. i always ask people where they like to eat and give the suggestions a try.

                                            2. I was raised in Houston and lived for a while in San Francisco. The pursuit of food is different in Pittsburgh. Most of the best food is in the most unassuming places and you have to find it, word of mouth is king.

                                              My favorite lunch spots are (all blue jeans type places):

                                              The Sharp Edge - german
                                              Smallman Street Deli - deli
                                              Boomerang BBQ - aussie
                                              Ali Baba - greek
                                              Silky's Crows Nest - american
                                              Max's Allegheny Tavern - german
                                              C's C's Cafe - american

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: frndrfoe

                                                I think it would be more accurate to describe The Sharp Edge as Belgian, and Ali Baba as Mediterranean than german and greek respectively.

                                                1. re: JC65

                                                  I would actually call Ali Baba a Middle Eastern place...

                                              2. Dish on the southside is run by these two New Yorkers who moved to Pittsburgh to start a NY style place. I love it... love the food, the ambience... and love the late night bar scene (good hip crowd, fun, friendly) great to go for dinner and stay for drinks. They have great food and a great wine menu and good specialty drinks at the bar.

                                                1. I have lived in Pittsburgh all my life, and the food here has finally gotten to the point that you can get pretty good food and ingredients. I manage Penzeys spices in the Strip district. Stop in when you get here and my staff or myself will point you in the right direction!

                                                  1. I think it's important to recognize that while San Fran, Chicago, and DC all host some pretty fabulous restaurants...no city can ever really rival Manhattan!!!! It is and always be THE City.That said, Pittsburgh is not and never will be Manhattan. For it's small-mid sized population and spread-out landlocked geography it is definitely host to some very fine dining. As mentioned in previous replies, all of the Big Burrito (local restauranters/group) restaurants are outstanding, and Red Room, Typhoon, Hyde Park, Bona Terra, Mio, and Nine on Nine are just a few to highlight. In addition to palate- pleasing ventures...I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the rich culture, architecture, and recreation our city has to offer!!!!

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: PittsburghGirl

                                                      I completely agree with you, PittsburghGirl. I grew up in Pittsburgh and live in L.A. now. I go back to the 'burgh often(and will move back when$$ permits) for just the things you mention...food is much improved over the last few years, culturally, and most important to me the people are so friendly and welcoming.

                                                      1. re: nyfoodjoe

                                                        Speaking of money...I think that something that everyone tends to leave out is how reasonably priced the restaurants are in Pittsburgh compared to the big city. So all of the people who think that it sucks so bad, at least you aren't paying out the nose for it.l

                                                        1. re: SaraMiller

                                                          I truly believe that the people that say it sucks here either don't make any effort to find good food or just have a pre-conceived notion that whatever they have in Pittsburgh simply cannot meet or beat NYC. When perception becomes reality . . .

                                                          I've been to DC, San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago. I've had great meals in those cities but I've also had bad ones. Tartine Bakery in San Francisco is one of the best bakeris I've been to. I've had great coffee at Murky coffee in DC. etc. etc. These places have not ruined me for life to the point that I think everything in Pgh sucks. I find great coffee at 21st Coffee and Enrico, The French Tart, Cafe Richard, and the place next to La Prima all have damn fine pastries.

                                                          Tadich in San Francisco was a pretty crappy meal for all of us, and I got that rec from Chowhound.

                                                          1. re: Rick

                                                            You have summed it up perfectly!

                                                            1. re: Rick

                                                              Rick, as you probably already know...La prima has the best coffee I have ever had!! Their coffee is ordered by my whole staff here in L.A.(beans) and when I get to the 'burgh I go in the morning an in the late afternoon for an expresso or a latte!! It is the best

                                                              1. re: Rick

                                                                I think concentrating on sit-down places misses the point. Taking into account the OP mentioned Zabars - and there's nothing close to Zabars around here for the sheer amount and variety of stuff that can be found in a single refrigerated display case.

                                                                Not to rehash my longish posts from way earlier in this thread, but the main thing that Pgh lacks that NY has is breadth in every cuisine short of Italian red sauce and chains. That's especially true at the lower-priced levels, e.g. the LES Afghani and Pakistani basements, the carts (ohhhhh, the carts!!!) and the ethnic enclaves nearby in outer boroughs from Red Hook to Arthur Ave. to Brighton Beach to name three obvious points.

                                                                And that goes double for things that NYers consider their birthrights. Other than Mediterra, there are no good water bagels. There is a dearth of satisfying pizza by the slice in most neighborhoods - no Ray's, Original Ray's, Authentic Original Ray's, Famous Original Ray's, Famous Authentic #1 Original Ray's, etc. etc. And of course, no Papaya King. Then again, NY doesn't have the Dirty O.

                                                                How do we get more carts in town? Falafel, pretzels, satays, lemon ices... Pgh could use more carts and stalls all over.

                                                                Anyway, I guess the moral is to support your small unique food businesses. If more folks that take chances on being different become successful from support of CHers and their friends, others will follow.

                                                                And let's also remember there's a lot more to Pittsburgh than just the Strip.

                                                                1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                  I wish there were more good options at low end too. The places we commonly talk about as good are all places I can't afford to go to except very occasionally. Even forgetting the fact that I live out in the wasteland near Cranberry, there just isn't much. Places where food enough for dinner could be roughly $10/person would be quite interesting, but almost all we have to fill that void are chains, even when looking all across the area. If it's not a chain, it's junk food or just bad. Generalizing; I'm sure there are a few exceptions, even a few I might know about.

                                                                  Mediterra is doing real bagels? Who is selling them? The bread turns up a lot of places now, but I don't think I've ever seen their bagels.

                                                                2. re: Rick

                                                                  I agree. One of the worst meals I ever had was a French restaurant in San Fran.

                                                          2. Hello ... I made the same move in 1994. Here is what will happen:
                                                            1. you will go often to a small circle of good restaurants
                                                            2. you will know the menu, the wait staff, eventualy the chef and then the owners
                                                            3. you will try the "new place" that opens once a year
                                                            4. you will travel hither and beyond when an article appears
                                                            5. you will be dissappointed more often than delighted
                                                            6. you will use the excellent cooking school in Highland Park for private chef table dinners
                                                            7. you will shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and if you have the time the excellent and interesting and quirky wholesale food market in the Strip District ( think Washington Market before Hunts Point)
                                                            8. you will join a wine club
                                                            9. you will develope a circle of foodie friends and cook dinner parties for each other ... and eventually you will like it here ...
                                                            ask someone else about the State liquor stores

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: MDR123

                                                              Please tell me more about the cooking school in Highland Park. I've been wanting to do a private chef for Christmas but wasn't sure where to start.

                                                              1. re: Rick

                                                                It is named "GLORIOUS FOOD" and it is on Bryant Street ... owners are Brad and Tom you can google ....

                                                            2. I moved here a few months ago from NYC, my husband moved here 2 years ago- if you haven't already moved to Pbrgh and made your own way, here is how we have been braving things:
                                                              You will sadly realize that your skepticism is not snobbery.

                                                              Fairway, Zabar's, your typical Korean bodega, have no equals here. There's a small store on Walnut St. in Shadyside that has what you might expect in a small NYC store. You will go to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods a lot.

                                                              Wine: State liquor laws here are screwy, and many restaurants carry Cali/ South American/ Aussie wines with maybe 2 sad Euros. With no competition, people can essentially price gouge for anything halfway decent. Ask at restaurants you like for their wine list/ distributors. I still buy from Acker, Merrall, & Condit.

                                                              Nightlife/ activities: you will find a few treasured places that don't have TVs. Notably Dish, on the South Side. This is a college town. But that also means that cultural things get attracted here. Pbrgh is outside Broadway's controlled sphere, so you can see shows for much less. You will find good ethnic food at the local ethnic festivals.

                                                              Deli/ baked goods go- If you have thoughtful relatives or Zabar's ex-patriot catalogue, you will manage a little better. Although you can find some decent bread at the afore mentioned store in Shadyside, and at Breadworks in the North Side.

                                                              High end dining experiences: you can find some very good food here. It may never be a spectacular experience, but you might be impressed. It is not the high end I miss here, but the low end. NYC has the best food and best selection you can get for 2.50 $. But hey, now you have a kitchen! Which is fantastic because take out here SUCKS.

                                                              NY will always be there. and you will likely be spending all your vacation time there. In between times, invite your family and friends to your "mountain chalet". And tell them to bring bagels.

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: Fornalisa

                                                                Formalisa - for the bagels, find someplace that sells Mediterra (www.mediterrabakehouse.com). They're NY water-style bagels and very good.

                                                                We've given up on anything delivery long ago. But if you're willing to pick up, you might be happy with Hong Kong in Dormont for Chinese (mostly Canton/Shanghai, but they can do Szech/Hunan well). Not a horrid trip from the South Side. And Dim Sum first Sunday of each month!

                                                                1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                  I'm very curious what city you ex-NYC'ers actually WOULD want to live in? I wonder if you'd be happy in any other city. I was thinking San Francisco might be one of your only options where you'd be satisified.

                                                                  1. re: Rick

                                                                    I agree- it is absurd to compare NYC to Pittsburgh. In NYC, you have a population of 8,085,742; in Pittsburgh's metro area, 2,658,695 (according to the 2000 census). Clearly your options are going to be limited due to simple demographics.

                                                                    Have you been to the Strip? There is very little at a NYC Korean "bodega" that you can't get at Lotus Foods. The cheese selection at Penn Mac is better than the selection at Whole Foods at about 3/4 the price. The Pittsburgh Trader Joe's is a waste of time and money, IMO-- I can get better produce at the daily farmers' markets, and we don't eat a lot of prepared foods. I like the Shadyside Market for meats, but I am also comfortable buying from Tom Friday's Butcher Shop in Brighton Heights, because they are my neighbors and tell me where the meat comes from.

                                                                    Sure, things aren't as convenient in the Burgh as they are in NYC, but if you are willing to look deeper than the surface, ask questions, and take some risks, you can find just about everything you might need or want-- at half the price. Honestly, trying to compare the wonders of NYC with the hidden gems of the Burgh is kinda like pitting the Steelers against the Jets-- the Jets are always going to lose.

                                                                    Sorry-- I couldn't resist.

                                                                    1. re: Greyhoundgrrl

                                                                      Actually you're wrong about that. The Jets are winless all time against the Eagles, not the Steelers. Against the Steelers, it's 2-15. And would've been 3-14 if not for the kicker...

                                                                      The thing with NYC - Manhattan in particular - is that in most any neighborhood, you can walk to the greengrocer (or dry cleaner or just about any other oft-used service) and you get delivery of decent Chinese and pizza and usually other food options (Thai, deli, etc.). Here in Pgh for the most part the only places that deliver are places you don't want to eat from anyway. Thus you have to have a car. and then navigate streets that don't run straight north-south or east-west so you have to ask directions from people who use landmarks from the 1970s to explain how to get from point A to point B ;-)

                                                                      It's not that their aren't quality things to eat in Pgh, it's simply that generally they're not where one lives. And it takes some getting used to a car-centric environment, with difficulties finding cheap parking - and sometimes any parking. So I'd give the NYC immigrants a break. It's a totally different lifestyle beyond more than simply finding where the decent kimchee or huachinango de la Veracruzana is.

                                                                      I'm still looking for the latter, btw.

                                                                      1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                        Where have you had difficulties finding cheap parking? Most places it's free, and if not it's maybe $1/hr, downtown excluded. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, almost anywhere in suburbia, and a good portion of the strip are all free. Oakland, Shadyside, West Liberty Ave. all have inexpensive meters.

                                                                        1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                          Ok, honestly, I don't know crap about football. I only know I must be jingoistic about the Steelers if I want to survive in Pittsburgh.

                                                                          I am willing to cut slack for new emigrants from NYC to Pgh-- up to a point. Sure, you have to get used to things being different, but honestly, as Rick pointed out, you can't come from NYC to ANYWHERE else in the US and expect things to be comparable. I am from Florida originally, and while I miss the Gulf coast beaches with clear water & sparkling sand, I don't expect to find dolphins cavorting on the banks of the Mon, and I am not going to complain that they aren't. We are talking about realistic food expectations here, and coming from the biggest, most cosmopolitan city in the country to a lively, albeit somewhat provincial metropolis like Pittsburgh requires a gearing down of the famous NYC attitude (which I understand is a matter of pride there, but is easily interpreted as arrogance and holier-than-thou-ness in this kind of thread, which is after all dedicated to Pittsburgh, and trying to eat well therein).

                                                                          One good thing about the Burgh-- no matter where you live inside the city limits, you are 20 minutes from anywhere else, even if it is by car.

                                                                          1. re: Greyhoundgrrl

                                                                            Greyhound - I've yet to detect an offensive "holier-than-thou" attitude from anyone, although I'll certainly grant that the NYC no-mincing-words candor is evident. While you're correct in that the topic is about Pittsburgh, this particular thread is about helping a NYer deal with "gearing down" to Pittsburgh, so I don't see much here that's inappropriate - if anything the thread has helped put a brighter spotlight on some local gems.

                                                                            Rick - I've regularly had issues finding spots in the Strip and Sq. Hill near where I want to be when I want to be there. Thankfully one of the local vendors on Smallman lets me park in a reserved space if I need it. Small gripe, but one that if you get used to not needing a car, can be annoying.

                                                                            1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                              Trying to figure out how I missed these mid-Oct posts a couple weeks ago, but I wanted to chime in as someone who has lived here for a while that yes, there is borderline "no, you can't survive, period" attitude from some posts here, but for the most part we have a great thread that picks out some of the top spots for someone who is used to the bounty of NYC. While I generally don't have long enough experiences in a larger city to compare Pittsburgh to (only visits, not living there, except for 8 or 9 months of living in Philly while attending Drexel U which doesn't really count for various reasons, not the least of which that it was in 1989-90), I've seen enough and read enough to know what is common here doesn't particularly measure up in a place like NY. But while it may not necessarily cure me of all undeveloped tastes ;-) I find it fascinating to find what places around Pittsburgh pique the NYers interests. So long live this thread!

                                                                2. I've been living in Pgh for about 10 years; I'm from DC, and I've lived in NYC.

                                                                  What the above folks are saying is all generally true. Pgh is not NYC, but there are quite a few decent places to eat and to shop for food, just not the sheer quantity of them that you'll find in NYC.

                                                                  Let me give some shout-outs to places that haven't been named above: the mostly-organic Farmers @ the Firehouse market in the Strip; the year-round farmer's market by Home Depot in East Liberty; Salem's halal butcher in Oakland; Cafe Roma in Bloomfield (Sicilian BYOB, run by a Sicilian); Tazza d'Oro, in Highland Park, is doing really good coffee and pastries (sfolliatelli!); Cafe Richard in the Strip and Coca Cafe in Lawrenceville do good brunches; Royal Carribean in East Liberty has solid escovitch fish...

                                                                  Special mention for the Regent Square: others have named Green Mango and D's Six Packs, but also deserving are Square Cafe (and their burgers!), and now there's also Legume, an excellent BYOB bistro.

                                                                  I could go on for a while. But the deal with Pgh is that there aren't dozens of great X places, there are probably one or two solid ones, and a handful of so-sos. So you'll learn to think "I want pizza, that means I go there." Once you get used to that, you'll be OK.

                                                                  Welcome. Pgh is a nice town.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jacktanner

                                                                    I can pretty much agree with most of the posts above, I live in Pittsburgh but have traveled extensivley and have had the opportunity to sample some fine foods. I thought I would post some places that have not been mentioned thus far...

                                                                    Penn Ave Fish Company (Near Firehouse Lounge) - This is a great place to buy fish as well as have a great fish lunch or dinner in a casual atmosphere, some excellent sushi rolls as well.

                                                                    Chaya - (On Murry) Excellent Japanese.

                                                                    UUBU6 - South Side Slopes for American in an interesting locale.

                                                                    River Moon Cafe - A relativley inexpensive BYOB in Larryville American cuisine.

                                                                    1. re: delectable100

                                                                      I seem to be late to post - but I have a couple of suggestions outside the list suggested. Try Salem's - the Libyan grocery / take out place in South Oakland - they serve the tastiest goat ever, and Josza's Corner - Alex Bodnick's home cooked made to order Hungarian restaurant. I would have also recommended the East European "Old Europe", but alas, they closed shop.

                                                                      Other places with good ethnic flavor are -
                                                                      Mallorca (Spanish) on the South Side,
                                                                      Royal Caribbean in East Liberty (ask for their Shrimp in coconut curry) ,
                                                                      Abay (Ethiopian) in East Liberty (gone down a notch but still okay) ,
                                                                      the Kosher Smallman Street deli in Squirrel Hill (they have the most awesome tongue preparations and a flavourful Rugelach),
                                                                      Spice Island Tea House (great SE Asian food)
                                                                      and the Harris Grill (American Grill) which sadly is presently shut down due to a fire.

                                                                      Surely the streets are not lined with Hassidic Yemeni or South Indian cuisine, but still good for a city of its size ! A few drawbacks :
                                                                      No good North Indian restaurants - all serve stereotyped and distinctly un tasty Tandoori style food (Bombay Grille may just barely make it)
                                                                      No good ethnic Chinese restaurants (mostly teriyaki buffet places)

                                                                      1. re: eclecticfoodhound

                                                                        Wow... where have YOU been? I'm not familiar at all with Salem's or Josza's Corner or Royal Caribbean, so to hear they're good... great contribution to the thread. Will have to try these as well as the tongue (do they keep their pastrami on a steam table?)

                                                                        And since you're late to the board, my fave Chinese is Hong Kong in Dormont. They specialize in Cantonese, but will do Hunan and Shanghai adeptly. And dim sum first Sunday of each month.

                                                                        1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                          Panini Guy - Josza Corner is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! You have to call ahead if you want dinner after 6PM. The chef/proprietor/waiter/dishwasher is Alex Bodnar. Bring at least 4 people and he will cook you a multi-course feast of homemade bread, chicken paprikash, goulash, salads, desserts, etc. All for $15. It's like having a personal chef at your disposal. BYOB of course. The best part is that he'll sit and talk to you for a while, telling you stories about Hungary and Hazelwood. It's really a unique experience - he's going strong making ethnic cuisine, but it's a dying art form here in Pittsburgh.

                                                                          You should definitely go, if for no other reason than to hear someone who simultaneously has a Pittsburgh and Hungarian accent.

                                                                          Oh, and did I mention there's an appetizer of deep fried chicken skin? MMMMMmmmmm...

                                                                          1. re: PghJen

                                                                            Just so I understand - Josza doesn't serve dinner unless you call ahead? And if so, what time does he serve till? Can I request 8:30?

                                                                            I understand this is Pittsburgh, home of the 2nd oldest population in the U.S., but still, only serving dinner before 6pm seems over the top...

                                                                            1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                              From my understanding, he has dinner available until 6:00pm. If you want to come after that, you need to call him and arrange a time. I went at 7:00 or 7:30 and my party was the only one there. I cannot speak as to how late in the evening he serves, but I'm sure Alex will be happy to accommodate you.

                                                                  2. I am a native of Pittsburgh and have lived in NYC the past 5 years. The food in Pittsburgh will not disappoint you, there is a plethora of places to get ethnic cuisine and it is often half the price as in Manhatten. Taking a drive to the Strip district, Squirrel Hill or 'Polish Hill' will satisfy your hunger. Although there is not as many restraunts as in NYC you will be fine.

                                                                    1. Pittsburgh PA is a GREAT City!

                                                                      I spent several weeks here and was VERY impressed with the food.

                                                                      This city had passion for the food they were serving. Everyone is so Friendly.

                                                                      Some of my favorites
                                                                      Prantl's Bakery - Shadyside
                                                                      China Palace - Shadyside - Great Chinese
                                                                      LuLu's Noodles - Oakland - Great Noodles
                                                                      Frick Cafe - Amazing Lunch
                                                                      Edward Marc Chocolates
                                                                      Church Brew Works
                                                                      Girasole - Shadyside Amazing
                                                                      Green Mango - Thai - Wonderful Summer Roll Sushi and Spicy Tofu
                                                                      Gullifty's - Squirrel Hill - Great Desserts
                                                                      La Feria - Shadyside - Wonderful Peruvian
                                                                      Oh Yeah - Shadyside How can not love a place that sells ice cream for breakfast
                                                                      Perogies Plus - McKees Rock - WOW
                                                                      UMI Sushi - Shadyside

                                                                      Can't wait to go back!

                                                                      1. I'm a Pittsburgher, and I would be happy to welcome you to our city. 'West of the Hudson' refers to a lot of territory. I don't know the restaurants you're naming, but I do know from regular trips to NY that the food is great there. As for Pittsburgh, you can certainly find a lot of great dining, but you have to keep one thing in mind - never look for trendy, big or modern places that are trying too hard to look like NY or DC style restaurants. Those of us from the city of Pittsburgh can tell you that the best things in the Burgh are the timeless places that might look old on the outside, but have the charm, character, and experience to provide delicious meals with a classic, family touch. Look for Lydia's and Kaya (in the Strip District), Papa J's downtown, Emilianos' on the Southside, James Street Tavern on the North Side, Soba in Shadyside, etc. I believe one person also mentioned that you can find a large market district called The Strip District that has fresh produce, great meat and cheese, imported goods from Europe, Chine, etc. Don't come with the preconception that you need to be convinced to move here as you state in your question. NY has many good qualities and I love to visit, but what may surprise you is that we Pittsburghers are very happy here, we have everything we need, including a regular influx of people moving here from other cities and countries who never decide to move away again. People often come with the belief that NY, Philly, LA, London, Berlin, or wherever they're from, are superior to Pittsburgh, and that is the single thing that will cause you to have a bad experience. Vocalizing this to a proud Pittsburgher will create a very poor impression of you. However, coming with an open mind as a traveler will get you everywhere you need to be here. We hope you enjoy it.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Jonny317

                                                                          Pittsburgh is not the wasteland than many people think it is.

                                                                          Which is not to say that it compares favorably to NY, Philly, LA, London, Berlin as far as the breadth or depth of dining choices.

                                                                          But it is a fine place to live and I'd probably choose it over NYC if it weren't for the frigging Pens.

                                                                        2. To directly answer your survival question; quite likely with some major adjustments. Pittsburgh has made some major gains in cuisine from the years that I have traveled there. Of course, in all ways the restaurant scene is no where close to Manhattan or even Philadelphia. The good news is it is making gains as a new generation looks for better choice and is will to pay the price. Scarletcerise, based on my experience, has some excellent recommendations. What I have found is be careful to define advise on restaurants for Pittsburghers as many long time residents will fall back on "old" favorites which often reflect a different and more pedestrian taste.