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(Pittsburgh) First timer needs recs.

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I am coming to Pittsburgh on business and this is my first time in the city. I first went on the Zagat's website to see what restaurants were rated and, to my unpleasant surprise, I saw only six restaurants mentioned, and they were all national chains - did I see that correctly? I will be staying at the Sheraton Station Square and am looking for restaurants within walking distance. I love all cuisines, as most chowhounds do. I live in Boston where we have unbelievably good seafood, so if you recommend a seafood place, it has to have high marks. Is there any "Pittsburgh cuisine" that I should be aware of? I lived in Philadelphia a couple of years ago and am moving back this Fall, so I am familiar with Penn-Dutch foods, but is there any other local specialty you could mention? The restaurants you recommend can be upscale and dressy or a hole-in-the-wall-jeans place, as long as the food is great. Thanks, in advance for your advice.

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  1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/492394

    1. walkable could be tough but Rick's post should be very helpful, especially being on the south side of town. If not on his post let me ramble about a few: Girasole on Copeland in Shadyside. Cafe Du Jour (Carson St). A curious extremely casual evening option on Carson is Cambodican. It's a funky, fusion asian hole-in-the wall that was once a food wagon. Double-Wide on far end of Carson from Station Square has many veggie and vegan offerings but meat as well. If not offended by non-meat options Sunday Morning Brunch at Zenith is an experience! Enjoy the Burgh

      1. You can take the hotel shuttle van to the Westin and walk from there to Eleven (Eleventh & Smallman Street) or walk down Penn Avenue to Sonoma Grill or Seviche. Recs for the rest of Downtown area would be The Carlton in One Mellon Bank Center or The Common Plea on Ross Street. In South Side, Dish is wonderful (at 17th & Sarah- a block off of Carson Street) but a rather long walk from Station Square.

        3 Replies
        1. re: sg1136

          unfortunately station square is surrounded by a ton of chains (Buca di beppo, Bar louie, etc). Agree with many of the other suggestions. Dish on E. Carson is one of my favorite restaurants. Fatheads ( fab wings and outrageous sandwiches) on E. Carson is always fun.

          Eleven is great, as is Sonoma Grill.

          In shadyside, I like Girasole, Cafe Zinho, Enrico's.

          as far as seafood? i think that's a bit tough. I cover boston for work and i'd prefer to eat seafod in Boston than pburgh.

          1. re: yammers

            I concur with much of what's already been posted here, and will just add this rec: very close to Station Square (albeit up a very steep incline), in the Allentown neighborhood, is Alla Famiglia, for my money, the city's best Italian. A cab or bus should get you there in under 5 minutes. It's BYOB, so hit a state store beforehand — the one on Smithfield St. downtown is probably the best one closest to your hotel.

            And I will second the above statement that if you're accustomed to Boston seafood, anything you find in in Pittsburgh is bound to disappoint.

            1. re: hassenpfeffer

              I agree 100% about Alla Famiglia, just be sure to make a reservation. Last time I was there he opened up a bar on the second floor so I do believe he now has a liquor license. We didn't know that and they still accommodated us with byob.

        2. My recommendations would be: Mantini's Wood-fired (southern influenced) 1300 block of East Carson St, Mallorca (spanish) or Ibiza (tapas) 2300 block of East Carson St, Picollo Forno (rustic italian) 3600 block of Butler St.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jdstar3177

            Is Mantini's still open? I saw they were moving locations and the last time I drove by the new location wasn't opened and now I can't find their website.

          2. Since you are in station sq. I've heard good things about the sushi place inside called kiku. I haven't been there for a while but have heard great things. You're not too far from downtown (just across the bridge). I love Mexico City for cheap, good mexican food. They have two locations downtown.

            1. I suggest taking the hotel shuttle to any of the following:

              Alla Famiglia (Allentown, PA) next to Mt. Washington. This is hands down the best italian restaurant in pittsburgh. It's pricey and you should make a reservation.

              Take a walk down E. Carson St. and try Cafe Allegro or Le Pommier.

              Eleven in the city or Sonoma Grille are also good.

              There is also a place that's called the Pretzel Shop. It's definitely Pittsburgh original. Get a Sausage and cheese pretzel for $2. I think it's only open till 3 PM. Of course, you should have a primanti sandwich. Google it.