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Jun 13, 2008 11:19 AM

Pittsburgh Mag's Top 25 Restos: Opinions?

I think the magazine's editors did a pretty nice job this year. Thankfully the magazine relegates the readers poll to a simple list because some of those choices are likely the result of some serious write-in campaigning.

The serious (editor's) list of the Top 25 goes as follows, in no particular order:
Alchemy at Bigelow (with notation that it's no longer served and Sousa left - must have been right at the editorial deadline)
Bistro 19
Bona Terra
Cafe Allegro
Dish Osteria
Iovino's Cafe
Joseph Tambellini
Lautrec (doesn't Nemacolin seem a bit far away for inclusion?)
Le Pommier
Mio Kitchen & Wine Bar
Nine on Nine
Il Pizzaiolo
Point Brugge Cafe
Red Room
Soba Lounge
Sonoma Grille

Also, separate choices for special categories:

CHEF OF THE YEAR: Douglass Dick, Bona Terra
RISING STAR CHEF: Trevett Hooper, Legume
LEGENDS (not on the top 25, but trusty old friends that deserve mention):
The Carlton
Monterrey Fish Grotto
Primanti Bros.
Wooden Angel
Common Plea
Grand Concourse

Any arguments for/against these (noting that Alchemy is no more)?

For me, I'd argue Tessaro's belongs with the Legends. I enjoy dining there, but it seems like the odd one out compared to the other two dozen. Alla Famiglia is notably absent and should take that place.


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  1. I also thought it was weird to put Tessaro's into the Top 25, and Lautrec for that matter, just because it's about 100 miles away and everything else is within about 10 miles of downtown.

    Although I haven't been to anywhere near all of these places, based on what I've read both hear and elsewhere and the ones I have experienced, apart from the above exceptions, I don't think it's a bad list. Maybe a bit too heavy on the Big Burrito group.

    If you put Tessaro's rightly with the Legends, and put in Alla Famiglia, that's one. Then if you take out Lautrec, what else should be in there? I don't really have a good vote for that, but I am interested to hear others' takes.

    BTW, as I'm sure you know, you have to pretty much ignore the additional bit with the reader submission categories, full of goofy stuff. ;-)

    Did any of you go to the shindig at the convention center?

    1 Reply
    1. re: CrazyOne

      >Maybe a bit too heavy on the Big Burrito group.<
      I should say so. Every restaurant in their portfolio but Mad Mex? With the exception of Eleven, my experiences in their restaurants have been maddeningly (and, in the case of Soba, sickeningly) inconsistent.

      I wouldn't mind seeing Café Allegro bumped to the classics list in favor of ... I don't know ... something a little more current. Six Penn, flaws and all, is a more interesting restaurant. And, on the topic of classics, Mallorca almost certainly belongs there.

      I echo the sentiments about Alla Famiglia, and also think think Bado's Cucina in Peters Township deserves a ranking in the to 25.

    2. I agree with you about Tessaro's - they do some amazing things with burgers, but it does seem out of place on the top 25.

      I'm happy to see Legume and Point Brugge made the list.

      I think they included Lautrec because there's nothing in that same league in Pittsburgh - AAA five diamond.

      I don't get Kiku - I do think it has "legend" status, but I found it kind of mediocre.

      All in all, I'd say it's a pretty good list - better than I would have expected, actually. Too bad my $5 subscription has run out!

      1. Much better list than the one I remember from last year.

        1. Looks like they took the top twenty or so most expensive restaurants without bothering to visit any of them, threw in a couple of crowd favorites, and called it a list.