Hey there Steel City. I am a Cleveland chowhound spending the weekend in Pittsburgh and I am looking for a few suggestions for can't-miss local fare. I am not necessarily looking for anything wildly expensive, trendy or chi-chi. I love ethnic food (Vietnamese, Thai, authentic Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, etc), fresh local ingredients, and places that are have a great menu but are casual and unpretentious. A great beer list is a bonus. And of course, I am looking for the regional specialties (except those Primanti sandwiches, we have a chain in Cleveland that does that too, and I just can't get behind the concept.).
I understand the area where I am staying (Hyatt Place on Campbell's Run) is pretty barren of non-chain edibles, but I am only sleeping there. During the day I plan to be in the center city doing all the typical tourist stuff, and along E. Carson, which I discovered when my boyfriend's band played the Rex. Where should we eat?
Kaya in the Strip for funky Carribean-fusion
Tram's in Lawrenceville for hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese
The Sharp Edge in Friendship/East Liberty for awesome Belgian beer selection (maybe the best beer selection in the city)
Pamela's in the Strip, Squirrel HIll, & Oakland for greasy hangover breakfast and delicious thin crepe-style pancakes.
Pierogies Plus in McKees Rocks (you have to drive, and they are only open for lunch, and only on weekdays)
Max's Allegheny Tavern on the North Side for German wursts and beer.
A hot dog & fries at the Dirty "O" in Oakland (aka the Original Hot Dog Shop) for an authentic if unhealthy regional specialty).
Bloomfield Bridge Tavern in Bloomfield for the Polish platter (haluski, kluski, galumpki, kielbasa, and pierogie)
Legume Bistro in regent Square for fresh local food served simply and unpretentiously (BYOB)
There is no decent Mexican to be had in the Burgh as far as I can tell, unfortunately.