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Week in Pittsburgh, No Car

RoseLokoum Jul 11, 2008 08:35 AM

I'll be in Pittsurgh (staying at the Sheraton in Station Square) for a week. During the day my husband and friends will be at a conference, so I'm on my own without a car until early evenings. I've never before been to Pittsburgh. Any suggestions on what to do/eat? I'd like a good (preferably healthy) breakfast place, a cafes for tea, places for lunch, etc...in general, delicious food where one would feel comfortable dining alone...thanks!! Also, any dinner suggestions are appreciated, too!

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    Mr Siegal RE: RoseLokoum Jul 11, 2008 12:20 PM

    You will be ok. There are many options at Station Square. None of them good though. The good news is you have a very nice walkway down the river along Carson Street. In less than fifteen minutes you can be at the heart of the South Side. That being said, you can have great, great beers and decent food at Smokin Joes and Fat Heads. Both are in the 1800-1900 block of East Carson. Thai Me Up on the 1900 block has the best Thai is Pittsburgh, and they have lunch specials. There is a diner, Tom's? I believe closer to the 1400 block. And you can head over the Smithfield Street bridge to the PPG Place where there is always a lot going on. Pittsburgh is easy to navigate, just stick with the buses. your hotel can direct you. good luck. try to get to the Strip District but I'm sure you'll get more responses about that.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mr Siegal
      Panini Guy RE: Mr Siegal Jul 11, 2008 01:58 PM

      I wouldn't go so far as to say "none of them (restos in Station Sq.) are good". True that none are great and a many are outright lousy (don't know about tea, but I'd skip all the coffee around there), but I've had decent lunches at both Bar Louie and the Grand Concourse. Albeit both are small chains, and maybe a bit more expensive than a neighborhood joint, but if one isn't up for a 15 minute walk to the action, both will do.

      You can also take the incline up to Mt. Washington where there are plenty of places for a drink or lunch. Or just go up there for the sake of going on the incline and the view. That's a quintessential Pittsburgh thing to do.

    2. f
      frank007 RE: RoseLokoum Jul 11, 2008 03:59 PM

      There are some good restaurants where you can eat at the bar. Dish and Bruschetta's both have nice bars where you could eat alone.

      1 Reply
      1. re: frank007
        yayadave RE: frank007 Jul 11, 2008 05:06 PM

        You probably don't have to sit at the bar for lunch or late lunch too many places. This is Pittsburgh, after all.

      2. r
        Rick RE: RoseLokoum Jul 11, 2008 05:01 PM

        Make PAT Bus your friend. You're pretty much in the hear of Chain hell in Station Square. I agree with others, get yourself to South Side and/or the Strip District.

        See this post for some ideas in Strip. Try Pamela's in the Strip District for breakfas, namely the crepe like pancakes. It's really good, not healthy though, sorry. For really good coffee and tea just next door to Pamela's is 21st Street Coffee and Tea. They have free wi fi too.

        The Strip:

        And here for South Side:

        9 Replies
        1. re: Rick
          Panini Guy RE: Rick Jul 11, 2008 08:02 PM

          Actually, Rick's PAT suggestion gave me another idea - use the T (Trolley) and go to Mt. Lebanon in the South Hills. There's a station right in Station Square. Get off at the Mt. Lebanon stop, there's Bistro 19, Il Pizzaiolo, Little Tokyo, Aladdin's, an Enrico Biscotti outpost, Molly Brannigan's, galleries, bakeries, coffeehouses and niche botiques. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

          1. re: Panini Guy
            yayadave RE: Panini Guy Jul 11, 2008 09:21 PM

            Chinese restaurant, too.

            1. re: yayadave
              Panini Guy RE: yayadave Jul 13, 2008 02:29 PM

              Yes, Sesame Inn. Much, much better in Mt. Lebo than their location in McMurray. Also didn't mention Caruso's and Mineo's for pizza by the slice and the new Pamela's for breakfast.

              1. re: Panini Guy
                yayadave RE: Panini Guy Jul 13, 2008 06:03 PM

                Ah ha!! I did not know that about Pamela's. Just another inducement to spend a little time in Mt. Lebanon.

            2. re: Panini Guy
              Rick RE: Panini Guy Jul 13, 2008 12:11 PM

              Didn't realize the T stopped in Mt. Lebanon! That would also be a great way to spend a day.

              1. re: Rick
                k squared RE: Rick Jul 13, 2008 06:06 PM

                Panini Guy makes a great recommendation on taking the T to the South Hills, just be sure to take the 42 (NOT the 47) and enjoy many of the older city neighborhoods along the way. Also, be sure to check out Aldo Coffee, one of the best coffeehouses in the city.

                1. re: k squared
                  SiksElement RE: k squared Jul 23, 2008 02:05 PM

                  42 s. there is also a 42 L, so make sure to take the S. otherwise you wont end up where you want

            3. re: Rick
              Whigsboy RE: Rick Jul 15, 2008 10:53 AM

              If you make it to the Strip, you must make it to La Prima Espresso (on 21st or 22nd). Incredible cappuccino, and attached to it is Colangelo's, where you can get some delicious pastries and lunch items. A delicious lunch can also be had at Penn Ave. Fish Company just down the street. The fish taco (which is not your traditional southern california-style, but is actually in a hard shell with a mix of chunks of salmon and other seafood) is fantastic, and the sushi is good.

              Enrico's Biscotti right there on Penn also has a great little cafe behind it that is just a very comfortable, nice place to enjoy lunch.


              Apparently if you show up for breakfast by 10:00 a.m., you might be able to take a bread-making class.

              1. re: Whigsboy
                yayadave RE: Whigsboy Jul 15, 2008 11:42 AM

                Also for breakfast, there's Pamela's on 21st Street. Great Tex-Mex omelet and pancakes as big as the plate. (but thin) They must serve lunch, but I've never had it there. TeeHee Chocolate shop on 21st street, too.

                Actually, you could spend a day at the strip. There's the Heinz History Museum along with restaurants high class and low down, and food stores and gadget shops.

            4. r
              RoseLokoum RE: RoseLokoum Jul 13, 2008 05:36 AM

              Thank you everyone! I very much appreciate all your suggestions. Headed off to Pittsburgh today and eager to try out your public transport system and all the recommendations. Thanks, again!

              1. b
                boomfleisher RE: RoseLokoum Jul 14, 2008 09:18 AM

                If you are up for a really great, authentic Mexican lunch, walk over the Smithfield Street Bridge (right next to Station Square) and find Mexico City at 111 Smithfield Street. I always order lamb enchildas with pumpkin seed mole. YUM. The enchiladas are listed on the menu as beef/chicken/cheese only, but you can ask your server if you can substitute. It's usually $1 more, but highly worth it. Chips and salsa are first rate, and complimentary, to boot.
                If you are up for inexpensive Indian food, Sree's on the corner of Smithfield and Liberty is delicious. It's sort of cafeteria style and might seem kind of scary when you first walk in, but the food is very fresh and healthy. All of the vegetarian dishes are vegan, and they also serve excellent curry chicken. You can get a huge lunch for only $5. If you eat there on a Monday or a Friday, the tomato dal is great. (menu changes every day)
                For dinner, try Seviche (www.seviche.com) tapas bar downtown at 930 Penn Avenue. Delicious seviche, other Latin American cuisine and good drinks.
                Other good dinner places that aren't too far are Eleven and Kaya, both in the Strip District. They are both operated by the same restaurant group...go to www.bigburrito.com and click on those two restaurants.
                Have fun in the 'burgh!

                2 Replies
                1. re: boomfleisher
                  RoseLokoum RE: boomfleisher Jul 15, 2008 06:28 AM

                  Thanks, boomfleisher! Had a very tasty (and cheap!) late lunch at Mexico City - guacamole (made at the table), fresh Soupa de tortilla (rich and delicious) and a chicken taco...and a tamarind Jarrito because I love those yucky things. My husband had a spicy shrimp and rice dish that was also very good and wicked hot. Great find, thanks for the suggestions!

                  1. re: RoseLokoum
                    boomfleisher RE: RoseLokoum Jul 15, 2008 07:01 AM

                    No problem...glad you enjoyed! I forgot to mention that they make the guacamole tableside - delicious. I'll have to try the Soupa de tortilla sometime...

                2. g
                  GeoNit RE: RoseLokoum Jul 16, 2008 10:06 AM

                  You might want to consider buying one-week transit passes:
                  One big bonus is that you can use the weekly pass on both inclines without paying an additional fare.
                  Here’s a link for transit pass sales outlets:

                  After you have obtained your transit pass, plan a late lunch after 1:30 p.m. so that you can get a window table at one of the Duquesne Heights restaurants.

                  Directions: From Station Square, walk across Carson Street and take the Monongahela Incline http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monongah... to the top of Mt. Washington. Walk slightly less than a mile along Grandview Avenue to the restaurants in Duquesne Heights. Your walk will be mostly level, passing two or three observation decks along the way.

                  Here are some Duquesne Heights restaurants/website links:
                  LeMont, 1114 Grandview Ave. http://www.lemontpittsburgh.com/LeMon...
                  Tin Angel, 1200 Grandview Ave. http://www.tinangelpittsburgh.com/
                  Bella Vista Ristorante Italiano, 1204 Grandview Ave. http://www.bellavistapgh.com/
                  Cliffside Restaurant, 1208 Grandview Ave. http://pittsburgh.citysearch.com/prof...
                  Coal Hill Steak House at the Grandview Saloon, 1212 Grandview Ave. http://www.coalhillsteakhouse.com/
                  City Lights Café, 1216 Grandview Ave.
                  Georgetowne Inn , 1230 Grandview Ave. http://www.georgetowneinn.com/
                  Isabela on Grandview Restaurant, 1318 Grandview Ave. http://www.isabelaongrandview.com/
                  Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, 1411 Grandview Ave. http://www.montereybayfishgrotto.com/...

                  After lunch, ride down the Duquesne Incline http://incline.pghfree.net/ and, at the base, take any inbound bus one stop to Gateway Center, Downtown. From there, walk along Liberty Avenue less than a quarter-mile to the subway plaza at Wood Street. From there, take the subway from Wood Street Station http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/Cus... three stops back to Station Square.

                  1. d
                    Davecli RE: RoseLokoum Jul 23, 2008 06:58 AM

                    Across Carson street from Station Square you can get on one of two inclines to the top of Mt. Washington. If you walk to the Duquesne Incline, (the red one, go through the parking lot, past the Gateway Clipper docks). The incline is a fun ride and right at the top of it are several very good restaurants. This is really worth the trip!!!

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