Must have meals / foods in Pittsburgh?
My inlaws recently moved to Pittsburgh, and we will be visiting from Texas over the holidays. I have never been to Pennsylvania. Obviously not looking for Mexican or barbeque. Will be with the whole gang for most meals, so not really interested in ultra fine dining, or sushi. Wanting recs for true Pittsburgh must have meals, food items, or local institution restaurants, but want to avoid the tourist traps. We will have four days so breakfast, lunch and dinner recs are all appreciated.
A few neighborhoods to to keep in mind are the Southside/Carson Street and the
Strip District. In particular Saturday breakfast and lunch in the Strip District. Breakfast options include Delucca's and Pamela's. Coffee at 21st. Street or La Prima. And be sure to stop in Enrico's Biscotti. Squirrel Hill also has a fair number of eating options along Forbes and Murray Avenues, including Mineo's Pizza. I like Girasole Italian on Copeland in Shadyside. If you know where you'll be staying you can get some responses focusing in that direction. I don't get south of the city much but you'll get good feedback. Bloomfield is also interesting as is Lawrenceville. Enjoy the Burgh!
re: Mr Siegal
Northeast of the city in an area called Plum. We will be doing some sightseeing and exploring downtown, but are also willing to detour for some great meals. Obviously if there are any interesting places near where we are staying, those suggestions would also be much appreciated. Anything that is good, local or regional, not a national chain, and unique or memorable. My inlaws have not lived in the area long, and are not foodies, so they might not be good resources for suggestions. Thanks to anyone who can help.
well Plum is no mans land. you should be okay since its a holiday weekend and nobody works. You must go to the Church Brewery. Perfect for a bigger group, pizza, good beer, great ambiance. Other than that, Bloomfield aka Liberty Avenue has alot of decent places, Tessaro's for a great burger, Wei Wei for the best chinese in pittsburgh, both will seat a large group, further down Liberty Ave is Rolands for seafood, Bella Norte for pizza. I doubt Enrico's would seat a dozen people.
Try Primanti's with everyone, they have the famous sandwiches plus chicken fingers for the kids. its actually good food.
check out the southside and carson st. just because you can go to any of the places and receive the same food/service. nothing is great, all is good. fat heads has a great beer selection, i mean really great. smokin joes is better though.
pittsburgh sucks for food in general is what i mean.
There's not much out Plum way.
Thinking of things that aren't all that common in Texas, I'd suggest the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern (Bloomfield) for Polish. Church Brew Works is a good reco, try the pizza. The Strip District is fun, although you might enjoy yourselves more (and eat better) just noshing street food as opposed to a sit-down. Be sure to check out the cheese counter at Pennsylvania Macaroni and pick up some pancetta or prosciutto at Parma Sausage.
I'd also suggest Squirrel Hill and Shadyside over Carson for better eats. Carson has the bars, Sq. Hill has the food - lots of specialty shops - and is a good walking area.
I used to live in Monroeville- Plum adjacent. The bulk of restaurants in the area are just regular chains. I used to visit Denunzio's on Rt. 48 (Mosside Blvd.) near Gateway high school for pizza, they also serve pasta, but I'm not a fan of the pasta dished there. John Harvard's on Business 22 in Monroeville near Sears is a good general American food place, and they brew their own beer there as well. Haven't tried the beer so I can't tell you how that is.
Ignore Mr. Siegal. He knows not of what he speaks. As somebody who lived in D.C. for 12 years and ate at some of the best restaurants that city has to offer, Pittsburgh can more than hang. It does not have the volume of restaurants nor the diversity of food, but there are some real gems here.
In my opinion, the Strip District is a must. La Prima in the Strip on 21st, or its second location just around the corner - which features crepes - is a must stop. Best espresso drinks around. Can pick up some good bread and cheese and fresh pasta at Penn Mac, some good fish at Penn Avenue Fish company and make dinner one night.
Church Brewworks in Lawrenceville is definitely unique and good, as is the Penn Brewery on the North Side, where you can get some good German fare and excellent beer. Don't check your appetite at the door, though.
If you want a good dinner for moderate but not outrageous prices, Dish Osteria or Le Pommier are great. They are closer to fine dining, but really good.
Stop in at Seviche downtown for a cocktail and the "fire and ice" seviche, which is outstanding.
Whigsboy- well said! Of course Pittsburgh doesn't have the volume or diversity of food that a larger city like NYC or Chicago has, it's also a much smaller city! However I enjoy taking my visitors to the several unique places we have found since moving here.
All of the recs thown out so far are a good sampling of what the city has to offer. Our favorite "non-chain" in the city is the previously mentioned Tessaro's. If you go, I'd recommend arriving early (5:00 or so) since they get quite busy during dinner and there isn't really a lobby to wait and I've seen the bar stacked 2-3 deep during peak times.
Enjoy your trip! If you choose to go exploring, I'd recommend mapquest in conjunction with a good, reliable map and a copilot who is really good at reading street signs. I've lived here 4 years and still carry a local map in my car!
I really think that anyone that says Pittsburgh sucks for food in general either doesn't try too hard to find good food, or only wants/expects ultra high end dining. I've eaten at cheap to moderate priced restaurants in lots of major cities and Pittsburgh certainly doesn't suck. Sure we might not have the breadth of options like NYC or Chicago, but no other place does either.