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Jan 22, 2009 01:11 PM

cran twp good eats???

meeting gf in cranberry twp next week, 1-29 to 2-01. looking for good places to eat - thinking of taste of india for lunch, lydia's in pitt for dinner one day. other ideas? good dining spots for dinner, subs etc for lunch, mebbe good brick oven pizza place in cran twp area?? appreciate any thots!!

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  1. Well, it's pretty barren out this way. I've lived nearby for 5 years with Cranberry being our closest commercial area. It's getting better, but it's still not much, mostly overrun with chains.

    The new Flavor of India does seem like a good bet. Have had takeout there once so far: They have buffet at lunch even on weekends.

    Breakfast: Freedom Square Diner on Freedom Rd, not really an old-school diner because they've been open I think less than a year, and it's in a strip plaza, but it's good. Open for lunch too (and soon dinner, that will be interesting), but I'd stick mainly with breakfast.

    We frequent Thai Place in Wexford because it's the only Thai food you can get in the North Hills. It probably wouldn't win awards in other cities, but we like it okay. (So does Bono when he's in town, LOL.) Just head south on Rt 19 and it's in the plaza on the right with Arhaus Furniture, next to the gigantic Northway church. (Sheetz convenience store is on the left.) Closed Sundays. Cheaper at lunch for otherwise the same food, as I recall, even on Saturdays, expensive-ish (for ethnic) at dinner.

    In that same plaza, you may want to check out Passport Cafe. I have yet to try this place, but a few have had positive experiences. It's outside the realm of our "everyday" type price range, and when we have a less everyday dinner we tend to be downtown. We'll just have to make a point of going there sometime. Open a little over a year and hope they're making it work.

    Hop on I-79 and go South one exit to the Wexford interchange, make a left at the end of the ramp and you can check out Bella Frutetto. We've eaten here twice, and the second experience was better than the first. It's only been open maybe 4 months? I dunno, but it's way better than most places out this way and mostly moderately priced and casual. It's again in a strip plaza, up on the hill at the far end from Eat n Park.

    Or head another few miles south on I-79 to the Mt Nebo Rd interchange. Make a left at the end of the ramp, and up the hill on your left is Andora. This has been around a while and is good. Been planning to go there again. Finally has a web site! (For years they didn't have one.)

    For more traditional fine dining but still close you might try Stone Mansion. I've never been, but my boss likes it. He's not super picky, I guess, when I think about it, but it can't be too horrible either. Big on wines. In this case take I-79 to the Wexford interchange and go right at the end of the ramp.

    There is a place just opened on Rt 19 just south of Cranberry that says I think Aviva Brick Oven. Has been full of people a couple times that I've been by recently, opened in December I think. It looks to me like a chain/franchise concept, but I can't find any confirmation either way, no real indication of other locations or anything.. It's diagonally across from the 7-11 at Warrendale Bayne Rd, on your right as you go south.

    The Pines Tavern, don't ask me how to get there, LOL. I have seen it noted repeatedly in various places but haven't been yet. Could be worth the trip, but maybe give the closer Passport a try first.

    Siba, on Rt 228 towards Mars, has been uneven and we haven't been back in a couple years. I dunno how they're doing now. It has remained open throughout (several years now I think), but I believe there was at leas one ownership change.

    If you're going to still be in town for the Super Bowl and want to watch in fan crazy atmosphere, you might as well go to the local Primanti's, on Freedom Rd. But since you say through 2/1, I'm guessing you'll be traveling or otherwise gone during game time.

    If you're going downtown anyway, then yeah, try a restaurant down there. I'm not sure, though, that I would drive down to the city 20+ miles on a short visit only to try Lidia's, for example. While it is a bit of a wasteland out here, with the potential of something like Passport Cafe, I think you'll do okay. If you really just must try Nine on Nine or something else downtown, well, by all means, but don't make a special trip for a more middling place. IMHO, of course.

    Good luck, let us know what you try and if you think it was any good. :-)

    1. head south of cranberry, past northway mall and have your Indian at Taj Mahal - great buffet. interesting takeout only pizza north of Zelienople, Police Station Pizza. decent Thai in Pine Shoppes, south on 19. lots of chains in cranberry area. decent mid-east cuisine at Alladin's. also, Mad Mex, hip fusion "mexican", local chain.

      1 Reply
      1. re: 42duffy

        Mad Mex has a good beer selection as well (and margaritas, of course, the house standard is not horrible and very cheap at happy hour). It is local, and the food is decent, but it is a theme chain, no doubt. Aladdin's is a regional chain from Ohio but not too chain-like and pretty good. For both of these you go north on Rt 19 from the "center" of Cranberry which I think of as the Rt 19/Rt 228-Freedom Rd intersection.

        I never remember the name of plazas. Thai Place that I mentioned above is the same one in Pine Tree Shoppes. Taj Mahal is great but I don't think I'd go all the way down there with the new Flavor of India place right in Cranberry. I like to keep my driving on McKnightmare Rd to a minimum. ;-) If you're already down there for some strange reason, then yeah. There's also another Mad Mex almost next door.

      2. Passport Cafe is a good choice. Have eaten there a few times, and it's been enjoyable, if uneven.

        Pines Tavern does have good food, although the bar is just too dank and the restaurant is too much like an old folks' home. The back patio is very nice, but that's not an option in January.

        According to one Yahoo board, Aviva has pretty good food but wretched service. It is BYOB ($5 corkage fee). I'm going there for lunch today.

        Siba is also uneven. Pizzas do not receive the benefit of their brick oven. Some good appetizers and entrees, nice atmosphere inside.

        If you're making the trip into town and want pizza, I have to recommend Dinette in East Liberty. The quality of the ingredients and the great wine list, with affordable wines they could easily mark up another 50%, are well worth the visit.

        Legume and Dish are also excellent choices for simple, ingredient-driven food.

        1. Do not go to Flavor of India... it is a big rip off.. I think because they are new and they are just learning the ropes, the customer care (if you call it that) is highly wanting..
          I have only been there twice, don't think they deserve my business anymore..
          The flat bread called paratha they serve is really unedible. Unlike the Naan or the roti which has a longer shelf life, paratha gets hard and chewy when it is left open for long. When I asked about it, I get a replacement about 20 minutes into the meal when I was almost ready to leave...
          even worse,... (I don't know why they did this.. ) they usually serve dosa with their weekend buffet . this time they did not serve that and of course the mango drink dessert was absent. Usually you expect a apologetic manager who makes up for the stuff this is missed; in this case it was a unashamed recalcitrant manager / owner who only made irrational excuses.
          My advice is to drive an extra 15 - 20 minutes down Route 19 South to Taj Mahal (McKnight Road.) The food is better, the atmosphere more authentic, and it is less expensive. Taj Mahal has been voted "Best Indian food in Pittsburgh" for several years running.
          My opinion: Taste of India is overpriced and lacking overall.