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Mar 14, 2009 07:31 AM

The Best Italian in Pittsburgh

You know how when you go to New York or Boston, you can stumble upon a hole-in-the-wall place and end up having the best pasta dish of your life? I can't seem to find that experience in Pittsburgh. I don't want a "tour of Italy" with gobs of cheese, and I don't need anything with shaved truffels. It doesn't even need to be a hole in the wall. I would really like to have a go-to pasta restaurant that is cozy, friendly, and with explode in your mouth flavor.
I have eaten at many places that may have certain qualities but not the whole shebang.
For instance - Enrico's in the Strip - I thought this would be the place. It is kind of secretly hidden away, dinner is in the "garage/kitchen" which is charming, the chef and waitstaff are friendly, but the pasta didn't get me to where I wanted to be. They don't drain their pasta well enough - big pet peeve of mine. Also, the food was good but not off the charts. I have eaten at Alexander's Pasta Express in Bloomfield. The name is kind of a buzz kill to begin with, it isn't very charming, the bartenders don't talk to you, and the pasta - while tasty - is easy to reproduce at home. I tried Bruchetta - Southside, Lidia's - the Strip, and Enrico's - Shadyside. Just boxy restaurants with good pasta.
So I ask....where is my authentic, mind blowing, pasta hiding from me in Pittsburgh or within 5 miles of the city????

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  1. Dish - 17th Southside. Charming, great food. Owners are very pleassant. Try it and let me know what you think. Reservations are a must on the weekends.

    2 Replies
    1. re: six dower

      Yes - Dish...this is true, I have been there many times (I live on the Southside). Michele does a fantastic job and I love the atmosphere there. I guess I take this one for granted. Great suggestion.

      1. re: six dower

        Sorry to sound like a broken record....went to Dish Saturday evening. The food was fab. I had the seafood mixed grille and cheese/meat app. My friend ordered the Osso Bucco. DEVINE!!! Love the prices, as well. I am pleased to see that Dish is very busy...

      2. Warm, friendly, tucked away, neighborhood, BYOB, zero atmosphere, great food. La Tavola Italiana, 1 Boggs Ave.

        I may have to quit posting about this place, lest it gets too well known.

        1 Reply
        1. re: yayadave

          I will try this place. I have never been there. Thanks!

        2. You might also find your pasta gem at Franco's Trattoria (can only speak to the one in Dormont, not Peters Twp.).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Panini Guy

            Franco's in Peters is very good - great meatballs.

          2. If you're on that side of town, there's not a lot wrong with Scoglio's. The newest site is on Painter's Run Road. If you're not familiar with the area, you're not likely to run into it by accident.

            1. I'll second LaTavola, hidden away on Mount Washington. A great little little place with some very good Italian.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Davecli

                I was at Davio's in Beechview on Saturday night after not having eaten there in a while. It was terrific and is always comfortable, casual and BYOB. The funny thing there is the spread in entree prices, a pasta dish or piece of sole can be $20 while a double cut veal chop smothered in crab meat can be $85.

                The restaurant next door, Lunardi's offers very good simple, italian dishes. Excellent pizzas, greens and beans, fried sole sandwiches, polpettes, etc. at great prices with a full bar.