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Pittsburgh in May

I am off to Pittsburgh in May, I've only been there once before and spent most of my time at PNC Park. We already intend to stop at CoCo's Cafe (for a yummy cupcake!) and La Casa. Are there other (moderate-inexpensive) Shadyside locations worth a stop at? We will be near Shadyside and Carnegie Mellon campus most of the time and hoping to walk or bus most places. I am not a picky eater but love seafood, Italian and comfort food!
I am looking for the place NOT TO MISS while I'm there!

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  1. Some places I enjoy:

    Breakfast: Crepes Parisiennes on Walnut in Shadyside
    Lunch: Typhoon on S Highland in Shadyside
    Dinner: Dinette (near Whole Foods) in Shadyside and Chaya on Murray Ave in Squirrel Hill

    Also, La Casa is nice but not outstanding- they do have a nice back patio area that is ideal for drinking and chatting and you can usually easily get a seat...ive never had a bad experience there, just nothing too memorable


    2 Replies
    1. re: shadysider023

      Jen, Is it safe to assume that you are from the land of Cheese, namely Wauwatosa? I am a transplanted cheesehead with relatives in Tosa. In Shadyside, there are a couple of good places on Ellsworth with a variety of cuisines. I like Harris Grill--great patio, solid food (sort of upscale bar food, if that makes sense), decent prices. Soba is a nice restaurant and one of my favorites. It is kind of Pan Asian with some nice fish/seafood and it is more upscale ($$$). You also have Fajita Grill which is a great mexican restaurant and it is BYOB, if you want to save some cash on booze. If you go to Dinette one night, you can stop by the wine store in the same plaza.

      1. re: MrKotter

        I am a Wauwatosa-resident! I just moved here last year and love it! I have passed Soba on my last trip and remember thinking we should try it next time. Good to hear it's worth a stop! The BYOB options sounds fun too... can we bring our "growlers"? The purchasing of beer and alcohol in Pittsburgh baffles me!
        (P.S. Upscale bar food makes total sense to me!)

        I'll be investigating all the suggestions! Thanks shadysider023 and MrKotter!

    2. Other BYO options in shadyside:

      La Feria - Peruvian - I have never been but friends said 'not fancy at all but pretty decent fresh food' - on Walnut St

      Abay - Ethiopian - different, veg options, reasonably priced, casual but nice inside - On S Highland

      Also, Chaya (previously mentioned) is BYO

      PA laws are odd, BYO means different things at different places....to me, a BYO is usually a place that does not sell liquor and either has a very small corking fee or none at all

      1. My favorite in Shadyside is Cafe Sam. It's a little up-scale but I love it for lunch. It's not in town, but up across from the hospital. I would also recommend Soba and Harris Grill as the others have said. Have fun Burgh Feeding!!!


        1. hi! I live in shadyside (CMU alum) and here are some of my favorites:
          1. Point Brugge - for lunch or brunch. you can take the bus to 5th and Beechwood and walk from there. delicious mussels, frites, sandwiches and salads. They have a little outdoor patio too if the weather is nice.
          2. Harris Grille - not the best food in the world, but if the weather is nice, they have a big patio to sit out and people watch/enjoy a beer and app. They are on Ellsworth Ave, you could take the bus to Fifth and S.Negley and walk down or a bus to Ellsworth and S. Negley.
          3. Agree with Typhoon, although it is pricier thai (like $20 an entree) but the quality is very good
          4. Dinnette is really cute it is on s.highland and centre ave. I like it, but find it also a little more expensive

          La Casa is okay, the food is not that great but the patio is nice. Would you consider taking a cab to southside? lots of restaurants/bars in that area.

          5. Pamela's for breakfast - on Walnut Street. potatoes lyonnaise or the hotcakes (they are very thin, almost crepe-like)

          6. Soba - more upscale, but it has a nice vibe and good food (asian) it's on Ellsworth ave. Kind of a "seen and be seen" type place.

          Have fun!

          1 Reply
          1. re: yammers

            haven't been in a while but we have always enjoyed Girasole on Copeland in Shadyside.
            and if you can get there easily, Smiling Banana Leaf on Bryant in Highland Park for excellent, affordable Thai.

          2. Good advice already. Just thought I'd chime in to second (or third) suggestions for:

            Dinette (great pizza - worth the minor price bump)
            Abay for Ethiopian
            Harris Grill (for the patio and people. The food is fine, but not memorable)
            Buffalo Blues on Highland is a fun sports bar with solid bar food (pulled pork, wings, etc.)
            Bites and Brews on Ellsworth is a pizza and beer place (not fancy, but cheap with a really great tap list.)

            I wish I could recommend CoCo's, but I haven't been impressed. Great store design though.

            1. UPDATE: So this past weekend in Pittsburgh flew by! So much to do and see in 3 days!
              As planned we did go to La Casa the 1st night. We were hoping to eat outside, but it started drizzling and we we easily moved inside. We had AMAZING bacon wrapped sea scallops, ham wrapped beef kabobs, muscles in white wine sauce and MORE! although the tapas we pretty small for the prices (except the scallops) I was very pleased with the flavors and variety of each plate. The dipping sauce for the fresh bread was also VERY delicious! The workers were incredible kind and helpful (especially when we had to move inside) and for this fact alone, it would be worth it to visit this restaurant again! So the food was delicious and the service was great, the only negative was that I could have eaten more, but I compensated with good wine and sangria!
              We did go to Crepes Parisiennes for breakfast! simple and delicious and surprisingly filling! (Pamela's was PACKED!)
              And we tried Alexander's for dinner. I really enjoyed the pick your own pasta, sauce and toppings for their pastas. The plates were giant and inexpensive! $10-12 got you an enormous plate of food (enough for 3). Simple atmosphere, could improve the advertising (kid eating and unappetizing looking meatball), bad house chianti, but just what we needed after a busy day!
              And we ended our food tour with a stop at the Original Hot Dog Shop. So good!

              So while there were pros and cons for each place I enjoyed the choices... of course service and company we really the best parts! :)

              2 Replies
              1. re: JenInTosa

                Glad to hear you enjoyed yourself! It sounds like even Alexander's was a good choice.

                Did you order fries at the Original Hot Dog Shop???


                1. re: Burghfeeder

                  Sure did! and a Hot Dog with Bacon and cheese! (not a healthy choice, but we did so much walking, so I treated myself!) I can see why this is one of the best Hot Dog places in America. That was my 2nd time there and it seems to be a Pittsburgh staple.