Overnight stay in Pittsburgh
- bucksguy14 Jun 11, 2009 11:34 AM
We'll be staying overnight at the Marriott Pittsburgh North on a Saturday. Looking for recommendations for a nice dinner - we good with just about anything except curried Indian food - (and a backup pizza place in case we're too tired to go out) also would like some leads on a good local breakfast place for Sunday morning.
There are a limited number of good dining options north of the city. I was going to recommend Passport Cafe, just a few miles up the road, but it apparently just closed. If you want something laid back, Azzeria (http://www.azzeria.com), a BYOB brick oven pizza place, is also just up the road from your hotel about 3 miles or so on Rt. 19 (which intersects with Rt. 228, which your hotel is on). It's not your typical sit-down place, though. No waiters/waitresses, etc. But good pizza, salad, and other things. There is another BYOB brick oven pizza place that you would pass on the way to Azzeria called Aviva. Decent inside. I had one pizza there and was unimpressed. But I have high standards for pizza. The advantage of Aviva is that it's more of a sit-down restaurant. There is a good wine selection at a large Wine & Spirits shop in a plaza that sits on the corner of Rt. 19 and 228. It sort of sits back off of the road and is most easily accessible from Rt. 228.
You can get acceptable to good food at Siba (http://www.siba-cucina.com), which is on Rt. 228, probably not even 2 miles up the road from your hotel. On a Saturday night, you may need a reservation. The Springfield Grill (http://www.springfields.com/sga_files...) is also there. Nothing spectacular, but a decent atmosphere and you can get a decent meal. May also need a reservation.
I cannot vouch for the food, but d'vine wine bar and lounge had an interesting looking menu (http://www.dvinewinepa.com/). It's on Rt. 19, in a plaza on the right side of the road, directly across from the plaza where Azzeria is. In that same plaza is Thai Place. Acceptable Thai food. They tend to be stingy with key ingredients, particularly seafood, but overall it's not too bad.
In the opposite direction on Rt. 19 is Mad Mex, which has a fantastic beer selection and acceptable to good food. There is also a middle eastern place in a plaza just before the plaza where Mad Mex called Aladdin's. Also not too bad.
Generally, the northern 'burbs of the city are a culinary wasteland. Passport Cafe took a stab at doing something special, but it was inconsistent and the price point was probably too high for many people.
Mad Mex has interesting variations and options within a loosely Tex-Mex cuisine. It's part of the Big Burritto family of restaurants. There's Walnut Grove in Wexford, South of Cranberry. Near Aladdin's is a breakfast & lunch only spot called First Watch. Bravo Cucina Italiana could fit the bill for pizza and salad.
Geez that's too bad about Passport.
I think these guys have pretty well covered it. Just some notes. Unless something has changed, Springfield Grille will definitely need a reservation on a Saturday unless you go early (like about 5:00) or are prepared to wait 60-90 min. And it's not worth waiting. It's just an average, nothing spectacular, steakhouse sort of place. Better than the chains by your hotel, yes, by a mile, but not worth a long wait. Haven't been back to Siba recently. Probably less wait or better chance of getting in without res, but hasn't appealed to us given our uneven experiences before. Never went back to Tai Pei after once, but I do know some like it. This is close enough to your hotel you could just about walk.
I happen to like Mad Mex http://madmex.com/regions/pittsburgh/... and find it fun, but think loud and crowded esp on a Saturday. Of course, you can have a margarita while you're waiting for a table, or just eat at the bar if you can find a seat. This is north on Rt 19. (If you need better directions to any of these from the hotel just ask here and we can direct you.) You can BYOB at Aladdin's if you go there. No booze on the menu. We like Thai Place okay, maybe because we don't order seafood. ;-) Actually compared to many ethnic places the portions are not crazy huge, so you won't be wasting a lot of leftovers or anything. Too bad you don't go for Indian as Flavor of India was actually great for our takeout order a couple weeks ago.
If you want to drive about 4-5 miles south (also true for Azzeria, Thai Place, D'vine, Walnut Grove for that matter) you could also do this on I-79, get off at the Wexford exit and try Bella Frutteto. Each of our three or four meals there has been better than the last. http://www.bellafrutteto.com/ Also works if you're coming from the south; you could stop there before going to the hotel. It's in the same plaza as the Eat n Park, across from the BP.
For breakfast, take a left out of the hotel, cross over I-79, go straight through at Rt 19 and drive another 2 miles down Freedom Rd to Freedom Square Diner. http://freedomsquarediner.com/ This is not an old standby place; it's only a year or two old and in the plaza with the CVS. But it's better than the chains for at least some things. Recommend omelet if you like them; they seem to taste better there than about anywhere else I can think of (possibly because most places are using prebeaten eggs?) Get home fries for potatoes; the hash browns are just frozen patties. (Cottage fries are fun, basically the home fry cut but deep fried, but they're less flavorful than the home fries.)
Any other places that I know enough to recommend are farther afield. Let me know if you need more detailed directions to anything.
Folks, thanks for the recommendations! We're seniors, but don't eat/drink that way! We generally don't have dinner until 8pm or later. We're willing to drive 20-30 minutes for something good. The only thing we don't like is a lot of noise (I have hearing aids) because it kills our conversation. I think most of what's been recommended sounds good. If there's something really good a little farther, then by all means let us know. Both of us have been in downtown Pittsburgh on business many times in the past. So, we're looking for something more "Pittsburgh" than "business or tourist".
At 8pm some of the crowds should begin to die down, really. Dinner rush hour starts at 6pm around here.
Andora, mentioned below, a bit farther than some others mentioned but is a good spot. I wouldn't say it's absolutely better and forget everything else, but it's certainly a worthy choice to consider. Andora has a nicer outdoor dining area than most as well, if that's something you're interested in. Still, that radius really won't add much, unless you want to include downtown Pittsburgh in your radius. (It's about 30 minutes to downtown.)
MapQuest says that Andora is 15 minutes and 11 miles from your motel.
MapQuest also says that Willow is 16 minutes and 13 miles from your motel.
Both of these places are south on rt. 79 from your motel and easy to get to. You would probably want reservations. You would dine well and comfortably at either one. A look at their respective web sites would probably give you an idea about if either would suit you.