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Pittsburgh puzzler...

Hi everyone,

I am traveling to Pittsburgh for a three-day business trip with better half in tow. We like everything from classical yankee through euro and ethnic eats. We are considering eating at Lydia's, and would love to hear your thoughts on that place. On the other hand, i have often had some of my best meals at small personally recommended places. Care to share your thoughts on where we can go for dinner on Sunday and Monday and possibly a lunch on Tuesday (in about 2 weeks)? Although I understand that Pittsburgh is famous for sandwitches, I would rather not have sandwitches - unless of course there is something very very very special about them.....

Thanks in advance.

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  1. You don't say the area where you'll be staying or if you have transportation. Makes a difference.

    1. Try Tamari in lawrenceville, check out website...Dish on the south side is wonderful...The Carlton has the best wine list in the city. Lydia's isn't a bad choice, not my first personally. Have fun!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jumboslapper

        Yaya is correct--give us an idea of your location and travel means as Pgh is not an easy place to navigate. You can't go wrong with Lidia's as it is one of the better all around places in the Burgh. On the same street, Smallman, you will also find Eleven (really nice upscale restaurant, kind of pricey and might be a good lunch option if cost is an issue) and Kaya (smallish place with great food with a Caribbean twist).

      2. I would recommend the 17th Street Cafe in the South Side. They have great Italian fare and a nice cozy atmosphere. I've always loved dining there.


        1. Let me take a stab at this, anyway. What has been mentioned already is good. Also downtown for great dining are Nine on Nine and Sonoma Grille. Really good and Sonoma Grille specializes in California wines.

          If you are able to be more adventuress in getting around, there are a couple of good places that don't get much play on these boards. One is Bistro 19 in Mt. Lebanon. The other is Bado's Cucina in McMurray. Don't confuse this with Bado's Pizza. Bado's is a BYOB. You get to meet the famous state owned liquor store system.
          sonoma grill pittsburgh

          1. I've always really enjoyed the Sunday brunch at Lidia's. it's around $20/person and includes one mimosa or bloody mary, make sure you make reservations.

            1. Without knowing more about budget and what you're looking for, I'll mostly stick to a couple of ideas for Tuesday lunch, assuming you have a little time to enjoy yourself and walk around.

              The Strip - It's much calmer than on the weekends, but still a great place to wander, eat a little street food, or stop in at Enrico's or Kaya for decent sit-down eats. Get a little taste of local culture, and make sure you stop in at Pennsylvania Macaroni for one of the best cheese counters anywhere. Grabbing a little hunk of Bosco Tartufo is sure to make you some friends when you return home. Having Carol the cheese lady call you "Dear Heart" could make your trip. The Strip is also a good place to grab any last minute Pittsburgh sports tchotchkes.

              For something with a little more of a neighborhood feel, head up Liberty Ave to Bloomfield for a wood fire grilled burger/chop/etc. (not necessarily a sandwich...) at Tessaros and then walk around and enjoy Pittsburgh's "Little Italy". Or try some classic southern Italian fare at any of the places up and down the street - If you need a recommendation, just ask one of the numerous older Italian gentlemen you'll see hanging around and you should find yourself in a lively and usually informative conversation.

              I would second Lydia's for brunch, but probably not otherwise. However, I'm also a big fan of Six Penn for brunch, really all depends on what you're looking for.

              There are lots of choices for dinner, but you may be a little limited at the higher end independent places by your Sunday/Monday stay. We can probably help a little better if we know where you're staying and whether you're interested in heading out to the burbs or not.

              Have a great visit.

              1 Reply
              1. re: skoledin

                My favorite place for lunch is in Beechview. Check out Davio's http://www.davio.com/
                It is quiet, relaxing and the food is fresh and outstanding.

              2. I'd suggest Legume. BYO and seasonal sustainable

                1. Sorry about the lack of info - but I will be at CMU/Pitt. I do have transportation and price (vis-a-vis quality in taste/presentation/ingredients) is not a real issue.

                  Thanks very much for all your previous posts ...hope this is an ok clarification

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cornFusion

                    You probably have more selections that you will need, but I want to throw in another one that is near your area. It is a small, quaint place with outstanding food, great beer, and a nice affordable wine list, Point Brugge Cafe, http://www.pointbrugge.com/ .

                    1. re: cornFusion

                      Cafe Sam is near the CMU/Pitt area. It gets no play on these boards, but we've always been pleased with our meals there. I don't know that they specialize in any kind of food, except good. Not "fancy" but comfortable.


                    2. Thanks much to everyone.... I guess that Pittsburgh is mostly italian in culture by the recommendations (except for the belgian-like at Point Brugge Cafe). I am still considering the options, but wanted to extend my thanks and to encourage any others. I am very open minded, so you don't have to take it that I like/prefer Italian......if that is what you were thinking by my opening.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: cornFusion

                        What about good restaurants at Station Square?

                        1. re: shellbellc

                          Good restaurants are hard to find at Station Square, That being said, I would highly recommend that anyone from out of town go to the Grand Concourse. It it pretty good, but the real selling point is it's beauty. This is truly a special spot!


                          1. re: Burghfeeder

                            Question for you on dress for the Grand Concourse. We are really spending a football weekend so I'm a little concerned about dress for this place. How would you describe, business casual or more relaxed than that?

                      2. So here is my report on the trip...
                        Lydia's Brunch was excellent. I normally shy away from Italian due to high cost AND low quality. Lydias was a pleasant surprise - well executed food (very comforting especially if you have just arrived as a stranger in town) and even better service! I would easily expect to pay 30-50% more for that quality in Boston.
                        Also went and ate at the Point Brugge. The half-hour wait was extremely worthwhile, with the moules frites being excellent! Beer was great too (although not served in its own proper-label snoot glass). We got there rather late (I believe around 6) and thus the wait. People who came much later (around 8) did not have a wait. I'd go back there in a heartbeat.

                        Also tried the fish sandwitch at the Primanti Brothers - an excellent sandwitch - LOVED the bread, but I think it is more for buzzed late nights and students - the experience was great.

                        There is a little asian restaurant that i was guided to (Spice Islands?) with many good dishes - their Burmese repertory is good (not great - but acceptably good). However the chef went home before I could order their "special" of deep fried bananas in batter! (Never got a chance to order it).

                        There was also a little "crepe"/ coffee shop on the way to CMU, but their crepes were doughy (more Vietnamese/Asian style than French). Does anyone make authentic crepes anymore? I was dismayed by the squeegee method of making crepes - which results in a pancake rather than a crepe.

                        Thanks again to all. Will have to come back for an extended visit - perhaps next year!

                        Primanti Brothers
                        200 Executive Dr, Cranberry Twp, PA 16066

                        Point Brugge Cafe
                        401 Hastings St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: cornFusion

                          Thanks for the report back. I'm glad you liked Lidia's, it's always getting mixed reviews on here but it's a personal favorite.

                          1. re: Rick

                            I think it gets mixed reviews because different people expect different things. If you expect dazzling modernistic italian food, for example, you will definitely be disappointed. On the other hand, I had no expectations, and the food is "family fare" - comfort at its finest! The little touches like when the waitress brought my partner a plate of gnocchi just to make sure that the taste was ok - that was class to me. Priceless.

                            Lidia's Pittsburgh
                            1400 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

                            1. re: cornFusion

                              I could not agree more. The couple of times that I've been there it has been really good. Can you get better? Sure, but I've been very happy and am comfortable there...I would rather have that than dazzling modernistic food!


                              P.S. Now that I know you like Lidia's, I'll again highly recommend the 17th Street Cafe!!!

                        2. Thanks again to all of you who posted a reply here. I am planning to be back next year at approximately the same time - and will definitely try some of the other recommendations!
                          Best wishes to all.