Pittsburgh 50th birthday - where would you go?
Four of us will be celebrating my husband's 50th birthday in Pittsburgh (1st time there as adults) on July 4th weekend. On his actual birthday we will be at the ball park, but we'd like to take him somewhere the next night that's unique to Pittsburgh (i.e. no chains) and with great food.
The only type of food he doesn't like is seafood. All types of ethnic restaurants are on the possibility list - we eat Italian, Greek, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, etc. Standard American fare or eclectic menus are fine too! He doesn't like super-formal atmospheres where he'd have to wear a tie. Budget is completely flexible. A little atmosphere would be great but even that is not essential. He is a foodie, so the food quality is most important! Tho' we do want a place where we will be comfortable to linger, talking.
That being said, it will be a Saturday night so a place that's not too noisy, where we can hear each other talk, is also required. But we also know, from living in Philly area, that there are places that would be noisy later on a Sat. night, that are fine if we go early, like 6 - so we are open to that too.
We will be staying across from the ball park and are not sure yet if we're going to rent a car for the weekend, so we need to be able to either walk, take a a cab, or take public transportation.
So, if it were you, where would you go?!
Thanks in advance for any help.
Well, by July, there may be a new standout answer: Salt of the Earth. But if it's open by then it will be new and a hot ticket. http://www.saltpgh.com/
Picking from what we know is here, though, I'd say Yo Rita. It ticks off several things: unique menu, food quality, informal. And it's not expensive. It would probably be loud when full, but if you get there at an earlier time, like between 5:30 and 6, it shouldn't be too crowded yet. I remember going there about 6, and maybe by around 7 it started filling up. Not sure if that is typical, but it was a Friday night. There's a table in the front window, on the right hand side, which is apart from every other table in the place. Seats 4, ideal if you can get it, but they don't take reservations. http://www.yoritasouthside.com/ There are other places for good food of various sorts, but none have such an unusual menu.
Although you could get to these or other places without a car, I highly suggest having one especially on the weekend when public transport will be less frequent. Cabs are hit or miss, just a tough town for that much of the time if not scheduled in advance. With 4 people and a maybe weekend rate for the car (not sure it would be a big holiday for rental cars), you should be good to go really. It'll give you much more flexibility in getting to a few other possible spots as well.
1120 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203
If you are foodies staying on the North Shore, Legends ( legendsnorth-shore.com ) is not to be missed. It's on North Ave by Allegeheny General Hospital, a little off the path of typical Pittsburgh sites, but it is a gem. It's very "intimate", so I recommend trying it for lunch or an early dinner. Save room to share a home-made dessert. Another great little place for Thai is Lemon Grass Cafe on Sixth St, across from the Byham Theater. (A short walk across the bridge from PNC Park.) Six Penn Kitchen, down the block from Lemon Grass, is more upscale and the food is also fabulous. They have a rooftop deck. Except that it's seafood, Monterrey Bay on Mt Washington cannot be beaten for a complete dining experience for a special occasion. Other Mt Washington restaurants hold their own as well -- one of the giant booths at LeMont is always a treat. Good luck and good eats! Enjoy the 'Burgh!
Six Penn Kitchen
146 Sixth Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Lemon Grass Cafe
124 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
I agree that if Salt of the Earth is open it will be an adventure and is likely to be the most talked about new restaurant in quite a while. There are high expectations. Additional candidates would include: Avenue B - Special food -- but no reservations and BYOB; Bona Terra (Sharpsburg) - more formal than any of the other suggestions but foodie-worthy preparation of local ingredients it is also BYOB and a cab ride from the North Shore.
5501 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232