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Pittsburgh favorites

Hello,

I'll be visiting Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks from San Francisco - I've never been here before so I would love to hear what the not-to-be-missed places are of locals and visitors alike! I'm really open to anything, and I'm willing to pay for a great meal (I'll probably end up having one fancy meal while I'm there!)

So please let me know where I should eat while I'm in town :) Thanks for your help, really looking forward to seeing what you guys have to say!

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  1. Do you know which area you will be staying in ? Any preferences in food?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Augie6

      We'll be staying around the airport which I realize is far away from the city proper so we're definitely open to visiting different areas (since there's really not much around the airport). As for food, I'm really open to anything, but my boyfriend really enjoys Japanese food - Are there any good Japanese restaurants you might recommend?

      1. re: Sfpaulina

        compared to j-town, I'd have a hard time recommending anything... but check out Chaya or Umi, or maybe Sushi Too.

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        Sushi Too
        5432 Walnut St, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

        Umi Restaurant
        5847 Ellsworth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

        1. re: Chowrin

          I'd go with Chaya or Umi, but know that Chaya is small so get there early. And Umi is priced like it's in SF and NYC. I've tended to hit Sakura in Squirrel Hill - it's a more casual sushi place. solid, but nothing special. It's just got reasonable prices and a large dining area. Sorry, this is a repeat of a later comment - sorry if it's redundant.

          If you like Thai food, I'd go with Bangkok Balcony and Silk Elephant, both in Squirrel Hill. Or Green Mango/Noodle Hut out in Regent Square.

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          Squirrel Hill Cafe
          5802 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

          Bangkok Balcony
          5846 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

          Sakura
          1144 E Chocolate Ave, Hershey, PA 17033

          Umi Restaurant
          5847 Ellsworth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

          1. re: chowness

            For thai, I'm partial to Smiling Banana Leaf in Highland Park - delicious well made food, very fair pricing, cozy and comfortable atmosphere.

        2. re: Sfpaulina

          Ramen Bar is fun, but again, no comparison to Suzu's

      2. Well, it depends on the kind of food you are looking for. Breakfast/brunch there is Deluca's in the strip or Cain's in Dormont/Mt Lebanon. Deluca's is famous for their big breakfasts. Cain's had brunch only on the weekend and they have a bloody mary bar. Steak dinner the place to go in my opinion is Pittsburgh Rare at Station Square. I have never had a bad meal there. Tessaro's is another place to try. They are known for their burgers. Hope this helps.

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        Pittsburgh Rare
        7 Station Square Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

        Deluca's Restaurant
        2015 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

        Tessaro's Restaurant
        4601 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

        Station Square
        2 E Station Square Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

        1 Reply
        1. re: punkgirl107

          For breakfast, I also enjoyed The Enrico Biscotti Company Cafe in the strip. The pastries/biscotti are great. Or stay for lunch - it's a small menu but good

        2. For Breakfast try Pamela's or DeLuca's. DeLuca's only location is in the Strip. Pamela's has a location in the Strip as well, but they also have other locations around the city. Both are very good diner food. The pancakes and Lyonnaise potatoes are fantastic at Pamela's, and I like the breakfast burrito at DeLuca's. Expect to wait if you go to either place on the weekend.

          For lunch, you simply must try Primanti's. It is, by far, the most famous restaurant in the city - they serve sandwiches with the meat, cheese, fries and slaw between two large slices of Italian bread. As punkgirl says, the burgers at Tessaro's are very good, but I actually think the burger at Eleven (only at lunch) is the best in the city.

          For fine dining, my current favorite is Salt of the Earth. After that Bona Terra (BYOB), Vivo (BYOB), Toast, Nine on Nine, Alla Famiglia, and Eleven are my favorite fine dining establishments serving interesting, inventive and delicious food. For steak, my favorite in the city is Ruth's Chris. It's a chain, but, for whatever reason, I don't think any of the Ruth's Chris' elsewhere are nearly as good. If you're looking for a view then you need to get up on Mt. Washington, where I would suggest Isabella's (European, prix fixe) or Monterey Bay (seafood). Both places have floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to look down upon the city as you eat. It's a very impressive view.

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          Bona Terra Restaurant
          908 Main St, Pittsburgh, PA 15215

          Vivo
          565 Lincoln Ave, Bellevue, PA 15202

          Nine on Nine
          900 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

          Tessaro's Restaurant
          4601 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

          3 Replies
          1. re: MonMauler

            Could not agree more with MonMauler and punkgirl.. I really have to try Tessaro's, always hear great things. A word of caution about Primanti's ...(hate to type this) do not expect anything too special. We always take business clients out of town there and most are very very underwhelmed. It is a Pittsburgh staple and in general food is good. If you do go to Pirmantis,,, go to the original in the Strip.

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            Tessaro's Restaurant
            4601 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

            1. re: Augie6

              go to the Original Hot Dog shop in Oakland instead... just my thinkin'

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              Original Hot Dog Shops
              3901 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

              1. re: Augie6

                Tessaro's has a great Thursday night bbq rib special. They have great food normally but there are weeks when I can't wait for Thursday to come so I can have some ribs.

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                Tessaro's Restaurant
                4601 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

            2. Thank you for all of your suggestions! They are very helpful so please keep them coming. I see that Lidia of Lidia's Italy has an Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh - I enjoy watching her show but have never been to one of her restaurants, how is it?

              6 Replies
              1. re: Sfpaulina

                Lidia's is good. If you go, go on a Sunday that is when they have her Sunday sauce and they serve family style.

                If you are looking for Sushi, a place in Mt. Lebanon called Little Toyko. They have great sushi. Also Sushi Too in Shadyside has pretty good Sushi.

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                Sushi Too
                5432 Walnut St, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

                1. re: punkgirl107

                  I know everyone in Pittsburgh loves Sushi Too, but honestly, I always felt there were better options around. Umi, for sure, but it's priced like SF or NYC. Chaya is more reasonable, with a good mix of other Japanese dishes as well, but always crowded as it is such a small shop. I ended up going to some of the other places in town, like Sakura in Squirrel Hill - not stellar like Umi, but reasonable prices and a large space.

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                  Squirrel Hill Cafe
                  5802 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

                  Sushi Too
                  5432 Walnut St, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

                  Umi Restaurant
                  5847 Ellsworth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

                  Sakura
                  , Harrisburg, PA 17101

                  1. re: punkgirl107

                    Lidia's is terrible. Poke around on CH and look at all the opinions.

                  2. re: Sfpaulina

                    I can echo punkgirl's sentiment regarding Lidia's. It is good, and the Sunday brunch is exceptional. But...

                    I personally think there are a number of better Italian restaurants in Pittsburgh. My favorite is Alla Famiglia. It's a tiny space, and if you sit on the first floor you get the added benefit of watching the chef. Everything I've had there has been top-notch.

                    Dish Osteria, in the South Side, is a very, very close second, IMHO, and in many respects I think it's better. It too is a smallish space. I also like it because of the location. South Side is home to dozens of bars, so you have your option for pre and post dinner drinks.

                    Piccolo Forno (BYOB), in Lawrenceville, has a very neighborhood restaurant feel and serves exceptional Italian food. In terms of value, I don't think there is a better Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh. Although I don't quite think it is the best Neapolitan-style pie in the 'Burgh (that would be Il Pizzaiolo or Dinette), it isn't far off. Also, Lawrenceville is a bit of an up-and-coming neighborhood, with a bunch of interesting places to check out. The Happy Hour at Tamari, where the food is also very good, is a lot of fun.

                    Shadyside is a fun neighborhood too. Walnut St. has a number of interesting little shops and restaurants, and if you get over in that area I would recommend Girasole for some good Italian food. It's also a neat space -- a small basement dining room -- with a very cozy feel. I like to go there for lunch when I find myself in that part of town.

                    My last Italian recommendation in Pittsburgh would probably be Rico's. In the North Hills, tucked up on a forested hill, it's an outdated space with decor from the 60's, but I like everything they serve. Their veal dishes and the Virginia spots are exceptional. I really like their veal parm, but order off the menu and get veal and peppers or the veal medallions. In any event, definitely get the penne with pink leek sauce.

                    Lidia's I would put a step below the restaurants I mention above.

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                    Girasole
                    733 Copeland St Ste 1, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

                    Dish Osteria Bar
                    128 S 17th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

                    Piccolo Forno
                    3801 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

                    Pizzaiolo
                    703 Washington Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15228

                    1. re: MonMauler

                      Just came back from "dish osteria " .. It was fantastic ... I would have to say , it is one of my favourite places in Pitt. I had one of their specials ... Rabbit tenderloin w/ mushroom based wine sauce and Brussels sprouts that were out of this world ... And I don't really like that particular veggy ... Try it

                    2. re: Sfpaulina

                      I enjoyed La Tavola in Mt. Washington for Italian. It's more out of the way but the owners were great and the food was excellent, without being pretentious. It's a local restaurant that has grown over the years and it retains much of that down to earth flavor.

                      I second Dish Osteria, Piccolo Forno and Girasole, though I'll have to say that Dish Osteria stood out more.

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                      Girasole
                      733 Copeland St Ste 1, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

                      Dish Osteria Bar
                      128 S 17th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

                      Piccolo Forno
                      3801 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

                      Tavola Restaurant
                      400 West Sproul Road, Springfield, PA 19064

                    3. Thanks so much for your words of advice! I'll definitely keep these places in mind. If you have anymore recommendations please feel free to throw it out - for anything! I hear there's lots of good ice cream in Pittsburgh, where should I go for that? (I'm always up for eating ice cream, even if it's snowing!)

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Sfpaulina

                        Dave and Andy's down in Oakland (sense a pattern?)

                        1. re: Sfpaulina

                          you might try drifting a bit north, and getting some hot dogs in New Castle.

                          1. re: Chowrin

                            Shadyside has Mercurio's - a good gelato shop very close to Girasole if you end up there

                            -----
                            Girasole
                            733 Copeland St Ste 1, Pittsburgh, PA 15232