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Mar 4, 2011 09:24 AM

Best Neighborhoods to Eat Shop and Live in Pittsburgh

Since my last post about moving to Pittsburgh did not meet guidlines of Chowhoud, wich is somewhat understandable.. I will redirect my question with honestly what I am more cocerned about that does pertain to the paramers of the board.

What are the best areas of the city , that have decent dinning , food shops , and nightlife activites. I am in my 20s and semi past my 'college lifestyle" years... I will have a car to travel, but would like a area that is somewhat self contained.

Monmauler , I just got to briefly read your last post.. would really appreciate another shout out. Thanks.

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  1. I think the suggestions in the last post are right on. For example, while the South Side is an obvious possibility, you may find it a little too "college lifestyle" for your liking. Shadyside and bordering East Liberty, Highland Park even, the small area Friendship, Lawrenceville, or even the Strip or Downtown itself could be options, but we're going to have to get into other details that are off-topic. All those areas have at least some good restaurants nearby, within walking distance in most places. If I may I'd like to suggest a different venue for additional discussion on this not related to food.

    3 Replies
    1. re: CrazyOne

      Thanks... I wish I got to really read Mon's last post too.. hahah The food scene in East Liberty is just growing like crazy... Spoon, Dinnette, Plum (never been yet) .. I just need to do some more research.. thanks again for the link

      1. re: Augie6

        Dinette is really good. I haven't been to Spoon or Brgr next door. Or Plum. You also have Abay and a couple others all in that vicinity. Good stuff. Not to mention the handy Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Plus you have anything that's on Highland Ave across the way, and really what's on Ellsworth as well. Neat area to live food-wise I think, lots of choices. New places are coming on line soon I think as far as living on the East Liberty side. On the Shadyside side there's plenty of well-established places to live. Might be a little college atmosphere in spots but more likely grad students I would think vs undergrads. It has a little of everything. The rent is accordingly high generally.

      2. re: CrazyOne

        I was just about to suggest citydata's Pgh forum, but Crazy One beat me to it. Oh, well, here it is again:

      3. Hey Augie...I thought that might happen to your last post. Thankfully, my often wayward memory is able to basically recreate my suggestions and comments on this topic. Here goes:

        I am in my late 20's now, grew up in Pittsburgh, and have lived independently in Pittsburgh ever since graduating in college. Currently, I'm living downtown (Central Business District) and absolutely love it. I walk to work and there are plenty of good restaurants and bars right outside my door. The only real downside, from my perspective, of living in the Central Business District is the lack of quality food shopping close-by. That said, I often make the very reasonable walk down to the Strip District to get some shopping done on the weekends. And the very impressive Giant Eagle Market District in Robinson is only about a 15-20 minutes drive away.

        Beyond the Central Business District, though, I would have a few other suggestions. All of these places are very centrally located, and it doesn't take long to get anywhere in Pittsburgh or the surrounding suburbs from any of them:
        - Shadyside - I've lived there an loved it. Lots of good restaurants and bars. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Market District are all really close. The entire area is energetic but not raucous.
        - Lawrenceville - I have a lot of friends over there, and they too have a plethora of good food, good shopping and good bars. The Strip District is right down the street.
        - Strip District - For that matter, the Strip is another good spot. The food shopping is fantastic. There are some good restaurants and bars, as well. And you are centrally located between Lawrenceville and Downtown.
        - East Liberty - The redevelopment has really taken off there. Great restaurants are setting up like crazy, and it is beginning to get a very Shadyside-like feel, which I think is a good thing. Of course, it is right next to Shadyside, as well, so you have access to the WF, TJs and Market District and all the great restaurants of both. Lawrenceville to is really close to East Liberty, too.
        - Mount Washington - Unlike all the other places I mention I've never lived on the Mount, but I have lots of friends up there too, they love it, and I always have a great time when we hang out up there, too. There are a number of pretty good restaurants and bars.

        Two I would caution against would be:
        - South Side
        - Oakland
        I've lived in South Side and didn't like it. It was a little too much of the "college lifestyle" for my liking, as CrazyOne mentions. Both Shadyside and Oakland have a number of good restaurants and some fun hang-out spots, but on the weekends - and many weekdays - I find that many turn into amateur hour and can be annoyingly overcrowded with overserved and underage drinkers. In fact, I only rarely venture to either place to hang out anymore.

        Anyway, I hope this post helps, and I'm always checking out the PA board, so if any questions or comments or anything pop up I'll be around to respond.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MonMauler

          Thanks for the repost., Mon.. South Side in general has really lost alot of its appeal in the last year. I am in my mid 20's and about 3 years removed from college and honestly every place is crowded with well put " amateurs" It seems the new places are focusing on garbage...

          Lawernceville and Shady Side really catch my eye... If weather stays half decent this weekend I will be making some trips to explore both...

        2. I think your best bet would be to locate yourself in the eastern/northeastern part of Shadyside (east of Negley, between 5th and Ellsworth). That puts you at walking distance from Walnut St., East Liberty, the Ellsworth bars and restaurants, and even parts of Oakland. It can be difficult to find a nicer home, but it can be done. That location probably provides the greatest amount of diversity in dining and drinking choices, and you won't run into a lot of the undergrad crowd.

          3 Replies
          1. re: bagofwater

            You'd have to go past shady to get out of undergrad territory. but you get NICE undergrads where you're suggesting. Squirrel Hill's a solid choice to live too. And reachable via walking (you'll walk two miles, right? that'll get you to most all of Oakland.)

            Squirrel Hill Cafe
            5802 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

            1. re: Chowrin

              bagofwater--I shortly went through Shady Side this weekend and should of paid more attention. I will look into more detail shortly... Love the close proximity to eats and areas. Undergraduates are not a huge problem for me to deal with, I just couldn't be surrounded by them anymore hahah.

              Squrriel HIll is looking more realistic as we speak

              1. re: Augie6

                We moved to Shadyside when we were first married and have stayed ever since. It is a great mix of students, professionals, and families.

          2. I lived in Pittsburgh for years and years and think for sheer convenience and access to great food it's hard to beat Squirrel Hill. It's not as full of bar/drinking opportunities as the South Side, Lawrenceville, Oakland and Shadyside, but everything else is there, and if you're a good walker, you can walk comfortably to Oakland and Shadyside. The big plus for me was that it's one of the few neighborhoods in Pittsburgh where you can find a library, gyms (the JCC has a nice one), cheap barbers, acupuncturists and classical homeopaths, movie theaters, great coffee, bagels, cake, and decent to great stores for books, art supplies, groceries and even shoes, all within a twelve block radius.

            I know there are probably loads of other posts on this site with restaurant recs, but some of my favorite Pittsburgh restaurants are:
            > Bona Terra (chef-driven fine dining on par with wonderful restaurants in any city)
            > Eleven (upscale, locally sourced fine dining by the Big Burrito restaurant group all of whose restaurants are pretty great)
            > Le Pommier (French country food, not entirely consistent, but sometimes amazing, S. Side)
            > Tamarind Savoring India (Indian, only the one on Greentree Rd is good, NOT the Oakland one, and it's best for the great and varied weekend lunch buffet)
            > Udipi Cafe (South Indian veg, dive with amazing dosa in Monroeville)
            > Rose Tea Cafe (Taiwanese, Sq Hill)
            > Ka Mei (Cantonese, Sq Hill)
            > Dish Osteria (Italian wine bar w great food, S. Side)
            > La Cucina Flegrea (Italian - Sq Hill)
            > Chaya (good sushi for Pgh, Sq Hill)
            > Pierogies Plus (McKees Rocks)

            Best of luck. Hope you have fun in Steeler country.

            Bona Terra Restaurant
            908 Main St, Pittsburgh, PA 15215

            Pierogies Plus
            342 Island Ave, Mc Kees Rocks, PA 15136

            Udipi Cafe
            4141 Old William Penn Hwy, Monroeville, PA 15146

            Squirrel Hill Cafe
            5802 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

            La Cucina Restaurant
            600 S Blakely St, Scranton, PA 18510

            Tamarind Savoring India
            2101 Greentree Rd, Carnegie, PA 15106

            Rose Tea Cafe
            5874 1/2 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

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

            Le Pommier
            2104 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

            2 Replies
            1. re: ninrn

              Friendship is a nice compromise neighborhood option. Bordered by Penn Ave. Garfield with new restaurants and awesome Voluto coffee, Bloomfield, East Liberty & Shadyside it's very convenient to a wide variety of options.

              1. re: 42duffy

                Friendship , now that a fresh face in the crowd, Thanks.

                I do appreciate all the help! The progress is going slightly slower than I would want, but have to accomodate a roomate (possibly 2). I am really looking towards the laurenville/bloomfield section as of right now.

                SSouth-- is getting increasingly more hetic and a turn off.
                Shady Side-- is beautiful , slighty expensive and not on my roomates must have lists
                Regent Square-- Possilbe but not much different then current locations
                Laurenceville, is my cup of tea, great eats, close to strip( really do enjoy the strip), laid back, close to everywhere!

                Only time will tell.. Thanks once again ,,, if any thoughts come up , I am also checking the PA board