Pittsburgh Magazine's Best Restaurants of 2011
A good handful of places on that list that I haven't been to yet, but of the ones I have, I see nothing to argue against. It looks like a pretty well chosen list.
Of course some of my personal favorite places to eat in Pgh aren't up there, but those places are dives, gastropubs, and ethnic eateries of limited aspiration - not the types of places I would expect to see on one of these lists. So no big complaints.
Almost wishing the list was a bit more controversial so we could have arguments like they do on the other regional boards. For me, if there's anything to object to, it's what they choose to rave about with certain restaurants. Examples - I didn't love the venison tartare they mention as a highlight at Salt, though almost everything else was great. The tartare itself was too moist without enough texture, though it's entirely possible I just got the last scoop from a bowl. Or Piccolo Forno - they rave about their pastas, which I think are hit and miss. Their pizzas are better, and the article doesn't mention their fantastic sandwiches. Of course, both places belong on the list anyway.
3801 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
I think Pittsburgh Magazine does a good job with the list it puts together every year. I've been to most of the places on the list, and I would agree that it is generally a collection of the finest restaurants in and around Pittsburgh.
My single quibble with the list would be Seviche. The food is pretty good, but the service I've had there in the past has been spotty, at best, and I abhor the atmosphere.
Other than that, I haven't been to the following, and I'd be interested to hear what others have to say:
Wild Rosemary - friends have gone there and really enjoyed it. It's on my list of places to go.
notion - friends have gone there and been disappointed, despite a good review in the PG. I might end up there sometime if it sticks around a while.
Otherwise, I really enjoy every other place on the list and find the brief reviews in the Pittsburgh Magazine article to be quite accurate. I have been pretty open with my view that Salt of the Earth is the best restaurant in Pittsburgh at the moment, but, really, you can't go wrong with just about any of the others on the list.
930 Penn Ave Apt R1, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
1469 Bower Hill Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Notion is an amazing restaurant. I've been there twice and have no doubt that it offers the best traditional "fine dining" experience in Pittsburgh. Salt is outstanding, but it cannot be characterized as traditional fine dining.
I've been meaning to put a lengthy review on Yelp. I'm going to get to that now. People need to know how great this place is.
I ate at Avenue B on Wednesday, Augie. I liked it a lot. I had a grilled cheese sandwich w/tomato, and a really good salad, the kind where you eat each green separately and want to know exactly what it is so you can make your salads this way. So delicious.
I decided to spring for dessert, and had what they called a blondie, which had two layers of a thick butterscotch cream, two thin layers of ganache (or some kind of chocolate shell), and a creamy, nougat-y center. Oh, and three crackly-glazed apple slices. It was so good, and only $5 (okay it wasn't that big).
The service could not have been one bit better. I'm going to eat here again and again.
5501 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232