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Jul 1, 2011 10:31 AM

Pittsburgh Food/Walking Tour ideas?

I want to show off Pittsburgh to a good friend who's visiting me soon and I need some suggestions from my fellow Pittsburghers....sometimes I get "stuck" in my own restaurant habits, you know?

Here's the trick: she's only going to be here for a weekend, and I want us to be able to see a fair amount of the city and its character and quirks, while eating awesome food. I'm trying to think of restaurants that are conducive to walking tours before or after eating, so we're not in the car the whole time. In other words, I'm looking for restaurant ideas not for a specific kind of cuisine but for fun locations. We won't be looking for high end fine dining, but she's not really a "dive" kind of person; no dietary restrictions; the more booze the better:)

To give you an idea about what my general tastes are...
-In general, Kaya and Park/Point Bruges are my "go-to" places (also used to be Sweet Basil but it's closed)
-I love Coca or Casbah for brunch (was thinking Coca would be good for brunch or lunch and then walking around L'ville)
-I think Primanti's is pretty gross
-we'll definitely do Salt, it's right near my house in Friendship
-don't really like the South Side or restaurants there
-definitely want to walk around the Strip, need ideas other than Kaya and the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company:)
-was thinking of trying for drinks/apps with a view one night, perhaps on Mt Wash or someplace with a waterview? If I remember correctly the food at Redfin Blues is mostly regrettable, but they are on the river.

Anyway, any suggestions--food or quirky sites or both--would be appreciated!! thanks!

229 South Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Redfin Blues
100 Waterfront Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Sweet Basil
21108 Paint Blvd, Shippenville, PA 16254

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  1. I really love this idea! It's hard to pass Mt. Washington, but for the high price the food is not so hot at most places. You could try to eat at Station Square...I know it's nothing great either, but the prices are reasonable and it can be fun. Then a trip up the incline for a drink at Monterey Bay to show off the view would be fun.

    How about Enrico's in the Strip? I've heard that he does bread making classes that are tremendous, educational and a lot of fun. You might also try Embrey (in the basement fo the Firehouse) for drinks. It's a fun, old-school bar with great bartenders that really know what they are doing.

    I agree with you about Redfin Blues, but it is a nice view. There is a similar place that I prefer called Paradise Island on Neville Island. They have sand and palm trees with an outdoor bar and sometimes live music. While I love the quirkyness of the place, the food is very average.

    Redfin Blues
    100 Waterfront Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

    1. Where I usually go with friends from OOT:

      While in the Strip on Saturday, get lunch at Penn Ave. Fish Co.

      For dinner, Piccolo Forno, 3801 Butler Street, Lawrenceville. No reservations for parties under 6 people. Best to go at 6:00, esp. on a Sat. BYOB.

      Sunday brunch Lidia's in the Strip.

      The breadmaking class at Enrico's is a lot of fun. It's usually held one Sunday a month, and you need to make reservations.

      Piccolo Forno
      3801 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

      1. Even with the preponderance of chains there, Market Sq. is pretty neat. Winghart's and NOLA make it much better.

        The Strip has the Farmers@Firehouse market (right between Penn Ave. Fish and Embury) on Saturday 9-12. There's usually some hippie playing guitar at Leaf N Bean around the corner. It's a good scene. Personally I'd make a lunch of Lucy's cart and/ot Reyna's tacos and just walk around, but as your friend doesn't like dives, maybe she's not big on street food. Penn Ave. Fish would be a good choice, but my experience is that some of the clientele there are overbearing (overcomplicated orders that make even the worst Starbucks customers look tame). Hope you don't get in line behind one of them.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Panini Guy

          Even if you don't like dives, you can't go wrong with Lucy!!!

          1. re: Panini Guy

            : : Penn Ave. Fish would be a good choice, but my experience is that some of the clientele there are overbearing (overcomplicated orders that make even the worst Starbucks customers look tame). : :

            I guess I've been very lucky. I've eaten there probably 100 times, and I've not experienced this.