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Need A Couple of Restaurant Recommendations for Pittsburgh Area

I am driving to Baltimore for vacation from Michigan and plan on stopping in Pittsburgh for 1 night before driving the rest of the way to Baltimore the next day. I need recommendations for dinner on a Wednesday, a place for dessert after dinner and a breakfast for a Thursday morning. I would prefer something casual, but with upscale food. I have no diet restrictions and I'm up for any cuisine. I'm willing to travel and probably will be staying in east Pittsburgh area. I have been to Dinette, Spoon, Salt of the Earth, Eleven (dessert only), Point Brugge Cafe, and Kaya (lunch only) during a previous weekend getaway a couple of months ago.

I'm leaning towards going to Dinette or Salt for dinner, followed by dessert at Eleven, and then Cafe Raymond for breakfast the next morning. Any other places that I should consider? Are there any other places I should consider for coffee Thursday morning besides Espresso a Mano (which is by the way the best espresso drink I have ever had)?

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  1. Sounds like a good line-up!

    1. Perhaps try something different: Tamari or Soba? Yo Rita or Dish located in Southside?

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      Southside Cafe
      21 Crooked Ln, King of Prussia, PA 19406

      Yo Rita
      1120 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

      1. I have read very good things on other food sites about Brix on the Northside, but your plan sounds great. I would second Tamari. Good place to sit at the bar.

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        Northside Restaurant
        323 N Jefferson St, Mount Union, PA 17066

        1. Hey manhong, when are you coming through? I'm back in the area from San Diego and need to get back to some old favorites, and try a few new ones.

          You've hit some of Pitt's best, but if you're looking to try out a different place I've got a few ideas.

          Notion - definitely, definitely worth a visit if you're a fan of modern techniques - I would really like to get your opinion on it. Portions are more along the lines of what you would expect from a fine dining place, but it's definitely casual.

          Il Pizzaiolo is definitely worth a trip if you're in the mood for Italian. Many people put it on the tops of their lists of vpn pizzerias in the US.

          Tamari as other's have mentioned - fun asian/latin fusion type dishes

          I haven't visited myself but I've heard good things about Root 174

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          Pizzaiolo
          703 Washington Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15228

          14 Replies
          1. re: Rodzilla

            @six dower: Yo Rita, Dish, Tamari, and Soba are places I will consider, but I don't know if any of those places can top Salt and Dinette.

            @Whigsboy: Brix is a good idea as well. I will have to consider it, but I don't know if it will top Dinette or Salt.

            @Rodzilla: I went to the places I listed above because of your blog and your previous post to my questions. I thought about Notion (I haven't been there myself), but my girlfriend thought it was too expensive for what we're looking for and I kind of agree. I thought about II Pizzaiolo to try their margherita pizza and I will consider the other two options.

            I think that I will hit up Cafe Raymond for breakfast the next day though. Everyone seems to really like that place and I'm always up for some good pancakes.

            1. re: manhong

              Dinnette is a different type of pizza then you get at most places in this area. Salt ( i haven't been) is claimed to best in town now a days. So it will be very hard to compare to any other place you go to.

              I don't think cafe raymond has pancakes , I could be wrong but I would double check. It is more of cafe with a couple options rather then a full restaurant. You should still check it out though, great food in cool location

              1. re: Augie6

                Augie6 is right pancakes are not always offered at cafe raymond . A blackboard out front tells you when. Ray's a good guy though. You can always ask for pancakes probably will make.If you are craving pancakes and nothing else will do. Pamela's are yummy or Deluca's.

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

                1. re: Augie6

                  It is hard to compare different restaurants, but I was looking for a place similar in food quality as Salt and Dinette. I think I'm going to end up going to Dinette, but we'll see.

                  According to some of the Yelp reviews, Cafe Raymond makes ricotta blueberry pancakes. I don't care if they don't have pancakes, but I would settle for an omelet.

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                  Cafe Raymond
                  2103 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

                  1. re: manhong

                    I love Cafe Raymond's madeleines. I was there today (Thu.) because I had a craving, and the counter person told me they only make them on the weekends. All I noticed around 11 a.m. on a Thursday were biscotti and cookies. I also like their Danish -- different and better than any I've had in a long, long time -- but they were out of those, too.

                    You ought to call them to see what they're going to have the day you're there.

                    412-281-4670.

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                    Cafe Raymond
                    2103 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

                    1. re: Jay F

                      You can call Ray and tell him chowhound sent you to him. He always has pancakes on the weekends. Perhaps you can tell talk him into making them on Thursday. He also will make porkbelly Bahn Mi's from time to time...not on the menu, you have to ask for it.

                2. re: manhong

                  I agree with Salt being in the top spot however I was at Soba last weekend and was very suprised at how much I enjoyed the food. I would rate it above Dinette, not Salt or Spoon.

                  1. re: manhong

                    Appreciate the support as always, but If I can argue one last time - you're already driving all this way and there really is nothing else like it in some distance. If you come through Pittsburgh often enough, sure maybe save it for a "splurge" and do a tasting. But if you're a food love and it's going to be some time, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

                    Further - since you're dining with your gal, you would be able to sample/see more of the dishes. I'd really love to get your take.

                    Now Il Pizzaiolo is worth of it's acclaim as well - if you want the tops of authentic VPN pie make the trip - also easier on the wallet. They and Dinette are my two pizza loves.

                    Tamari, Avenue B, Toast - all fine choices but they aren't destination spots for me like the aforementioned. I haven't been to meat and potatoes and am waiting on a few more reviews before I visit.

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                    Pizzaiolo
                    703 Washington Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15228

                    Avenue B
                    5501 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

                    1. re: Rodzilla

                      @six dower: I'll keep Soba in mind. That looks like an interesting place to eat at.

                      @Rodzilla: I agree that Notion is a unique place so I will keep it in mind. If I end up going there, I'll definitely let you know.

                      1. re: manhong

                        I can't believe no one named Meat and Potatoes, which I think gives Salt a run for it's money. Very different types of cuisines though.

                        1. re: jondubus

                          Thanks jondubus. I think I'm going to go to Dinette and then Cafe Raymond the next day. Dinette seems to fit my bill for good food and a casual atmosphere and I can't wait to try the food at Cafe Raymond. Thanks to everyone for all of their help.

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                          Cafe Raymond
                          2103 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

                          1. re: manhong

                            disappointed rod is disappointed

                            1. re: manhong

                              If you go to Dinette for dinner, you could always do dessert at Spoon (right across the street) or a sweet crepe at Paris 66 (w/i a block - not really a true destination spot either but something different). Not sure how important location is to you.

                              1. re: shadysider023

                                @shadysider023: That's a great point. I definitely keep both places in mind. I've been to Spoon and I love their desserts. Not as good as the desserts at Eleven, but still very good.