Pittsburgh Restaurant Micro-reviews

Pete Su
Roger Rosner
Anukul Kapoor
Paul "Goob" Mazaitis
R Link

Latest update: 08-17-2021

This page lists restaurants that we know and either love or hate in Pittsburgh. The opinions here are our own, and try to be as honest and brief as possible. The listing is alphabetical. Ratings are:

Red Name: Stay away.

* A good place.

** A really good place.

For places where we disagree, the final rating is up to the judgement of the editor. Places marked with a (*) are second hand from people we mostly trust.

** 21st Street Coffee - Downtown. (Closed)

Pete: The Cortado here is perhaps the best espresso and milk drink in the city. A store for coffee geeks run by coffee geeks.

Anukul: The cortado is sublime; nitro cold brew or an affogato are a delight.

61C Cafe - Murray Ave, at the bus stop

Pete: Coffee isn't great, but the place is nice.

Roger: Too open for me--I don't want to hear the couple next to me fighting.

Anukul: All scene, no bean.

peterb: Meh.

* Abay - Shady Ave. at Penn, near Whole Foods(Closed)

Pete: Ethiopian food. They get points just for being there. This is not my personal thing, but people I trust like it.

Ali Baba - Oakland, Craig St.

Pete: Used to be the only middle eastern food around here. Now it's just one of several lame places.

Roger (*): My Israeli friend thinks it's lame, but it's my favorite Middle Eastern food. Yummy baba ganoush and sleek. Good with kids.

Anukul: Tastes better if you're a student.

Paul: A bowl of the Syrian soup and a shared small plate of baba ganooj make for a reasonable lunch. The former is pretty good. The latter is variable, but never bad.

peterb: Try the Sleek. My biggest problem with this place is that even when no one is in it, it is tragically overcrowded and uncomfortable.

* Alihan's - Downtown

Pete: Good kebabs and a transcendant roasted eggplant and pepper salad. Go before baseball games.

* Alla Famiglia - Allentown (Closing?)

Roger: Scary neighborhood, top notch Italian food, in a pleasant room with great service. Easy to spend $150 for a couple.

Atria's - South Hills, other places

Pete: Steaks, burgers, general american food, good service, great with kids.

Roger: A little too much like TGIF for me.

peterb: The beer is overpriced, and the food is "OK" but not memorable. It's a good place for work-related lunches, for some reason.

** B52 Cafe - Upper Lawrenceville

jamief: Middle Eastern Vegan with a great brunch that opens nice and early. Make sure to try the house-made harissa, the baba ganouj, and the buckwheat pancakes. Actually. everything I had there was fantastic.

* Baba D's - Carson Street, South Side

rlink: Good Middle Eastern. Often tempted to just have the hummus, baba, grape leaves, tabbouleh, feta, and olives platter for dinner.

** Bahn Mi and Ti - Lawrenceville

psu: Good Bahn Mi sandwiches and great rice bowls.

Bangkok Balcony - Squill, Forbes ave. (Closed and Renamed)

Pete: Reasonable Thai at reasonable price. But, now that Rose Tea is open there is no reason to go here.

Roger: We concur.

Anukul: OK but no longer exceptional thai; same owner as silk elephant which is similar but different.

** Berlin Street Food - Food Truck (Closed)

Pete: The best sausage in town. Get the bratwurst sandwich, the currywurst, or the lamb sandwich. All good.

** Bona Terra - Sharpsburg (Closed)

Pete: A good place for any city. Recommended.

Roger: Surprisingly high end for Pittsburgh. One of the city's few real restaurants, kind of like a real city would have.

Bossa Nova - 7th Avenue, Downtown

rlink: Competent food and tapas, good wine. Allows cigarette and cigar smoking, so the PA smoking ban means that no one under 21 is allowed inside, ever. Completely dead after happy hour. Charlie Batch drinks appletinis here.

* Braserro Grill - Braddock

Pete: Good Tacos. A bit hard to get to. Try the Kielbasa

Bravo - Everywhere

Pete: Mediocre pasta and such. Offensively expensive.

Roger: Just downright sucky.

peterb: It's a tasteless, soulless chain, but to make up for it, the prices are really high.

* BRGR - Mt. Leb

Pete: The Spoon people do fancy burgers. Great toppings, OK meat. Excellent fries.

Burgatory - Waterworks, Other Places

Pete: Started out as the second best of the new fancy burger joints, but has become inconsistent, especially in the suburbs. Go to Butterjoint.

** Butterjoint - North Craig St, Oakland

Pete: Restaurant and bar where Legume used to be. This is currently the best place in Pittsburgh to get a burger.

Anukul: A great bar: bluefish pate, pierogies, and a mercy of the bartender.

** Cafe at the Frick (Clayton) - North of the Frick Museum

Pete: Great desserts, soup, sandwiches, lunch, sunday tea. Make reservations.

Roger: One of the best places in town. You can only make reservations if you're a member.

Note: The Chef here recently retired, I have not been back since and cannot say if things are different.

** Cafe Grand Canal - Sharpsburg

Pete: Excellent pasta, transcendent cannelloni with ground veal and bechemel.

* Cafe Du Jour - South Side

Pete: Interesting, decent food.

Anukul: Great for lunch (sausage & brie sandwich!), usually good for dinner but potentially inconsistent. The outdoor garden is one of the better settings to eat.

Cafe Zinho - Shadyside

Pete: Seems interesting at first, until you realize it isn't. Extremely inconsistent.

Roger: Owned by the Baum Vivant charmers. Bad hotel food in a funky setting created by the previous owner (who actually had a personality). One of Pittsburgh's top restaurant critics described the owner in terms I will not repeat in decent company. Told you not to get me started.

* Casbah - In Shadyside on Highland Ave.

Pete: Reasonably good mediterranean-ish food. Too often more expensive than it is worth.

Roger: A reliably nice place to take company, if you don't mind the big ticket (big for Pittsburgh, anyway). Sunday brunch is good too.

Paul: All about the brunch for us, particularly during the warmer months in the "patio" area. They use actual yogurt on the granola.

rlink: Okay, but every single dish has one ingredient that really doesn't belong in it, overpowering everything else.

* Casta Rasta - (Closed)

Pete: Mexican mixed with Jamaican food. Also, Avocado Fries. AVOCADO FRIES. The East Liberty location is closed.

** Chatellier's French Bakery - Millvale

Pete: Best straight up croissant in the city. Also get the Kouign Amann (pronounced kween a-mon)

Anukul: The kouign amann and breton cake are unreal.

** Chaya - Murray Ave, halfway down the hill. (Closed)

Pete: Good Sushi and other Japanese food. Nice hot pots. Get the live scallop if they have it.

Roger: One of Pittsburgh's better sushi places.

Anukul: Great sushi and broiled fish; I don't think the chef scolds anyone about wasabi any more.

Cheesecake Factory - South Side

Pete: I don't understand these places. Why sit in a 2 hour line to get mediocre food and an oversized piece of cheesecake?

** Chengdu Gourmet - Forward Ave, Sqirrel Hill

psu: Joins HOW LEE in the melt your face off Szechuan sweepstakes. A genrally bigger and more creative menu the reason to come here. Get the fish with the green szechuan pepper corn sauce. It's like nothing else in the city.

* Chiarina's - South Side (Closed)

Anukul: They had wonderful sleek.

** Chicken Latino - Beechview

Pete: Long time favorite chicken joint that also has great burgers and Peruvian/Chinese fusion (really!). They have a new location in the South Hills now, but the food is the same.

* Chiodo's - Homestead (Closed)

Pete: Great dive bar. Lots of beer. Try the Mystery Meat Sandwich, which is a great value.

Roger: Typical bar food but a great beer selection and a pleasant place to hang out.

peterb: I believe this place has closed, unfortunately. It wasn't good, but it was cheap.

* Christo's - Sixth Street

Pete: Good Greek food. Get the "Jackie O" cake.

The Church Brew Works - Liberty Ave

Pete: A beer place. I never found the food that great.

Roger: A fine brew pub. Poor acoustics is my only complaint.

Paul: A divided space between a high-rent bill of fare and pub food, plus a collection of decent beers. Loud. The pepperoni pizza is a surprising win, and all the desserts involve malt in some fashion.

rlink: The pizzas are okay, but the entrees try too hard and fall short. Now that Pittsburgh is no longer a beer wasteland, the brewpub aspect is less exciting.

* Clem's BBQ - Way east

Pete: Decent ribs. The pulled pork is OK, but doesn't taste like real southern barbequeue.

Coca Cafe - Lawrenceville

Pete: Where hip pre-gentrified Lawrencville neighborhood people go for good breakfast.

peterb: I think the breakfasts here are pretty good, and there's a variety of options and OK coffee. There's a bit of a lack of yummy meat options, but the interesting omelettes and panini make up for it.

Coffee Tree - Squill, Forbes Ave, other places

Pete: Brewed coffee is consistently excellent. Espresso is uneven. Good hot chocolate.

Roger: I don't drink coffee but the wife loves it.

Anukul: Their light roast single origin used to be a safe bet but there are now much better choices in town.

* Colangelo's Bakery - Strip, next to La Prima

Pete: In Antonio's old space. Nice lunches, some of the same baked goods. The pizza isn't the same.

peterb: Try the almond mele.

** Commonplace Coffee - Friendship, Squirrel Hill

jamief: Amazing espresso drinks, and very good brewed coffee. Beans are excellent as well. Not a huge variety of baked goods, but the ones they have are good.

Anukul: Great espresso, pourover, and beans with nice staff; the current pastry program is inconsistent (exception: the bacon morning bun).

peterb: The best coffee in Squirrel Hill right now. The atmosphere, however, is morose and tragic, like a reification of The Sorrows Of Young Werther

* Crepes Parisienne - Craig St.

Pete: OK crepes, but too pricey.

rlink: I'd rather go here than Paris 66, but only out of nostalgia for when it was a secret little place in a Shadyside basement that nobody new about.

** Cure - Upper Lawrenceville (Closed)

Pete: Former Chef from Elements opens his own place. Probably the current best place in town for creativity and execution. Same great cured meats now combined with an excellent menu with an emphasis on meat. Also the second best chocolate dessert in town. Sadly closed now.

* D's Six Packs & Dogz - Regent Square

Anukul: Amazing beer bottle selection and great rotating features on draft. Good for a quick bite before an artsy movie.

Pete: Credible Chicago dog. Not crusty like I like them, and too much bun, but yummy. The fries are good. Actually better than the O fries.

peterb: I actually think I prefer D's to the O. A lot of that might be the atmosphere, and the superior selection of condiments.

** Dave and Andy's - Atwood St, Oakland

Pete: Really really really good local ice cream shop. Don't go anywhere else for cones. If I see you in a Cold Stone or something, I'll cut you.

Roger: Agree, but the room is coldly industrial at best.

* De Luca's - Strip

Pete: One of the better breakfast places in the city, but nowhere near great.

Roger: Yummy 2,000 kcal breakfasts.

peterb: It's a pit, but it's a pit with really good bacon. The coffee is substandard (and getting worse over time)

rlink:The people who line up for Pamela's have invaded. Still deliciously evil, but now there's a wait.

** Dianoia's - Penn Ave, Strip

Pete: A super Italian deli that leans into some Italian American classics as well. Good pizzas, sandwiches, bakery, breakfast, and anything else you might want. Good dinner menu too.

** Dinette - Shadyside, near Whole Foods (Closed)

Pete: The pizza is super, but the real joy here is salads and starters. But don't miss the pizzas with pancetta and eggs. Second or third best place in town now.

rlink: Great pizzas, small but decent wine selection. As a friend so eloquently put it, "Lit like the surface of the [expletive] Sun." My retinas will just have to suffer.

Anukul: Crispy thin crust pizzas that highlight smart seasonal toppings.

** Dish - 17th Street, South Side (Open Again!)

Pete: A surreal zone of uber-hipness in the middle of the South Side. Great appetizers and mediterranean/Italian pasta, meat and seafood dishes. Really good, maybe my favorite in the city. They take credit cards now.

Anukul: Great but small space, great but small menu with consistently good specials (2-3/night), fun staff.

Double-Wide Grille - 24th and Carson, South Side

Pete: This place is awful. It started out just mediocre and it got worse every time I went back. Avoid except maybe for the booze.

rlink: Everyone raves about the food, but I can't see why. I've never had a good meal here. Good selection of beers on draught, and a HUGE patio. The servers get cranky if you sit outside and don't order food, but I've never seen the same one twice, so I don't care.

** Driftwood Oven - 35th Street or so, Lawrenceville

Pete: Best pizza in town right now. Also a transcendent mortadella sandwich.

* E2 - Bryant Street, Highland Park (Closed)

rlink: Great Saturday/Sunday breakfast and brunch. Ever-changing menu of locally-sourced foods, from the rich to the rustic, sweet to the savoury. Get the Tony-Bag-o'-Donuts (sourdough ginger donuts).

Pete: This is "Kate who used to work at Enrico's back in the day"'s place. Good breakfast. Have also had some good Slow Food dinners there.

* Eat 'n Park - Everywhere

Pete: Almost always open. Great with kids.

Roger: How can you review Eat 'n Park in this city? It's part of the "culture." McDonald's with servers. I hate it.

Eat Unique - Craig Street

Pete: Used to be Craig Street coffee. Never order anything they don't already have made. One of the least effective service schemes ever devised for a restaurant lives here.

* Edgar's Tacos - Penn Ave, Strip

Pete: Good tacos and such.

* Eleven - Smallman Street, Strip District

Pete: The first time I went I got bad fish. But since then it has been uniformly excellent. Bar menu has a remarkably good lobster roll. Go get it.

rlink: It is impossible to have a bad meal here. Expensive, but oh so worth it.

* Enrico Biscotti - 20th St. and Penn, Strip.

Pete: Great biscotti, cookies, and other delights. The cafe in the back, which was one of the best food places to ever exist in Pittsburgh is now open only on weekends.

Roger: Two of my favoriate places in the city. Top notch.

Anukul: I'll miss the chaos of eating lunch in the Strip.

peterb: The place in Shadyside (note: closed) is exactly as bad as the place in the strip was good. The food is almost the same, but the atmosphere is all wrong.

* Enrico's Tazzo D'Oro - Highland Park

Pete: Not at all related to the other Enrico's. Good coffee, funky place. New outpost at CMU is also good.

Anukul: Good coffee, decent lunch fare, great place to read the sunday paper.

** Espresso a Mano - Butler Street in Lawrenceville

Pete: Best cappuccino in the city. Matt the owner was the best guy La Prima had for years. Now he is on his own. Go here instead.

** Everyday Noodles - Forbes Ave, Squirrel Hill

Pete: A true first in Pittsburgh. Truly excellent and authentic hand-pulled noodles in a variety of soups, not to mention Shanghai soup dumplings and other authentic Chinese treats. Joins How Lee and Rose Tea as the Chinese food triumvirate in town. Do not go anywhere else. Ever.

jamief: Love this place so much. Get the soup dumplings for sure, although everything on the menu is excellent. Try not to be startled when the chefs loudly slap their big hand-pulled noodles on the table as they're working.

Anukul: Save room for the pan fried pork bun. 2 orders worth.

* Fat Heads - South Side, Carson and 18th or 19th.

Pete: Good wings, lots of beer, huge sandwiches that don't suck much. Very loud.

Anukul Great bar food with great beer; the beasty barbecue sauce is perfection.

peterb: Their wings have declined in quality dramatically over the past few years. Stick to the sandwiches.

rlink: If you miss the wings, get the Voodoo Killer Burger, but don't tell your intestines that it was my idea.

** Fish Nor Fowl - Friendship

jamief: New DeShantz restaurant in the space where Salt of the Earth used to be. Very creative and delicious food, if somewhat inconsistent at times. They recently simplified the menu because the original menu required you to have a Ph.D. in Hipsterology to understand it.

** Five Points Artisan Bakeshop - Squirrel Hill

Pete: Good bread. Also good croissant. For brioche go to Gourmandine.

jamief: Awesome French bakery specializing in boulangerie. Best baguettes in Pittsburgh.

Anukul: Their seeded fougasse, cardamom sweet buns, and chocolate rye cookies highlight their super powers

* FL.2 - Downtown

Pete: New relatively fancy restaurant and bar in the Fairmont Hotel downtown. Where Habitat used to be. Good straightforward things, though sometimes the price per unit food is confusing.

* Frankfurters - Lincoln Ave. in Bellevue (Closed)

Pete: Great hot dogs. I like the O better.

peterb: They have birch beer, and good hot dogs. Not quite as great as D's.

* Fujiya Ramen - Aiken, Shadyside

Pete: The only decent ramen in the city (in a reasonably accessible space.). Also Japanese curry! Plus a range of other standards.

* Girasole (*) - Shadyside

Contributed: Good Italian, nice atmosphere, excellent ravioli and tiramisu. Smallish. LOUD.

Roger: Nice place that seriously needs some acoustic tiling. Competent food, good service.

Paul: The trick to eating here is getting a table on the patio when the weather is nice; considerably less noisy. We've never had a bad meal.

** Gaucho Parrilla Argentina - Downtown

Pete: Awesome grilled meat place. Also good salads and grilled veggies.

Anukul: great meat. great sauces.

* Green Forest - 655 Rodi Rd.

Pete: My friend Alex says, "If you are thinking 'Meat, meat. I need more meat. Where is the damn meat?' this is a pretty good place." The cold bar is more than tolerable, too.

Roger: Did Pete mention the meat? Atkins heaven. Not half bad.

Green Pepper - Murray Ave

Anukul: Spicy pork, red rice, and a nice selection of banchan.

peterb: The best of their stew dishes is the yuk gae jang, spicy beef stew. Both the kimchi jigae and soon du bu are also credible, though not as good as Korea Garden.

Grille on Seventh - 7th Avenue, Downtown

rlink: When the waiter takes your nearly-untouched plate that you've pushed aside without asking what was wrong, and then openly scrapes it into the trash, you know they just don't care. Likely survives on its proximity to the Benedum, Byham, and Heinz Hall.

* Grit & Grace - Downtown (Closed)

Pete: A new favorite in the Downtown area. Go for the goat curry, stay for the things involving pork. Wish they had a good salad.

jamief: Avoid the dim sum, but all the other food we got was great. Good service and atmosphere. Cocktails were disappointing.

Note: This place has changed names, but we haven't been to the new thing.

Gullifty's - Murray Ave (Closed)

Pete: AVOID. Used to be an OK place for desserts (the killer cookie was awesome). Now there is no reason to go.

Gypsy Cafe - Bingham Street, Southside

rlink: Wide selection of okay dishes from all over the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. As a Hungarian, I am offended by what they call gulyás.

** Il Piccolo Forno - 21st and Penn, Strip.

Pete: Antonio's Italian bakery. Great pastas and salads for lunch. Stupendous breads, cakes, and pastry. Also the best pizza in town.

Note: This place closed but has reopened under new management. See the entry for Colangelos.

* Il Pizzaiolo - Mt. Leb, Market Square

Pete: Brick oven Napoli-style pizza and fancy pasta plates. Pizza still isn't quite my thing, but the pasta dishes are now most excellent. My previous recommendation to just go to RM doesn't work anymore, since RM is closed. Caruso's is also essentially dead. So there you go.

Anukul: Classic VPN pizza that executes up to its potential unlike many others. Try the fried montanara pizza for an almost funnel cake experience.

* Independent Brewing Company Squirrel Hill

Anukul: Good "just a bit fancy" pub food with great local beer & cocktail program.

* Ka Mei Cantonese Food - Murray Ave, across from Jerry's (Closed)

Pete: This is the reincarnation of Tasty. Same people, same excellent Cantonese. It's just in Squirrel Hill instead of Shadyside. Giving it an extra bullet because I missed it.

* Kaya - Strip

Pete: Sometimes it's great, sometimes it sucks.

Roger: I agree about the inconsistency, but I like it a lot. Another competent Big Burrito restaurant.

rlink: Consistency has improved a lot. Haven't had a bad meal here in ages.

* Kassab's - South Side

Pete: Good middle eastern food. My Israeli friend says it's the best Middle Eastern place in town. Recently moved to new, much cleaner, location.

Anukul Good and greasy. Good sleek.

** Klavon's - Penn Ave, Strip.

Pete: Transcendent milkshakes. Neat old drug store soda fountain.

Roger: My favoriate ice cream place in the city.

Note: This place was recently sold and is under new management. I have no new opinion as of now.

** Korea Garden - South Oakland

Pete: On a cold gray Pittsburgh day, go here and get the Kim Chi soup (Kimchi jjigae), or the seafood version with soft tofu (Sundubu)

peterb: There are many places you can get Spicy Korean Soup. This one is the best.

** La Cucina Flegrea - Market Square (Closed)

Pete: Recently moved downtown. Have not been by the try it. Back in the day this was the best Italian in Pittsburgh.

Roger: Windowless but yummy.

* La Feria - Walnut St.

Pete: Good but a bit boring. Up very many steps.

Roger: Limited selection but reliably tasty Peruvian food.

Paul: Never any reason not to get the sweet potato chips as an appetizer, and no point in ordering off of anything but the specials board. Often have interesting cold soups in the warmer months.

** La Gourmandine - Lawrenceville

Pete: Great baguette sandwiches, transcendent brioche (get the Bostok), lots of other fancy pastries. Croissant are not as good as Chatelier or Five Points.

* La Palapa - South Side, Public Market

jamief: Tacos that rival Las Palmas, but the main reason to go there is the garlicky sopa de tortilla, served with a poached egg.

* La Prima Espresso - 21st and Penn, Strip

Pete: Always my long time favorite, but I think 21st Street Coffee and former employee "Matt"'s Espresso a Mano are have now surpassed it. Still like their beans though (updated for 2010).

* Las Palmas - Beechview/Brookline, Oakland

Pete: Mexican grocery store and meat counter. Also the best Taco truck in Pittsburgh. Get the lomo tacos. On Brookline Blvd officially in Beechview (I guess) but close to Brookline too. So who knows.

* Leena's - Oakland Ave. (Closed)

Pete: Good Falafel. This is run by the guy that used to have the blue truck called Leena's. Same good Falafel.

Roger: Authentically yummy.

This place is where Swagath used to be.

* Legends of the North Shore (*) - North Side

Contributed: Relaxed mostly-Italian food. Good soup, nice lunch menu.

peterb: This place is reliably very good. I wouldn't necessarily make a special trip (as I would for Cucina Flegrea), but it's probably your best option for good food in the North Shore, and serves better Italian than most of the Bloomfield places.

** Legume - North Craig Street (Is now just Butterjoint)

Pete: A long time favorite, now in a new spot. Excellent French-inspired food with a homey Pittsburgh touch to it. Get the cassoulet if they have it. Best chocolate dessert in town. As of 2020 Legume and Butterjoint became just Butterjoint.

rlink: I don't get here often enough. Waiting until 5PM to post the daily menu makes deciding when to go a pain, but the food is worth it.

The Library - Carson Street, South Side

rlink: Greasy apps, oversauced pastas, grilled fat sandwiches. The rooftop deck is okay for drinks in nice weather, as long as you don't mind waiting forever for the next round.

* Lidia's - Strip (Closed)

Pete: Good Italian.

* Mama Lena's - McKee's Rocks

Paul: Good local pizza joint. Get the Sicilian pie.

* Mad Mex - Oakland, North Hills, Mt. Leb

Pete: Enjoyable faux-Mex. Lots of beer and drinks. Loud.

Roger: Best Mexican-ish food in Pittsburgh. Oakland place is so loud I won't go there.

Anukul great wings (wild san francisco).

rlink: The suburban locations are terrible. Suck it up and go to Oakland.

* Meat And Potatoes - Penn Ave, Downtown

Pete: Meaty bar food downtown. I find the starters and the mains good, but the in betweens always make me sad. Get he bone marrow.

* Mercurio's - Shadyside

jamief: Excellent Neapolitan-style pizza and gelato. Room is casual and good with kids.

Anukul: so much potential but tragically inconsistent; some times spot on neapolitan, other times carelessly finished. the gelato usually makes up for it.

* Milky Way - Murray Ave

Pete: Vegetarian and Kosher. Good pizza and falafel.

Roger: A welcome alternative in the Murray Ave area.

Monterey Bay Fish Grotto - Mount Washington

Pete: Good fish and such. Nice view.

Roger: Silly name and equally silly decor, but one of the best seafood places in town. Awesome view. The bar is good too.

Paul: One of the best meals I've ever had, sitting in the ghetto in back facing west, watching a storm roll in. They don't overcook the fish.

My Thai - Shadyside, 2nd floor, corner of Walnut and Aiken

Pete: Generic boring Thai food in Shadyside. Used to be better. Removing the bullet.

Roger: There are two Thai places in Shadyside. This is the better one by far. Service is very efficient and friendly.

Paul: Very, very nice. The crispy duck is great. Ask for the condiment dish.

** Morcilla - Lower Lawrenceville

Pete: Justin Severino's second place in town. More of a Spanish bent. Same strengths as Cure but I like his original place better. Bigger bar for people who are into that, especially gin and tonics.

jamief: I've never liked this as much as Cure, but it's still very good. The acoustics are rough though and it can get very loud.

Nakama - Carson and 17th

Roger: The cheesy Benihana schtick lives! Nakama is to Japanese cuisine as P.F. Chang's is to Chinese. Utterly lacking in subtlety and grace. Was that butter you just slathered on my over-grilled shrimp? On the other hand, the kid loved the goofy chef show.

rlink: Better sushi than available elsewhere on the South Side, but that's not saying much. The servers always manage to screw up one item per person.

New Dumpling House - Murray Ave

Pete: Chinese and sushi. Stay away.

Roger: The place exudes scary, but I've had okay sushi there.

* New How Lee - Murray Ave

Pete: Though it has the same name and location, this version of NEW HOW LEE now has a Szechuan menu that will melt your face. Note: Recent (2019) reports indicate a falling off of quality. I have not been back to verify recently.

* Noodlehead - Highland Ave, Shadyside

Pete: Yet another new noodle joint. That makes four this year. Eclectic blend of different street food style noodles. Good snack sizes.

jamief: I love Noodlehead, though it's often very busy and they don't take reservations. They also don't take credit cards or make substitutions. I guess you can pull that kind of stuff when the food is this good.

** Northeast Kitchen - Forbes Ave, Squirell Hill (Closed )

Pete: Good Northern-Chinese style dumplings and other things. Almost as good as I make them. Clustered with all the other great regional Chinese on Forbes in Squill.

* Nu Bistro Murray Ave

Anukul: A proper deli that smokes meat with good soup, sandwiches, and latke tots.

Pete: Good chicken soup, finally! Reuben Knish is a great thing.

jamief: This place is way better than it should be as a Pamela's spin-off. They've started only doing weekend brunch, which is still good, but it was better when they were open every day.

Olive Garden - Everywhere

Pete: The Olive Garden is a great evil that stains our very existence and threatens everything good that we believe in.

Orient Kitchen - Oakland, Baum Blvd. (Closed)

Pete: OK general Chinese. Not as good as other favorites. Have not been there in a while.

* Original Fish Market - Downtown(Closed)

Pete: Good fish and sushi. Have not been back since Penn Ave. opened.

Roger: Good food, good service.

Anukul non-sushi quality was been inconsistent; many mediocre entrees hiding in the menu. Get sushi or something simple (hong kong style fish).

* Original Hot Dog Shop ("The O") - Oakland, CMU (Closed)

Pete: Transcendent hot dogs. More fries than a human can consume. Dirty, greasy, possibly dangerous.

Roger: An institution. A frightening institution.

Outback Steakhouse - North Side, McCandless, others

Pete: Chain "Australian-themed" steakhouse. Good burgers & ribs.

Packs & Dogs - Shiloh Street, Mt. Washington

rlink: Mt. Trashington's answer to D's Six-Packs & Dogz. Much smaller bottle selection than D's. Dogs are kept warm in a steam table and reheated in the deep fryer. Soggy fries.

Pamela's - Oakland, Squill, Strip, Millvale

Pete: I don't understand why people like this place. Greasy, thin, practically deep fried pancakes, nothing else that great.

Roger: I concur. Gross.

Paul: My body can no longer handle the grease.

peterb: Everyone who stands on line to get in here on Saturday morning is going to Hell.

Anukul: It is technically possible to eat here without hating yourself but never wait in line for it.

jamief: Pamela's tastes good going down, but then I feel like crap the rest of the day. The Lyonnaise potatoes are great (but salty). Don't order too much!

* Paris 66 - Centre Avenue, East Liberty

Pete: Excellent crepes and other small scale French bistro food. Clocks are set to Paris time.

rlink: Better than Crepes Parisienne, with a subtle undertone of haughtiness. Technically in East Liberty, but claims to be in Shadyside.

** Park Brugge - Point Breeze

Pete: Everything that's good about Point Brugge plus a better floorplan and poutine. Go.

** Penn Avenue Fish Company - Penn Avenue, Strip

Pete: The best fish store and restaurant in town. If I see you anywhere else I'll cut you. They serve great soup, good sushi and the occasional raw bar items (oysters, etc) that are better for breakfast than they have any right to be.

* Penn Brewery - North Side

Pete: German-themed brew pub with good beer and mostly okay food. Home of Penn Pilsner, Penn Dark, etc, etc.

Roger: Inconsistent food, sometimes dead cold. Beer is yummy.

Paul: The food is variable, but usually reasonable; they can be forgiven much for their beer. Go in March and get a pull of the Martzen.

* People's Indian - Bloomfield

Paul: Pretty good Indian,, somewhat standard menu. They are not afraid to make the food spicy.

** Pie for Breakfast - Oakland

Pete: The third leg of Trevett Hooper's local empire, next to Legume and ButterJoint. Finally there is a good breakfast place in town. The pancakes are the best anywhere. They also know how to cook eggs, home fries, and biscuits. Good pie.

jamief: Hipster diner food that is excellent, and somehow not pretentious.

** Pierogies Plus - Mckee's Rocks

Pete: Hand made Pierogies. Awesome.

Anukul: Eat them there, dripping with butter.

P. F. Chang's - Waterfront

Pete: Offensively bad Chinese. I have further thoughts on this.

Roger: I agree with Pete except that it's not Chinese.

Paul: Favorite house flavoring ingredient seems to be propane. Hideous.

** Piccolo Forno - Butler St, Lawrenceville

Pete: Took over the old Regina Margherita store. Salads, wood fired pizza and Carla's homemade pastas. Easily some of the best Italian food anywhere. Run by the same people who brought you Il Piccolo Forno in the strip.

Piper's Pub - South Side

Pete: I don't think this place is quite the same. I'm not feeling it anymore.

Anukul: brit-pub food with a good selection of beer and whiskey; They graciously handle big groups.

rlink: They've gotten rid of Old Speckled Hen on draught and the steak and kidney pie, but I enjoy the place.

** Pizzeria Davide - Strip

Pete: Pizza, Wings, Cheesesteak. All good.

** Point Brugge - Point Breeze

Pete: Excellent fries and decent versions of various Belgian standards. Good mussels when they are in season.

rlink: There is no reason to get anything other than mussels and frites, unless you are lucky enough to get in for Sunday brunch, which is when you should have the waffles.

Anukul: The fries are actually better here but everything else is probably better at Park Bruges

* Poulet Bleu - Lower Lawrenceville

Pete: Good beef stew. Great soufflé. Mediocre and expensive steak.

jamief: Solid French Bistro, and probably my current favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh. The chocolate soufflé, which you have to order with your main dishes because it takes so long, is the stuff that dessert dreams are made of.

* Primanti Brothers - Strip, Oakland.

Pete: Those wierd-ass sandwiches with fries and slaw on them. Sublime in their own twisted way.

Roger: Sick making.

Paul: Somewhat addicting high-test piles of sandwich. They'll yell at you in the Strip if you order it wrong.

rlink: Death by corned beef or by capicola? If only all decisions were this delicious.

peterb: The great secret of Primanti's is to go there in the morning and get a bacon-and-egg sandwich (or, if you're eating there, just a bacon and egg plate). It's a yummy (if deadly) breakfast.

** Pusadee's Garden - Upper Lawrenceville

Pete: This is a place I should go more. It's been great the few times I've been, but I always get side tracked somewhere else. Update: The new renovated space puts this place on the must visit list for anyone who wants to eat in Pittsburgh.

jamief: Best Thai in Pittsburgh. The Kao Soi noodles are particularly great but I haven't had a bad dish there. Don't miss eating in their beautiful outdoor patio, where the restaurant also grows a good deal of the herbs and vegetables they use in the food. Portions are small for Pittsburgh.

Redbeard's Mountain Resort and Yacht Club - Corner of Shiloh and Sycamore, Mt. Washington

rlink: The name is a total joke. Yinzer sports-y bar. Greasy pub food. Sadly, it's probably the least awful restaurant at that end of Mt. Washington.

** Rockaway Pizza - White Oak

Pete: Legit "New York style" pizza. Get the white pizza with clams. You're welcome.

** Roberto's Pizzaria - Bellevue (Closed)

This place is closed. Roberto moved to NJ and then NY.

Ritter's Diner - Baum Boulevard, Bloomfield

Pete: I don't get it.

rlink: It's nicknamed "Critters" for a reason.

** Rose Tea Cafe - Forbes Ave near Shady in Squill (Closed)

Pete: A landmark place in Pittsburgh food history. Forget the bubble tea, get the homey Taiwanese peasant food. This is my favorite current Chinese food in the city limits. It's good enough to go to even if you just spent time in a city with a real Chinatown.

* Rose Tea Express - Craig St. near CMU

Pete: ROSE TEA NEAR CMU. There will be students sleeping on the sidewalk outsidet his place.

* Salem's - Penn Ave. at 29th St., Strip

Jamie: Pittsburgh portions of well-prepared Middle Eastern and South Asian food. Grill items are great but take a long time to prepare.

Pete: My only complaint is about the lack of lamb schwarma. Otherwise everything is good. Nice grocery store too.

The Sharp Edge

peterb: Excellent Belgian beer at reasonable prices, and good bar food. This place used to serve vaguely OK food that was incredibly overpriced, but now they serve definitely OK food that is priced about right. If you haven't been here in a while, go back.

Pete: I trust peterb about the beer, but I have not had good food at this place, and it always seemed too expensive.

* Smiling Banana Leaf - Bryant Street, Highland Park

Pete: I have been once. I liked it.

rlink: Good Thai, unbelievably tiny place, takeout is sorely lacking in presentation but just as tasty.

** Smoke - Lawrenceville

Pete: Tacos, with BBQ. That is all you need to know. In the new spot at hipster central the brisket is even better

Anukul: Conveniently now located with a movie theater where you can take in a classic film or two while waiting for your food.

* Soba - Shadyside

Pete: Been back recently. It was better than I remember it. Still, the rice was sub-par.

Anukul A great space with great fusion pan-asian food; if that concept doesn't offend you, you'll love it.

* Spice Affair - Aspinwall

Pete: Another decent Indian joint. Some different menu items from Taj Mahal if you need a change of pace.

Spice Island Tea House- Oakland.

Pete: This place used to be stupendous. Now it is not.

Roger: I can't remember when it was stupendous. Very greasy.

** Spoon - East side, near Whole Foods (Closed)

Pete: Yet another single word restaurant that's excellent. Fancy food with various influences. Fancy bar too.

** Spork - Over there, near Babyland

Pete: Interesting fancy American food. They have metal sporks which are bad. Great tea list. Get the cookie table dessert.

Square Cafe - Shadyside (where Spoon used to be)

Pete: OK but not great breakfast and lunch. No nonsense. Great with kids.

** Stagioni - East Carson St. South Side.

Pete: Great Italian food. Great fresh mozz. appetizer. Sometimes too big.

* Station - Bloomfield.

Pete: Reasonably creative "food that would be served in a restaurant with a single word name." I have enjoyed every visit and yet can't remember anything I ever ate there.

** Taiwanese Bistro Cafe 33 - East Carson St. South Side.

Pete: With Rose Tea gone this is now the place for Taiwanese in the City. Get the minced pork stir fry with Chinese chives and the steamed Halibut.

jamief: This place is great. Everything is very fresh, and I like it even more than Rose Tea, even though Rose Tea gets the PSU lifetime achievement award for upending Pittsburgh's Chinese food scene.

** The Steer and the Wheel - Food Truck

Pete: This, along with the Butterjoint burger, takes over Tessaro's place as the burgers to get.

Sushi Too - Shadyside

Pete: Warm sushi on bad rice. Never liked it. Note, the South Side location has opened under a different name recently.

Roger (*): Friendly, reliable. My default "let's do sushi" place. Not as yummy as Umi and Chaya, but cheaper and far easier to get into.

Anukul: The sushi is almost always nasty; stick to Shadyside location. Haven't tried the korean.

peterb: There are atmosphere differences between the two locations. The people at the South Side location are nice and friendly and make you feel welcome. The people at the Shadyside location hate you, and want you to die.

* Taj Mahal - McKnight Road, North Hills

Pete: Nice North Indian. A good way to change things up if you go to Udipi or Tamarind too much.

rlink: Surprisingly good Indian for being located in the middle of what is arguably the Longest Strip Mall On Earth.

jamief: Really good North Indian lunch buffet with lots of variety.

* Tamari - Lawrenceville, Warrendale (Closed)

Pete: Asian/Latin fusion. Really! Lobster "sushi" roll is to die for. Big bar. They are heros for opening in the North Hills as well. By far the best place to eat up there.

* Tamarind - South Hills

Pete: Great Indian food. There are a few of these now in various locations. The South Hills one is the best for the creative lunch buffet (really!). They make these lentil fritters (vada) that are to die for.

* Tan lac Vien Vietnamese Bistro - Murray Ave, Squill.

Pete: Good Pho with a rich tasty broth. Go here instead of Tram's.

jamief: One of the only Vietnamese places I've ever been to with an extensive vegetarian menu, including a great vegetarian Pho. The lemongrass tofu is delicious, as are the vegetarian bun and com.

Anukul: Great bun and decent banh mi.

* Taqueria Mi Mexico - Murray Ave, Squill (Closed)

Pete: Great tacos and tortas. Other interesting Mexican dishes. Insanely cheap. Go now. A second nice Mexican place to go along with Taco Loco.

peterb: I love this place. Although not on the menu, the soups (consomme, menudo) are great, when they have them.

* Teppanyaki Kyoto Highland Park

Anukul: Seasonal japanese and grilled favorites: yaki onigiri, takoyaki, and okonomiyaki. Good with kids.

Tessaro's - Bloomfield, Liberty Ave

Pete: Local bar. Burgers used to be better than they are now. Bad sides.

Roger: Good burgers but pretty everything else is mediocre.

Paul: The burgers are all. If you ask for a rare burger, they will actually serve one. Great tin ceilings.

** Thin Man Sandwich Shop (Closed) - 21st St., Strip

jamief: Some of the best and most creative sandwiches in the city. The Thin Man sandwich is an excellent default but their seasonal items are usually great too.

Pete: Very yummy. Get anything with liver in it.

* Tram's - Bloomfield

Pete: Good Vietnamese food. Noodle bowls, some "special dishes". I have never found the Pho here special.

Roger: Atmospherically scary, not for the faint of heart, which for me is a bonus on top of the good food.

Paul: Great pho, great spring rolls, great table coverings.

peterb: I love this place. There's not a lot of options vis-a-vis the pho (no tripe, for example), but the broth is superb.

* Turkish Kebab House - Squirrel Hill

jamief: Finally a good Middle Eastern place in Pittsburgh. Very casual atmosphere, but the food is solid.

Anukul: The lamb adana kebab and fried eggplant with warm fresh bread are wonderful.

** Udipi Cafe - Old Willima Penn highway, Monroeville

Pete: Probably won't get better Indian near here. Lots of traffic from the Temple. Good Dosa.

Paul: Utensils strictly optional. Get the Paper Masala Dosai for a meal that verges on the architectural.

peterb: I second Paul's recommendation of the paper masala dosai. They have a lot on the menu, but I can never find a reason to get anything other than the superb dosai.

jamief: Amazing South Indian / vegetarian. Also recommend the vegetable uthappa and the chana batura, which comes with a gigantic ellipsoid of deep-fried puffy bread.

Anukul: Wonderful greasy south indian snack food served with spicy sambar and chutneys.

** Umi - Shadyside, Ellsworth

Pete: High end Japanese. Very expensive, very good. Unclear if it's worth it. The fixed price tasting menu (Omakase) is nice.

Roger: My favoriate sushi, mostly because of atmosphere.

Anukul: The omakase is an enjoyable splurge although not as dynamic as options in other cities.

* Uncle Sam's - Oakland (closed), Squirrel Hill, others

Pete: Good cheesesteaks. Some gripe about the bread and/or the fries. The one in Oakland is better.

Roger: Hate.

peterb:Every time I eat here I feel vaguely ill. When I want a cheesesteak I go to Charlie's instead. I'm told this is some sort of political question.

* Union Standard - Downtown (Closed)

Pete: Good straight ahead fancy "American" food. Good fish.

** Vivo - Bellevue now Sewickley

Pete: Landmark place in the late 90s and early 2000s. Now closed and replaced by something else that is not as good. Moved to Sewickley, and is mostly the same there.

Waffalonia Squirrel Hill, Schenley Plaza

Anukul: Inconsistent liege waffles but consistently great Dave & Andy's ice cream including the wonderful custom Speculoos flavor.

* Yo Rita - Carson Street, Southside(Closed)

Pete: Foofy tacos, a bit uneven overall, some interesting ideas but I wish they had corn tortillas.

rlink: Really good oddball tacos. Softshell crab, sweetbreads, lamb, duck, rocky mountain oysters, bánh mì. Loses a star for the surly owner who sits at the bar and stares at patrons.

Zarra's - Bigelow Boulevard, North Oakland

rlink: Hearty traditional Southern Italian. Good homemade sausage. The dining room is distractingly packed with kitchy antiques.

* Zaw's - Murray Ave, down the hill.(Closed)

Pete: Good Asian takeout in Squirell Hill. Closed in 2015, which is sad for all of us.

Roger: On the oily side, but tasty.

peterb: The only reason to go here is if you are too poor to afford Rose Tea.

rlink: The only "Chinese" place where I will stoop to ordering General Tso's. It's that good. I don't know what anything else on the menu tastes like.

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