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Calling all Pittsburgh eGulleteers


Mel Altenderfer
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Upon reviewing the Pennsylvania threads, it appears that we Pittsburghers are perceived as culinary savages, gnawing on our Primanti's sandwiches and Roethlisburgers and swilling Iron City Light in dank bars under a haze of coal dust.

I think there are a lot of wonderful culinary resources in Pittsburgh and some fabulous restaurants. Let's talk about them!

I love:

The chicken-on-a-stick from Sam-Bok in the Strip.

Kaya

Bona Terra

Veggies from Farmers @ the Firehouse

Roberto's Pizza in Bellevue (RIP, sadly)

Prestogeorge sausages

Corned beef sandwiches and a pitcher of Railbender at the Park House on the North Side

Wursts at Max's Allegheny Tavern

Burgers at Tessaro's

Polish Platter at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern

Vivo in Bellevue

Ma Provence in Squirrel Hill

Please add your faves. Yinz know you want to. :biggrin:

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I'm from Philadelphia, but my daughter is a student at PBT, so I come to Pittsburgh fairly frequently ... and I have tell you, PIT doesn't need to feel ashamed of anything ... great Italian (Lidia's in the strip and many places in Little Italy), great tapas and Spanish cuisine, fine Indian and Chinese in Shadyside ... and great light cuisine at the Frick.

I'd love to learn more about what you residents really find good -- it's the best way to learn about a place!!

Regards,

Jason

JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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Oh good. My husband is heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow and has been bugging me to see what "the gullet" has to say about dining there. He's spent a lot of time there already but hasn't really had the opportunity to go beyond fast until now. Most threads that I've seen mention Lidia and the Big Burrito groups but they don't seem to really be what he's looking for.

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Oh good.  My husband is heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow and has been bugging me to see what "the gullet" has to say about dining there.  He's spent a lot of time there already but hasn't really had the opportunity to go beyond fast until now.  Most threads that I've seen mention Lidia and the Big Burrito groups but they don't seem to really be what he's looking for.

What's he looking for? I am happy to provide guidance and suggestions.

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Oh good.  My husband is heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow and has been bugging me to see what "the gullet" has to say about dining there.  He's spent a lot of time there already but hasn't really had the opportunity to go beyond fast until now.  Most threads that I've seen mention Lidia and the Big Burrito groups but they don't seem to really be what he's looking for.

What's he looking for? I am happy to provide guidance and suggestions.

Steak. :biggrin: His boss is a big steak guy. I guess he's looking for something on the South Side/Region, but he said they'll head downtown if they have to.

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I'm in Pittsburgh now for the week and would love some recommendations for dinner. I'm on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Campus, which I understand is in Oakland. I don't have a car -- is there anything good within walking?

Dinner tonight was paid for. We ate at Le Mont. The view was nice. The food wasn't very. But, given that we were a pre-arranged party of ~20 or so and we could only choose between filet mignon or swordfish, it probably isn't a fair way to judge a place. Anyway, salad, bread, veggies, and steak were pretty bad. Soup (mushroom bisque), mashed potatoes, and dessert were OK.

Edited by Leonard Kim (log)
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Can't help much on steak as when I don't eat steak out much, preferring to grill. There's a Mortons and a Ruth Chris (both downtown) and the Pittsburgh Steak House (on Carson in South Side) among others.

Personal area favorites include:

Downtown/Strip:

- The Carlton (ace service, possibly best wine list in town)

- Eleven (Chef's Table tasting menu)

- Lucy's cart for $1.75 pad thai

South Side/Mt. Washington:

- Dish Osteria (intimate - reservations necessary)

- Fatheads (probably best of the beer & sandwich joints)

- Taco Loco (greasy double tacos around traditional Mexican street food fillings)

Bloomfield:

- Mezzanote (solid treatment of 'usuals', interesting specials)

- Tessaro's (meat heaven)

- Grasso Roberto (desserts, caffe)

Squirrel Hill:

- Silk Elephant (thai tapas - no need to order an entree)

Shadyside:

- Umi (ambitious pan-Asian - some misses, mostly hits, have to respect the effort)

- Girasole (upscale Italian)

South Hills:

- Il Pizzaiolo (excellent upscale brick oven pies and pasta in Mt. Lebanon)

- Bado's (Mt. Lebanon - only local pizzaria offering eggplant as a topping, best beer tap selection in So. Hills)

- The Classroom (American classics updated by owner/chef in McMurray)

- Davio's (friendly, well-executed Italian in Beechview)

These aren't necessarily the best restaurants in town (although many are on 'local top ten' lists), but ones we enjoy.

Rich Westerfield

Mt. Lebanon, PA

Drinking great coffee makes you a better lover.

There is no scientific data to support this conclusion, but try to prove otherwise. Go on. Try it. Right now.

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I'm in Pittsburgh now for the week and would love some recommendations for dinner.  I'm on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Campus, which I understand is in Oakland.  I don't have a car -- is there anything good within walking?

Dinner tonight was paid for.  We ate at Le Mont.  The view was nice.  The food wasn't very.  But, given that we were a pre-arranged party of ~20 or so and we could only choose between filet mignon or swordfish, it probably isn't a fair way to judge a place.  Anyway, salad, bread, veggies, and steak were pretty bad.  Soup (mushroom bisque), mashed potatoes, and dessert were OK.

There are some great lunch places in Oakland. I highly recommend Oishii Bento for bento box and sushi, Baba D's for Middle Eastern, and Spice Island Tea House for pan-asian and exotic tea. The dinner choices are more limited, but Lucca for Italian is excellent, and Mad Mex has great cheap food and yummy margaritas. If you are willing to take the bus or walk a little further, Shadyside is very close and is chock-a-block with good eats. Soba is excellent, as is Umi. I like La Feria for Peruvian/Cuban and Harris Grill for really high-quality bar grub.

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Oh good.  My husband is heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow and has been bugging me to see what "the gullet" has to say about dining there.  He's spent a lot of time there already but hasn't really had the opportunity to go beyond fast until now.  Most threads that I've seen mention Lidia and the Big Burrito groups but they don't seem to really be what he's looking for.

What's he looking for? I am happy to provide guidance and suggestions.

Steak. :biggrin: His boss is a big steak guy. I guess he's looking for something on the South Side/Region, but he said they'll head downtown if they have to.

Pittsburgh Rare at Station Square (South Side) is pretty good for steak, but I would recommend Mantini's Woodfired Grill on East Carson above them. For a really tasty steak, head over to East Liberty and go to the Red Room.

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Thanks for the recommendations. We went to Lucca and the food was fine but extremely slow in getting out despite the restaurant not being very crowded. The menu actually warns of this (saying something like "please allow for time" because of the "made to order" food), but on the other hand, almost all the dishes came out rather cold, so it really was too slow. So maybe not the best experience this time out, but I can see how one could have a good one there. We shared the calamari appetizer (though my fellow diners refused to touch the spinach that accompanied it), and I had the Bibb salad (with currants, almond slivers, some kind of berry vinaigrette, some kind of cheese) and the prosciutto-stuffed quail with apple bread and another accompaniment I don't remember.

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Tried your second recommendation, Mad Mex, and it was the best of three dinners I've had here so far. (It's not damning with faint praise because of the issues with the other two -- I really did enjoy it.) That's despite the fact that the other two dinners were "upscale." Mad Mex, in contrast, was in the heart of student apartment land, looked like a sports bar (boxing and baseball on TVs), was loud, had a menu which read like your standard bad Tex-Mex (burritos, enchiladas, tacos, etc.), albeit with unusually cheeky language. I looked a little out of place there, probably. But you know, it really was good. I had a margarita, chips and salsa, tortilla soup, and a carnitas burrito (with blue corn bread on the side). <$20. Sounds potentially bad and definitely boring, but it really surpassed all my expectations. Thank you.

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Thanks for the suggestions. My husband tucked them into his planner for future reference. He'll be spending about 4 days a month in Pittsburgh from now on so I'm sure they'll come in handy.

On this trip they ended up going to The Rhythm House in Bridgeville. I guess it took them a long time to actually get into town, so once they got to the hotel the last thing that they wanted to do was get back on the highway. Regardless, he was pleased. He's been there before and always raves about their Rueben (it is now the standard against which all other Ruebens will be judged), and the boss had a Porterhouse that exceeded his expectations.

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Thanks for the suggestions.  My husband tucked them into his planner for future reference.  He'll be spending about 4 days a month in Pittsburgh from now on so I'm sure they'll come in handy.

On this trip they ended up going to The Rhythm House in Bridgeville.  I guess it took them a long time to actually get into town, so once they got to the hotel the last thing that they wanted to do was get back on the highway.  Regardless, he was pleased.  He's been there before and always raves about their Rueben (it is now the standard against which all other Ruebens will be judged), and the boss had a Porterhouse that exceeded his expectations.

The Rhythm House is an odd place - big old roadhouse noted for rowdy band entertainment and the Coors Light crowd, but a surprisingly interesting menu once you get past the appetizers and a very decent wine list that's incongruous for the environment.

Rich Westerfield

Mt. Lebanon, PA

Drinking great coffee makes you a better lover.

There is no scientific data to support this conclusion, but try to prove otherwise. Go on. Try it. Right now.

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Are there any more good German/Hungarian/Austrian restaurants in Pittsburgh?

I saw some mention of sausages above... :smile:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Are there any more good German/Hungarian/Austrian restaurants in Pittsburgh?

I saw some mention of sausages above... :smile:

Max's Allegheny Tavern on the North Side is the best if you are in search of wurst. Penn Brewery (also on the North Side) also has German food, but I think Max's is better.

For a night of truly authentic Hungarian food, go to Jozsa in Hazelwood. It's only open when Alex, the owner and chef, feels like it. You must call ahead and tell him you are coming. He will serve you whatever he feels like cooking, and it will be good. The atmosphere is a little less than elegant (you enter through the kitchen, for example), but the food more than makes up for it. I went there with Edward Teller's grandson, who knows from Hungarian food.

Jozsa Corner Hungarian Restaurant

4800-4804 2d Ave.

Pittsburgh PA 15207

412.422.1886

I also really like Old Europe on the South Side. They have a mix of Eastern European and Russian dishes. The rabbit I had there a couple of months ago wasa sublime.

Old Europe

1209 E Carson St

Pittsburgh, PA 15203

412.488.1700

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On this trip they ended up going to The Rhythm House in Bridgeville. ...Regardless, he was pleased. He's been there before and always raves about their Rueben (it is now the standard against which all other Ruebens will be judged)

Hey, I live about three minutes from Rhythm House! I've never been overly impressed with the food, but it's not a bad place to grab a beer.

If your husband is back in the Bridgeville area and he wants a REALLY good reuben, I recommend The Bottle Shop in Collier. Fantastic reubens and an excellent beer selection. Apart from that, there isn't much worth noting in the Bridgeville area. A new breakfast/lunch place opened up recently (Shouf's) that I've heard is really good. The owner is Lebanese, which is reflected in the menu. Oh, and if I'm not mistaken, it is smoke-free (which is a nice touch for a breakfast joint).

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On this trip they ended up going to The Rhythm House in Bridgeville. ...Regardless, he was pleased. He's been there before and always raves about their Rueben (it is now the standard against which all other Ruebens will be judged)

Hey, I live about three minutes from Rhythm House! I've never been overly impressed with the food, but it's not a bad place to grab a beer.

If your husband is back in the Bridgeville area and he wants a REALLY good reuben, I recommend The Bottle Shop in Collier. Fantastic reubens and an excellent beer selection. Apart from that, there isn't much worth noting in the Bridgeville area. A new breakfast/lunch place opened up recently (Shouf's) that I've heard is really good. The owner is Lebanese, which is reflected in the menu. Oh, and if I'm not mistaken, it is smoke-free (which is a nice touch for a breakfast joint).

Thanks! He's there quite a bit so I'm sure he'll check it out.

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Thanks for the Hungarian and German/Austrian recs, Mel. My sister and I both get to Pittsburgh from time to time and look forward to trying some of these places out.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great to see some Pittsburghers here!

Be careful with those Mad Mex margaritas, though, they will knock you on your butt! Or, um, off your barstool...

I may hit up Le Pommier tonight for their prix fixe weeknight menu. Their housemade pate is soooo good.

Anyone else a fan of that place? It's really great French bistro food, but the waitstaff is young and hip, so you can eat your roast duck while listening to Death Cab for Cutie.

"An appetite for destruction, but I scrape the plate."

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Now that I've discovered where all the Pittsburghers are hanging out, let me direct your attention to the Society's home page, where phlox herself holds the top spot this week with her delightful story about the bakeries of Squirrel Hill.

(If you happen upon this post at a later date, you can still find A Loaf of My Own in the Daily Gullet forum.)

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Ah, glad to know I'm not the only one! Let's see - favorite fine dining spots for me include the Steelhead Brasserie, Bona Terra, Umi, La Foret and recently the Alinea-inspired Alchemy Menu at the Bigelow Grille.

For casual dining, Taj Mahal on McKnight Road is a favorite, Green Forest in Penn Hills, and Sushi Kim (particularly their upstairs Korean BBQ.)

Anyway, we should plan a Pittsburgh get-together some time - anyone else up for one?

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