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Calling all Pittsburgh eGulleteers


Mel Altenderfer
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So glad to see this topic is still active.  I'm in the Johnstown area and need to make more time to come into Pittsburgh to eat.  Working all the time makes it difficult.

I've only hit Eleven, UUBU6 and Bigalow Grille(Kevin is doing a great thing at Bigalow Grille with his Chefs tasting menu, very creative)

Looking forward to hitting the Burgh this coming week.  What's the best?

Oh, and Sushi Kim? I ate there years ago and was most impressed by the sushi quality and selection.

  One more thing, is there a "Bread Company" or "Bread House" (not sure of the actual name) that distributes to restaurants?

I believe you are thinking of BreadWorks, which supplies bread for many, many restaurants in the Pgh area. They also have a store on Brighton Rd. on the North Side.

My recommendations for this weekend would be either Vivo in Bellevue or Bona Terra in Sharpsburg. Enjoy!

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  • 4 months later...

Four of us will be in town from Chicago for a long weekend. Bona Terra has been recommended by friends that live in the area. I see decent reviews on Pittsburgh forums. Is it still a good choice?

It was also mentioned that if we called far enough in advance that the chef might be able to prepare a tasting menu. Thoughts?

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  • 5 months later...

I am glad I found this thread. Im a student at Pitt. Procrastinating a bit and thinking about how dismayed I am about food in the Pitt. So far, if it's not greasy and a million calories it's not worth it for me in the city. I am sad to report that my favorite places are all along the lines of greasy spoon---The Sandwich Shop in Bloomfield (simply because of the family feel), The O and Fuel and Fuddle in Oakland.

I visited Tessaros recently but it did not blow my mind in any way. The burgers at Yankee Doodle in New Haven, Louis in New Haven, Dotty Dumpling in Madison, WI and El Hamburger in Puerto Rico will always be winners over Tessaros. A shame too because I live a block away from it.

I do like Lot 17 quite a bit and often find it in par w. Tessaro's. They also have sweet potato fries that are delicious. Alas, perhaps I just tried Tessaro's on a bad day.

Believe it or not, the best Italian I have tried thus far (and I must confess I have not put a huge effort into this endeavor) has been Del's. Nothing to write home about amazing but very good for what I had had before.

I went to Lulu's with great expectations as per my boyfriend's recommendation and was very dissapointed in their version of Korean's Bim bop (Im typing fast so not sure this is the right name or spelling)

Pamelas in Oakland was passable at best, and the one in the Strip was simply disgusting.

DeLucas in the strip is very good.(See my comment about grease and grisy joints being superb in the area.)

I have yet to find an Indian restaurant I like or a sushi place I enjoy.

Now for the goods (and there are few in my list so Im excited about trying the ones I have not in this thread): I love Abay for ethiopian food, Richards Cafe on the Strip for breakfast---great service, omelletes, paistries, croissants, everything this place serves is good--a little gem. I also like The Quiet Storm. This is more like a coffee shop but has the best vegetarian menu I have encountered in the city (of which I have not encountered many).

Sadly, and this is my biggest gripe about food in Pittsburgh: Mexican. I have to disagree with everyone on the thread about Mad Max being good. I had it this past weekend. It was decent but not amazing Mexican by any means. I tried La Fiesta and Veracruz in the past and they were even more dissapointing. Again, these restaurants do not compare to what you would find in NYC (in fact my last trip I had a stop over in NY and decided to get Mexican precisely because it will be eons before I can get good Mexican again), Madison (which has an extraordinarily high ratio of good Mexican restaurants) or even in Puerto Rico. I have to admit that when I lived in CT, I did not really enjoy good Mexican there either. This is a shame and if any egullets are interested, I think there would be a great market for good, authentic Mexican in the area. I have yet to find it. Ill keep searching.

Thanks for the leads!

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Glad I signed up for "email alerts" on this topic. Nothing in months? until now, thanks to Sus.

Thank you Sus for your input. I could have used this info yesterday though. I went to Lidia's thinking, "hell, it's Lidia Bastianach, I saw her get an award for....something last year, it's gotta be good." Maybe I'm a little to harsh, but I,ve purchased better Tiramisu from Sysco.

The Gnocchi with Duck was awesome, I've only been there once and probably won't be back. I litterally just wanted to eat at a "Lidia's" place.

As far as Sushi goes, I had such great memories of Sushi Kim's but I went back about two months ago and it just wasn't the same.

It's a shame that so much history and sacrifice goes into the learning and tradition involved with sushi, yet it can be so easily ruined as it translates to accomidate american tastes. Even though, I truely love a mayonaisse laced, deep fried, bbq duck stuffed, truffled, sweddish fish involved, wrapped in chicken skin, treated with activa, nothing but smoked bacon, bastard version of "our" sushi. There's still nothing so pristeen as real sushi at it's finest.

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  • 1 month later...

I think we need to keep the Pittsburgh topic alive! :biggrin:

We recently ate at Clifford's, it's in Evan's City and is a decent haul from downtown proper but it is BYOB and was very good, although the creme brulee had us laughing as the brulee was almost impossible to crack through.

http://www.cliffordsrestaurant.com/

We also ate at Mio, a newer place that's in Aspinwall right near The Aspinwall Grill. It's touted as a restaurant and wine bar. The food was fantastic and the wine list good, if not a terrific value for by the glass (my wife doesn't drink wine :sad: )

http://www.mio-pgh.com/

Also, Richard Chen, whose Wing Lei restaurant in Las Vegas received a Michelin star in 2008, is opening a restaurant here in East Liberty, near another place I like called The Red Room.

http://www.redroomcafe.net/

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I visited Tessaros recently but it did not blow my mind in any way.  The burgers at Yankee Doodle in New Haven, Louis in New Haven, Dotty Dumpling in Madison, WI and El Hamburger in Puerto Rico will always be winners over Tessaros.  A shame too because I live a block away from it.

I have yet to find an Indian restaurant I like or a sushi place I enjoy. 

Now for the goods (and there are few in my list so Im excited about trying the ones I have not in this thread):  I love Abay for ethiopian food...

Sadly, and this is my biggest gripe about food in Pittsburgh:  Mexican.  I have to disagree with everyone on the thread about Mad Max being good.  I had it this past weekend.  It was decent but not amazing Mexican by any means.  I tried La Fiesta and Veracruz in the past and they were even more dissapointing.  Again, these restaurants do not compare to what you would find in NYC (in fact my last trip I had a stop over in NY and decided to get Mexican precisely because it will be eons before I can get good Mexican again), Madison (which has an extraordinarily high ratio of good Mexican restaurants) or even in Puerto Rico.  I have to admit that when I lived in CT, I did not really enjoy good Mexican there either.  This is a shame and if any egullets are interested, I think there would be a great market for good, authentic Mexican in the area.  I have yet to find it.  Ill keep searching.

Sus...

I agree with you somewhat on Tessaro's. The burgers are very good relative to many other places, IMO, but honestly, are they worth all the acclaim they receive here? Not sold on that part.

Abay... nice try, and it's great to have Ethiopian here, but if you've been to DC...

Mexican... not much beyond combo plate specials, but I suggest you try Mexico City or Taco Loco (lengua tacos!). The El Campesino restos in Monroeville and Peters are probably the best combo places. There's also Azul in Leetsdale for more creative stuff, but haven't made that trip yet.

I'm surprised that given you're a student and have a New Haven background, you haven't yet ripped into the awful state of pizza here. But there is a CT-like pie in Peters Twp - Harry's (recipe comes from West Hartford). It's excellent all except for the clam pie, which was a disappointment.

For sushi, take the T to Mt. Lebanon sometime for Little Tokyo. They also opened a place on the South Side somewhere recently). And while in Mt. Lebanon, Bistro 19 is a great place for a creative dinner or for Sunday brunch (right next to the wonderful Il Pizzaiolo).

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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  • 3 years later...

Can we coax those from the 'burgh out again? :biggrin: I'm moving to PGH in a few months, and would love to hear an update on the places mentioned above. In particular, if you have recommendations for tapas, a wine bar, and any reasonably authentic Asian, I'd love to hear them.

Also, I've heard rave reviews of local produce markets. I'm probably going to end up in Squirrel Hill, so if you have any suggestions of easy-access ones in the area, that'd be great.

Thanks!

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I had a fantastic meal at Salt of the Earth recently. Adventurous food, delicious cocktails and a well chosen wine list. Highly recommended.

Embury is a really neat place for cocktails as well. An old firehouse converted to a speakeasy style cocktail lounge. Should be high on your list of places to go.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 1 month later...

Restaurants of interest (current and almost):

Salt of the Earth: Chef Kevin Sousa's imaginative melding of rust-belt comfort and modernist technique

Notion: Unabashedly modernist David Raicot orchestrates his own restaurant after many years at the Nemacolin resort

Lequme Bistro: Passionate users of local product Trevett Hooper, et al are in the process of moving from to a new location in the Oakland area near Pitt and CMU. RThey are aiming for early July opening but each 1960's vintage menu they find as they renovate the new/old kitchen just shows that this may take a bit more time

Root 174: Chef Keith Fuller is playing musical kitchens with Legume and taking over their old space. His past work at Six Penn's Kitchen makes this a highly anticipated move

Dinette: Sonja Finn's imaginative Pizza's and starters are enlivened by the fresh produce from the roof-top garden - The "Frito Misto" is to die for (whatever the selection of the day may be.

I don't meant to slight Justin Severino's charcuterie at Elements, Douglas Dick's pioneering use of local ingredients at Bona Terra or the overall excellent work done at the various Big Burrito kitchens (Eleven, Soba, Kaya, Casbah, etc>

The message is that Pittsburgh has a number of kitchens, both new and established, where the chefs and staffs provide exciting dining with the best of them...

mds

Edited by Michael-hb (log)
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