For a long time, Pittsburgh was considered an upping and coming food city and maybe even city in general. Those days are over, Pittsburgh has arrived in all the ways. The Pittsburgh food scene is thriving right along with the rest of this beautiful city. Narrowing down the truly top restaurants in Pittsburgh is tricky. Luckily I went to college in a nearby town and have multiple friends who call the city home. Each one was seemingly more excited than last to offer up recommendations on where to get that good Pittsburgh food.
Possibly the most famous Pittsburgh food, a Primanti Bros Sandwich overflowing with coleslaw and fresh-cut french fries. All the meat and toppings are slapped between two pieces of white bread. It’s one of the Pittsburgh restaurants you can’t miss. I also highly recommend ordering a deli-style pickle to go with it.
The other Pittsburgh classic is the Pierogi. This Eastern European classic has become a favorite in Pittsburgh. So much so they have a Pierogi race between innings on the Pirates games. If you haven’t had one you have to go with the classic potato topped with sour cream and chives.
Amazing Diners in Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania, in general, has strong diner culture and that certainly can be felt here in Pittsburgh. If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast or lunch look no further than these top-notch diners in Pittsburgh.
There’s always a hot cup of coffee on and the floors are checkerboard. The vibe hasn’t changed in years but neither has the food and that’s a good thing. This Pittsburgh institution has been serving one of the best breakfasts in the city for over 60 years. In the mood for banana pancakes or an omelet with homefries, head here.
P&G Pamela’s Diner
Pamela’s Diner is adorable. It’s so good it practically feels like it was designed for a photoshoot but then you realize it’s just that authentic. Everything is a shade of teal pink with family photos covering the walls. The claim to fame here, super-thin crepe style hotcakes. I’m more of a savory person so I went for the Trash Hash which is basically hash browns topped with sloppy-joe, cheese, and jalapeno. It was to die for.
Fluffy stuffed pancakes help make breakfast the real star of the show here. One of the best parts of Micro Diner is the fact that is open late. Making it the perfect place to grab a great meal after a night out with friends.
The young gun standing strong among the other Strip District restaurant legends, DeLucas and Pamalas. Once you say, Diner, Drive-in and Dives made a stop here there isn’t much more that needs to be said. The featured dish on the episode was the haluski, I always follow the experts lead.
Best Breakfast Spots in Pittsburgh
If you’re looking for breakfast in Pittsburgh but feeling a bit more than the dinner vibe, I got you. I happen to travel with a big-time breakfast lover so we’re always on the lookout.
Pie for Breakfast
The name alone makes you wanna go, right? Stay with me, it gets better. They also serve all-day breakfast and boozy coffee cocktails. As you’d expect they do serve a lot of pie and quiche but there is more to the menu if you want something lighter.
Made to order, fully customizable waffles. Of course, they have some house favorite sweet and savory combinations to lead you in the right direction. The available toppings list is pretty extensive leaving you to get super creative if you want. I’m a massive chicken and waffles fun but the sausage gravy over a waffle, heart eyes.
Meg and I are massive crepe lovers. In fact, we actively search them out all over the world. The french style crepes at Cafe Moulin were absolutely delicious. The menu has a good selection of both sweet and savory offerings. The atmosphere is cozy and clearly French-inspired.
The Vandal is just as cool, well designed and delicious as you’d expect from a Lawrenceville restaurant. The menu is unique and utilizes ingredients in super unique ways. There is a distinct farm to table vibe. We stopped in mid-afternoon and enjoyed some of their delicious cups of coffee in the window seats.
Best Italian Restaurants in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh’s Little Italy neighborhood can be found in the Bloomfield neighborhood. However, you’ll find Italian restaurants ranking highly on many “where to eat in Pittsburgh” lists all over the city.
When you go to Alla Famiglia expect to have the full Italian fine dining experience. You can very clearly taste the intention behind each ingredient. The food is served family-style while offering some great appetizer options like the Burratta. Plan ahead for a visit and make sure you have reservations.
We sat at one of the tables outside sipping on a couple of glasses of wine. When the food hit the table the first words out of Meg’s mouth were “theses are little pillows of heaven” after a bite of gnocchi. The restaurant and connecting market are beautiful and the food is insane. You can even go in that afternoon for some sandwiches with incredible meats and cheeses. If you’re going for dinner be sure to make a reservation it fills up quick.
Lawrenceville Restaurant Favorites
SMOKE Barbeque Taqueria
The best way to describe this spot is pit beef and a taco shop had a baby. It’s as delicious as you’re expecting. The nachos are baked in a cast iron pan and have more cheese than I can describe, add brisket for extra magic. They also make in house sodas which always win me over.
I always appreciate a brewery of offers bomb food and Cinderlands does just that. The beers are award-winning but the brussels sprouts stayed on my mind. Monday is all day taco day if you’re down for that.
Merchant Oyster Co.
The lobster rolls are the house specialty at this Lawrenceville gem. You can also pick from an extensive selection of oysters hailing from the east and west coasts. When the cool weather rolls in keep in mind they have four different kinds of chowder daily.
Consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh, Morcilla won’t disappoint. Serving elegant Spanish food in an approachable way. The food is served small plate style so you can try all sorts of things. If you don’t know where to start, I’d recommend the charcuterie and croquetas
Market Square Pittsburgh Restaurants
Downtown Pittsburgh restaurants weren’t supposed to wow us based on what I’d read. However, I was super pleasantly surprised at the quality options located in this part of the city. I would even consider some to be my favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh.
At Tako Mexican street food and Japanese food are mixing it up. There is playful window seating ready for the warm days. The street-style tacos are best when you get a platter and can try multiple types of meat. I highly recommend going with the octopus, it was cooked perfectly.
Butcher and Rye
Butcher and Rye ooze cool from the moment you step in. The unique marriage of rustic and vintage decor is some of the best I’ve come across. The food is no slouch either. The contemporary take on modern classic completely knocks it out of the park. All that before I even mention the 8 shelves of whiskey.
Revel and Roost
Just steps from Market Square you’ll find Revel and Roost. Roost is the upstairs event space and Revel is the downstairs event space. They have a versatile dinner menu with tons of dishes meant to share. Bacon-wrapped scallops or braised beef quesadillas are always a good move.
Or, the Whale
Or, the Whale by the Travel Channel as one of the Hip Pittsburgh Destinations Where You’ll Want to be in 2019 for good reason. Located in what was previously a gymnasium the dining room is large and bold. The food is exactly what you’d hope for in a farm to table or sea to table restaurant. They are not taking any shortcuts that would sacrifice freshness.
Vegan Restaurants Pittsburgh
A vegan restaurant that was recommended by both vegan and non-vegan friends. There is a very clear but intentional simplicity in the design. The food is all vegan with a strong eastern European influence. A few years ago the concept started with a Pierogi Pop up Restaurant and you bet those perogies are still on the menu.
A Mediterranean spot offering a full vegan menu. They even have seitan which I appreciate being able to find. On Sunday’s you’ll find a beautiful brunch with the likes of latkes and thick-cut toast with cashew cheese.
This completely vegan restaurant has a punk side. You’ll hear the distinct sounds of heavy metal playing as you devour your cabbage and shiitake dumplings. They specialize in making both Asian and American comfort food but in a seriously creative way.