Best of Food + Drink | Food and Drink | Pittsburgh

Best of Food + Drink

Morcilla, winner of Best New Restaurant - CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
  • Morcilla, winner of Best New Restaurant

Best New Restaurant (as of June 2015) 

3519 Butler St., Lawrenceville 
412-652-9924 or

Inspired by chef Justin Severino’s trips to Spain, this small space brings authentic Spanish flavors and ambiance without overkill. Get there early, sip a gin and tonic, and sample montaditos in the standing-only bar, before indulging in smoked pork ribs, roasted chicken or marinated octopus. 

2nd: Poros
3rd: Apteka 

Best Restaurant (Downtown) 

Gaucho Parrilla Argentina 
1601 Penn Ave., Strip District
412-709-6622 or

The grilled meats might be the initial draw, but only a fool would overlook the delicious side dishes, including potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes and empanadas. Meats come as sandwiches or full entrees; it’s the best-priced steak in town. Everybody knows it, so come prepared to wait in line.

2nd: Tako
3rd: Meat and Potatoes

Best Restaurant (North)

Bella Frutteto
Franklin Village, 2602 Brandt School Road, Wexford
724-940-7777 or

From its signature apple ravioli to its Sunday Sauce dinner (down-home rigatoni, meatballs and sausage), this casual Italian restaurant with a full bar ranges from modern to traditional, with stops for meatloaf burgers and brown-rice penne. The patio overlooks Soergel’s Orchard, hence the restaurant’s name.

2nd: Off The Hook
3rd: Willow 

Best Restaurant (South)

Bistro 19
711 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon
412-306-1919 or

This modern yet cozy restaurant is rightly a popular destination in the South Hills. The menu, which offers elevated American cuisine expertly curated and executed by chef Jessica Gibson Bauer, focuses on local and seasonal.

2nd: Wild Rosemary Bistro
3rd: Arancini House 

Best Restaurant (East) 

5336 Butler St., Lawrenceville
412-252-2595 or 

The small menu here focuses on locally sourced Mediterranean-style food. A six-course tasting menu lets diners sample the chef’s specialties like hanger steak, while an a la carte menu offers lighter fare like oysters, pasta, soups, salads and cured meats. 

2nd: Apteka
3rd: Smoke Barbeque Taqueria 

Bakn, winner of Best Restaurant (West) - CP FILE PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL
  • CP file photo by Heather Mull
  • Bakn, winner of Best Restaurant (West)

Best Restaurant (West)

335 E. Main St., Carnegie
412-275-3637 or

This welcoming Carnegie spot has a laser focus on two things: breakfast and bacon. Using these two inspirations, chef Randy Tozzie, a Carnegie native, has created a menu that makes breakfast an all-day affair, with spins on pancakes, eggs and breakfast sandwiches.

2nd: Tartine
3rd: Hyeholde Restaurant 

Best Chef 

Justin Severino, Morcilla and Cure 
Morcilla (3519 Butler St.) and Cure (5336 Butler St.), Lawrenceville. 

Justin Severino has a knack for executing international cuisine with regional flair. With a focus on locally sourced ingredients and season-shifting menus, Severino’s inventive, Mediterranean-style dishes have played a vital role in Pittsburgh’s growing food scene since Cure opened in 2011.

2nd: Bill Fuller, Big Burrito Group
3rd: Richard DeShantz, Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group  

Best Indian Restaurant 

Taj Mahal
7795 McKnight Road, North Hills
412-364-1760 or

Offering a large menu representing cuisine from across India, house-made yogurt and cheeses, and a fully stocked bar, Taj Mahal is well worth the trip. The popular (and vast) lunch and dinner buffets are highly recommended — just make sure to bring your appetite.

2nd: People’s Indian Restaurant
3rd: Udipi Café

Best Japanese Restaurant 

1611 E. Carson St., South Side, and 10636 Perry Highway, North Hills

Whether enjoying the showy preparation at the hibachi grill, or grabbing an egg roll on the go from the food truck, Nakama is a reliable favorite for Pittsburghers seeking tasty Japanese fare. Besides sushi, the menu offers a variety of inventive items like crispy salmon fritters and sea-scallop lettuce wraps.

2nd: Umami
3rd: Umi

Best Italian Restaurant 

Piccolo Forno 
3801 Butler St., Lawrenceville
412-622-0111 or

Since 2005, this BYOB Tuscan Italian restaurant has specialized in wood-fired pizzas and fresh hand-made pasta, served in such traditional dishes as lasagna, tortelli and ravioli. Panini and appetizers, like bruschetta and beef and pork meatballs, make for lighter fare. 

2nd: Dish Osteria and Bar
3rd: Girasole

Best Thai Restaurant

Nicky’s Thai Kitchen
903 Penn Ave., Downtown, and 856 Western Ave., North Side

Nicky’s Thai Kitchen holds a special place among lovers of Thai food. Grab a quick lunch at the Downtown location, or a slow-paced summer dinner in the North Side location’s beautiful back garden. Bring your own bottle to sip while you dine.

2nd: Thai Me Up
3rd: Noodlehead

Best Chinese Restaurant 

China Palace 
5440 Walnut St., Shadyside
412-687-7423 or

This restaurant boasts excellent service, friendly staff and modern takes on classic Chinese dishes. But you’ll still find longtime favorites such as fried rice, lo mein, General Tso’s chicken — for eat-in, takeout and delivery. Don’t forget your fortune cookie.

2nd: Sesame Inn
3rd: WaiWai

Best Middle-Eastern Restaurant 

Multiple locations

This restaurant uses Lebanese staples like olive oil, nuts, vegetables, yogurt and lean meats in more than 100 different vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and meat dishes. Expect seasonings like mint, parsley, oregano, garlic, nutmeg and cinnamon. Specialties include Mediterranean shish kabob and shawarma. 

2nd: Ali Baba
3rd: Istanbul Sofra

Best Mexican/Latin American Restaurant 

Mad Mex
Multiple locations

Specializing in Cal-Mex, this locally based chain is a favorite with Pittsburghers. Popular items include the enchiladas smothered in guajillo chile or roasted tomatillo salsa, and the barbacoa beef stuffed into a burrito or taco. In the fall, try the Gobblerito, a Thanksgiving-style turkey burrito.

2nd: Round Corner Cantina
3rd: Casa Reyna

Best Contemporary American Restaurant 

1150 Smallman St, Strip District
412-201-5656 or

The menu at Eleven changes with the seasons, but it’s a year-round destination for Pittsburghers seeking sophisticated, upscale eats, in an unpretentious atmosphere. The fare here ranges from pub grub like braised veal burgers and calamari to wild Alaskan halibut and smoked lamb belly.

2nd: Cure
3rd: Altius

Best Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant

B52 Café 
5202 Butler St., Lawrenceville
412-408-3988 or

The days of vegan meaning simply “salad” are long gone. B52 offers vegan fare with Middle Eastern flair. Dishes include: moussaka (with cashew cheese), seitan kebabs and spinach pie. Salad is still available, but it comes with pickled turnips and falafel.

2nd: Apteka
3rd: Double Wide Grill 

Best Restaurant to Take the Kids

Eat’n Park
Multiple locations

The kids’ menu (for those 10 and under) offers lots of healthy, simple options for even the pickiest eater. The prices are reasonable enough to take the whole family, and the atmosphere is low-key. A free Smiley cookie or apple awaits each child at the end of the meal.

2nd: Burgatory
3rd: Franktuary

Best Steakhouse 

Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse
247 North Shore Drive, North Side
412-222-4014 or

This may be a small regional chain with spots in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but there’s nothing more Pittsburgh than a hunk of meat cooked perfectly. You can get everything from a 22-ounce porterhouse to imported Wagyu beef to an 18-ounce New York Strip that’s been dry-aged for 40 days.

2nd: Morton’s The Steakhouse
3rd: The Capital Grille

Best Seafood 

Monterey Bay 
1411 Grandview Ave., Mount Washington, and 146 Mall Circle Drive, Monroeville

Both locations offer fresh fish that is flown in daily from around the world; the fish board at Monterey Bay is like a geography lesson. It’s also known for its top-notch crab cakes. For pure swank, hit up the Mount Washington location, with some of the best views of the city.

2nd: Off The Hook
3rd: Muddy Waters Oyster Bar 

Best Sushi 

202 38th St., Lawrenceville
412-224-2354 or

Classified as an izakaya — a casual Japanese gastropub — this unassuming bar and restaurant serves up simple but rich options for sashimi, nigiri, onigiri and temaki (a cone-shaped roll wrapped in nori), paired with great cuts of fish such as tuna, fluke and Spanish mackerel.

2nd: Umi
3rd: Nakama

Best BBQ 

Union Pig & Chicken
220 N. Highland Ave., East Liberty 
412-363-7675 or

Everything you’d expect from a BBQ joint: ribs, chicken, pulled pork, brisket … and tofu. That’s right: Your vegan friends can have dinner with you, while you eat copious amounts of smoked meats and fried chicken.

2nd: Smoke Barbeque Taqueria
3rd: Smoq Pitt 

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