Hotspots: Where We're Eating

These hotspots are worth a taste this month.


NOLA on the Square photo by Laura Petrilla

NOLA ON THE SQUARE
Our love of New Orleans cuisine is refreshed every time we dine at this restaurant. We could eat a double order of the fried oysters with Cajun slaw and spicy papaya ravigote — but have an equal hunger for dishes like the flavorful jambalaya or moist wood-roasted quail with oyster dressing. Fun chandeliers and décor give the redesigned space appeal, and the Southern-style cocktails and friendly, well-informed service are definitely worth the visit.
24 Market Square, Downtown; 412/471-9100, nolaonthesquare.com

JIMMY & NINO SUNSERI CO.
Jimmy & Nino Sunseri Co. dishes out the most fully loaded Italian hoagie ($6, foot; $3.50, half) in the ’Burgh. A freshly baked bun is stuffed with mortadella, capicola, salami, ham, pepperoni and provonello cheese, then topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and a drizzle of the balsamic-based house dressing. The resulting hoagie is served cold—or at its best after a quick bake in the oven. And what better way to eat the sub than by dipping it in a cup of Jimmy & Nino’s soup du jour ($4)?
1906 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/255-1100

VERDE MEXICAN KITCHEN & CANTINA
This new dinner destination opened in November and offers an upscale approach to Mexican dining that’s fresh for Pittsburgh. The menu is authentic — this isn’t a casual place for bland American-style enchiladas smothered in cheese and sauce. The design details are thoughtful down to the hammered silver flatware. And the bright, memorable flavors of true Mexican cuisine shine in dishes like elotes (chargrilled corn with lime aïoli and chili salt) and carnitas (slow-roasted pork) tacos. And with 150-160 tequilas, the Verde team is aiming to have the largest variety in the state.
5491 Penn Ave., Garfield; 412/404-8487, verdepgh.com

VIVO KITCHEN
With three decades of experience in the kitchen, it’s no wonder that chef Sam DiBattista is finding success with his new Sewickley restaurant, which opened in late August. With its seasonal, à la carte menu, the eatery feels like the perfect modern successor to his previous Bellevue restaurant, Vivo, which offered a more traditional Italian prix-fixe menu (his daughters now operate Bite Bistro in its space). Even if you don’t live in the neighborhood, it’s worth the drive for dishes like crispy poussin (young chicken with fresh herbs) served with a hearty side dish of wheat berries and wild rice or grilled figs with spiced ricotta.
432 Beaver St., Sewickley; 412/259-8945, vivokitchen.com

Hot Reads

Review: One Thirty One East

Review: One Thirty One East

Located in the southwest suburban community of Carnegie, One Thirty One East embodies the area’s renaissance.
Grow. Cook. Drink.: Maggie Meskey of Butcher and the Rye

Grow. Cook. Drink.: Maggie Meskey of Butcher and the Rye

The charismatic Maggie Meskey had tended bar for years before landing her gig at downtown bourbon haven Butcher and the Rye.
12 Hot New Restaurants

12 Hot New Restaurants

A diverse crop of eateries caught our attention this year, so we’re highlighting some of our favorites.
Why Things Get Squirrely Near the Tunnels

Why Things Get Squirrely Near the Tunnels

PittGirl doesn't know why we say "warsh" — but she has figured out why we 'Burghers hit the brakes at the sight of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.

The 412

Gear Up for Month of Mud's Final Bike Race of 2014

Gear Up for Month of Mud's Final Bike Race of 2014

The homegrown race series wraps up on Sunday at Ohiopyle State Park.
Local Developer Creates Pittsburghese Plugin for Google Chrome

Local Developer Creates Pittsburghese Plugin for Google Chrome

Have a little fun as you search the Web.
Pittsburgher Ali Spagnola Releases an App Version of Her 'Power Hour' Album

Pittsburgher Ali Spagnola Releases an App Version of Her 'Power Hour' Album

The creator of the app — which takes any playlist on your smartphone or tablet and plays it in one-minute pieces — reminds users to please drink responsibly.
NPR Blog Team Tries, Critiques Primanti Bros. Sandwich

NPR Blog Team Tries, Critiques Primanti Bros. Sandwich

The group behind the station's Sandwich Monday blog series orders the iconic sandwich and writes a review.

Hot Reads

Review: One Thirty One East

Review: One Thirty One East

Located in the southwest suburban community of Carnegie, One Thirty One East embodies the area’s renaissance.
Grow. Cook. Drink.: Maggie Meskey of Butcher and the Rye

Grow. Cook. Drink.: Maggie Meskey of Butcher and the Rye

The charismatic Maggie Meskey had tended bar for years before landing her gig at downtown bourbon haven Butcher and the Rye.
13 Bartenders You Should Know

13 Bartenders You Should Know

Get acquainted with this group of charming bar professionals working in various establishments around the city.
12 Hot New Restaurants

12 Hot New Restaurants

A diverse crop of eateries caught our attention this year, so we’re highlighting some of our favorites.
Why Things Get Squirrely Near the Tunnels

Why Things Get Squirrely Near the Tunnels

PittGirl doesn't know why we say "warsh" — but she has figured out why we 'Burghers hit the brakes at the sight of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.
40 Under 40: 2014

40 Under 40: 2014

In their own ways, the 40 men and women we introduce here show us daily how we can ensure that Pittsburgh is deserving of its Most Livable City title.