Best of the 'Burgh 2012: Readers' Poll

Our readers pick the best of the best in Pittsburgh.




(page 1 of 4)

best appetizers
TAMARI
Asian and Latin fusion inspire the cuisine at Tamari, with locations in Lawrenceville and Warrendale. A tapas menu features not only classics like guacamole and egg rolls, but also more adventuresome fare like beef-tongue tacos, Peking duck quesadillas and chipotle-tuna tartare. tamaripgh.com

best family restaurant
EAT’N PARK
Four generations of a family sometimes dine together at Eat’n Park, serving the region since 1949. Little ones receive crayons and placemats for coloring; there are menu niches for kids, seniors and those with special diets, and everyone can leave happy with an iconic Smiley Cookie. eatnpark.com

best happy hour
MAD MEX
Say adios to the tie and don a sombrero. At its seven locations around the Pittsburgh area, Mad Mex offers a Happy Hora on weekdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Specials include house margaritas and deals on drafts and wings. madmex.com

best beer list
SHARP EDGE
With 600-plus choices (when all are five Sharp Edge sites are combined), that’s a looong beer list. It weighs heavily on Belgian and American brews, but you also can sample the wares from places like Jamaica and Sri Lanka. See the website for a current list and updates at the five Sharp Edge locations. sharpedgebeer.com

best restaurant for a first date
DISH OSTERIA & BAR
This intimate but sophisticated spot has been a South Side destination since 2000. Order a Sicilian Sunrise or Dirty Dish martini, sample the cucina Italiano by executive chef/owner Michele Savoia, and you’re in for one enchanted evening. dishosteria.com

best bed & breakfast
THE INN ON NEGLEY
There’s no place like home, but a grand old antique-filled Victorian home like The Inn on Negley can offer the next best thing. What’s more, the Shadyside setting lets guests walk to the visual, cultural and mercantile attractions of the East End. innonnegley.com

best takeout
THE SMILING BANANA LEAF
Even if you have to eat on the go, you don’t have to settle for the humdrum. The Smiling Banana Leaf in Highland Park offers a wide-ranging menu of Thai cuisine: appetizers, soups, salads, entrées and desserts. Now that summer’s here, cool off with a Thai iced coffee or coconut juice. smilingbananaleaf.com

best frozen treat
RITA’S ITALIAN ICE
Freezing out the competition is Rita’s, which has been serving those seeking the big chill since 1984. Today, it has hundreds of locations,from North Side to China, and now offers more than just Italian ice, including frozen custard and Gelati. ritasice.com

best soul food
BISTRO SOUL
Traditional Southern- and New Orleans-style cuisine has found its way north—to the North Side of Pittsburgh. Honey barbecue country ribs, red beans and rice, and shrimp gumbo are on a menu that appreciates heart-healthy cooking. A Bistro Brunch and catering services add to the options. bistroandcompany.com

best wing night
BIGHAM TAVERN
Taste buds take flight over the ’Burgh at Bigham Tavern on Mount Washington every Wednesday. But just to clarify: It’s wing day and wing night here from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Order a wide assortment of flavors — from original to Buffalo to Cajun Wet and more. bighamtavern.com

best new bar
JAMES STREET SPEAKEASY AND GASTROPUB
A 19th-century building in North Side’s historic Deutschtown district provides a charming location for James Street Speakeasy and Gastropub (see page 46 for more). Local and craft beers as well as cocktails are served — and there’s entertainment, with live local jazz, blues and acoustic artists. jamesstreetgastropub.com

best hot dogs
SMITH’S
During the dog days of summer, there’s nothing like hot dogs to grill up at a picnic. Our reader write-in winners are made by the family-owned, Erie-based Smith Provision Co. They’re also the official hot dogs of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the CONSOL Energy Center. smithhotdogs.com

best brewery
EAST END BREWING CO.
Self-described as “Pittsburgh's micro-est microbrewery,” East End Brewing boasts a gas-fired 10-barrel single-step infusion brew house. Remember: It’s not also a brewpub, but you can stop by during “Growlers Hours” at its Homewood headquarters or at its shop in the Strip District. eastendbrewing.com

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