25 Best Restaurants: 2010

It's a great pleasure to share with you our annual Best Restaurants issue in a year that (despite a tough economy and an unforgettable snowpocalypse) made our region's dining scene more vibrant than ever.



Bona Terra: Local dandelion and baby spinach salad with chèvre, free-range egg, bell pepper, breakfast radish and crisp bacon tossed in roasted shallot-sherry vinaigrette.

Photo by Laura Petrilla

(page 1 of 5)

AMERICAN

Avenue B *

Chris Bonfili, winner of this year’s “Rising Star Chef” award, opened this charming bistro with his wife, Jenn, last November. The menu’s freshness comes in part from presentation—each day, new dishes go up on big wall-mounted chalkboards. This is where we found the dishes we loved best, from perfectly creamy cauliflower bisque or Prince Edward Island mussels in steaming, garlicky tomato broth to meltingly tender day-boat scallops.

There’s also a short, printed menu with starters, mains and desserts (try the trio of homemade ice creams to finish). Attention to detail, from the French-press coffee delivered with timers to the consistently friendly, knowledgeable service, makes Avenue B a happy new addition to the area’s dining scene.

Chef/Owner Chris Bonfili: 5501 Centre Ave., Shadyside; 412/683-3663, avenueb-pgh.com.
$$ (BYOB)

AMERICAN

Bona Terra

This is the second year that Douglass Dick is a semi-finalist for the James Beard Award for “Best Chef” in the mid-Atlantic region—needless to say, he deserves it. His daily-changing menu presents consistently stunning food, and his unique willingness to cook off the menu for tables requesting one of his six- and nine-course dinners (weeknights preferred for this option) shows off his talent and confidence.

We loved dishes such as the potato-chive gnocchi, which might be served with braised beef Bolognese and served with rich caramelized onions and duck-leg confit sauce or even with local kielbasa complemented by sauerkraut and apples. His way with scallops is memorable, whether the dish comes with blood-orange reduction and braised kale or with an apple-bacon-sage demi-glace.

The dining room is BYOB with decor that’s strictly no-frills, but you’ll still want to call a few weeks in advance for a weekend table.

Executive Chef and Owner Douglass Dick: 908 Main St., Sharpsburg; 412/781-8210, bonaterrapgh.com.
$$ (BYOB)

MEDITERRANEAN

Casbah

Drawing inspiration from all over the Mediterranean but sourcing many ingredients from just miles away, new executive chef Eli Wahl is making his mark at this East End standby. Starters including the sumac-crusted sea scallops with baba ghanoush and preserved lemon oil will jump-start your palate; among the main courses, we loved the signature double-cut pork chop, Elysian Fields Farm lamb shank and tender fennel risotto with morel mushrooms.

The dining room is sophisticated with beautiful lighting, and the cozy cocktail lounge actually invites lounging; the breezy, tented patio is a great spot to share an artisan cheese plate and a bottle of vino from the well-selected list.

To do some good while you dine, check the Web site for more about the monthly benefit dinners for various city organizations.

Executive Chef Eli Wahl: 229 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside; 412/661-5656, bigburrito.com/casbah.
$$$-$$$$

AMERICAN

Cross Keys Inn *

This former hotel and restaurant built in 1850 was restored in beautiful English country style last year by the Uricchio brothers, formerly of Highland Park’s Laforêt restaurant, and won this year's “Delicious Design” award. Michael Uricchio, with the help of head chef Lia Davidson-Welling, shows his passion for quality ingredients above all, and everything from breads and stocks to desserts is made in-house.

We loved such starters as the crispy hand-rolled duck spring roll and such mains as the pan-roasted Chilean sea bass with ginger, lemongrass, shiitake mushrooms and rice noodles; for a casual supper, there’s a bar menu featuring great burgers with pommes frites or wood-fired pizzas. The list of international wines hand-picked for quality and value by Robert only adds to the appeal.

Co-owners Robert Uricchio and Michael Uricchio: 599 Dorseyville Road, Indiana Township; 412/967-1900, crosskeysinnpgh.com.
$$

PIZZA

Dinette

Minimalist and innovative are especially apt adjectives for Dinette, which specializes in fine thin-crust pizza and wine. Sonja Finn, a 2010 James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Rising Star Chef of the Year,” changes her short menu every day but always offers several starters, including two or three stellar salads and eight unique pizzas.

We enjoyed starters such as the fritto misto and the elegant grilled romaine; ditto for the 12-inch, crispy thin-crust pizzas, such as one with chorizo, Yukon Gold potatoes, Castelvetrano olives and fresh mozzarella or one with fresh, tender baby lettuce.

Refreshingly, all 20-plus wines on the list are available by the bottle or by the glass; for dessert, there’s a decadent chocolate pot de crème among other choices. The airy one-room dining space features an open kitchen and bar and sustainable architecture.

Chef and Owner Sonja Finn: 5996 Penn Circle South, East Liberty; 412/362-0202, dinette-pgh.com.
$$

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

In a pair of TV ads, watch the Steelers' running back tackle styling the hair of his two adorable daughters.
Greenlight for Girls Encourages Hands-On STEM Learning

Greenlight for Girls Encourages Hands-On STEM Learning

The international organization partnered with local materials science company Covestro to encourage scientific curiosity for girls.
Heinz Releases a ‘Wiener Stampede’ on The Super Bowl

Heinz Releases a ‘Wiener Stampede’ on The Super Bowl

Dozens of dachshunds wearing hot dog costumes star in what may be the cutest commercial this year.
Grove City College Team ‘Takes the Cake!’ on Cake Wars

Grove City College Team ‘Takes the Cake!’ on Cake Wars

Two former freshman roommates created a cake that was part sculpture, part spectacle to win $10,000 on the popular Food Network series.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

In Lawrenceville, a love for letterpress leads to a business whose greeting cards reach audiences across the country.
Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

This third Renaissance has allowed us to be spectators as Pittsburgh changed from a city suffering the damages wrought by the collapse of its steel industry to a vibrant, active place known for its academic, medical and technology sectors.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

Steelers' DeAngelo Williams Scores as Daughters' Hair Stylist

In a pair of TV ads, watch the Steelers' running back tackle styling the hair of his two adorable daughters.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

City leaders considered many options for Pittsburgh's confluence including something that looked like it was designed by the Jetsons, or an absolutely bonkers, batpoop insane idea by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

Wigle Whiskey Ripe for Expansion with Threadbare

The Strip District distillers will launch a hard cider business this fall.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

The LGBTQ-friendly variety show offers one of the city's most unusual (and often unforgettable) lineups of comedic talent.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
It's Simple This Time, Super Bowl 50 Won't Even be Close

It's Simple This Time, Super Bowl 50 Won't Even be Close

The Panthers are going to get to the Broncos eventually. When that happens, Peyton Manning is going to be forced to throw it. And once that happens, it’s going to get ugly.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Delicate Pieces for the Harsh Winter

Delicate Pieces for the Harsh Winter

Lighten up your look with a cheerful necklace.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

Our reviews of "Hail, Caesar!," "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "The Choice."

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Sugar and Spice: Cookie Table Contest Winners

Sugar and Spice: Cookie Table Contest Winners

Pittsburgh has it all: a beautiful skyline, breathtaking bridges and the most gorgeous cookie tables we’ve ever seen.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Pillow Talk: Pittsburgh's Skyline Inspires New Design Line

Check out the new pillow collection from local interior designer Zach Mitchell. Plus, get the scoop on The Pittsburgh Christmas Carol Tour.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

The event is for high school students who are interested in criminal justice, law enforcement and forensic science.

Comments