25 Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh: 2011

It is a pleasure to present the 25 Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh and celebrate a year that vaulted the region’s dining scene to a whole new level of sophistication.



(page 4 of 5)

Spoon - shrimp

Photo by Laura Petrilla   

Spoon: Day boat scallops and grilled prawns with spring risotto, local ramps, fava beans, asparagus and lemon buerre blanc.

Salt of the Earth

Two years in the making and the winner of several of this year’s awards, including Best New Restaurant, Salt of the Earth has largely influenced the local dining scene since it opened nine months ago. Kevin Sousa’s unapologetic approach and chalkboard wall menu are full of surprises and veer away from the traditional dishes that predominate in Pittsburgh.

Top-notch dishes include a venison tartare with crunchy pumpernickel crumbles and roasted cashews; scallops with spicy kim chi, Brussels sprouts and rice cakes; and striped bass with enoki mushrooms, crunchy black rice and fragrant pine needle-infused dashi broth.

To finish, choose the cheese plate or the only dessert offered: White Chocolate. Drinks include wine (selection is limited but appealing), draft beer and a handful of craft cocktails.

The restaurant’s unique space includes communal tables, banquette seating and an open kitchen with a bar for dining. Reservations are only accepted for mezzanine seating, and accordingly, weekend waits at peak times run long.

Chef/Owner Kevin Sousa. 5523 Penn Ave., Garfield. Info: 412/441-7258, saltpgh.com.
 

Seviche

This longtime tapas-and-mojitos destination has expanded with new seating and mid-sized plates that should be suitable whether you’re in the mood for something light or for a sit-down dinner.

The seviche, served with homemade tortilla chips, is a specialty, and you can select your seafood and preparation style from a long list of choices—the “traditional” with fresh lime, jalapeño pepper, scallion, red onion and cilantro is a classic.
From the rest of the menu, our go-to order is the small bites, including the ahi-tuna sliders with wasabi mayo on plump little rolls or the spicy Cuban sushi roll. If a larger meal is desired, offerings include filet mignon a la plancha with roasted-corn croqueta and chipotle demi-glace or banana-stuffed pork tenderloin with dark rum glaze.

Seviche is a fun spot for late-night dining (the kitchen stays open until midnight on weeknights and until 1 a.m. on weekends) or happy hour, with its casual and colorful interior, big windows overlooking Penn Avenue and lively bar scene.

Executive Chef Max Scribner. 930 Penn Ave., downtown. Info: 412/697-3120, seviche.com.
 

Soba

In a place where not many ethnic restaurants successfully go upscale, Soba breaks the mold with its urban-Zen vibe, modern first-floor lounge, dining area with two-story water-wall and cozy upstairs deck for warm weather dining.

Chill out in the lounge’s leather seating with custom-blended cocktails (try the Bangkok Tea made with green-tea-infused vodka, fresh sours and honey-ginger syrup) and a few small plates. The menu includes just about everything you’d expect from upscale Pan-Asian: yellow-tail sashimi drizzled with wasabi oil, tuna tartare wrapped in crispy rice paper and pork dumplings with sweet vinegar sauce for dipping.

For a more formal evening, opt for a white-tablecloth dinner and choose among such spicy entrées as seared rare tuna with a crunchy sesame crust or the chili-miso black cod with barbecued pork over rice-cake noodles. Finish up with Asian-inspired desserts like cardamom beignets with coconut custard. —Kaitlyn Johnston

Executive Chef Danielle Cain. 5847 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. Info: 412/362-5656, bigburrito.com/soba.
 

Spoon

For dinner and drinks, this handsome new restaurant that opened in the former Red Room space has sophisticated appeal. The wine list from sommelier Tobin Finegold is a winner whether you order by the glass or by the bottle.
The menu, from our “Rising Star Chef” award-winner Brian Pekarcik, offers about 10 appetizers and 10 mains, with each seasonally inspired dish available for a few weeks.

We loved dishes like the sinful bacon-and-eggs starter, with pork belly, five-minute poached egg, asparagus and hollandaise; lobster cakes with pickled-beet salad; miso-glazed butterfish with tempura prawns and braised daikon and orange-chili dressing.

The appealing dessert menu offers choices like chocolate-ganache cake for two or brioche French toast with poached pears along with inspired wine pairing suggestions. Accommodating service completes the experience.

Executive Chef Brian Pekarcik, 134 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. Info: 412/362-6001, spoonpgh.com.
 

Stagioni

Terrific handmade Italian food comes out of the kitchen at this small, modest restaurant that’s the collaboration of chef Stephen Felder and Cara DelSignore, his girlfriend and partner whose Sicilian family hails from Pittsburgh.

Local, seasonal and sustainable aren’t just buzzwords to Felder, who works with nearby purveyors, makes his own sausage and pickles, brines and preserves galore. He also makes his own pasta, and it truly shines in dishes like fettuccine with fresh Jamison Farm lamb meatballs with arugula-horseradish pesto and roasted-red peppers or pear-and-mascarpone ravioli with seared duck breast alongside red-currant preserves.

Lunch is also memorable with such dishes as an open-face, crispy soft-shell-crab sandwich with cherry tomato and aïoli served on fresh Italian bread.

To finish, there are house-made sweets including (predictably for this neighborhood) tiramisù.

Visit for dinner—the menu changes daily and is posted online by 4 p.m.—or check out events like the monthly wine dinner, family-style Sunday Supper or Sunday brunch.

Chef/Owner Stephen Felder. 4770 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Info: 412/687-5775, stagionipgh.com.
 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2016: When & Where to Watch Them

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2016: When & Where to Watch Them

You can get your fill of fireworks all weekend long, if you know where and when to look.
Downtown Restaurant Owners Win Big

Downtown Restaurant Owners Win Big

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik of the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group are among the regional winners of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.
Feeling Hot! Meteorologists Predict Sweaty Summer For Pittsburgh

Feeling Hot! Meteorologists Predict Sweaty Summer For Pittsburgh

Ready for 90-degree temperature weather? What you need to know about summer 2016.
Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

Pittsburgh's Union Trust Building Renovated and Restored

The historic Downtown building reopens after a two-year, $100 million renovation.

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

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

Best of the 'Burgh 2016

We scoured the region to bring you 53 items we’ve deemed this year’s “Best of the ’Burgh,” as well as 8 stellar local Instagram accounts you don’t want to miss.
See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

See Yinz: PittGirl Says Goodbye

After writing for seven years about the city for Pittsburgh Magazine and pittsburghmagazine.com, Virginia Montanez is discontinuing her blog and column.
Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

Restaurant Review: Whitfield at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh

The restaurant at Ace Hotel in East Liberty hits some high notes as it finds itself.
Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

Pride of McKeesport: WNBA Star Swin Cash

During her final season of professional basketball, Cash remains ferocious on the court and selfless everywhere else.
Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Idol Find: Pittsburgh Rapper Teams Up with Dad Jimmy McNichol for New Show

Research led Kellee Maize to discover she is the daughter of the former teen singing sensation. Now she and McNichol are teaming up to develop a television series to help other parents and children find each other.
Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

Daytripping: Rating the Roller Coasters at Cedar Point

One day, 18 roller coasters, four queasy stomachs, two cheeseburgers, one fried dough … whew.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2016: When & Where to Watch Them

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2016: When & Where to Watch Them

You can get your fill of fireworks all weekend long, if you know where and when to look.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Stops In Pittsburgh

Justin Severino and Hilary Prescott Severino of Cure and Morcilla organized the event, which featured celebrated chefs from DC, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

The Best 7 Spots in Pittsburgh to Watch the 2016 Euro Cup

Grab your kits, scarfs and get ready to watch the Euro 2016 Pittsburgh-style. We'll show you where to go to get your fan on.

Comments


Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

Beer Cults and Brick Ovens: An Evening at Fuel & Fuddle

The restaurant and bar in Oakland welcomes college students and locals alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Bucs' Biggest Problem Easier to Identify than Solve

Bucs' Biggest Problem Easier to Identify than Solve

As the Pirates try to climb out of a demoralizing slump, one factor has emerged as the team's biggest shortcoming.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Add a Bygone Beacon to Your Living Room

Vintage signs can add a pop of personality to your decor.

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.
Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Demons, Orcs, Hipsters and More at the Multiplex

Reviews of "The Conjuring 2," "Warcraft," "Maggie's Plan," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Noah’s Ark Nuptials: One Couple’s Kennywood Wedding

Noah’s Ark Nuptials: One Couple’s Kennywood Wedding

The restoration of the iconic Noah’s Ark whale entrance came just in time to be the backdrop for this Pittsburgh couple’s wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Purple Reign: PPG Paints Unveils 2017 Color of the Year

Purple Reign: PPG Paints Unveils 2017 Color of the Year

Violet Verbena’s grey-purple tones are playful, elegant and calming. Plus, get the history behind some of Pittsburgh's architectural wonders.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

Summer Robotics Camp Offered to High-School Students

The camp is a collaboration between two area universities and is open to students entering grades 9-12.

Comments