Best Restaurants 2014

Presenting 33 top-notch eateries that are revolutionizing Pittsburgh's food scene.



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DOWNTOWN: 903 Penn Ave.  |  412/471-THAI
, NICKYSTHAIKITCHEN.COM
NORTH SIDE: 856 Western Ave.  |  412/321-THAI
, NICKYSTHAIKITCHEN.COM
THAI  |  $-$$
  |  Chef/Owner RATTHASAK “NICKY” INSAWANG

 

Considered by many locals to be the top Thai restaurant in the ’Burgh, Nicky’s is known for fresh ingredients and clean flavors. Chef/Owner Ratthasak Insawang had run the North Side restaurant, along with a Verona site (which he later sold), for several years before opening the downtown location in 2012. The North Side spot features a lovely outdoor garden with a fountain, greenery and Thai art. The downtown site has a more sophisticated vibe but also displays vibrant Thai décor. Favorite dishes include the basil tilapia, pineapple curry and grilled beef salad with fresh mint leaves and lime. Start every meal with a few appetizers, which are perfect for sharing.



 

DOWNTOWN: 900 Penn Ave.
  |  412/338-6463, NINEONNINEPGH.com
AMERICAN  |  $$-$$$$  |  
Executive Chef LEE CORBETT

 

Nine on Nine is a quiet white-tablecloth restaurant in the heart of the Cultural District. There are many ways to enjoy this restaurant — lunch, dinner, prix-fixe dining, private-event space, weekend music and a small bar. Dinner remains the star; wonderful appetizers include cold Spanish octopus with preserved lemon, warm blue crab cream soup, wild mushroom risotto, seared fois gras and lobster mac ‘n’ cheese. Among the well-executed main courses are the steak, scallops, Amish chicken breast and the daily vegetarian offering. The three-course theater menu is served from 5-6 p.m. In contrast, the chef’s tasting menu provides eight courses, plus dessert.



 

EAST LIBERTY: 
128 S. Highland Ave.  |  412/361-1188
, NOTIONRESTAURANT.COM
AMERICAN  |  $$$$  |  Chef/Owner Dave Racicot

 

notion’s tag line is “an edible expression of creativity,” and the eatery showcases the talents of Dave Racicot, its revered chef/owner. His dishes incorporate interesting interpretations of familiar and less-familiar ingredients; the Korean-flavored tartare, for example, is served with peanuts and iceberg lettuce circles — a contemporary twist on the lettuce wrap. The menu has two prix-fixe options: a four-course menu and a chef’s tasting (as many as 11 courses). The dining room is subdued, allowing you to focus on the food. Racicot schedules informative cooking classes and collaborative dinners with other area chefs, among other events.



 

HIGHLAND PARK: 5801 Bryant St.
  |  412/661-3334, POINTBRUGGE.com
EUROPEAN  |  $-$$  |  
Executive Chef KEVIN HUNNINEN

 

Park Bruges serves one of Pittsburgh’s best roast chickens. Steamed mussels, Mediterranean seafood stew and the hamburger also are hits at this friendly neighborhood joint. Special appetizers include classic Montreal poutine, available with such toppings as brisket and cheese curds. Park Bruges often is packed during brunch service, when lines of loyal patrons regularly form outside the door as they daydream about the Liège waffles. Belgian and craft beers are available, and in pleasant weather you can sip brews outside.

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