Best Restaurants 2015
Which 33 establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
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PHOTOS BY LAURA PETRILLA AND CHUCK BEARD
This year, our independent Restaurant Review Panel has recommended 33 establishments for the Pittsburgh Magazine Best Restaurants list. We welcome a few newcomers, including Gaucho Parrilla Argentina and Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar, and we bring back stalwarts Tessaro’s and Vivo Kitchen.
Pittsburgh dining during the past year has involved chefs honing in and getting better at what they’re doing. Chef-driven kitchens are deepening relationships with western Pennsylvania suppliers such as Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, One Woman Farm and Jamison Farm. Small and shared plates, seasonal dishes and chef’s tasting menus all continued to increase in popularity.
With so much to consider in or near Pittsburgh, for the second year we’ve focused on restaurants close to home.
The outlook for Pittsburgh dining is rosy. Now let’s celebrate our best restaurants.
PHOTOS BY LAURA PETRILLA, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED
Waygu flank steak, truffle grits, mushrooms, arugula, bosco tartufo and five-minute egg
[AMERICAN] Seasonal selections and chalkboard specials are the signatures of Executive Chef/Owner Chris Bonfili’s Centre Avenue bistro. Diners have enjoyed starters such as ginger-barbecue pork lettuce wraps with crispy wontons and main courses including grilled swordfish accented by grilled lemon and smoked tomato beurre fondue in Avenue B’s comfortably elegant dining room. The Bonfili family also serves casual-yet-considered cuisine at B Gourmet in Sewickley. $$-$$$
Shadyside: 5501 Centre Ave.
Executive Chef/Owner Chris Bonfili
Ricotta ravioli, sweet-pea purée, shiitake mushrooms, fava beans and proscuitto cotto
[AMERICAN] Executive Chef Jamilka Borges runs one of the most dynamic kitchens in Pittsburgh. Downstairs in The Wine Room, diners indulge in a multiple-course meal built around seasonal produce and ethically raised meat sourced from Borges’ hyperlocal supply chain. The plates then are paired with carefully selected wine vintages. Upstairs, refined bar food is designed to partner with the innovative custom-drink bar program. On Pasta Tuesdays — a new addition this year — Co-owner Justin Steel creates an array of pasta dishes reflective of the mentorship of the late Marco Enrico. Saturday and Sunday brunch remains a must-go. $-$$
Strip District: 2216 Penn Ave.
Executive Chef Jamilka Borges
[AMERICAN] At Butcher and the Rye, you’re enticed to think on a grand scale. The downstairs bar is built around a towering wall of whiskey; with more than 600 American and international selections, it is among the deepest lists in the country. One bar isn’t enough for the two-time James Beard Foundation Outstanding Bar Program semi-finalist: There’s an elegant, if sometimes crowded, cocktail bar upstairs. In between the bars, guests can sit in a multilevel, whimsical dining room and feast on pan-seared seabass, Wagyu flank steak and scallops with blue-crab risotto. Desserts, such as the s’mores with brown-butter ice cream, are as decadent as the entrées. It’s a perfect recipe for elegant festivity. $$
Downtown: 212 Sixth St.
Executive Chef/Co-owner Richard DeShantz
The “Monster” grilled cheese with Gouda and cheddar cheeses, bacon, egg, pulled pork, tomato, caramelized onions, spinach and toasted bread with tomato-basil soup
[AMERICAN] There’s something for everyone at Café io. Families out for a meal, work colleagues toasting the end of a week at the office and high-school kids on a first date all will enjoy the pleasing menu at Jeff Iovino’s neighborhood restaurant. Diners rave over the café’s grilled-cheese selection — “Monster” and “Big Bad Wolf” are packed to the brim with ingredients that move beyond the typical. Don’t miss the eponymous “Iovino” starter, tempura-fried Mozzarella with Italian sweet sausage, marinated tomatoes, basil and organic greens. If you’re looking for something more substantial, the “Main Bites” section contains everything from crispy fish tacos to open-face turkey and gravy. There’s also a “Kidz” menu for the younger diners. $-$$
Mt. Lebanon: 300 Beverly Road
Executive Chef/Owner Jeff Iovino