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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Chocolate velvet terrine
[MEDITERRANEAN] Tucked around the corner from the hubbub of the Ellsworth Avenue business district is Café Zinho, local legend Toni Pais’ funky and vibrant restaurant. Pais was a trailblazer in Pittsburgh dining; his Baum Vivant was Pittsburgh Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year for most of the 1990s. At Café Zinho, the chef’s Portuguese heritage and fine-dining flair shine in dishes including seafood stew, octopus and whole fish preparations. The combination of excellent food and festive atmosphere make this BYOB restaurant a perfect place for celebration. $$
Shadyside: 238 Spahr St.
Executive Chef/Owner Toni Pais
Pork chops with spring-pea risotto and garlic cream
[MEDITERRANEAN] Pittsburghers love the big Burrito Restaurant Group’s Mediterranean-focused restaurant so much that it has appeared on our Best Restaurants list every year since it opened in 1995. So it’s no surprise that Executive Chef Eli Wahl and his team also run one of our five 2015 Killer Kitchens — the restaurant constantly puts out some of the best meals in town. Seasonal soups and salads make for an outstanding start to a meal or as part of one of Pittsburgh’s finest lunch combos, where those dishes are served with pasta or a sandwich. For dinner, indulge in Elysian Fields lamb, prepared in any number of ways. $$-$$$
Shadyside: 229 S. Highland Ave.
Executive Chef Eli Wahl
Beef tartare with black garlic, celery and pickled mushrooms
[MEDITERRANEAN] Executive Chef/Co-owner Justin Severino and his team — in another of our Killer Kitchens — set the standard for of-the-moment Pittsburgh with their combination of classic Mediterranean tradition and modern culinary techniques. Begin with a salumi plate; the selection of house-cured meats isn’t just the best in Pittsburgh — it is among the best anywhere in the country. On the fresh side, try a crudo; whether it’s from the land or the sea, it’ll be a balanced blend of raw bliss. The wine list at Cure is top-notch, and cocktail chef Colin Anderson’s cocktails are geared to pair with the cuisine. Severino and crew will open Morcilla, a Spanish-style restaurant, later this year in Lower Lawrenceville. $$-$$$
Lawrenceville: 5336 Butler St.
Executive Chef/Co-owner Justin Severino
Pappardelle al Coniglio
[ITALIAN] The Olive Garden might have crafted the slogan “When you’re here you’re family,” but it’s better passed on to a place that really makes you feel that way. Chef/Owner Michele Savoia blends seasonal delights and Sicilian classics to create what many locals consider their favorite neighborhood restaurant, even if they don’t live in the South Side. Savoia is meticulous in finding fresh seafood, so be sure to find out what the daily specials include. For the best experience, share a plate of antipasta with your friends and then dive into a plate or two of pasta or one of the daily specials. The predominantly Italian-only wine program at Dish is outstanding, and there’s also a deep selection of apéritifs and digestifs to bookend the meal. $$-$$$
South Side: 128 S. 17th St.
Chef/Owner Michele Savoia