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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PHOTO BY CHUCK BEARD
[LATIN/CARIBBEAN] Kaya, one of the longest-standing restaurants on the list, is synonymous with fun. Kayafest, the annual street festival thrown by the restaurant, is the city’s unofficial summertime kick-off party. The fish tacos, topped with spicy crème fraîche and packed with cooling cabbage slaw and avocado, rank among the top tacos in Pittsburgh. Fried Chicken Night, a Thursday staple since fall 2010, is a joyous celebration of poultry. Kaya also is one of the most vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurants in Pittsburgh; it’s easy for non-carnivores to find something to enjoy on the main menu. The monthly vegetarian tasting menu affords Executive Chef Benjamin Sloan a chance to demonstrate that contemporary vegetarian cuisine is every bit as satisfying as meat-filled tastings. $-$$
STRIP DISTRICT: 2000 Smallman St.
Executive Chef Benjamin Sloan
[AMERICAN] Legume, one of our five Killer Kitchens, is a perfect blend of classic bistro style and contemporary farm-to-table philosophy. Western Pennsylvania’s four distinct seasons are reflected by a rotation of dishes that highlight locally raised produce such as tomatoes and eggplants served fresh from the field in August (and then perfectly preserved in March). Look for more Eastern European dishes on the Legume menu in the next year as Executive Chef/Co-owner Hooper starts to prepare for his next restaurant, Dacha. Zurek, a sourdough soup inspired by his winter trip to Poland, was a hit. Weekday lunch at Legume is one of the best deals in town. $$
Oakland: 214 N. Craig St.
Executive Chef/Co-owner Trevett Hooper
Devils on horseback
[AMERICAN] Pittsburgh sports stars, visiting celebrities and downtown diners all agree that Meat & Potatoes is the place to be for a big night out. Executive Chef/Co-owner Richard DeShantz has had plenty to celebrate, too, because in the last year, he’s been featured on quite a few local and national food shows — plus, he and business partner Tolga Sevdik opened täkō in late April next door to Butcher and the Rye. Hunky cuts of beef are first on the agenda here, but you also should make a point to enjoy creative seafood creations such as the salmon with black rice, kimchi and Korean hot sauce. If you’re a weekday reveler, the Monday Nightcap — which doesn’t even start till 10 p.m. — is an uproarious mix of food and drink specials set to a live DJ soundtrack. $-$$
Downtown: 649 Penn Ave.
Executive Chef/Co-owner Richard DeShantz
Chipotle and cheddar spoonbread with blue-crab cream
[AMERICAN] Nine on Nine is a top spot for a pre-theater or pre-concert meal downtown. The three-course tasting menu includes soup or salad, entrée and dessert and promises to have you in your seats — and pleasantly full — before the curtain rises. For large groups of diners who have a little extra time, the three- or four-course “Sit Down Banquet” is a marvelous way to enjoy Executive Chef Lee Corbett’s handiwork. If you’re looking for a snack and a drink in an elegant atmosphere, sit at Bar Nine and order a hangar-steak taco. $$-$$$$
Downtown: 900 Penn Ave.
Executive Chef Lee Corbett