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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[SEAFOOD] The owners of Penn Avenue Fish Co. last year expanded the Strip District space and the bare-bones dining room. This is one of Pittsburgh’s most exciting places for lunch. Watch the city’s premier fishmongers cut to order the catch of the day while enjoying an assortment of classic fish sandwiches, fish tacos and mussels. Good sushi is hard to come by in Pittsburgh, but they do it right here; your best bet is to ask your server what’s fresh and take it from there. Extended weekday and Saturday hours mean that you also can enjoy an early fish-focused dinner in the Strip. $-$$$
Strip District: 2208 Penn Ave.
Co-owners Henry Dewey and Angela Earley
PHOTO BY CHUCK BEARD
Asparagus and English-pea risotto with pancetta and mint pesto
[ITALIAN] Lawrenceville might be developing at a rapid clip, but Piccolo Forno is a Butler Street trailblazer that’s now looked at as a stalwart of local dining. The continuity of tradition extends to the menu, which largely is made up of northern Italian classics such as Prosciutto e Rucola pizza and Paccheri con Sugo di Cingiale — dishes that reflect owner Domenic Branduzzi’s Tuscan heritage. Piccolo Forno often is so popular that there’s a long wait for tables. In the past, you’d have to stand outside or go to a nearby bar until it was your turn to sit. Now, Branduzzi’s neighboring Grapperia — a grappa and amari bar — is the perfect place to whet your appetite while you wait. $-$$
Lawrenceville: 3801 Butler St.
Executive Chef Galen Blyth
Braised octopus, romesco, olive, pickled potato, chorizo and white bean
[MODERN AMERICAN] With each passing year, Root 174’s Executive Chef/Co-owner Keith Fuller gets increasingly adventurous in culinary curiosity. In the early years, crispy, glazed Brussels sprouts were a main draw, and though they’re still on the menu — and fantastic — dishes such as heart sausage or duck tongues now set Root 174 apart from other Pittsburgh eateries. For less daring eaters, Fuller coaxes fantastic flavor from everyday items. The cauliflower soup with purple carrot purée and toasted hazelnuts is comfortable yet exciting. Vegetarians and vegans take note: Fuller might be a master of meat manipulation, but you won’t feel forgotten here. Dishes including the vegan “meatloaf” (green lentils, mushrooms, yams, turnips and apple soy sauce) never are throwaways. $$
Regent Square: 1113 S. Braddock Ave.
Executive Chef/Co-owner Keith Fuller
Carrot salad with berbere, radish, goat's milk yogurt and kale
Editor's Note: Salt of the Earth Closed Aug. 1, 2015
[MODERN AMERICAN] There have been a lot of changes at Salt of the Earth over the past year. The (in)famous chalkboard menu wall now also serves as a canvas for local artists. Chefs are dressed in chef coats, not T-shirts. There’s bread service. One thing remains constant: The food is outstanding. Executive Chef Brandon Fisher now runs Salt’s kitchen, and he and his Killer Kitchen crew mix classic thinking and modernist technique to create menus that manage to be daring yet comforting at the same time. Well, two things remain constant: The outstanding burger, once a late-night menu indulgence, now is a staple on the daily menu. There is a perfectly curated wine list, a small selection of beer picked to complement the daily menu and an outstanding bar program, too. $$
Garfield: 5523 Penn Ave.
Executive Chef Brandon Fisher