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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Tender's bar staff has served cocktails including the Raspberry Gin Lemonade, Old Pal and Fresh Strawberry Fix.
[AMERICAN] Tender was selected for the Best Restaurants list in large part because of the strong vision and execution of former Executive Chef Brian Little. Ownership has decided to move from Little’s modernist cuisine to focus on refined, contemporary bar food under the direction of former sous chef Steven Snyder. Snyder is a talent in his own right, and dishes such as pulled pork with slaw and house-pickled carrots are likely to please drinkers at a bar that remains one of the very best in the city. $-$$
Lawrenceville: 4300 Butler St.
Executive Chef Steven Snyder
Gourmet burger with vegetable kabob
[BURGERS/AMERICAN] The smell of wood smoke wafting down Liberty Avenue is a beacon for burger lovers. Every day, butcher Dominic Piccola grinds a beef chuck for the restaurant’s famous flame-grilled hamburgers. While the regular bacon cheeseburger is great, order it in the form of a breakfast burger with a fried egg on top to make it transcendent. On Thursday nights, diners can indulge in quarter- and half-racks of beef or pork ribs (or make it a combo) as a break from their burger delights. Servers at Tessaro’s mingle the crisp professionalism of a white tablecloth restaurant with the friendly feel of a neighborhood diner. Be on the lookout for expanded indoor seating and an outdoor patio. $
Bloomfield: 4601 Liberty Ave.
Owner The Harrington Family;
Chief Grill Cook Courtney McFarlane
Mr. Shu with rock shrimp
[JAPANESE] The best way to get the full Umi experience is to sit at the sushi bar and order omakase. Do that, and Executive Chef Mr. Shu will prepare a tasting menu of either seven or 11 courses that will leave you happy. You’ll be impressed by his array of tasty dishes, all prepared and delivered with epic efficiency. There’s a terrific menu of raw and cooked dishes available for guests who sit in the main dining room. Umi is immensely popular with Pittsburgh’s top athletes and local celebrities. $-$$$$
SHADYSIDE: 5849 Ellsworth Ave.
Executive Chef Mr. Shu
Grilled octopus, matcha aïoli, black-ginger quinoa, ramps and togarashi
[AMERICAN/MEDITERRANEAN] Vivo Kitchen in the heart of downtown Sewickley is a popular favorite for residents of the borough as well as city-dwellers looking for a short trip out of town for an evening. The family-run restaurant is warm and cheerful. During the growing season, the DiBattista vegetable garden — overseen by co-owner Lori DiBattista, who also is a gracious presence in the Vivo dining room — is put into use in the kitchen. Dishes such as whole branzino with olive oil and lemon show off Chef/Co-owner Sabatino “Sam” DiBattista’s Italian heritage. $$-$$$
Sewickley: 432 Beaver St.
Chef/Co-owner Sabatino “Sam” DiBattista
Gloria Fortunato with pan-seared scallops with bucatini
[MEDITERRANEAN] Even though there’s an influx of new establishments in neighborhoods including downtown and Lawrenceville, it’s worth taking a short drive to one of Pittsburgh’s top destination restaurants, located in the South Hills. At Wild Rosemary, guests make reservations weeks in advance for a chance to eat at the 28-seat BYOB bistro. Chef/Co-owner Gloria Fortunato’s menu changes every three weeks and always is a reflection of the season. The tagline on the menu — “Good Things + Patience. Yep.” — is great. $$$-$$$$
Upper St. Clair: 1469 Bower Hill Road
Chef/Co-owner Gloria Fortunato