Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.




An array of vegan dishes such as Kreple ziemniaczane z grzybami (top, left) and Kapusta z marchewka (bottom, right) entices diners at Apteka | photos by Laura Petrilla
 

For years, it was an ongoing rumor that Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, operators of the popular “Pierogi Night” pop-up series, were planning to open a standalone restaurant. In March 2016, they finally did — and they made a lot of people happy by doing it. Pittsburgh Magazine’s independent Restaurant Review Panel named that restaurant, Apteka, our Best New Restaurant of the year. Lasky and Skowronski also were named “Best Rising Star Chefs” in our annual survey of chefs whose establishments are included on the Best Restaurants list.

Apteka is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage. The focused menu — just a handful of small plates, big plates and sandwiches are offered at any time — is a plant-based exploration of eastern and central European cuisine. Dishes such as Boczniaki z kapusta (oyster mushroom and braised cabbage in beer broth with butternut miso and rye crumb) and Baba Jaga (a vegetable-pate sandwich with pickles, smoked onion remoulade, pickled beet and mustard on house-baked seed bread) are deeply satisfying. Pierogi, the stuffed dumplings that started this whole thing, come on a big plate with two fillings: sauerkraut/mushroom and celeriac/apple/potato/horseradish. They are as delicious as they are popular. 
 


 

Apteka’s bar program also is outstanding. We named it “Best Bar for the Proletariat” in our “Best Bars” feature in February as a consequence of its impressive cocktails, crafted from housemade syrups, infusions, shrubs and tinctures. The best part about these exceptional drinks? They’re all under $10. The ethos here: If you can craft a product that’s more flavorful and also less expensive than you would find commercially, why not pass that savings on to the guests? 

The decor at Apteka might appear to be slightly bare-bones, but nuanced details emerge the longer you stay: The craftsmanship of the handcrafted wood bar. The back patio.

More is in the works as Lasky and Skowronski recently planted an outdoor garden area. Ambient music ranging from chill to surreal sets the mood, and guest DJs frequent a corner of the room.

What we love best about Apteka is that this is a casual, inviting eatery that is welcoming to everyone. It feels as if it’s a restaurant on the cutting edge, yet it also retains a timeless quality in its vibe.

Apteka
BLOOMFIELD: 4606 Penn Ave.aptekapgh.com
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Check out three versions of the goal that sends the Penguins to the Stanley Cup final for a sixth time. (Hint) We think we saved the best for last.
Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Eighteen life-like, animatronic dinosaurs will spend the summer in the Steel City.
He Loves the Nickname: They Call Him Dr. Yuk

He Loves the Nickname: They Call Him Dr. Yuk

In the 45 years since coming up with Mr. Yuk, Dr. Richard Moriarty, now 77, has met many grateful parents who told him he saved their kids’ lives.
Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Technological innovators present what could be “the next big thing” at the Carnegie Music Hall in Homewood.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

2017 Best Restaurants

Best Restaurants 2017

Best Restaurants 2017

This year Pittsburgh Magazine's independent Restaurant Review Panel recognizes 34 establishments as our regions's top restaurants. Our list includes All Arounders, Killer Casual, Fancy Night Out, Best Budget and Classic Comfort establishments.
Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Pittsburgh Chef of the Year: Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller’s portfolio includes overseeing five specialty restaurants — Eleven Contemporary Kitchen, Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen and Wine Bar, Soba, umi and Kaya — as well as 14 fast-casual Mad Mex restaurants and a full-service catering operation. Even in an increasingly competitive environment, his restaurants remain in-demand and relevant.
Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurant: Apteka

Apteka, operated by Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, is a vegan eatery that draws on Lasky’s sixth-generation Pittsburgh roots and Skowronski’s Polish heritage.
Pittsburgh's Best Delicious Design: Cocothé

Pittsburgh's Best Delicious Design: Cocothé

Renovation of the Sewickley restaurant — completed in August 2016 — took about two months from start to finish.
Chef's Poll 2017: Pittsburgh Chefs Speak Up

Chef's Poll 2017: Pittsburgh Chefs Speak Up

This year we asked the chefs who appear on Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Restaurants lists to answer seven questions; we received responses from 24 chefs. As was the case for our chefs’ polls in the previous two years, responses varied widely.
Fond Goodbyes: Three Pittsburgh Restaurants We Will Miss

Fond Goodbyes: Three Pittsburgh Restaurants We Will Miss

Three Pittsburgh Magazine Best Restaurants honorees closed their doors last year. While gone, they certainly are not forgotten.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Best Restaurants Back Issues

Best Restaurants 2016

Best Restaurants 2016

Which 33 Pittsburgh-area establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Best Restaurants 2015

Best Restaurants 2015

Which 33 establishments did our independent Restaurant Review Panel include among its top picks this year? Find them here.
Best Restaurants 2014

Best Restaurants 2014

Presenting 33 top-notch eateries that are revolutionizing Pittsburgh's food scene.
Best Restaurants 2013

Best Restaurants 2013

Presenting 34 of the finest, freshest and most forward-thinking restaurants in Pittsburgh. Bon appetit!

Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Watch: How Will You Remember Kunitz's Overtime Winner?

Check out three versions of the goal that sends the Penguins to the Stanley Cup final for a sixth time. (Hint) We think we saved the best for last.

Dinosaurs Storm the Pittsburgh Zoo

Eighteen life-like, animatronic dinosaurs will spend the summer in the Steel City.

He Loves the Nickname: They Call Him Dr. Yuk

In the 45 years since coming up with Mr. Yuk, Dr. Richard Moriarty, now 77, has met many grateful parents who told him he saved their kids’ lives.

Getting Started with Startups: A Peek at Alphalab Demo Day

Technological innovators present what could be “the next big thing” at the Carnegie Music Hall in Homewood.

Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference Helps Writers Tell Their Stories

The fifth annual Creative Nonfiction Writers’ Conference brings writers from across the country together to improve their craft.

Watch: Radio-Synced Highlights of Pens 7-0 Win in Game 5

Nothing beats listening to Mike Lange describe a Penguins' goal.
Edit Module