5 Must-Eats at Pittsburgh Restaurant Week

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week returns with a special winter edition from January 14-20.

Photos: Fukuda tofu ramen (top left) by Hoon K, Franktuary veggie meatball sandwich (top right) by Megan Lindsey, and Cafe Phipps Naan Salad (bottom) by Adam Mirillon


In the spirit of “Pittsburgh Does it Better,” our city celebrates Restaurant Week not once, but TWICE a year. And the winter installment of this tour de fork features the most restaurants ever (clocking in at 57 so far – quite the fitting number, yes?)

Since you have such a deliciously diverse range of eateries to choose from, The Brazen Kitchen’s editor’s choice picks have grown too, and while you can’t go wrong with last summer’s recommended restaurants – Abay Ethiopian Cuisine, Alma Pan Latin Kitchen, Tamari and Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina – there are also awesome new additions to the lineup!

Here are the 5 places you can’t miss:

Franktuary – A hotdog joint as a BK pick? YES! It is an understatement when I say I was surprised by the new Lawrenceville outpost’s menu when it opened recently. They have amazing veggie options – from salads to sausages to a side of wakame. I know! Wakame. In a hotdog joint. They also offer gluten-free buns, and the carbo-phobes can have their dog wrapped in greens instead. You get the drift. It’s that kind of hotdog place. Of course they have classic Franktuary kicked-up hotdogs that you know and love, not to mention your favorite poutine. Have those and a drink from the full bar. One of the best things? They’ve finally introduced Pittsburgh to chickpea fries (a modified version of The Brazen Kitchen recipe!)

Fukuda – If there was ever a time that I’ve wanted to try out a restaurant because of their blog, this is it. Their passion for food and fun and sense of adventure is so infectious it draws you to their Bloomfield joint like a digital Pied Piper. Then you see their menu of sushi, Japanese street food and staples — elevated just so — and you’re sold. You can’t go wrong with this order: tofu with crispy kale and sambal, shiitake robatayaki and either a veg ramen or a yasai maki with sesame soy paper, avocado, sun dried tomato, puffed rice and spicy miso sauce. BOOM! For Restaurant Week, I’ll be happy to just make the acquaintance of this sweet little thing: Kabocha Mochi with shisho wrap and beet cream bubbles. I’m in love.

Habitat – A hotel chain as a BK pick? LOL. YES! I jest. Habitat is quite atypical. The restaurant at the Fairmont hotel in downtown Pittsburgh has been on the BK radar since it opened. I think its tagline sums it up well: “Internationally inspired. Locally unique.” Habitat not only has great food but they are active in local advocacy — whether it be sourcing locally, supporting school garden programs or offering seasonal cooking classes. For Restaurant Week, they offer a prix fixe menu with options from their regular menu (which has plenty of healthy options) and is one of the few good lunch options during the week downtown.

Kaleidoscope Café – Do me a favor. Next time you traverse Lawrenceville’s Butler Street (drive carefully, watch for hipsters, oversized sunglasses sometimes work against you) hang a turn on 43rd Street and stop by Kaleidoscope. They have amazing salads, a gnocchi with kafta (interesting combination!), a mouthwatering veggie stack sandwich and a heartwarming herb-baked polenta. And for Restaurant Week, they are debuting this beauty on their menu: curry red quinoa with plantains, pineapples, carrots, tomatoes and red pepper. That’s an Instagram-worthy plate right there.

Café Phipps – THIS, hands down, is the best “museum café” in the ‘Burgh. I discovered this little secret by accident when a friend at PASA invited me to meet there. I think my jaw dropped a little when I read through the menu. I was expecting the usual suspects, but instead I saw: naan platter, grilled tempeh reuben, veg shepherd’s pie, date truffles, a dipping trio that includes harissa, not to mention daily specials including soup and salad options. End your meal with a refreshing splash – a fresh-squeezed fruit juice-spiked seltzer that you’ll instantly want to make at home (I know I do!)

Categories: Brazen Kitchen