Best Restaurants 2014
Presenting 33 top-notch eateries that are revolutionizing Pittsburgh's food scene.
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SHADYSIDE: 229 S. Highland Ave.
| 412/661-5656, BIGBURRITO.com/CASBAH
MEDITERRANEAN | $$-$$$ | Executive Chef ELI WAHL
Casbah continues to double as an East End staple and a fine-dining destination, particularly for lunch and Sunday brunch. The food exhibits a Mediterranean influence and spans all preferences, from housemade pastas to rich meat dishes to grilled scallops. Lunchtime favorites range from the jumbo lump crab salad to the roasted turkey sandwich with Manchego, pickled red onion and black-pepper bacon. Great dinner choices include the cioppino, the signature double-cut pork chop and various cuts and preparations of local Elysian Farms lamb. The mosaic-accented bar is a fun place to eat, mingle and drink, with many wines available by the glass. The signature daily bread pudding and housemade sorbets and ice creams remain flawless.
SHADYSIDE: 238 Spahr St. |
MEDITERRANEAN | $-$$ | Executive Chef/Owner TONI PAIS
Café Zinho is a cozy, tucked-away spot off Ellsworth Avenue that offers a comfy, intimate environment with Bohemian décor. Its European-bistro fare, with a Portuguese emphasis, reflects the background of esteemed Executive Chef/Owner Toni Pais. Top-notch features include the Portuguese mariscada, a seafood stew in a savory tomato broth, and any fish dish, including the white anchovy appetizer and the whole branzino. Appetizers and desserts all reflect a classical European approach to cuisine, with reasonable portion sizes, high-quality ingredients and strong flavor profiles.
: 5336 Butler St. | 412/252-2595,
URBAN MEDITERRANEAN | $$-$$$ | Executive Chef/Co-owner JUSTIN SEVERINO
Cure continues to receive praise locally and nationally — as does its Executive Chef/Co-owner Justin Severino, a 2014 James Beard Foundation nominee for Best Chef - Mid-Atlantic. Cure is dedicated to local sourcing and prides itself on maintaining good relationships with farmers. The salumi platter, which consistently receives attention from diners and critics, is a must-have, featuring housemade salami, speck and ciccioli, among other items. Supper includes meat selections, such as the pork rib roast or squab breast. Severino — who has extensive knowledge of animal butchery and prepares each offering with care — says he wants others to know that his restaurant offers more than cured meats. To that end, seasonal salads are refreshing.
: 128 S. 17th St. | 412/390-2012,
ITALIAN | $$-$$$ | Chef/Owner MICHELE SAVOIA
Dish is both classic Italian and classic Pittsburgh: Its food has a Sicilian edge, but its historic building, tucked a few blocks off East Carson Street, feels purely of this city. At the lively bar, you can get affordable Italian wines and classic cocktails. Among the appetizers, the carpaccio with arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano, lemon and extra-virgin olive oil is one of the best in town — as is the octopus. The pasta entrées are flavorful — including the classic spaghetti with calamari, shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams in a white-wine garlic sauce. The meaty, old-fashioned roasted pork stuffed with scamorza, speck and sage is served with gnocchi and broccolini.
HIGHLAND PARK: 5904 Bryant St. | 412/441-1200
MEDITERRANEAN | $-$$ | Executive Chef/Owner KATE ROMANE
E2 is a small neighborhood spot featuring rustic Mediterranean cuisine and farm-sourced ingredients. There’s no doubt that the kitchen staff uses fresh produce — Executive Chef/Owner Kate Romane uses some crops sourced from Churchview Farm, where she lives with her partner. Favorite dishes include the fried polenta with goat cheese, greens and hot sausage and the simple spaghetti aglio e olio, anchovy, broccoli rabe and chilis. Brunch is wildly popular; entrées include frittatas, omelets, salads and French toast. While you wait for your main course, try the housemade doughnuts. Sunday Sauce takes place the last Sunday of each month and involves a “big, fat, family-style dinner.” You also can be the host of your own family-style “Big Table” dinner in the renovated downstairs dining space.