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Best Restaurants 2017

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Lamb curry is one of many dishes offered at Salem’s hot bar

Salem’s Market & Grill

STRIP DISTRICT: 2923 Penn Ave.
General Manager/Owner Abdullah Salem
[Middle Eastern]  Salem’s very well may be the most inclusive restaurant in Pittsburgh, attracting everyone from recent immigrants to city government workers. The 100-percent halal menu is a delicious mix of Middle Eastern, Indian, Pakistani and Mediterranean cuisines. Go for dishes such as luscious lamb or goat curry, saag paneer, seekh and shish kebabs, and lamb chops. Don’t skip the hot, pillowy naan, which comes fresh from the restaurant’s tandoor. The attached market contains one of Pittsburgh’s finest butcher shops.


Joseph Tambellini Restaurant

HIGHLAND PARK: 5701 Bryant St.
412/665-9000, josephtambellini.com
Executive Chef/co-Owner Joseph Tambellini
[Italian-American]  Talk about classic Pittsburgh: Executive Chef/Co-Owner Joseph Tambellini is part of an extended family of Tambellini restaurateurs; he cut his teeth working for his father and uncle in 1979 at Robert Tambellini’s, Downtown. Members of our independent Restaurant Review Panel enjoy dining at this eponymous restaurant for its classic, white-tablecloth service. Italian-American greatest hits such as zucchini planks, chicken Marsala and meatballs are favorite dishes for Pittsburgh diners. Don’t skip the wine list; it’s terrific.  


Piccolo Forno

LAWRENCEVILLE: 3801 Butler St.
412/622-0111, piccolo-forno.com
Chef/owner Domenic Branduzzi
[Italian]  Piccolo Forno was cool long before its neighborhood, Lawrenceville, became so. Chef/Owner Domenic Branduzzi prepares Northern Italian comfort food with dishes such as lasagna toscana and rotating risotto specials. Branduzzi also was well ahead of the recent boom in quality, house-made pizza; it’s worth a visit to have one for lunch or share one as part of your dinner. Look for Ki Ramen, a partnership between Branduzzi and talented chef Roger Li (Umami), this year.  

Classic burger with American cheese, bacon, red onions and pickles

Tessaro’s American Bar & Hardwood Grill

BLOOMFIELD: 4601 Liberty Ave.
412/682-6809, tessaros.com
Grill Master Courtney McFarlane
[Burgers/American]  Tessaro’s, an iconic Pittsburgh establishment, expanded into a neighboring building and added outdoor seating in 2015. That’s great for the neighborhood, because the enticing aroma of burgers built from house-ground chuck and juicy steaks cooking on the restaurant’s hardwood grill permeate throughout Bloomfield. Sit at the bar to feel as though you’re a regular, even if it’s your first time visiting (because it certainly won’t be your last).  


Café Zinho

SHADYSIDE: 238 Spahr St. 
Executive Chef/owner Toni Pais
[Mediterranean]  Executive Chef/Owner Toni Pais is one of the deans of Pittsburgh dining. He moved to our city from Portugal in 1978 and rose to prominence with the opening of Baum Vivant in 1992; the restaurant won Pittsburgh Magazine’s nod for Restaurant of the Year for eight consecutive years. But it’s Café Zinho, which he opened on a quiet street in Shadyside in 1997, that’s proved to be his lasting legacy. Loyal diners rave — and return often — to enjoy his Portuguese-influenced cuisine both in the vibrant dining room, and, when the weather is pleasant, at a table on the peaceful street.  


Dragon Roll, Dean Roll, Philadelphia Roll, California Roll &  Edememe

Little Tokyo Japanese Restaurant

Mt. Lebanon: 636 Washington Road 
412/344-4366, littletokyopittsburgh.com
Owner Frank Lin
[Japanese]  Welcoming and gracious service draw diners to Little Tokyo, a neighborhood institution that opened in 1997. The Japanese restaurant is the type of establishment where the staff, led by personable owner Frank Lin, makes first-time guests feel at home and longtime regulars feel like family. Dishes such as salmon dengaku — a miso-marinated, grilled fillet — and tonkatsu are popular, as are selections from the very good sushi counter.  

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2017 Best Restaurants Party

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