Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh in 2019
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SMOKE BARBEQUE TAQUERIA
It’s Best Because: Barbecue comes nestled in house-made tortillas and that sparks all the joy.
There are few categories of food I enjoy as much as smoked meats, and Smoke, which owners Jeff Petruso and Nelda Carranco moved from its original Homestead location to Lawrenceville in 2014, hits squarely in my happy place.
Petruso’s Oyler Pit smoker perfumes the neighborhood as brisket, pork shoulder, ribs and other cuts of meat slow-cook to perfection. Eat them with accoutrements inside house-made flour tortillas or enjoy them on their own. And jump on daily specials such as Cubano quesadilla, pastrami tacos, and, when they have them, hamburgers.
Executive Chef/Co-Owner Jeff Petruso
LAWRENCEVILLE: 4115 Butler St.
What we've said in the past: Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE
It’s Best Because: It has anchored East Liberty dining since 2010.
Executive Chef/Co-Owner Brian Pekarcik’s attuned-to-the-seasons menu is rooted in modern American cuisine, with a nod to Pittsburgh in dishes such as beet pierogi with house-made sausage and pickled fennel slaw. Look for elegant main courses such as duck breast with lemon-herb crust, chestnut spaetzle, pickled pear and juniper-port reduction. Spoon’s cocktail list long has been one of the strongest in Pittsburgh.
Service at Spoon is formal enough to make it a smart choice for an important celebration yet not so fussy as to stop you from popping in for a fun weekday dinner.
Executive Chef/Co-Owner Brian Pekarcik
EAST LIBERTY: 134 S. Highland Ave.
It’s Best Because: The garden-to-table meets modern American menu always feels right for the season.
Executive Chef Christian Frangiadis sat at the pinnacle of Pittsburgh dining in the late 1990s. After more than a decade in the Caribbean — and a few years finding his footing at Spork — he’s climbed back to the top of the peak.
The restaurant’s backyard garden provides stunningly fresh produce during the growing season, and its preservation program provides accents for dishes throughout the winter. Elegant touches such as tableside preparation of pressed dry-aged duck are complemented by a fun vibe, attentive service and an outstanding cocktail program.
Executive Chef Christian Frangiadis
BLOOMFIELD: 5430 Penn Ave.
What we've said in the past: An Impressive Duck Lands at Spork in Bloomfield