Your New Favorite Italian Place Opens in Regent Square

Plus Tavern 245's hangover burger cures what ails you and the North Side gets a new eatery and wine bar.

>>diningreview
Italian restaurant plants roots in Regent Square
As a city with deep Italian roots, Pittsburgh has many, many Italian restaurants; sadly, some of them fall prey to canned red sauce and bulk Mozzarella. In this context, I am always happy to discover small standout neighborhood eateries like Cibo, places that exist because the chef or owner wants to share their love of the cuisine with you, is willing to put in the time and effort to source better ingredients and make food from scratch and stay true to the cuisine while still making their creative mark.

Cibo, which means food in Italian, is just this kind of place, falling in good company with other Italian neighborhood favorites like Girasole (Shadyside), Piccolo Forno (Lawrenceville), Legends of the North Shore (North Side) and Stagioni (Bloomfield), where high-quality bread, olive oil and Parmesan are always on the menu.

Although not of Italian heritage, executive chef Eric Schwarzmeier says, "Italian food has always been my favorite because I love the ingredients. I want to keep my food humble." He thinks that the soups offered are some of his best dishes. The one I tried was fantastic: a bowl of pureed roasted summer-squash soup ($5) that was chock-full of flavor and garnished with fresh herbs, just like mom would make.

Another stellar choice is the simple grilled salmon entrée ($22, pictured), often served with a (too) thick asparagus risotto.

For the meats, I tried the veal, pork chop and the braciole. The veal scaloppini ($22) is lovely, so old-fashioned and simple, featuring pounded and lightly sauteed veal with chunks of forest mushrooms and cooked with white wine and butter.

(1103 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 5-10 p.m. Info: 412/871-5923, facebook.com/CiboPittsburgh)
—Valentina, PM Restaurant Critic

>>saturdaybrunch
Tavern 245: more than a nightlife spot
What could be better than starting your Saturday morning off with a big, juicy “Hangover?” The burger ($11), that is: Angus beef cooked to perfection, topped with fried egg, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayonnaise. No longer just a happy hour hot-spot, downtown’s Tavern 245 is now open for brunch on Saturdays.    

If your taste buds favor the breakfast portion of brunch, satisfy them with the "Market Square Morning" ($8): two eggs, four slices of Applewood-smoked bacon and country-style home fries, or the "City of Bridges Breakfast Sandwich" ($8) on sourdough bread. For a sweeter start, treat yourself to “Crème Brulee French Toast” ($11): three slices of Challah bread dipped in crème brulee batter and topped with strawberries and powdered sugar. After all, it is the weekend. Just try not to drool on the brand-new menus.

(Tavern 245, 245 Fourth Ave., downtown. Mon.–Fri., 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; kitchen closes at 10:00 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Info: 412/281-4345, tavern245.com)
—Richelle Szypulski, PM Editorial Intern

>>nowopen
New North Side eatery offers wine, good eats
There are similarities with BRiX Wood-Fired Wine Bar and its older Shadyside sibling, Toast! Kitchen & Wine Bar: the ownership, the wine pricing and variety, and the rustic yet urban interior. After its soft opening in late August, BriX’s early menus have a much tighter focus on simpler pleasures like homemade pizzas from a wood-fired oven—a classic Margherita and another with peppered ham, provolone and red onions. It feels more like a neighborhood joint, unafraid to take a few chances on wines not often seen on Pittsburgh menus, like an earthy pinotage from South Africa.

(900 Western Ave., North Side; 412/904-4606, brixpgh.com)
—Jacob Quinn Sanders, PM Contributor & Eatsburgh Blogger

Categories: PGHeats