Courtesy of Bar Marco
Food & Drink

The Best Brunches in Pittsburgh Right Now

Updated On 02/14/2018 at 05:16PM EST
Federal Galley

Federal Galley

North Side

Brand-new food hall with four distinct, chef-run restaurants
As the new sister restaurant of Smallman Galley, the uber-popular restaurant incubator in the Strip District, Federal Galley had a lot to live up to -- and it does, mightily. The four restaurant concepts in Federal Galley include Provision PGH, El Lugar, Michigan & Trumbull, and Supper, all bringing various styles of cuisine, from elevated New American fare to Detroit-style pizza, to one location. Brunch offers eclectic options while the bar serves up a solid selection of local beer, wine, and spirits.

or, The Whale

Downtown

Elegant hotel restaurant with a sea-inspired menu and décor
One of the newest entries into Pittsburgh’s brunch scene is or, The Whale, the recently opened seafood and chop house in the Distrikt Hotel Pittsburgh. With an ambitious brunch menu (one of the few places in town where you can order it seven days a week) or, The Whale is your new go-to place when you’ve got to impress someone before 2pm. Menu options include a must-try monkey bread (sweetened with brown sugar, black cardamom, and orange), and savory corn waffles, piled high with bacon, sausage, and a fried egg. Plus, their cocktail program (brunch or otherwise) is one of the best in the city.

Courtesy of Union Standard

Union Standard

Downtown

Buzzy spot serving modern American cuisine in a bright setting
With a hearty, savory-heavy brunch menu (though the bourbon & vanilla bean French toast, served with Millie’s vanilla ice cream, bacon maple syrup and bourbon whipped cream, is decidedly on the sweet side), Union Standard has become the... well, standard for Downtown brunch dining. Oysters on the half shell, from the Union Standard’s raw bar, make the perfect first course, and there’s a strong lineup of brunch cocktails on the menu featuring local favorites like Maggie’s Farm Rum and Boyd & Blair vodka.

Rob Larson

Whitfield

East Liberty

Lively spot for known for using sustainable, local ingredients
The Ace Hotel Pittsburgh is home to Whitfield, a bright, airy restaurant that’s a hit with the city's in-crowd. Led by chef Bethany Zozula, the brunch menu features local produce and sustainably-raised meats in hearty, classic sweet and savory options, like steak & eggs and blueberry buttermilk pancakes. The pastry program, from pastry chef Casey Renee, is a star here, with house-made English muffins, zucchini bread, and biscuits elevating an already-stellar mid-morning meal.

Carnegie Museum of Art

The Café Carnegie

Oakland

Elegant museum café with a locally sourced seasonal menu
Step inside The Café Carnegie and prepare to be dazzled. The modern café space, housed inside the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, is awash in clean lines, bright lights, and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to the heart of Oakland. On the menu, you’ll find very "ladies who lunch" selections, like salad chevre chaud with roasted shiitakes and cauliflower, and a croque madame with house-cured ham. And don’t overlook their jelly donuts, served with a dollop of house-made Concord grape jelly, and a cozy addition to an elegant meal.

Courtesy of Threadbare

Threadbare Cider & Mead

North Side

Local cidery with fresh-made pizzas and salads  
The team behind Wigle Whiskey has outdone themselves with one of the newest additions to Pittsburgh’s brunch scene. Threadbare Cider & Mead not only serves Wigle's own (great) ciders and cider cocktails, but they also offer a full brunch menu on the weekends. You’ll find a rotating selection of breakfast-inspired pizzas (made with yeast that was started with the same yeast used to make the cider), Dutch pancakes, and salads.  

Point Brugge Cafe

Point Breeze

Cozy bistro with classic European offerings
Point Brugge has the brunch checklist covered: adorable, tiny space, neighborhood vibe, outdoor dining, and uncompromisingly good food. Come by on an off hour to avoid the wait and indulge in the Belgian-inspired menu. The Liege waffles are the jam, and the famous Point Brugge mussels (try the classic white wine prep), when available, are a necessary add-on.

Courtesy of Christina Shields/Square Cafe

Square Cafe

Regent Square

Family-friendly café with lots of local charm
Colorful and quirky, the Square Cafe space is a little ray of sunshine in Regent Square. The super-popular spot boasts seasonal menu choices like pumpkin walnut pancakes, and keeps thirsts at bay with coffee (served in square mugs) and killer milkshakes. On warm days, tables spill out onto the sidewalk for outdoor dining in the sunshine.

Meat & Potatoes

Meat & Potatoes

Downtown

Ultra-popular new American gastropub in the center of the city
Meat and booze do the body good, thus making a trip to Meat & Potatoes a worthy endeavor. All hunger pains will be vanquished with enormous dishes like the cheddar jalapeño waffle topped with fried chicken and the roasted pork huevos rancheros. The Bloody Mary bar and drinks like the Old Fashioned Breakfast with bacon bourbon and maple syrup, wash down the portions (and any bad memories from the previous night) right away.

Franktuary Lawrenceville

Franktuary

Lawrenceville

Quirky, hot dog-focused spot with an ever-changing menu
After leaving the sanctuary, head to Franktuary. This religious pun-infused hot doggery cooks up a thoughtful and small Sunday brunch menu that changes weekly. The waffle sandwich -- a sausage and egg nestled between quartered waffles -- is a revelation, as are the ever-changing hot dog options (now with more than 50 toppings to choose from), and their stellar list of poutine choices.

Bar Marco

Bar Marco

Strip District

Intimate wine bar in a historic firehouse
Every weekend, this natural wine bar turns into the spot for scoring an elevated brunch, with an ever-changing list of offerings that leans heavily on the savory side. Hearty dishes like smoked salmon Benedicts and rock shrimp & grits are the stars of the show, but you’d be remiss not to snag a plate of Bar Marco’s bomboloni: fresh-made sugared donuts with dipping sauces that change seasonally, like bourbon caramel and lemon curd. And, with one of the best wine programs in the city, there’s no excuse not to have a glass (or two) of vino while you’re there.

Aimee DiAndrea

DiAnoia's Eatery

Strip District

Hybrid café, deli, and restaurant that serves seriously good Italian specialties
DiAnoia’s Eatery is one of our city’s most unique spaces. Equal parts deli, bar, restaurant, and bakery, the all-day Italian spot serves everything from house-made linguine with clams and zeppole donuts to porchetta-stacked panini and steak Florentine -- not to mention the incredibly indulgent gnocchi bowls. The Sunday brunch program combines the best elements of the restaurant’s offerings into one menu. You’ll find Italian-inspired comfort foods like veal Parmesan with a sunny-side-up egg and a side of spaghetti, and panettone French toast drenched in maple syrup. Plus, DiAnoia’s in-house bakery churns out those piping-hot zeppole like they’re going out of style. Word to the wise: If the Nutella panzerotti (fried dough stuffed with Nutella) is on the menu, get it.

Spoon

Spoon

East Liberty

Upscale eatery with chef-driven menu and inventive cocktail program
Chef Jamilka Borges is making magic in the kitchen at Spoon, which of course extends to the Sunday brunch offerings. With a healthy mix of sweet (pineapple and walnut bread pudding!) and savory (pork tostadas!), Borges has a special flair for Latin-inspired selections. Try the Sloppy Dan (a two-fisted sandwich with spicy ground pork and pickled bok choy), or the Fried Chicken, served with cornbread, gochujang, and a kick of spicy slaw. And, whatever you do, don’t miss getting one of Spoon’s brunch cocktails: our favorite is the Witches’ Coffee, a blend of Strega (an Italian herbal liqueur), coffee, and cream.

Provision PGH | Julie Walsh

Smallman Galley

Strip District

A restaurant incubator with four concepts and a local-based bar
You’ll find four restaurant concepts (and a great bar) under one roof at Pittsburgh’s original restaurant incubator Smallman Galley, which means that no matter how picky your entourage is, everyone will find something they love. The incubator’s current crop of restaurants at this shared space include Iron Born (Detroit-style pizza), brunoise (elevated upscale American food), Colonia (a Latin-American concept) and Banhmilicious (serving Vietnamese fusion), all offering brunch specialties on the weekends.

Erin Kelly Photography

Pear and the Pickle

Troy Hill

Spacious café with incredible coffee and breakfast sandwiches
Pear and the Pickle has only been around for a couple of years, but in that time, the tiny Troy Hill café and market has quickly become one of Pittsburgh’s worst-kept brunch secrets, with arguably the best breakfast sandwich in town. Yes, it's a deceptively simple bodega staple -- bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll -- but it's still worth taking a trip up one of the steepest streets in town to get. The café also offers a selection of other sandwiches (think deli classics like "the Rialto," with sweet sliced ham, capicola, and pepperoni), and Stumptown coffee to wash it all down.

Up Next
Bar Frenchman | Dustin Wickett
Food & Drink

Pittsburgh's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
P
ittsburgh takes its culinary clues from no one. The chefs and restaurateurs leading this city have their own, hard-won sense of what will work in this town, and the best new restaurants to open this year -- from a seafood and chop house to a French brasserie -- have forged their own path to offer something unique to Pittsburgh’s hungry masses.
With dozens of new restaurants opening each year in the city, it can be hard to make a lasting impression. As Pittsburgh gets more national attention, and more chefs are finding financial means to open their own brick-and-mortars, diners have more choices than ever on where to spend their dollars. These five new establishments have each had a big impact on Pittsburgh’s culinary landscape in the short time that they’ve been open, and are our picks for the best new restaurants of the year.
Ki Ramen PGH

Ki Ramen

Lawrenceville

Bustling ramen restaurant known for from-scratch noodles
Chef Roger Li has been busy. Last year, he opened Umami, a Japanese-style gastropub (and one of our best new restaurants of 2016), and this year, he (along with fellow Lawrenceville restaurateur Domenic Branduzzi) debuted two new concepts: Ki Pollo, the just-opened fast-casual restaurant offering Korean-style fried chicken and empanadas, and Ki Ramen, a from-scratch ramen restaurant, which has quickly become a go-to for those of us who lamented the lack of quality ramen in the city. At Ki Ramen, Branduzzi is charged with preparing the noodles that are cut daily using a Japanese-made noodle machine, adding weight and substance to Li’s delicate, delicious broths. The menu has evolved over time, and includes a vegetarian curry ramen and shoyu ramen, served with soy-braised chicken and an onsen (sous vide) egg. The restaurant has also recently added house-made bao to the menu, with fillings (miso eggplant and roast duck are two recent favorites) that change daily.

Union Standard

Downtown

Buzzy downtown spot offering a modern take on Northeast American cuisine
Since opening earlier this year, Derek Stevens’ Union Standard has given Downtown a sorely needed after-work option, elegant enough to take out-of-town clients yet casual enough for happy hour drinks with friends. The beautifully designed restaurant was part of a $100 million renovation to the historic Union Trust Building, and offers a lively, modern bar area downstairs, and a cozy, intimate upstairs dining room. The menu merges Northeastern American coastal cuisine with heartier dishes made on the wood-fired rotisserie and grill, and Stevens also offers an incredible raw bar, serving shellfish and seafood from all the usual Northeast spots -- Massachusetts, Chesapeake and Maine are typically represented. Although the menu changes frequently, it tends to lean toward traditional steak-and-seafood house fare, including a flawlessly-prepared rib-eye and a salmon dish that’s brightened with dill gnocchetti and hazelnut brown butter. You’ll also find one of the best bar snack menus in the city here, with elevated takes on classic offerings including duck fat popcorn (made with Anson Mills heirloom flint corn) and smelts (fried and served crispy with a smoked pepper remoulade).

Dustin Wickett

Bar Frenchman

East Liberty

Upscale French brasserie serving classic European dishes  
The Twisted Frenchman has been a top-ranked restaurant in Pittsburgh since opening in 2015, so when chef/owner Andrew Garbarino announced earlier this year that he was introducing a new upscale French bistro concept, we were stoked. Bar Frenchman has since lived up to the high standards set by the Twisted Frenchman, serving perfectly-executed French classics like escargot with mushroom ragout, ratatouille, mussels & frites, and the best foie gras to be found in the city. The elegant bar also serves a killer cocktail, with a menu that features twists on classics (the Boukman daiquiri with white rum, cognac, lime and cinnamon is a favorite), along with an extended list of Champagne cocktails.

Superior Motors

Braddock

Community-driven, hyper-local restaurant in Braddock with a focus on seasonality  
It’s impossible to over-emphasize how highly anticipated Kevin Sousa’s Superior Motors was for the Pittsburgh dining community. Not only was it one of the highest-grossing restaurant Kickstarter campaigns ever, but Sousa (who dazzled diners at Salt of the Earth and Union Pig & Chicken) has a well-earned reputation as one of the city’s leading culinary forces, and while the wait was long -- more than three years between the initial Kickstarter campaign and opening night -- it was worth it. The community-focused restaurant in Braddock is now open seven days a week, serving a seasonal, locally sourced menu, with produce primarily coming from nearby Braddock Farms. The dessert menu is a particular standout, with complex pairings (chocolate matcha cake with mushroom, sourdough pound cake with fresh corn cream) ending each meal on a decidedly sweet note.

or, The Whale

Downtown

An elegant seafood and chop house known for customer attention  
Downtown’s new Distrikt Hotel Pittsburgh is now home to or, The Whale, an ambitious restaurant led by chef Dennis Marron, who’s pulling double duty on the restaurant-opening front as his Merchant Oyster Company also recently opened in Lawrenceville. Housed in what used to be the gym and track area of the historic Salvation Army building, or, The Whale is a beautifully designed gem, with an upstairs bar and lounge, and an impressive dining room that features a butcher room, a private wine cellar, and an open kitchen, featuring a wood-burning hearth and a pastry room (all the better for pastry chef Jessica Lewis to make her delightful desserts). The menu offers an eclectic take on seafood and chophouse standards, with dry-aged steaks sharing space with linguine and cockles (served in a lightly seasoned garlic herb sauce), and a ground duck burger topped with seared foie gras. A separate bar, called Evangeline, adds to the experience, serving coffee during the day, and cocktails and raw bar offerings at night.

Hannu Keski Hakuni
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