New this summer in Pittsburgh: octopus tacos, avocado toast, popcorn panna cotta, booze buckets, and grappa cocktails. Pittsburgh’s restaurant and bar scene continues to grow with these 10 new spots featuring experienced chefs, ingredient-focused menus, locally sourced products, and fresh spins on old favorites.

Adam Milliron/Courtesy of Biergarten

Biergarten

Downtown
What you’re getting: Duchesse de Bourgogne

The rooftop patio atop Hotel Monaco has been packed all summer -- or, at least, every day that it wasn’t raining -- and for good reason. The bar offers sweeping skyline views, an impressive selection of European beers, and mouthwatering bar snacks. A draft of the tart red ale Duchesse de Bourgogne pairs well with the sauerbraten, a beef brisket dish with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.

Palermo Photo/Courtesy of Grapperia

Grapperia

Lawrenceville
What you’re getting: LaVanda

Grappa, the mainstay at Grapperia, is an Italian brandy made from the skin of grapes used in winemaking -- and it packs a punch. The Lawrenceville bar pays homage to the Italian favorite with a cozy atmosphere and a wide selection of grappa, along with amari (another Italian liqueur) and more familiar Italian beverages, such as limoncello and sambuca. Grappa cocktails are another option, like the LaVanda -- lavender-infused grappa, green pepper honey, and lemon juice.

Steve Dalton/Courtesy of Howl at the Moon

Howl at the Moon

Downtown
What you’re getting: Fruit Roll Up

National bar chain Howl at the Moon descended into Pittsburgh over the summer, bringing the party to Downtown. The bar features dueling pianos, singers, and guitarists with their own renditions of songs like “Shake It Off” and “Ignition.” Start the party with the Fruit Roll Up -- peach and apple vodka plus melon liqueur served in a giant bucket (share with a group of friends).

Pan Asian Kitchen

Pan Asian Kitchen

Lawrenceville
What you’re getting: Yellowtail nigiri

Among the list of creations on the menu at Pan Asian Kitchen is one that joins yellowtail, wasabi, orange zest, Asian pear ginger slaw, and eel sauce. The Lawrenceville restaurant also specializes in innovative small plates and bowls, featuring noodles and dumplings. Pro tip: sushi rolls are $4 during happy hour.

Courtesy of Senti

Senti Restaurant & Wine Bar

Lawrenceville
What you’re getting: Filetto di maiale

Carnivores, prepare your taste buds for Italian restaurant Senti’s dinner menu, featuring filetto di maiale (pork tenderloin with house-made sausage), chicken caponata, and tagliatelle with porcetta. Plenty of classic pasta dishes are on the menu, too, from fettuccine to lasagna to spaghetti. The wine bar is equipped with a high-tech wine dispenser and a long wine list. Save room for dessert -- budino al café, aka coffee pudding with glazed donut holes.

Spirit

Spirit

Lawrenceville
What you’re getting: A PBR and a pizza

Spirit, a former Moose Lounge in Lawrenceville, is now part bar, part pizza place, part ballroom. The 10,000sqft space hosts events, such as pig roasts, roller derby, concerts, and Tune In Tuesdays (vintage MTV and classic game consoles). Beers from local brewers are on tap, along with $2.50 PBR pounders and $2.50 IC Lights. Order a pizza from Spirit’s in-house Slice Island.

Rossilynne Culgan/Thrillist

Station

Bloomfield
What you’re getting: Tagliatelle
Station, located in Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, has a contemporary American public house vibe with a fresh take on Mediterranean tastes. Start with the crispy wings, then get the tagliatelle with smoked pork shank, and finally the popcorn panna cotta. Spend the rest of the evening lingering over cocktails at the carefully restored, ornate wooden bar.

Swing Truck

Swing Truck

Strip District
What you’re getting: Rice bowl
Perhaps it’s an unconventional pick for a list of sit-down establishments, but a food truck deserves a mention when it’s this good. Chef Jamilka Borges, also of Bar Marco, is serving up Puerto Rican street food at Swing Truck, located next to Bar Marco in the Strip District. Try the rice bowl -- rice, beans, and plantain, with a choice of meat. Cocktails, beer, and bocce in the courtyard are also available.

Täk?

Täkō

Downtown
What you’re getting: Tako tacos
A giant yellow marquee out front of this Downtown street-fusion restaurant promises “tacos, sandwiches, seviche, cold beer, tequila,” and really what more could you want? Focus on the tacos, served in pairs, which combine ingredients ranging from grilled pork shoulder to mushrooms to Wagyu short rib. Don’t be afraid to try the Tako tacos featuring octopus.

Rossilynne Culgan/Thrillist

The Vandal

Lawrenceville
What you’re getting: Fried chicken

At The Vandal, the motto is “hang out or take out.” Definitely choose the "hang out" option because this brand-new Lawrenceville spot delivers gourmet food in a casual setting for a low-key brunch (think: yogurt and avocado toast), lunch (sandwiches and burgers), and dinner (fried chicken). The locally sourced fried chicken is a specialty large enough for two; order it with a rotating menu of seasonal sides.

Sign up here for our daily Pittsburgh email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in the Steel City.
 
Rossilynne S. Culgan (@rossilynne) is a Pittsburgh native who is practicing her bocce skills for a visit to Swing Truck.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Biergarten 620 William Penn Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Biergarten at the Hotel Monaco features an exhaustive list of European beer, like bottled German favorites the Spaten Optimator doppelbock, the Weihenstephaner hefeweizen, and the Spaten marzen, and Belgian Trappist ales and sours. German-inspired bar bites range from house-made currywurst and sauerbraten to giant pretzels and a full array of pickles. And if you think the highlight of the evening will be trying to pronounce all of this German after a few drinks, try your hand at any of Biergarten’s pub games, like Jenga, garden chess, and super-sized Connect Four, and see how long you can last.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Grapperia 3801 Butler St Rear, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Central Lawrenceville)

Grapperia in Lawrenceville is extremely true to its name, as it focuses on grappa. Grappa is an Italian brandy made from the skin of grapes used in winemaking -- and it packs a punch. This Italian bar centers around the liqueur and also offers other Italian beverages, including amari, limoncello, and grappa cocktails like the LaVanda -- lavender-infused grappa, green pepper honey, and lemon juice.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Howl at the Moon 125 7th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

The national bar chain has found a home in Pittsburgh, featuring dueling pianos, singers, and guitarists with their own renditions of the latest Top 40 hits. Get the party going with one of their group cocktails like the Fruit Roll Up: peach and apple vodka plus melon liqueur served in a giant bucket.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Pan Asian 3519 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Central Lawrenceville)

As the name suggests, this spot has plenty of different Asian eats on offer, but the Yellowtail nigiri with wasabi, orange zest, Asian pear ginger slaw, and eel sauce, is the real stand-out winner. Pro tip: sushi rolls are $4 during happy hour.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Senti 3473 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Central Lawrenceville)

This meat-focused Italian restaurant features items like filetto di maiale (pork tenderloin with house-made sausage), chicken caponata, and tagliatelle with porcetta. Plus, the bar is equipped with a high-tech wine dispenser and an extensive wine list. You can go for a whole glass or just dispense yourself a taste, taking advantage of a good swish and spit opportunity before settling on your favorites.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Spirit 242 51st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Central Lawrenceville)

Crispy, thin-crust, square-cut pizza meets Pennsylvania booze -- it's a love story to end all others. That's what happens every night at Spirit, a spot on the upper West corner of Allegheny Arsenal that tricks everyday passerby with its outer abandoned warehouse look. Those in the know, however, regularly flock here for the simple Slice Island pies and glass after glass after glass of craft beer, wine, and cocktails alongside some live indie music in '70s-prom kind of dance hall or out on the back patio.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Station 4744 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224 (Bloomfield)

Located in Pittsburgh’s Little Italy, Station is an American gastropub with a Mediterranean twist. Start with the crispy wings, then the tagliatelle with smoked pork shank, and finish the popcorn panna cotta.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Swing Truck 2216 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Strip District)

Chef Jamilka Borges, also of next door Bar Marco, is serving up Puerto Rican street food at Swing Truck. Try the rice bowl, grab yourself a cocktail and head on over for some bocce ball in the courtyard.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. täkō 214 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

As the sign says out front, this Downtown street-fusion spot offers tacos, sandwiches, ceviche, cold beer and tequila. The täkō tacos really are deserving of the house name, featuring octopus, but the others are equally as delicious ranging from grilled pork shoulder to mushrooms to wagyu short rib. Don't forget about their drinks, which include inventive margaritas and the Neville Island Tea, which is a Pittsburgh take on the Long Island Iced Tea.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. The Vandal 4306 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Central Lawrenceville)

The motto here is “hang out or take out,” and the spot offers gourmet food in a casual setting for a low-key brunch (think: yogurt and avocado toast), lunch (sandwiches and burgers), and dinner (fried chicken).

Clickbait