Let’s make a pact: no more sad desk lunch. Step away from your desk at lunchtime and stop by one of these 13 lunch spots in Pittsburgh instead -- there ought to be one in or near your neighborhood. And for the spots that aren’t in your area, take a trip, drive away from the office, work can wait. Trust us.
Bluebird KitchenAddress and Info
Bluebird Kitchen’s menu offers creative takes on sandwiches, salads, soups, and veggies. The tuna nicoise and house roast turkey sandwich (brined and served with shallot-bacon jam) are classics. Side dishes, changing daily, are worthy of being turned into meals themselves -- think quinoa, chickpeas, roasted beets, and pastas. Open on weekdays only, Bluebird is coveted by Downtown workers, meaning lunch-hour lines form early (pro tip: beat the Market Square crowds by stopping by the restaurant’s Stanwix St location).
BRGRAddress and Info
Sometimes you just need to step away from the office and stifle your work sorrows with a giant burger. BRGR is here to help. Its burgers blend Angus chuck, sirloin, New York strip, and ribeye into one hefty sandwich, making it one of the city’s finest burgers.
Park BrugesAddress and Info
Echoing the feel of a European bistro, lunch at Park Bruges is like stepping away from Pittsburgh for an hour. The restaurant is known for its moules-frites -- mussels served with Bruges frites. And with three cheeses and a bit of a spicy kick, Park Bruges’ macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food.
The VandalAddress and Info
This bright new restaurant on Butler St in Lawrenceville is a true lunchtime escape. The roast pork with apple mostarda, Swiss, and Dijon makes for a standout sandwich, especially when paired with a part-sweet, part-tart vanilla lemonade.
Shiloh GrillAddress and Info
In the summertime, Shiloh Grill’s deck is lunch-hour paradise. Even in cold weather, come here for the large menu featuring everything from tacos (fish, jerk chicken, or short rib) to turkey burgers with stuffing and cranberries. It’s easily accessible for Mt. Washington and Station Square workers.
El BurroAddress and Info
Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and the most gratifying guac, plus vegetarian and vegan options. Seating inside is limited, so order it to go and eat in Allegheny Commons Park across the street.
Conflict KitchenAddress and Info
This takeout shop serves food inspired by countries with which the United States is in conflict. The menu rotates, focusing on a different country regularly. Recent iterations have included menus based on Cuba, Afghanistan, and North Korea. At Conflict Kitchen, lunch is served with a side of dialogue about cultures and countries.
Square CafeAddress and Info
The range of selections at Square Cafe is so vast, you can choose the healthy route (kale and quinoa salad or the Square protein breakfast) or decide to treat yourself (Nutella crepes). Breakfast items are served all day, so, yes, you can gorge on some cinnamon swirl pancakes at noon.
NoodleheadAddress and Info
Noodlehead specializes in Thai noodle dishes, like street noodles, kee mao, see yew, and pad Thai in a low-key, industrial space not far from Bakery Square.
Amazing CafeAddress and Info
For an ultra-healthy -- and ultra-Zen -- lunch, Amazing Cafe is the spot for leafy salads, buddha burgers, peace pizza, and smoothies. The acai bowl is both beautiful (great opportunity for an #eatclean Instagram here) and delicious with acai puree, banana, raspberry, buckwheat, granola, dried fruit, coconut, and vanilla.
Uncle Sam’s Sandwich BarAddress and Info
This no-frills sandwich shop specializes in jumbo hoagies, like the Loaded Italian Sub and the Sam’s Buffalo Chicken Sub with plenty of melty provolone, Buffalo sauce, and of course, ranch dressing. It’s located in Squirrel Hill’s business district, not far from the Parkway if you don’t work nearby.
Penn Avenue Fish CompanyAddress and Info
The freshest fish served in every imaginable preparation -- sandwiches, tacos, pizza, sliders, salads, and soups. Also on the table for lunch: mussels, crab cakes, and sushi -- the sushi is renowned here.
Blue Line GrilleAddress and Info
Sitting across from Consol Energy Center, it’s only fitting that Blue Line Grille channels a sports bar vibe. Think classic bar food, like fried wings, with some more upscale options, like mahi mahi cakes.
1. Bluebird Kitchen221 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh
2. BRGR5997 Penn Circle S, Pittsburgh
3. Park Bruges5801 Bryant St, Pittsburgh
4. The Vandal4306 Butler St, Pittsburgh
5. Shiloh Grill123 Shiloh St, Pittsburgh
6. El Burro1108 Federal St, Pittsburgh
7. Conflict Kitchen221 Schenley Dr, Pittsburgh
8. Square Cafe1137 S Braddock Ave, Pittsburgh
9. Noodlehead242 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh
10. Amazing Cafe1506 E Carson St, Pittsburgh
11. Uncle Sam's Subs210 Oakland Ave, Pittsburgh
12. Penn Ave Fish Company2208 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh
13. Blue Line Grille1014 5th Ave, Pittsburgh
Bluebird is more than sandwiches, but the sandwiches at this breakfast and lunch spot are beyond the beyond. The Croque Monsieur, a ham sandwich on brioche covered in béchamel sauce, takes your mouth to France, without the airfare. The House Roast Beef on ciabatta is also on point and worth the inevitable lunch line. For the vegans among you, the seitan taco is a must.
BRGR's mouthwatering burgers are a handcrafted blend of Angus, chuck, ribeye and New York Strip (unless you opt for kobe beef or salmon instead). The best of the best is the Shrooms Burger, with forest mushrooms, caramelized onions, brie cheese and mustard aioli, but the Cease and Desist in all its thousand-island glory is a serious contender for the best burger in all of Pittsburgh. You can wash either (or both, no judgement) down with an adult root beer float made with root liqueur, local seltzer and vanilla bean.
This place offers Belgian cuisines dishes like poutine and mussels that come in a green curry, basil, & cilantro sauce with a side of frites. They also offer really unique items for brunch like their Belgian waffles with topping choices like strawberry pina colada and mango-pineapple.
The Vandal is something of a millennial haven with hole-studded white walls, an unfinished, beam-lined ceiling, a hand-drawn chalkboard menu, and meals plated exclusively on classic cafeteria trays. The Pittsburgh favorite serves standard American fare, breakfast through dinner, with a contemporary personal twist -- roasted pork topped with apple and kale chips, crepes with cured trout and sour cream, a fried chicken sandwich with rutabaga slaw and chili-honey. The space's co-owners host and cook full-time, are notorious for recognizing regulars (of which there are many), and curate a soundtrack primarily built of whiney 90's throwbacks . Parlor Coffee is served all day, BYOB is encouraged, and the food is every bit as instagrammable as it is delicious.
Shiloh Grill has an incredible city view, and Tuesday's are Bacon Night which means baskets of bacon are only $1 at table seats and free at bar seats.
This tiny and hip Mexican spot serves up tacos, burritos, and all the flavorful favorites you love. From starters like chips and salsa to side dishes like the beloved carne asada fries to mains like the chorizo burrito, the lineup here is brimming with fresh, colorful options. El Burro even boasts a separate, rotating vegan menu, proving quality Mexican food doesn't have to be loaded with meat and cheese. It features a Chile relleno burrito, vegan chorizo, potato tacos, and seitan tacos.
This tiny take-out restaurant not only serves up delicious foods from all over the world, they serve a message in the process. Lots of dishes here are Cuban inspired, and they go heavy with the pork while educating you on food packaging in Cuba. It's an educational meal.
Colorful and quirky, the Square Cafe space is a little ray of sunshine in Regent Square. The super-popular spot boasts interesting menu choices like tofu hash and cornmeal pancakes, and keeps thirsts at bay with coffee in square mugs and killer milkshakes. On the 10 warm days per year in the city (just kidding, Pittsburgh has at least 11 nice days), tables spill out onto the sidewalk for outdoor dining.
Serving delicious Thai food in a dimly lit restaurant with modern decor, this place is great for dates or group dinners. When you go try the Chiang Mai curry and the street noodles.
Located inside a yoga studio, this little cafe serves acai bowls with tons of toppings to choose from, smoothies, salads, and other light, healthy menu items.
This sandwich shop makes fresh sub sandwiches and instead of chips, they give you french fries as a side. They even have a good selection of vegetarian subs to choose from.
This little spot serves some of the freshest sushi in the area. They also serve fresh oysters, fish tacos, and fish sandwiches. You can't go wrong with anything you order here. They also run good lunch specials where you can get good deals on sushi rolls.
A great spot to watch the hockey game in this pro-Penguins environment. Even if you don't like the Penguins, with 27 TV's you can be sure to catch any of your favorite hockey teams while devouring a burger and poutine fries from here.