Food & Drink

Pittsburgh's Brunch Dishes You Should Definitely Be Ordering This Weekend

Published On 08/16/2016 Published On 08/16/2016
Muddy Waters Oyster Bar
Muddy Waters Oyster Bar

Migas taco

Smoke BBQ Taqueria

Address and Info

Lawrenceville

Smoke is the queen of all things, well, smoked, and the brunch options at this lively taqueria are no different. Order up a the migas taco -- with an egg, crispy tortilla crumbs, peppers and onions, and the important balancing cheese -- and add some burnt ends or just enjoy the spicy fresno hot sauce it's topped with. Breakfast tacos for the win.  

Oyster po-boy

Muddy Waters Oyster Bar

Address and Info

East Liberty

Oysters for breakfast? Oh, yeah. Our closest bodies of water might be not-the-cleanest rivers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have decent seafood. Muddy Waters does its best to give us nice things and serves up oysters sourced from both oceanic coasts. On Sunday mornings, they come fried on a po-boy with shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, pickles, and the solidifying chili mayo, bacon, and an egg. Finish it off with a house-made pop tart because we stick by the rule that even breakfast-ish is incomplete without dessert.

The Whitfield

Toad in a Hole

The Whitfield

Address and Info

East Liberty

Mkay, so eggs *rubs hands together*... Eggs can sometimes be a snooze, but don’t tell that to the Whitfield. It has a take on a classic breakfast dish called a Toad in a Hole, which consists of no reptilians whatsoever! A nice slice of toast with the center cut out to cradle a farm-fresh egg meets a smear of zippy pepper jam. It's an insanely good starter on the brunch menu, but if you're looking for something heartier, the Whitfield's chefs somehow prepare some of the best eggs with its simple breakfast in town -- poached, pickled, soft scrambled, sunny-side up... you name it, it might very well be on offer. So enjoy your eggs in the lobby of the hottest hotel in town with a cocktail in hand. Mornings don’t have to suck, and your eggs shouldn't have to be rubbery.

Laura Zorch/Thrillist

Latkes

B52 Cafe

Address and Info

Lawrenceville

This joint offers the good people of Pittsburgh an all-vegan approach to Middle Eastern cuisine. Tofu scramble and thick-cut toast make for solid entrees, but the potato, carrot, and onion latkes perfectly complement any dish. Think hash browns but more wonderful. It's not technically a main dish, but no one's judging if you order it that way.

French toast

Josephine’s Toast at Smallman Galley

Address and Info

Strip District

If the name of a food item is in a restaurant’s name, you gotta figure that food item is going to be real good. Josephine’s Toast, part of the unreal restaurant incubator, Smallman Galley, makes good on the promise of excellent toast. The French toast, made with thick cut, but not comically, brioche, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with preserves or maple syrup, is absolutely perfect. If your sweet tooth is still asleep during the brunching hour, you can get, among other toasts, a classic egg in the hole, a staple avocado toast, or the bright and funky roasted pineapple cottage cheese toast topped with honey, sunflower seeds, and pink peppercorns. Bring on the bread!

Courtesy of The Vandal

Rice pudding

The Vandal

Address and Info

Lawrenceville

Check the dictionary -- does The Vandal show up by "hip"? Known for excellent sandwiches, this minimalist spot is understated in its coolness while serving up delicious treats. Last seen at grandma’s house, the souped-up rice pudding, filled with seasonal fruit and hazelnuts, and balanced out with a heavy pinch of sea salt, proves that what is old can be new and tasty, and, again, that it's never too early for dessert.

Provision PGH

Provision smothered fries

Provision Pgh at Smallman Galley

Address and Info

Strip District

Pittsburgh’s love affair with fries runs deep. We put those bad boys on everything. And when we put everything on our fries, boy howdy: stars align and everything feels right. Provision Pgh, another one of the four excellent Smallman Galley restaurants, serves up the ultimate brunch side of fries heaping with pea puree, lentils, goat cheese, lemon aoli, and pickled onion. We bet if you ask real nice, they'll even put a fried egg on top. If you can think of a better use of a Sunday morning than sharing a plate of these fries, you are a liar.

Spirit

Endless pizza

Spirit

Address and Info

Lawrenceville

Pizza for breakfast is always a good idea, so why not pizza for brunch? An even better idea is hitting up the endless pizza and brunch bar at Spirit on Sunday mornings. We repeat: Endless. Pizza. Grab a stack of pizza pie slices, yogurt, quiche, and a big old Bloody Mary handcrafted by you (yes, you!) from the Bloody Mary bar, and you’ve got the perfect start to a Sunday Funday. Or a Sunday afternoon nap.

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1. Smoke BBQ Taqueria 4115 Butler St, Lawrenceville, PA 15201 (Central Lawrenceville)

Whether it's an early brunch, a mid-day lunch, or a late-night snack you're coming for, the choice is made easy by Smoke's super simple menu. What they make up in lack of options they more than make up for in quality and flavor with predominately tacos and bbq sandwiches made with Australian wagyu beef, Berkshire pork, and Gerber chicken, slathered in mustard-y sauce and caramelized onions, unless you're coming at breakfast, in which case prepare for a tasty flood of runny egg yolk.

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2. Muddy Waters Oyster Bar 130 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 (East Liberty)

Sandwiched comfortably between East Liberty and Shadyside, Muddy Waters combines the presentation and technique of fine seafood dining with the flavor and attitude of the deep South. Serving up po boys, blacked salmon, and cheaper than you can believe oysters left and right, this steely spot also has a penchant for light draft beers alongside a handful of cocktails that showcase a decent stash of whiskey and bourbon (a must-have for any bar attempting to recreate the South).

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3. Whitfield 120 Whitfield St, Pittsburgh, PA 15026 (East Liberty)

Housed in the Ace Hotel's Pittsburgh outpost, Whitfield is a sunny, eclectic little restaurant with a dedication to honoring the culinary traditions of Western Pennsylvania. Taking a bit of influence from Polish, German, Italian, and Jewish cuisines, the seasonal menu is meant to represent the cocktail of cultures that the region is home to. The light-flooded restaurant carefully selects all of its produce, meat, and dairy products locally, going so far as to butcher and cure their steaks in-house. There are six distinct family style steak entrees available year-round and plenty of other hearty meat and fish dishes, in addition to a full-length vegetarian menu for those who (somehow) resist the allure of decadent red meat. The house cocktails pay equal homage to a diverse flavor palette, and the whole place maintains a modern farmhouse feel.

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4. B52 5202 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Upper Lawrenceville)

A sleek Upper Lawrenceville spot, B52 is serving up flavors of the Mediterranean in the form of hummus, falafel, and kofta -- all of it scrumptious, all of it meat- and dairy- free. Vegans rejoice! The staff here is thoughtful with every ingredient in its repertoire, even creating hot chocolates and cortados at the coffee bar with house-made almond milks. A go-to here is the cashew cheese toast with preserves. Vegans and carnivores alike will be coming back for more.

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5. Josephine's Toast 52-56 21st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Strip District)

Sitting pretty with a lineup of some of Pittsburgh's best inside Smallman Galley, Josephine's Toast dishes out sandwiches, salads, and dessert that spark the argument in your head over whether you should dive right in or if you should stop to Instagram them first (the latter usually wins). Helmed by familiar face (she's been around Pittburgh's culinary scene and on Food Network a fe times) chef Jacqueline Wardle expertly tops these crusty bread bases with everything from fried eggs to avocado to peaches and cottage cheese. Talk about the breakfast of champions.

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6. The Vandal 4306 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Central Lawrenceville)

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.

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7. Provision PGH 1620 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Strip District)

If Smallman Galley neighbor Jospehine's Toast is Strip District's go-to breakfast and dessert spot, Provision PGH is where you go for everything in-between. Creating modern, chef-driven dishes inspired by America's cultural melting pot and made with classical technique, Provision's where you'll find everything from burgers, to bahn mis, to sous vide beef steaks and wild caught fish. Covering everything from their fries to their pork belly bites, these guys have mastered the arts of the smother, drip, and drizzle with purees and Aiolis abound.

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8. 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.

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