Where to Eat in Pittsburgh Right Now
During these six months of the pandemic, Pittsburgh restaurant owners have really shown their mettle, turning elegant sit-down spots into takeout-only joints, offering brand-new delivery options, and otherwise finding new and interesting ways to pivot operations in unprecedented times. Now that restaurants in Pittsburgh are slowly opening back up for both in-person and outdoor dining (though, takeout is still the only option for lots of great spots), we wanted to shine a light on some of the newer places that are open for business. Because, while it may be hard to believe, these last few months have actually yielded some stellar new restaurant openings, from a new brick-and-mortar for a beloved food truck, to a family-run Caribbean restaurant with a growing legion of fans. In this list, you’ll find all of the places that you’ve got to put on your ‘must eat’ list right now.
The Coop Chicken & Waffles
The gist: After three years of rolling around Pittsburgh, Justin Fitzgerald and Nicoletta Cardilli, the owners of the much-loved Coop Chicken and Waffles food truck, have opened their first brick-and-mortar on the North Side.
The food: Fried chicken tenders, whole wings, drumsticks, and thighs paired with sweet and savory homemade waffles (Cheddar Cornbread and Bananas Foster are two favorites). The Chick-in-Waffle, shredded fried chicken baked inside a waffle, is a menu standout.
The cost: Fried chicken is $4.50-9.25, waffles are $4-6, combination meals are $4.25-12.50 and sides are $1-$3.50.
How to order: The restaurant is operating as a takeout-only joint right now, and the food truck is still making appearances around town.
Bae Bae’s Kitchen
The gist: Even in the midst of a pandemic, this Korean-inspired eatery is still the lunch spot for the downtown office workers crowd.
The food: Rice, noodle, and salad bowls make up the bulk of the menu, with proteins like marinated ribeye, Korean fried chicken, and crispy tofu. Daily specials are seasonal, and can include everything from Kimchi dumplings to dukbokki (stir-fried rice cakes). Milk tea, Boba tea, Thai iced tea and Vietnamese coffee round out the menu.
The cost: Appetizers are $6-9, bowls start at $12-13, coffee and teas $3.25-$5 and jars of kimchi are $15.
How to order: Order online or call 412-391-1890 for pickup.
Gaucho Parilla Argentina
The gist: The super-popular Gaucho Parilla Argentina officially made the move from their corner Strip District spot to a bigger space downtown earlier this year, which has given guests more indoor space, and (eventually) rooftop dining, too.
The food: Wood-grilled meat platters, empanadas, sandwiches, a selection of house-made sauces, and alfajores. The opening of the new space also introduced a new bar program, with local beer drafts, wine, and cocktails.
The cost: Small plates and shareables are $3-30, steak platters run $16-39, sandwiches are $11-15, cocktails are $8-15, and beer is $3.39-11.
How to order: Gaucho is open for takeout, and very limited indoor dining is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Order online or call 412-709-6622
Farmer + Baker
The gist: You would be hard-pressed to find a truer version of farm-to-table dining than Farmer x Baker, the small cafe that’s open at the waterfront at Aspinwall Riverfront Park. Owner Jennifer Urich also owns Root and Heart Farm in West Deer, and uses her plentiful, seasonal crops to create the cafe’s small, daily-changing menu.
The food: A daily menu of seasonal breakfast and lunch offerings, including crepes with local rye flour, bagel sandwiches, egg tarts, local greens salads, wood-fired pizzas, and baked goods.
The cost: Prices vary based on menu options, but typically range from $6-8 for appetizers and small bites, $12-13 for larger plates, and $16 for pizzas.
How to order: Farmer x Baker is takeout-only, open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Follow their social media for weekly menus.
2 Sisters 2 Sons
The gist: This newly opened (and already a hit) spot right off the Highland Park Bridge in Sharpsburg serves up authentic Caribbean cuisine from Pittsburgh restaurant-veteran owners Denise Josephs and Marlene Siddo, and their sons Michael Brown and Kwasi Prince.
The food: Classic Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken, oxtail, goat curry, and fried plantains.
The cost: Dinner platters are $13-27.99, homemade sides are $5-7.
How to order: 2 Sisters 2 Sons is open for takeout and delivery. Call 412-252-2864 to order, or through DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats.
The gist: Typically, DiAnoia’s Eatery operates as an all-day Italian cafe, bakery and restaurant, but since the pandemic began, it has become a dinner-only operation, offering in-person dining and takeout, along with make-at-home fresh pasta kits.
The food: Homemade everything, including fresh pasta dishes, seasonal salads, charcuterie platters, and larger entrees, like branzino and pork roast. In-house head baker Nick Malburg offers everything from sourdough focaccia to rustic loaves, and pastry chef Rachel Walton is responsible for an incredible array of desserts, including classic Italian cookies, cheesecakes, and cannoncini.
The cost: Antipasto and salads are $5-32, pasta is $17-30, main courses are $19-36, desserts are $2-10, cocktails to go are $9-12, and bottles of wine to go are $30-40.
How to order: Make a reservation or order takeout or delivery through DoorDash.
Two Sisters Vietnamese
The gist: Two Sisters has been an East Liberty favorite since opening in 2019, serving traditional Vietnamese cuisine from the kitchen of sisters Trinh Phan and Trang Somphonphakdy.
The food: The main attraction is the duo’s pho, available in a variety of beef, chicken, seafood, and vegan options, each with a rich, fragrant broth that deserves to be savored. Other options include rice and noodle bowls, summer rolls, daikon salad, and desserts, including Banh Flan and sweet corn pudding.
The cost: Pho is $14-15, noodle bowls are $14, and rice dishes are $14-16. Sides run $6-10, desserts are $5, and teas and coffees are $4-6.
How to order: Two Sisters is takeout-only. Call 412-404-2760 to order.
The gist: After years of operating as a mobile oven, Driftwood Oven opened a cozy location in Lawrenceville in 2018, serving pizza, sandwiches and salads. The restaurant now operates on a takeout-only basis, with a pickup window out front.
The food: All the pizza starts with bread and pizza doughs that are hand-mixed with organic flours and sourdough culture, making the dough rich and flavorful. Seasonal salads, sourdough sandwiches, and a bread program round out the menu.
The cost: Small plates are $7-$12, salads are $10-11, sandwiches are $12-13 and pizzas are $21-31 for speciality pies, additional toppings are extra. Beers to go start at $6.
How to order: Orders are placed on a first call, first serve basis. Call 412-251-0253 or order online.
Duncan Street Sandwich Shop
The gist: The team behind the popular underground dinner group Duncan Street Dinners opened their own brick-and-mortar in 2018, serving a small menu of inventive sandwiches with complex and layered flavor combinations.
The food: Unique sandwich options include house favorite ‘Everything’ Pork, with roasted pork, everything seasoning, and pickled red onion, and the vegan Roasted Mushroom, with roasted garlic and caramelized onion. A rotating list of homemade sides can include everything from spicy potato salad (made with house poblano sauce), and Chickpea salad with zhoug. Sweets include their ever-changing menu of crispies, with flavors like lemon, pepper and poppyseed, and chocolate chip with cranberry.
The cost: Salads are $11, sides are $3, sandwiches are $7.50 for half, $11 for whole, and crispies are $6.
How to order: Call 412-252-2940 for curbside pickup.
The gist: The elegant, beautifully-designed French-inspired bistro from Richard DeShantz Group has been a Lawrenceville hot spot since opening its doors in 2018.
The food: Known for classic bistro favorites like French onion soup with oxtail, Nicoise platters and aligot, the restaurant also offers a killer burger, filet mignon, and Parisian gnocchi.
The cost: Small plates are $8-25, entrees run $18-50, and sides are $8-12.
How to order: Make a reservation online, or call 412-325-3435.
The gist: A Sichuan spot known for both traditional and American-style Chinese dishes, led by James Beard Award semifinalist chef/owner Wei Zhu.
The food: Offering both an ‘American-style Chinese Menu’ and a ‘Traditional Chinese Menu,’ with Zhu’s specialities, like shredded duck with baby ginger and pork blood tofu, Chengdu Gourmet also has dozens of options for fans of heat, including spicy cold noodles and a fish filet in broth, served Chongqing-style.
The cost: Appetizers range from $1.99-8.99, most entrees are between $10.99-22.
How to order: Order online or call 412-521-2088.
The gist: Casual, comfortable Apteka focuses on central and eastern European foods, such as the beloved Pittsburgh pierogi. But you won’t find their pillowy dumplings stuffed with any kind of sausage or braised meat -- this Bloomfield spot calls itself a “vegetable restaurant,” meaning that everything is vegan.
The food: Pierogies stuffed with sauerkraut, mushroom, potato, or spinach, seasonal soups (like chilled beet soup soured with zakwas), vegan sandwiches on cabbage buns, tarts, and cakes baked with stone fruit. Don’t skip their bottled cocktails and their house-made kompot, made from dark sour cherries.
The cost: Prices change with the menu, typical items are $11-17. Kompot is $4, bottled cocktails are $18-20, wine by the bottle starts at $30.
How to order: Pre-order online for Friday and Saturday pickup.
The gist: Artisan wholesale bakery Mediterra Bakehouse’s stylish cafe in Sewickley showcases the bakery’s beloved fresh-baked breads, and serves as a retail marketplace with imported olive oil, charcuterie, and more than 150 cheeses.
The food: Sandwiches on heartland grain, marble rye, and sprouted spelt are available for lunch, along with pizza that’s made with a 96-hour dough, seasonal salad bowls, cheese and charcuterie boards, and all manner of sweet treats and baked goods.
The cost: Breakfast toasts are $8-11, sandwiches range from $10-13, entrees are $8-12 and tea and coffee is $2.50-$4.50.
How to order: The cafe is open with limited seating, or order online for takeout.
The gist: After first launching in the (now-closed) Smallman Galley, Iron Born grew to encompass two stand-alone locations in the Strip District and Millvale, serving hungry Pittsburghers mouth-watering Detroit-style pizza.
The food: The restaurant is best known for their deep dish, personal-pan pizzas with inventive toppings, like smoked mojo pork, ham and housemade pickles on The Cuban, and their beloved White Pie, with ricotta and onion jam. Additional snacks on the menu include a classic Caesar salad, cannoli, and chocolate chip cookies from Wilkinsburg’s Madeleine Bakery and Bistro.
The cost: Pizza ranges from $13-17, snacks are $5-10, and desserts are $2.
How to order: Head to their website to choose a location and order online.
The gist: Simple, tasty Brazilian food: That’s what Casa Brasil is all about. Owners Keyla Nogueira Cook and Tim Guthrie brought unfussy South American specialties to Highland Park when Casa Brasil opened in 2018, and supports collaboration, with pop-up dinners featuring Pittsburgh chefs and food business owners.
The food: An assortment of small plates, appetizers and entrees that emphasize underrepresented regions of Brazil. Menu standouts include Pão de Queijo (cheese bread rolls), the vegan Prato Feito ‘Blue Collar’ special with beans, zucchini and onion farofa, and Moqueca de Peixe, a codfish stew with coconut milk, peppers, tomatoes, and onions.
The cost: Appetizers are $4.25-8, entrees are $13.25-19.25, and desserts are $2-7.
How to order: Order for pickup online, and delivery is available through GrubHub.
The gist: Justin Severino’s acclaimed Spanish tapas restaurant has pivoted to a takeout-only operation, still offering pintxos, extensive charcuteries, and cocktails to-go.
The food: The takeout menu at Morcilla changes regularly, but always includes a selection of snacks, salads, and meat and seafood plates with Spanish influences, plus an ‘On Bread’ section with a selection of tapas and sandwiches. Recent menu highlights have included delicacies like Vadouvan roasted cauliflower, crispy fried artichokes, and Costillas de la Matanza (baby back pork ribs with sherry pomegranate caramel, coriander, and crunchy black olives).
The cost: Snacks are $6-22, ‘On Bread’ options are $12, entrees are $8-28. Cocktails to go are $11.
How to order: Online ordering is available through Toast.
Pear and the Pickle
The gist: A tiny, neighborhood cafe that earned its place on this list by serving one of the best breakfast sandwiches in town.
The food: Aside from the aforementioned breakfast sandwich (a simple bodega staple, made with bacon, egg and cheese on a roll), other menu items include two-handed sandwiches like the Rialto (their take on an Italian hoagie), the Troy Hill Turkey, and their classic corned beef Reuben.
The cost: Breakfast sandwiches start at $6.25, sandwiches are $5-13.25, sweet treats are $1.50-4.75.
How to order: Call 412-322-0333 or order online for pickup.