Food & Drink

The Best Places to Eat in Pittsburgh Right Now

Published On 10/09/2017 Published On 10/09/2017
pittsburgh eat seeker
ROB LARSON/ WHITFIELD
Apteka | Ben Filio

Apteka

Bloomfield

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. Plans for Apteka grew from Pierogi Night, a popular monthly pop-up, eventually spawning a brick-and-mortar restaurant known for its seasonal creations, using the best summer vegetables (and fermented specialties) available.

B52

B52

Upper Lawrenceville

This bright, airy Upper Lawrenceville café and restaurant has become a go-to for the city’s vegan and vegetarian crowd, though carnivores won’t be missing a thing. Falafel is notoriously hard to perfect, and the café’s house-made version is a standout. Dishes like Moussaka with saffron rice and flame-broiled Seitan kabobs round out the dinner options and lend an air of gravitas to an otherwise casual space.

Adam Milliron

Bar Marco

Strip District

This 1800s-era firehouse-turned-restaurant made national headlines when it declared that it would not accept gratuities, instead paying its staff a living wage salary. Bar Marco’s space is a sensory treat: The downstairs whitewashed wine room looks like it was pulled from the pages of a design magazine, and the upstairs dining room is adorned with artwork and a minimalist marble bar. Seafood dishes -- like the braised octopus with chickpea, potato, and chorizo vin -- steal the show. At the bar, sommelier Dominic Fiore holds court, amplifying each meal with hand-picked wine selections.

Adam Milliron

Butcher and the Rye

Central Business District

Even if you’re not a whiskey drinker, it’s impossible not to feel awed by Butcher and the Rye’s hulking eight-shelf bar with 600 different types of whiskey taking up all the space. That dedication to maintaining a museum-quality bar is emblematic of the restaurant’s careful attention to detail in its menu as well. Meats are the obvious fan favorite here, but the mac n' cheese deserves its own shout out -- the blend of taleggio, fontina, goat cheese, cheddar, and Parmesan is the city’s best.

Carnegie Museum of Art

The Café Carnegie

North Oakland

It may still be early days for The Café Carnegie, but we’re expecting big things. The recently-opened café in the Carnegie Museum of Art hasn’t been around for a full season yet, and is already making its mark on Pittsburgh’s lunch crowd. That’s in no small part due to the leadership of Executive Consulting Chef Sonja Finn of Dinette, who brings her own unique spin to homegrown comfort food, like vegetable pot pie and a griddled ‘egg in the hole’ sandwich.

gourmetphotography/Shutterstock

Chengdu Gourmet

Squirrel Hill

You’ll find spice, and lots of it, at this Squirrel Hill restaurant known for its traditional Sichuan cuisine. Turn directly to the ‘Traditional Chinese’ portion of the menu to see Chef Wei Zhu’s specialties, from shredded duck with baby ginger to pork blood tofu. Grab a crew to bring with you, because ordering too much from this family-style menu is inevitable.

Adam Milliron

The Commoner

Central Business District

This American gastropub inside Hotel Monaco delivers fresh takes on tavern classics in a cozy, subterranean location. The burger, a steak blend topped with smoked cheddar, red onion jam, and bacon on buckwheat brioche, is a lunch-hour staple. With city maps on the wall and an industrial vibe, the Commoner’s design pays homage to its blue collar hometown.

Adam Milliron

Cure

Upper Lawrenceville

Cure was doing the whole "cool artisanal butchery" thing before it was ever a thing at all. This Lawrenceville favorite (and older sibling to Morcilla) is a carnivore’s dream. At Cure, the salumi board, a spread of all kinds of meats in various house-cured (get it?) preparations, is an absolute must.

Aimee DiAndrea

DiAnoia's Eatery

Strip District

Part café, part deli, and part restaurant, DiAnoia’s Eatery has a little something for everyone. Standouts include the deep sandwich selection, complete with house-made bread that’s been stuffed with Italian specialties like veal scallopini and sausage also made in-house. And don’t miss DiAnoia’s family-recipe three-meat meatballs, served piping hot and swimming in marinara.

Courtesy of Gaucho Parilla Argentine

Gaucho Parilla Argentina

Strip District

You smell Gaucho before you see it. Its mouthwatering, smokey aroma wafts through the Strip District, luring you inside. Gaucho’s secret is its wood-fire grilling process, which turns Pennsylvania wood into red hot coals that give steaks inimitable char and a mouthful of smokiness. To fully experience its signature taste, bring your closest carnivores, and order the asado platter, which delivers five cuts of meat (flank, filet, sirloin, NY strip, and ribeye) garnished with chimichurri. Don’t be scared if you walk up and see a line snaking out the door -- it’s well worth the wait.

Legume

Legume

Oakland

After recently celebrating 10 years in the business, Legume still sets the standard for fine dining in Pittsburgh. Led by chef/owner Trevett Hooper, the Oakland restaurant offers a seasonal menu with an emphasis on local meats and produce in a cozy, comfortable setting. Looking for one of the best burgers in the city? Head to the Butterjoint, the bar tucked inside Legume, and order up.

Adam Milliron

Morcilla

Lower Lawrenceville

The second restaurant by acclaimed chef Justin Severino, this Spanish spot has quickly become one of Pittsburgh’s best and most exciting restaurants. Severino is a whole hog butcher, so naturally, meat takes center stage on Morcilla’s menu full of pintxos (the Basque version of tapas). Wines are offered in a 2oz pour, giving diners the chance to sample a different type of wine perfectly paired with each course, but there's also an entire drinks page dedicated to unmissable iterations of the Spanish gin-tonic.

Cody Baker @tehbakery

Pork & Beans

Downtown

The Downtown pork-centric joint from Richard DeShantz and Keith Fuller hasn’t even been open for a full year, but is already making a name for itself as one of the best spots for smoked meats in town. The brisket and ribs are the stars of the menu, but the sides -- like super-creamy Mac & Cheese and a daily selection of Deviled Eggs -- take the experience over the top. The whiskey program is strong, the bar boasts more than 30 beers on tap, and, like all of DeShantz’s restaurants, the cocktails are insanely good.

Courtesy of Smallman Gallery

Smallman Galley

Strip District

As a "restaurant incubator," Smallman Galley offers kitchen space to four local chefs, each with their own distinct concepts and menus, and a fresh crop of restaurant concepts just moved into the cafeteria-style venue. Banhmilicious (serving Vietnamese fusion), Iron Born (Detroit-style pizza), Colonia (a Latin-America concept) and Brunoise, an approachable take on fine dining are now Smallman’s restaurants of record, and will be for the next year. The venue also houses a full bar with plenty of local spirits, and a coffee bar using PA-based Commonplace's coffee beans, La Prima espresso, and Gyrphon's Tea.

Nicole Jarock Photography

Smoke Barbeque & Taqueria

Central Lawrenceville

Smoke isn't your typical BBQ restaurant, but it's sure to be one of your favorites. This Taqueria serves super smoky barbeque-like meats inside their tacos, complete with veggies and sauces galore. Plus, the sides put a twist on your normal BBQ combos, offering pinto beans instead of baked beans. The menu has “Vegetabletarian” taco options for you or your non-meat friends.

Spoon

Spoon

East Liberty

Ever since Jamilka Borges took over the kitchen at Spoon, good things have been happening at the East Liberty restaurant. Borges, a James Beard Award Rising Star semifinalist, has a flair for creating dishes that are as engaging to gawk at as they are to enjoy, and she’s slowly putting her mark on the menu with hearty dishes, such as a winter salad with spicy mixed greens and gnocchi with lamb shank, dotted with pomegranate.

Rossilynne Culgan/Thrillist

Station

Bloomfield

It may be tempting to skip right to dessert (yes, the popcorn panna cotta with caramel corn and salted caramel is THAT good), but start with dinner first. The tagliatelle, served with smoked pork shank, soffritto, an egg, and Parmesan, is a bowlful of comfort food. On your way to the dining room, peek at the restored antique wood bar, covered with ornate carvings and woodwork, and order yourself a drink from the cocktail menu, which features libations infused with spice-cabinet finds, like ginger, cardamom and rosemary. New this season, Station is serving lunch, with a menu of delectable small plates alongside a hearty selection of sandwiches (including the soon-to-be-famous burger).

Scott Gordon Bleicher

The Vandal

Central Lawrenceville

The Vandal is proof that gourmet dining doesn’t have to be necessarily fancy. This order-at-the-counter joint serves up beautifully plated meals on lunchroom trays to a crowd that knows that the long line is well worth the wait. Among its specialties is the fried chicken sandwich served at lunchtime, often selling out. Dinner is slightly more refined, with the ever-popular Vandal cheeseburger sharing menu space with shiitake and house-made ricotta ravioli, and chicken with spätzle, served with celery root crumble.

Fine Humans

Umami

Central Lawrenceville

Umami is an izakaya (aka Japanese pub) serving Japanese street food dedicated to the fifth taste. Located above Round Corner Cantina, Umami has become a fixture for late-night eats, meaning you can get your margarita fix downstairs and your sushi and rotobaya fix upstairs until 2am.

Rob Larson

Whitfield

East Liberty

Housed inside a YMCA-turned-Ace Hotel, Whitfield is far more than a hotel restaurant. This bright tavern is a best known for its locally sourced beef and in-house butchery, but brunch is also a standout here. Whitfield is one of the few brunch spots in Pittsburgh that actually takes reservations, which is particularly helpful when you just cannot wait for a blueberry buttermilk pancake with sweet lemon creme fraiche.

Casellula at Alphabet City

Casellula

North Side

When Casellula @ Alphabet City opened earlier this year, cheese-lovers all over town rejoiced. The North Side cheese bar not only offers unique cheese plates paired with expertly selected accompaniments (like brown-sugar fudge), but also a full menu of snacks, sharable platters, and entrees, too. Casellula @ Alphabet City is the second location for the New York-based cheese and wine bar, and also boasts a stellar beer and wine selection, along with a staff that knows exactly what to recommend to make your visit extra special.

Kaya

Kaya

Strip District

This dramatically lit place serves up eclectic island eats such as conch fritters and jerk chicken. Try the Kaya burger which comes with sliced pickles, avocado, bacon, tomato, Chihuahua cheese, a sunny-side egg, and Kaya sauce. Sip a tropical drink like a Mai Tai or mojito while you dig in.

Pear and the Pickle, Cafe and Market

Pear and the Pickle

Troy Hill

Tiny neighborhood cafés usually don’t find themselves on best restaurant lists, but Pear and the Pickle earns its place by serving one of the best breakfast sandwiches in town, available all day long. The simple bodega staple, made with bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll, is our favorite, but the café also offers a menu of two-handed sandwiches, homemade soups, and a rotating list of daily specials that have made the Troy Hill spot a must-visit.

Scratch Food & Beverage

Scratch Food & Beverage

Troy Hill

Scratch Food & Beverage, the hyper-local comfort food restaurant in Troy Hill, has been a neighborhood standout since it first opened its doors in 2015. And now, with new executive chef Brandon Blumenfeld in the kitchen, the gastropub is poised to become even more ingrained in Pittsburgh’s dining scene. The small, ever-changing menu features accessible dishes like Cacio e Pepe gnocchi, along with more elevated offerings like the Spring Curry, featuring seasonal treats like local asparagus, peas, and zucchini.

Union Standard

Union Standard

Downtown

Acclaimed Pittsburgh chef Derek Stevens (who spent years running the show at Eleven Contemporary Kitchen) opened Union Standard a few months ago, and we've yet to be disappointed. The beautiful, modern space, located in the historic Union Trust Building downtown, is the perfect location for a drink and dinner while people-watching, and the contemporary American menu features dishes from the wood-fired rotisserie and grill, and a raw bar as well.

Täko | Alyssa Florentine

Tako

Downtown

Though it may be one of the toughest restaurants in Pittsburgh to get a reservation at, it’s well worth the wait: Richard DeShantz’s Täkō is Pittsburgh’s go-to for elevated tacos with a global bent. The regular menu includes traditional favorites like carnitas tacos (served simply with fresh guacamole, salsa verde, and chicharrones), along with Täkō's famous Korean tacos, made with wagyu short rib, peanuts, fermented cucumber, and Napa cabbage, and topped with cilantro. And whatever you do, don’t forget to grab a cocktail -- with one of the best bar programs in the entire city, it would be a sin to not imbibe.

Millie's Homemade Ice Cream

Millie's Homemade Ice Cream

Shadyside

From the minute you walk into Chad and Lauren Townsend’s Shadyside scoop shop, you know you’re in for a treat. The bright colors (pink striped walls and an Instagram-worthy ice cream mural) will make you feel like a kid again, though the ice cream flavors are decidedly adult. Sourced with local, seasonal ingredients like rhubarb, coconut, and lime, Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream is producing some of the best sweet bites in the city.

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1. Apteka 4606 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Polish cuisine and veganism are two concepts that don't normally jibe, but Bloomfield's Apteka makes it work. The plant-based Eastern European restaurant ditches the traditional meat stuffings of pierogi and cabbage for animal-friendly ingredients like sauerkraut, mushroom, buckwheat, and roasted vegetables. Expect a charmingly hippie feel in the dining room, where the staff are known to wave burning sage over the display of pickling jars.

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2. B52 5202 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

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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3. Bar Marco 2216 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Bar Marco, an elegant European-inflected Strip District destination, doesn't just make waves with it's food (which is nothing to scoff at). The restaurant has disposed of the traditional tipping policy, instead offering employees substantial salaries and stake in the business instead. That means servers are all the more enthusiastic to serve your pigs' head croquettes with dollops of grain mustard aioli, discuss the buckwheat fettuccine with a nutmeg-spiced pork ragu blanket that you just ordered, or take extra care that the kitchen cooks your filet mignon to the right temperature. A subterranean Wine Room offers ticketed meals which require reservations, but you can stop by the main dining room anytime for a meal and a glass of wine from small producers.

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4. Butcher and the Rye 212 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

It's hard to miss Butcher and the Rye's emphasis once you enter: a huge two-story wall lined with some 600 whiskeys makes it very clear that this New American restaurant is mostly about the amber elixir. And people have noticed: the mixology program earned a James Beard Award semi-finalist assignation for two consecutive years. Oil lamps and antler chandeliers gesture to a rustic Americana past here, while a meat-heavy menu sings to carnivores, featuring dishes like dry-aged steaks, duck broth, bone marrow with oxtail jam, and smoked lamb neck with mint chimichurri. The spot's proximity to the theater district makes it an obvious pre- and post-show visit, and also served as a suitably dark cocktail den with a lineup that would impress even Holden Caulfield.

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5. The Café Carnegie 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Oakland's Carnegie Museum of Art traded in an uninspired museum eatery for a proper dining destination in Carnegie Café, a modern American dining room from James Beard Award-semi-finalist Chef Sonja Finn. Seated at Eames chairs in the glass-walled space, museum-goers select from a menu of salads, hot sandwiches made with bread baked in-house, and more elevated lunch plates like oysters on the half-shell and moules frites. An espresso and wine bar provide visitors with competing vices to augment their art viewing experience.

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6. Chengdu Gourmet 5840 Forward Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Our country's predilection for inauthentic Chinese food is not lost on Chengdu Gourmet, and while servers here may present you with an Americanized menu alongside one filled with authentic Sichuan specialties, do not fall for it. Sichuan or bust. Chef/owner Wei Zhu has offered seemingly endless options, many of them packed with mala, a mixture of Chinese peppercorns and pepper ash tree berries made into a garlic-y, heat-packing paste (the cartoon red peppers above the restaurants entrance should serve as a warning). Learn what Kung Pao chicken really is supposed to taste like (not so sweet as you'd think) and don't skip the broth-y, spicy Chongqing-style beef.

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7. The Commoner 458 Strawberry Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Located within Downtown's Hotel Monaco, The Commoner gives an attention to American fare and cocktails that is less common than the name suggests. Comfort dishes are given an elegant treatment, as low dishes like mac & cheese get gussied up by higher brow ingredients like braised pork belly, fusilli, buttered breadcrumbs, smoked peas and brie cream. Even the humble cocktail names betray their more refined appeal: The Farmer's Son is garnished with flowers, and made up of a blend of gin, Pimm's, lemon sorbet, pickle brine and an IPA float -- hardly something a typical peasant farmhand would be sipping.

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8. Cure 5336 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Chef Justin Severino presents a cure to your food ethics concerns at his hyper-local Mediterranean-leaning restaurant in Lawrenceville, where all of the meats come from ethically raised and butchered animals. True to the name, charcuterie is king here, and the epic salumi platter is reason enough to eat here. The rest of the menu is both meaty and thoughtful: beef tartare is spiked with pickled chili, oyster aioli, and black garlic; smoked lamb is tossed with ricotta cavatelli; and steak au poivre can be topped with foie gras. The stuffed boar heads overlooking Cure's country-casual dining room are almost as much of a red flag as the menu to any vegetarians who wander in.

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9. DiAnoia's Eatery 2549 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

What began as a meeting between the two owners when one walked in on the other in the bathroom (yikes), ended in the creation of this all-day Strip District Italian café. DiAnoia's takes a New York-deli approach to Italian food, with a menu that features bakery items like fresh zeppoles in the morning and comforting savory plates for lunch and dinner. Sandwiches (try the honey-smoked ham with Boursin), pasta, and mains like steak Florentine and baked branzino are served under funky chandeliers made from blue and green bottles. Continuing with that bottle motif, vino flows at the blue-tiled bar.

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10. Gaucho Parilla Argentina 1607 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

This Latin American steak joint in the Strip District serves up five cuts of beef in their bright, al fresco eatery. The restaurant exclusively offers counter service -- chefs call out customer's names as they line wood-fired steak, chicken, and fish dishes (including a build-your-own-paella entree) onto the food bar, and hungry guests are expected to seat themselves after placing their orders. The entrees are best paired with a classic rice and beans plate, grilled corn on the cob, or an order of the famous Gaucho Parilla empanadas. The place has a lax BYOB policy, plenty of communal seating, and a private sub-ground event space called The Bodega.

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11. Legume 214 N Craig St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

What was once a tiny BYOB in Regent Square went big-league when Legume reopened in Oakland, bigger and better. The 90-seat space (roughly three times larger than the original) has a New American menu with French and European influences that changes daily, in true bistro fashion. Diners can expect meals that traditionally blend seasonal vegetables with meat and fish: slow-cooked veal shoulder is rosemary sprinkled with red Russian kale and roasted potatoes while braised monkfish gets served with cranberry beans and pea shoots. Sharing plates can serve as appetizers, or accompany your bar fix, with a country-style pate made with duck, prosciutto, and pistachio as a must-order.

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12. Morcilla 3519 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA

Morcilla, Justin Severino's second restaurant in Lawrenceville, is an ode to Spain's Basque Country and its pintxo style of dining. A close relative of tapas, pinxtos are small plates that -- as reimagined by Severino -- emphasize house-made charcuterie, croquetas (fried balls filled with the likes of jamon, chestnut, and bacalao), and egg tortillas. A meal at Morcilla isn't complete without a gin and tonic made with the restaurant's house-made tonics, or a Spanish cider. The design, too, is inspired by Basque culture, with wooden ceilings and a storefront that looks like many a tapas bar in San Sebastian.

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13. Pork & Beans , Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Downtown's Pork & Beans is exactly what it sounds like: a down-country smokehouse barbecue joint. From the folks behind Meat & Potatoes and Butcher and the Rye, the expansive restaurant serves meats right from the smoker that land on communal tables in a casual space that's aesthetically somewhere between a barnyard and an industrial warehouse. Pair pulled pork with a side of baked beans or spare ribs with mac 'n' cheese. Multi-meat sandwiches are on offer too, with the Double Down (with brined, fried chicken, pork roll, foie gras torchon and truffle mornay) illustrating the commitment to carnivore flavor here. Because you better believe you'll need them, huge rolls of brown paper towels are placed throughout.

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14. Smallman Galley 54 21st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

A self-described "restaurant incubator," Smallman Gallery offers kitchen space to four local chefs, each with their own menus. The result is an expansive space with a full bar area and communal seating, where restaurant concepts differ from each other and rotate often. Past concepts include a vegetable-forward restaurant, a toast-based menu, and a home-style American bistro. Far from competitive, Smallman chooses chefs whose menus complement each other, ultimately giving a platform to rising Pittsburgh talent.

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15. Smoke Barbeque & Taqueria 225 E 8th Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15120

Where there's smoke, there's fire... or serious tacos, in the case of Smoke Barbeque & Taqueria in Lawrenceville. The casual, cowboy-chic spot combines Texas-style barbecue with Mexican taco accoutrements to create a new kind of taco experience than the one you're used to. You can smell the smoker the second you step in, and better yet, taste it in meats like brisket on a housemade tortilla with hot pepper, onions and mustard sauce. Beverages continue the fusion novelty, with tomato water and horchata helping to cool you down after some jalapeño-apple slaw.

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16. Spoon 134 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

It's hard to put your finger on Shadyside's Spoon, with a globally inspired menu that zigzags between hyper-modern, experimental, ten-ingredient plates and more casual, comfort eats. But, you don't have be able to put your finger on a place in order to want to lick your plate. More playful options on the changing menu can take the form of a gorgonzola soufflé with candied walnuts and stone-fruit salad, or stick to traditional tastes with a straightforward serving of short rib and rib eye. You wouldn't be going wrong in either direction. A dignified proprietary cocktail selection can be sipped in any of the turquoise banquettes underneath the contemporary firework-shaped chandeliers, making for a clubby drinking atmosphere.

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17. Station 4744 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

It may be tempting to skip right to dessert (yes, the popcorn panna cotta with caramel corn and salted caramel is THAT good), but first start with dinner. The tagliatelle, served with smoked pork shank, soffritto, an egg, and parmesan is a bowlful of comfort food. On the way to the dining room, peek at the restored antique wood bar, covered with ornate carvings and woodwork.

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18. The Vandal 4306 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

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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19. Umami 202 39th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

This Japanese-style gastropub emphasizes robatayaki (meat and vegetables skewers cooked on a charcoal grill) and fresh sushi options. Umami's late-night hours make it a strong contender for late dinners or post-drinking bites (it's open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays). Unsurprisingly, the drink program is a strong draw, with plenty of sake and Japanese beers on offer, plus spicy and aromatic cocktails.

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20. Whitfield 120 Whitfield St, Pittsburgh, PA 15026

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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22. Kaya 2000 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

This dramatically lit place serves up eclectic island eats such as conch fritters and jerk chicken. Try the Kaya burger which comes with sliced pickles, avocado, bacon, tomato, Chihuahua cheese, a sunny-side egg, and Kaya sauce. Sip a tropical drink like a Mai Tai or mojito while you dig in.

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24. Scratch Food & Beverage 1720 Lowrie St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Scratch Food & Beverage replaced the Troy Hill favorite Billy's, but managed to hold onto its faithful regulars and attract a few more with a homey decor and an American comfort menu, including updates like a reuben with beef tongue and bone-marrow-butter and classics like fried chicken and biscuits. Proprietary cocktails are playful, with a bourbon-spiked kombucha and hot toddy with rum instead of whiskey, but the bartenders are more than equipped to deliver classics.

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26. täkō 214 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Think you know tacos? You haven't tried the Asian-Mexican fusion versions coming out of täkō, serving up modern street food with a global bent. The namesake octopus (täkō is octopus in Japanese) is the must-order: coming grilled and folded into a tortilla adorned with harissa aioli, preserved lemon, greens, and pickled onion. The lineup ranges from unexpected to familiar, with a Korean-inspired taco (with Wagyu short rib, peanuts, and fermented cucumber) balanced by more safe Mexican choices like chorizo or carnitas. Whatever you do, try one of the eight margaritas, which can be spiked with lychee & pepper or sweetened with Thai coconut milk.