*Disclaimer: I’m very picky and half know what I’m talking about.
Pittsburgh was named the “Top Food City of 2015” by Zagat. When I heard this I scoffed and said there was no way. Not this little old city I grew up in that no one’s ever heard of. However, Zagat seems to know what they’re talking about and I had decided to explore places other than Eat n Park and see what Pittsburgh has to offer.
I originally went here because I had a friend who was working as a bartender. She was telling me how great it was and I should totally come for breakfast one day. I’m a relatively picky eater and was worried about agreeing to it, but I did. And I’m going to say it’s one of the best kept secrets in Pittsburgh! (Do I have the authority to claim that?) I had French Toast that was cooked in tempura and it’s amazing! It just fell apart in your mouth and had the right crunch to it. It’s honestly brilliant. I haven’t been here for dinner, so I can’t give any advice on that. If it is coming from the same kitchen as breakfast – I’m going to go ahead and say you’re in good hands.
I also didn’t pick this place. My sister was going out with her friends, her friends like me more than her, I was invited. If I’m correct each floor of this building is a different restaurant and Sienna Mercato is the second floor and is a little bit fancier. Anyway, I ordered Sweet Potato Risotto (I think). It was delicious. That’s all I’ve got for it, just delicious. I recommend it. The top of this restaurant is called Il Tetto, it’s a rooftop beer garden. If you don’t think Sienna Meracto is you cup of coffee, please just go to the rooftop for a drink. We went in December and the roof was still open (but the roof would normally be closed but you can still go up there. It’s like a sliding glass door type of roof). It’s a wonderful view of the city, and it’s a really nice place to sit and chat.
When I’m back in Pittsburgh on break, Kaitlin and I do our best to plan at least one brunch because it’s important. During finals week this fall I took it upon myself to look at the top places to brunch in Pittsburgh instead of writing a ten-page single spaced paper. Bar Marco popped up because of it’s popularity for not accepting tips. I was all about that, and decided we needed to try it. It’s located in the Strip District in an old fire house. I walked past it three times, if you do go here just keep an eye out for it. I expected it to be a larger place because of it’s popularity online, but I think there were only like 10 to 15 tables. The staff was A+, the pancakes and french toast and mimosas also A+. Definitely check out the brunch options at Bar Marco, you will not be disappointed
I don’t know how I got on this trend but I needed to try Poutine once while home and Katilin, the good friend she is, Yelped it to see if there was a place in Pittsburgh that had it. This is how we first discovered Franktuary, and so #blessed we did. Franktuary is probably better known for their franks (aka hot dogs but I’m going to assume way better). They’ve got the original type of frank, plus one with fancy fixings, and a vegan option – playing to their audience. Their poutine though, is definitely magical. Just the right amount of gravy and a stellar amount of cheese curds. Franktuary is definitely doing it correctly. If you’re in the mood for something different check this place out for sure.
The Yard actually has two locations in Pittsburgh; one in Market Square and another in Shadyside. I was lucky enough to have a meal at both; once for brunch and once for dinner. We went to Market Square for brunch and we picked it because there was an option of bottomless mimosas. They were honestly the highlight of the whole meal, A+ mimosas, A+ staff, the tots were def A+, the food was a B. It was all “alright” it wasn’t anything you would write home about. Same with dinner. They are known for their crazy types of grilled cheese sandwiches, and there’s a bunch of variety which is awesome. My mac and cheese grilled cheese fell apart and I ended up just eating the macaroni. I’m not going to tell you to not try The Yard, but maybe don’t keep it at the top of your list.
Cafe Moulin is in Shadyside, and you could definitely walk past it and miss it. You definitely don’t want to miss this place though, a breakfast and brunch restaurant with the feels of France. (I actually don’t know about that last part, the lady in Pittsburgh was much nicer than the waitresses in Paris.) They serve crepes and french toast and a few other options. This was also the first time I experienced Turkish coffee and I’m going to be honest – it was weird. If you haven’t had it before it comes in a little cup and about half of the cup is coffee grounds. The waitress we had (I wish I remembered her name because she deserves to be named – she was a true star) read our futures (near futures) after we finished. It was such a cool experience. They also serve Nutella hot chocolate, if you don’t like crepes or french toast just go here for the Nutella hot chocolate. If I could bathe in this drink, I 100% would be doing so. Their drink options were magnificent but so were their crepes! I had the Super Belgium crepe, and it had something very similar to Trader Joe’s cookie butter, Nutella, and strawberries on it (it also comes with bananas, but gross). AMAZING. I can’t even think of anything else to say about it, I just want everyone to try it. Put down everything you’re doing and head over to Cafe Moulin for this crepe. Don’t read the Yelp reviews, apparently it says the waitstaff is rude. Definitely not true. Just go here, skip The Yard and go to Cafe Moulin instead. They’re just a block apart in Shadyside.
Do you miss the days of your mom packing your lunch before heading off to elementary school? We have found the place for you! Peanut Butter Jelly Time is a sandwich shop that specializes in…well…PB&Js. If you don’t like Jelly don’t worry there are other options available. I had a S’mores sandwich. I think it had Nutella, crushed graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, and peanut butter on the side. It was literal heaven. They also sell little Turner milks just so you feel exactly like you did back in second grade. If you feel weird about eating peanut butter and jellies because you’re “an adult,” they also serve different types of pb&j sushi rolls. We didn’t try them but if we’re going to assume based on the sandwiches we had – they’re going to be a solid adult choice. Right on Liberty Ave in Bloomfield, you can’t miss this bright colored shop that will definitely bring you in just by the smell.
If you’re a New Yorker stuck in Pittsburgh you need to head out to Smiling Banana Leaf. It’s like a little piece of New York in Highland Park. A little Thai restaurant that has a lot of flavor coming out of it. We were looking for somewhere to go during Pittsburgh’s Restaurant Week, and while this place wasn’t on the list it definitely should have been. I had Red Curry noodles with tofu, it was amazing. Oh my gosh. Mine was super spicy, and delicious. Mom had pumpkin curry and said that was spicy; if you’re not one for spice *cough Kaitlin cough* I wouldn’t recommend this for you. Well maybe, I haven’t tried all their dishes. It’s possible they have less spicy ones. It’s literally a hole in the wall though, and obviously after my blog post it’s going to be the most popular restaurant in Pittsburgh. Get you’re reservations soon, it was already a pretty popular spot.
Those are all of the most recent places I’ve been to in Pittsburgh. If you try them let me know your thoughts.
I think that’s all I have for now. Thanks for stopping by, see you soon!
p.s. If you’re interested in more artsy-fartsy photos of food, follow me on Instagram @mkofmehl