Pittsburgh's dining scene is as vibrant and unexpected as the city itself. Some of the city's historic restaurants have been in business for 150 years, while modern eateries draw on Pittsburgh's storied past for their foodie inspiration. From modest diners to award-winning steak restaurants, Pittsburgh has a lot to offer the discerning foodie.

    Experience innovative cooking in the city's experimental food halls, explore the best of the area's local home-grown produce, or sample handmade fudge and chocolate in Pittsburgh's most decadent sweet shop. Here's our list of the best places to dine like a local in Pittsburgh.


    Superior Motors

    Haute cuisine served in modern industrial surroundings

    • Food

    Superior Motors is a stylish restaurant housed in a former car dealership that pays homage to Pittsburgh's proud industrial heritage. The restaurant is a community hub that employs Braddock locals who lost manufacturing jobs. The concrete floors and leather seats contribute to the industrial vibe, as do the views of Edgar Thomson Steel Works from the tall windows.

    Chef Kevin Sousa makes use of local, seasonal food, much of which comes from nearby Braddock Farms. The food is impressively ambitious, featuring dishes like poké with sushi rice, crab with roe and Jerusalem artichoke, and turnip gnocchi. Try something from the cocktail menu, which is seasonal and makes strong use of fresh fruit and herbs.

    Location: 1211 Braddock Ave, Braddock, PA 15104, USA

    Open: Wednesday and Friday–Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm, Thursday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Sunday from 5 pm to 9 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 412-271-1022


    photo by Jeremy Thompson (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Original Oyster House

    Old-timey seafood house and tavern

    • Food

    Original Oyster House has been serving fresh seafood since 1870, making it one of the oldest restaurants in Pittsburgh. An old-fashioned counter stretches the full length of the restaurant, and the walls are decorated with memorabilia charting its 150-year history. The building is a designated historic landmark, and the historic Market Square setting adds to the old-school ambience.

    A must-try is the breaded oysters, but you can also enjoy raw oyster shooters or oyster sandwiches. Other favourites include Maryland crab cakes, wild salmon burgers, breaded butterfly shrimp and the restaurant's famous Jumbo Fish Sandwich. Try the Original Oyster House's version of fish and chips, deep-fried in beer batter for extra deliciousness.

    Location: 20 Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA

    Phone: +1 412-566-7925


    photo by Jeff (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Federal Galley

    Varied cuisine in a hip industrial food hall

    • Food

    You can eat almost anything at Federal Galley, as the 200-seat hall is catered by 4 kitchens which work their culinary magic in totally different ways. Chefs come here to try out new and experimental dining concepts, and the food hall has launched some of Pittsburgh's most remarkable new restaurants.

    Order on your phone from one or several of the kitchens, before taking a seat at the long wooden tables or out on the dog-friendly patio. Chefs change all the time, but currently, Federal Galley serves Mexican comfort food at Guapo's, elevated burgers and sandwiches at Provision PGH, Hawaiian-Asian fusion cuisine at Shaka, and classic New York hoagies and steak and potatoes at Sultry.

    Location: 200 Children's Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from noon to 8 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 412-517-6400


    photo by Jeremy Thompson (CC BY 2.0) modified


    La Gourmandine

    Aromatic coffee and authentic French baking

    • Food

    The owners of La Gourmandine are passionate about French baking and wanted to bring a taste of their home country to Pittsburgh. The cafe serves flaky croissants, brioche and buttery kouign-amann (Breton cake) for breakfast. If you stop in for lunch, you'll find slices of quiche, focaccia garnie, and sandwiches made with baguettes baked fresh on the premises every morning.

    Try the cafe's signature croissant aux amandes, dunked in syrup and filled with almond cream. The patisserie selection changes seasonally, but look out for chocolate eclairs, strawberry macarons, tarts au citron and chocolate marquise.

    Location: 308 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 7.30 am to 3 pm (closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

    Phone: +1 412-456-2727


    Carson Street Deli

    Foodie sandwiches and salads made with top-notch ingredients

    • Food

    Grab lunch at Carson Street Deli on the South Side, where they're dedicated to making the perfect sandwich. Its menu is inspired by recipes from across the USA, like the Louisiana-style po' boy sandwich with crab cakes and hot sauce, or the New York-style classic Italian made with salami and provolone. If none of the specials appeals to you, build your own sandwich by choosing from the extensive array of bread, meats and cheeses.

    The deli doubles as a craft beer bar, serving fruity sour ales, aromatic IPAs, grapefruit cider, peach apricot mead, and malty stouts made by local Pittsburgh breweries. There's also a quiet courtyard that makes a great beer garden during sunny weather.

    Location: 1507 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, USA

    Phone: +1 412-381-5335


    Butcher and the Rye

    Meaty New American dishes and an upscale whiskey selection

    • Food

    Butcher and the Rye might serve the most innovative of New American cuisine, but the restaurant also has a strong old-school vibe. That could be the décor – wood panelling, chandeliers and antler heads – or it could be the focus on that most traditional of drinks: whiskey. There are over 600 different varieties to choose from, as well as an extensive menu of cocktails that feature the amber liquor. 

    The food is equally a mix of classic and contemporary, featuring rich and meaty dishes – think roast chicken with fennel, rigatoni with duck liver in brandy, or venison sausages with chilli pan frito. The Steak Diane comes highly recommended, pan-fried and served with potato pave and black truffle.

    Location: 212 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA

    Phone: +1 412-391-2752


    photo by Edsel Little (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Sinful Sweets Chocolate Company

    Chocolate, cupcakes and ice cream in a magical sweet shop

    • Food

    Keep the kids happy – or satisfy your own inner kid – at Sinful Sweets Chocolate Company, whose wide array of delicious treats are handmade in-store. Go decadent with the champagne and espresso truffles or chocolate-covered strawberries, before taking home some fabulous salted caramel fudge and coconut clusters.

    Along with the classics, Sinful Sweets sell some weird and wonderful inventions like chocolate-dipped jalapenos, cookie-dough stuffed Oreos and bacon peanut butter s'mores. Good news if you like to lick the bowl when baking – the store sells edible cookie dough by the pint.

    Location: 539 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA

    Open: Monday–Wednesday from 11 am to 8 pm, Thursday–Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday from noon to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 412-720-1381


    The Porch at Schenley

    Local, seasonal food served al fresco

    • Food

    Enjoy your meal in the open air at the Porch, where the huge wrap-around patio looks out across the grass and trees of Schenley Plaza. The food is made from scratch, using herbs and produce grown in the restaurant's own rooftop garden, along with several beehives that produce fresh honey for the delicious desserts.

    The menu focuses on fresh, local food and light dishes like strawberry and rocket salad, pulled pork and pickle sandwiches, and pizza made with creamy goat's cheese, plus some dinner specials like miso cod and pork shank with mashed potatoes. The cocktail menu also has a seasonal feel, making use of watermelon, pineapple and raspberry purée for its flavours.

    Location: 221 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 11 am to 10 pm, Friday from 11 am to 11 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 11 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 412-687-6724


    The Zenith

    An eccentric vegetarian restaurant filled with antiques

    • Food

    Part vegetarian restaurant, part art gallery and part antique shop, The Zenith attracts an enthusiastic crowd of regulars. The whimsical interior is stuffed with an eclectic collection of curios, and the mismatched china gives it a relaxed, homey atmosphere. Everything on the walls is for sale, including artwork by local artists, so you can take home an owl lamp or Elvis statue as a memento.

    Pretty much everything on the menu is vegan, with additional cheese and egg options for vegetarians. Choose from Portobello teriyaki, Jakarta wraps, macaroni salad, or linguine in spicy peanut sauce. The most popular time to visit is for Sunday brunch, which consists of an extensive buffet spread and a diverse menu of teas.

    Location: 86 S 26th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15203, USA

    Phone: +1 412-481-4833


    Pamela's Diner

    Classic 1950s-style diner for hearty breakfasts

    • Food

    If you're headed out for a leisurely brunch, look no further than Pamela's Diner. This old-school eatery is packed out every weekend thanks to their special crepe hotcakes, which come in strawberry, blueberry, chocolate chip and banana flavours. Other breakfast favourites include the croissant French toast with caramel sauce, Belgian waffles and omelettes served with Lyonnaise potatoes.

    The lunch menu is filled with burgers, sandwiches and salads – try the Greek Burger, which is topped with onion, feta and Tzatziki sauce, or Janet's slow-roasted pork barbeque, served with coleslaw on a Kaiser roll. You'll feel right at home in the unpretentious interior, with its bright colours, chrome fittings and retro Formica tabletops. Please note that the diner is cash only.

    Location: 60 21st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 7 am to 3 pm, Sunday from 8 am to 3 pm

    Phone: +1 412-281-6366


    photo by daveynin (CC BY 2.0) modified

    Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer

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