Pittsburgh’s Food Scene Combines Cutting Edge and Traditional FavoritesBy Fred Monique
Pittsburgh offers a dining scene that offers the best of both worlds—everything from incubators of “what’s next” to long-time favorites keeping the flame strong. Here’s a gathering of Pittsburgh restaurants that reflect the city’s diverse cultural inspirations:
Mediterranean x 2
At The Twisted Frenchman, chef Andrew Garbarino serves modern French cuisine as four-, eight-, 14- or 21-course tasting menus on the second floor of the historic Royal York Auction Gallery building. Its first floor sibling, La Riviera Bistro, features a menu that spans French, Italy, Spain and Portugal in a more casual setting.
Fresh and Sustainable
Led by executive chef Jessica Bauer, Altius spotlights “elevated cuisine”—prepared from sustainable, organic and local products—from its perch on Mount Washington. The globally inspired menu features such dishes as salmon poke Napoleon, a Mexican-inspired sweet corn bisque, wild Alaskan halibut in a mojo verde and a classic strip steak with duck fat-fried fingerling potatoes.
Cure is an upscale, neighborhood restaurant from four-time James Beard Award-nominee Justin Severino. The menu (available a la carte or as a six-course tasting) is rooted in the Mediterranean, but with a local twist that takes its cues from Western Pennsylvania’s seasons and local farmers and purveyors.
Japanese, Globally Sourced
Open since 1999, Umi has flown in fish from all over the world to serve as the foundation for its extensive sushi and sashimi options. Specialties include kobe beef with wasabi truffle oil, red snapper with mushroom truffle sauce and black cod with miso. An omakase menu, consisting of seven or 11 courses, is also available.
Local institutions, like Primanti Bros., which dates to 1933 from the Strip District, continue to enrich the Pittsburgh food scene. Known for its “almost famous sandwiches,” pizza, and wings, Primanti Bros. has built a mini-empire from its original spot, which is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week. There are now more than 40 locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and five other states.