Now a days I eat at more food trucks than restaurants because “duh convenience,” and it’s super cheap. But sometimes nothing beats taking a seat at a restaurant and taking in the ambience; and let’s face it until food trucks can serve wine, restaurants will be around a while. Pittsburgh’s food scene is booming and in the spirit of “research” I’ve been eating my way through the Burgh (Don’t believe me check my Yelp). It was insanely hard but I managed to pick out my top four favorite restaurants with the only rule being that it couldn’t be a chain and I based it all off the question “Could I eat here every day?”
Although outdated décor wise, The Shogun has always been a go to spot for my family. I personally love the pond as soon as you walk in. Depending on what you get, it can get a bit pricey but that aside the food is awesome, the staff is pleasant and you’ll always leave with some food leftover as the portions are pretty big. This place is like Yokoso’s grandparent. The sushi list is admirable and I always get the shrimp and chicken hibachi combo.
Three: Doce Taqueria
Once upon a time I signed up for a Glow in the Dark Bar Crawl and it started at Twelve on Carson Street. I got there and realized I hadn’t consumed any food and I didn’t have to wander far to find this gem. Not only do they advertise three-dollar tacos every day but they’re packed with flavor. I savored every moment while enjoying them. Between veggie tacos, walking tacos and steak tacos, you’ll leave satisfied. They have something for everyone and who needs Taco Tuesday when tacos are $3 every day here?
Two: Nola on the Square
Located right in the heart of Market Square, Nola is like taking a trip to New Orleans. From the décor, to the authentic cuisine to the friendly staff rocking Mardi Gras beads, this place encompasses New Orleans. After a not so great first experience here, I gave it a second chance and a third and it totally made up for that. Their food is packed with flavor, their drinks make you wish it was Mardi Gras and their jambalaya is to die for. The waitress was nice enough to inform me and my friend to not order separately because the portions are so huge, that we could split it and that was very wise of us. They also get bonus points for not being one of those restaurants that refuse to substitute anything. I subbed more chicken instead of the sausage that comes in the jambalaya. Also, don’t leave without trying the beignets. You’ll thank me later!
I honestly can’t remember how I stumbled upon Las Velas. It’s tucked away above Diamond Market Grill in Market Square. From the music, to the never-ending list of tequila offered here, this is authentic Mexican food. I’ve taken a jab at trying mostly everything on the menu that I can eat (I don’t eat beef or pork) and my favorites are the tacos hands down. The chicken tacos with their rice and beans will make you want to live here. Their chicken nachos are also a huge win for anyone consuming them. Don’t get too stuffed because I would recommend that you do not leave this place without trying the sopadillas. This dessert can only be described as heaven on a plate with ice cream. It’s fried tortillas doused in honey and topped with ice cream. I had no clue about these until a friend ordered this on St. Patty’s Day and I’ve been thinking about them ever since. Also they have every margarita flavor under the sun, and if you can’t find one you like you’re just being picky.
*Bonus: I wasn’t sure if it’s a chain or not because there’s a few Bills Bar and Burgers but this place has Monster Milkshakes and when I say Monster I mean ginormous! I got an invite to this place for a Yelp Elite event and I couldn’t eat the BBQ but the jalapeno poppers were addictive and I sampled their Strawberry Dreams milkshake is what dreams are made of. It comes with marshmallows, cotton candy, pop rocks and cherry candies. If Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory made milkshakes, this one would be it! They also have boozy shakes but I enjoyed the one without the booze. It wasn’t missing a thing.
This list could go on and on as I like to eat and Pittsburgh has a lot of restaurants but there could only be four and these are my favs. What’s your favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh?