Surveying The Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene

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In a city like Pittsburgh, there are endless options on where and what to eat. It’s a diverse city, populated with people of many different ethnic backgrounds. They come to the city with a particular background, find a space, stock a commercial refrigerator with the supplies of their trade, and head to the stove to create masterpieces. As you might expect, the resulting culinary offerings are almost endless.

In fact, there are so many good restaurants in Pittsburgh that any attempt to saturate the scene and visit all the best would be futile. It’s just more than anyone could bite off–literally and figuratively.

A better way to approach a food tour of a unique city like Pittsburgh is to break it down geographically. Each nationality represented in the city is heavily populated in one or more city neighborhoods, and the restaurants in those areas reflect that influence. So start with a map and finish with a fork as we review Pittsburgh’s culinary scene.

Oakland: Conflict Kitchen

The name may be puzzling at first, but hear us out. Conflict Kitchen seeks to provide a place not just for stimulating food but for stimulating conversation. Speakers and performers provide the context for conversation, and an Iran-influenced menu is served.

The response is overwhelmingly positive, constructive, and enjoyable. Somehow it’s a little easier to see things from another’s perspective when you sit down and break bread together.

Strip District: Smallman Gallery

What’s better than a restaurant with a constantly-renewed menu and the opportunity to support ambitious up-and-coming chefs? Serving as a sort of business incubator, Smallman Gallery grants promising chefs an 18-month tenure in the facility, which helps them hone their skills and build capital to strike out on their own.

The result is a crop of new restaurants gradually blooming throughout the city, all rooted at Smallman. And the upside for the diner is a menu that never gets old.

South Side: The Zenith

With so many influences of meat-based recipes, vegetarians may feel a little left out in Pittsburgh. Not to worry! The Zenith provides a menu loaded with traditional flavors with clever techniques for substituting away from meat.

But the restaurant is a little more than just a place to eat. It also includes an antique shop and art gallery for added flair.

Lawrenceville: The Church Brew Works

What good is all that food without something to wash it down? The German love of beer is carried out in Pittsburgh’s own offering at this striking location, a building that actually was previously a church.

Of course, it isn’t just a beer hall; the menu has a wide array of delicious and hearty items to stimulate your thirst, and  it certainly offers some great ways to quench it.

Shadyside: The Twisted Frenchman

There’s nothing twisted about great food. This authentic French eatery will give you a legitimate taste of Paris. Whether you order the scallops, venison, or duck, you’ll find a plate presented with the best French flavors in the city.

Experiencing a city is about more than simply checking off a list of sights and activities. It’s about discovering what and who the city is all about, and really getting to know its history. Food is a great way to do that, and the amazing array of restaurants in Pittsburgh make it easy–and delicious.



  1. You are making me hungry!

  2. Nice to see my beloved city featured! However, Conflict Kitchen… your info wasn’t great. The menu rotates among areas in which there is great conflict, the idea being to highlight and bring awareness to these areas of the world. Set in the middle of the Pitt campus, it’s a cool concept with an ideal location for its mission.

    And there was no Primanti’s on the list. I know… everyone and their brother talks about Primanti’s and Pittsburgh in the same breath. But that’s because a visit here isn’t complete without stopping in and seeing what the fuss is about.

  3. Sharon Rooney says

    I love going to Pittsburgh, so many things to do and see.
    I love seeing the PPG building in the skyline.

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