From Steel City to Culinary Cool: 5 Pittsburgh Foodie Finds

Butcher and the Rye Charcuterie

Our love for all-things Pittsburgh is definitely not covert – and that includes its booming foodie scene. On a recent press trip, we discovered hip, new restaurants and re-fell in love with a couple of Pittsburgh standards, too. Here’s five restaurants in Pittsburgh to let you wet your culinary whistle.

Butcher and the Rye Charcuterie
Butcher and the Rye Creative Charcuterie.

Butcher and the Rye

If you’re planning to catch a show in the Cultural District, Butcher and the Rye is a hot spot. With its creative menu offerings (think charcuterie with rabbit rillette and foie blonde pate), there’s plenty of dishes designed for the less culinary adventurous, too. Roasted Chicken with creamed Brussels and duxelles was my favorite dish of the evening.

Butcher and the Rye Duck entree
Beautiful plating at Butcher and the Rye.

Then there’s the whiskey to consider. Butcher and the Rye prides itself on its Bourbon bottles: 600+ if we’re counting. From a Blanton’s Old Fashioned to Four Roses Single Barrel neat, there’s hundreds of reasons for Mr. Locke to make return visits. If we’re talking impressive, Butcher and the Rye is the first restaurant to be nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award for its Outstanding Bar Program.

Tha Vandal Lawrenceville Pittsburgh
The fluffiest eggs we’ve ever eaten at The Vandal in Lawrenceville.

Vandal

Step foot into Vandal and it looks like your typical Lawrenceville restaurant. Bright and pretty and filled with dainty touches, there’s nothing delicate about its breakfast and lunch menus. There’s plenty of hearty options including breakfast biscuits and meats. Then they make you feel a little bit better about your meal by serving it with a side of greens if you’d like – or order yogurt topped with fruit and an edible flower.

Tha Vandal Lawrenceville Pittsburgh Yogurt
Go ahead, try the flowers at The Vandal. They’re delicious!

What really impressed me was the Vegan plate that came to our table. Not everyone wants (or needs) to dine on cured meats for breakfast, so feel free to ask what’s on its meatless menu for the day.

Enrico Biscotti Whisks
A busy kitchen is a happy one at Enrico Biscotti Bakery and Cafe.

Enrico Biscotti Bakery and Cafe

Walk through the skinny entrance to Enrico Biscotti Bakery and Cafe in The Strip District and you’ll walk into old-school Italian dining. Yes, there’s an actual Enrico (the owner’s nickname when he was a kid) and, yes, he’ll tell you he makes his pizza dough from scratch. Then he may even let you peek into the cafe’s wood-fired oven. And then, he may even show you the book from where he got his homemade pizza oven’s idea.

Enrico Biscotti Cafe Pizza
Wood fired pizza at Enrico Biscotti Bakery and cafe.

So, what you’ll end up with is a belly full of food (yep, the Margherita pizza tops my list) and a new found friend. No kidding. Once you’ve let your waistline stretch a bit,. head next door to the bakery and order a sfogliatella – one of my favorite Italian desserts. Ever. Filled with cream, the “lobster tails” have layer after layer of crunchy pastry dough surrounding the decadent center.

Try the Turkey Sandwich at Primanti Bros.
Try the Turkey at Primanti Bros. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Primanti Bros.

I could go on and on about the number of shows Primanti Bros. has been featured on (Man vs. Food, Best Sandwich in America, Bizarre Foods America, Guilty Pleasures, & Food Paradise) but I’m not going do to that. What I will go on and on about is its famous sandwich. Aptly titled a “Pittsburgh Sandwich” compliments of the number of additional restaurants that have tried to recreate it, this is what the restaurant in The Strip District is known for and why you’ll find folks visiting 24 hours a day.

Take two thickly-sliced pieces of locally-made Italian bread, layer with grilled meat (I love the turkey), and top with savory cole slaw, tomatoes, and homemade French Fries. If you’re a cheese lover, you can add it on. Cut in half and serve on deli paper for easy clean up. Want the full tutorial? The video above explains it all.

So, go for the sandwiches but stay for the ambiance. The gang at the restaurant are some of the coolest Pittsburghers I’ve ever chatted with. There’s truly nothing more “Pittsburgh food” than Primanti Bros. in my book. You’ll get a no-frills dining experience that’s perfect for fueling up.

Penn Brewery Tap Handles
On site brewed beer taps at Penn Brewery.

Penn Brewery

Sure, Penn Brewery, at the foot of Troy Hill, is famous for its on-site brews and fun history, but the food is well worth a stop. There are lots of Pittsburgh foods on its menu: pierogi, potato pancakes, and pretzel sticks to go with its German brews, but there’s also a Yinzer Salad and BBQ Jackfruit.

Penn Brewery Yinzer Salad
A flight of the beer variety at Penn Brewery.

A Yinzer Salad? Think a traditional salad topped with grilled chicken and French Fries. What’s a “Yinz”? That you’ll have to Google.

Want more Pittsburgh foodie finds? Check out Visit Pittsburgh for ideas.

Looking for unique (and delicious!) dining options in Pittsburgh, PA? Here's five spots that are worth the visit!

A special thanks to the gang at Visit Pittsburgh for the fun press trip! All opinions are my own! 

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14 Thoughts to “From Steel City to Culinary Cool: 5 Pittsburgh Foodie Finds”

  1. Loads of great Pittsburgh restaurants. I like how Vandal adds edible flowers.

  2. I want to eat and drink everything on your blog post. My fav from what you posted is Butcher and the Rye. OMG! That spread looks so good. If they cook half as good as they play football, this must be a treat! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sohaiba Irfan

    I’m so hungry after reading this post! hehe

  4. SHIVRANJANI RATHORE

    Love all the spots.
    Your post has made me hungry and I just ate!
    http://www.thevagabondwayfarer.com

  5. wow!All these food looks really yummy and inviting.It seems this is a great place to taste food in Pittsburgh!

  6. Pittsburgh is fairly close to me. It will be nice when I get up there to have some nice restaurants to visit.

    1. Vex Maryn

      Awesome ! Happy to help!

  7. Anamika Debnath

    My mouth is watering after seeing this post. All the pictures are just amazing 🙂

  8. I was in Pittsburgh back in May and went to Primanti Bros. It was ssoooo good!

    1. Vex Maryn

      It still is! It’s one of our faves!

  9. I’m going to Pittsburgh soon and can’t wait to check out these places! Thanks for sharing the ultimate dining places!

    1. Vex Maryn

      That’s so exciting – I’m sure you’ll dig the city and its foodie finds!

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