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Union Standard
Union Standard
Adam Milliron

The 9 Hottest New Restaurants in Pittsburgh

Where to find homey Italian cuisine and the best ribs in town

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Union Standard
| Adam Milliron

Today, Eater returns to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to focus on nine newish restaurants that have been garnering some serious buzz. Back in 2015, Eater’s restaurant editor Bill Addison asked whether Pittsburgh was the country’s next destination food town, noting that "the dining scene is still shaping a distinct identity, though the dynamism among its strongest players is tangible."

Now, Pittsburgh Magazine associate editor and dining critic Hal B. Klein is here to offer up his picks on the hottest openings of the past 12 months. The city is loving elevated museum fare (the Café Carnegie), restaurants that embrace homey Italian cuisine (DiAnoia’s Eatery, Talia Cucina & Rosticceria), and the first solo venture from one of Pittsburgh’s star chefs (Derek Stevens’s Union Standard). Without further ado, and in geographic order, the Eater Heatmap to Pittsburgh:

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Casellula at Alphabet City

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Alphabet City — the North Side site of City of Asylum’s performance space and bookstore — is now also home to the second location of Casellula, a Manhattan cheese bar. The main draw is (of course) the restaurant’s sterling cheese list. Thoughtful condiment pairings bolster the selections, in a move that brings out the best elements of both the cheese and its accompaniment. Diners in search of a more substantial meal can choose from a menu of nibbles, shared plates, and a handful of entree-sized portions, alongside excellent wine and beer lists.

Pork & Beans

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Pork & Beans is the fourth Downtown restaurant from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group, which also operates Butcher and the Rye, Meat & Potatoes, and Täkō. Here, the focus is on Texas-style barbecue, including heaps of smoked meats, like their best-in-town spare ribs, pulled pork, and beer-can chicken. Pair that with a couple of starters and a few drinks from the outstanding beer list, and finish the meal with a post-gluttony nap.

Talia Cucina & Rosticceria

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Spit-roasted meats are the go-to at Talia, located on the ground floor of the historic Alcoa Building. Porchetta, leg of lamb, chicken, and more spin on the rotisserie, slow-cooked and basted in their own fats, while antipasti, pasta dishes, and entrees round out the menu. The broad, well-organized amari list is a nice (and, after eating all that meat, perhaps necessary) offering.

Pizzuvio

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Ron Molinaro was years ahead of the curve when he started crafting ingredient-driven Neapolitan pizza at Il Pizzaiolo, his destination restaurant in the South Hills, in 1996. Now, he takes his talents downtown with Pizzuvio, a fast-casual restaurant serving Neapolitan pies that maintain the integrity of those at its fancier suburban cousin.

Union Standard

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Downtown’s dining landscape is shining brighter since the opening of Union Standard, the first solo venture from influential area chef Derek Stevens, best known for his long run as executive chef at the critically acclaimed Eleven. Highlights from the contemporary American menu at Stevens’s latest — located in the landmark Union Trust Building — include refined classics from the wood-fired rotisserie and grill, thoughtful vegetable dishes, and an excellent raw bar.

DiAnoia's Eatery

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Blend an old-school Pittsburgh Italian hangout, new-school casual restaurant, and a touch of Long Island delicatessen, and you get DiAnoia’s Eatery. Visit the family-run restaurant at breakfast for Kaiser-roll egg sandwiches that would make a New Yorker jump for joy, lunchtime pizzas and sandwiches, or dinnertime plates of pasta and porchetta. Longtime Pittsburgh bartender Heather Perkins (Spoon, Grit & Grace) created a menu of morning, noon, and night cocktails, and there’s an excellent espresso bar for those who prefer their buzz to come caffeinated.

Burgh'ers

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In 2009, Fiore Moletz began crafting some of the region’s tastiest hamburgers in a small restaurant tucked away in a strip mall an hour north of Pittsburgh. Now, he brings those burgers — formed from a whole-cow blend of grass-finished Jubilee Hilltop Ranch beef — to Lawrenceville. The side dishes are as much of a draw as the patties: Moletz’s pasta prowess (he also operates the excellent Della Terra Italian Bistro, located next to the original Burgh’ers) kicks in full force with the mac and cheese, and the rosemary fries are reminiscent of those served at In-N-Out.

Carnegie Café

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The old grab-and-go dining options at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh have been replaced with elegant design and excellent food at the Café Carnegie, a partnership between Texas-based foodservice firm Culinaire and Sonja Finn, executive chef of Dinette. Finn and chef de cuisine Becca Hegarty execute a menu of seasonal, feel-good dishes, like pulled chicken salad and a perfect club sandwich. Young museum-goers can expect a stepped-up kids’ menu that includes tea sandwiches on house-made bread.

Taiwanese Bistro Cafe 33

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Squirrel Hill’s boom as a destination for diners craving Asian cuisine now includes an excellent new player in Cafe 33, a Taiwanese restaurant located in a converted laundromat. Traditional dishes, such as three-cup chicken and flaky scallion pancakes, are draws, as are the specials, which appear daily on the colorful specials board.

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Casellula at Alphabet City

Alphabet City — the North Side site of City of Asylum’s performance space and bookstore — is now also home to the second location of Casellula, a Manhattan cheese bar. The main draw is (of course) the restaurant’s sterling cheese list. Thoughtful condiment pairings bolster the selections, in a move that brings out the best elements of both the cheese and its accompaniment. Diners in search of a more substantial meal can choose from a menu of nibbles, shared plates, and a handful of entree-sized portions, alongside excellent wine and beer lists.

Pork & Beans

Pork & Beans is the fourth Downtown restaurant from the Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group, which also operates Butcher and the Rye, Meat & Potatoes, and Täkō. Here, the focus is on Texas-style barbecue, including heaps of smoked meats, like their best-in-town spare ribs, pulled pork, and beer-can chicken. Pair that with a couple of starters and a few drinks from the outstanding beer list, and finish the meal with a post-gluttony nap.

Talia Cucina & Rosticceria

Spit-roasted meats are the go-to at Talia, located on the ground floor of the historic Alcoa Building. Porchetta, leg of lamb, chicken, and more spin on the rotisserie, slow-cooked and basted in their own fats, while antipasti, pasta dishes, and entrees round out the menu. The broad, well-organized amari list is a nice (and, after eating all that meat, perhaps necessary) offering.

Pizzuvio

Ron Molinaro was years ahead of the curve when he started crafting ingredient-driven Neapolitan pizza at Il Pizzaiolo, his destination restaurant in the South Hills, in 1996. Now, he takes his talents downtown with Pizzuvio, a fast-casual restaurant serving Neapolitan pies that maintain the integrity of those at its fancier suburban cousin.

Union Standard

Downtown’s dining landscape is shining brighter since the opening of Union Standard, the first solo venture from influential area chef Derek Stevens, best known for his long run as executive chef at the critically acclaimed Eleven. Highlights from the contemporary American menu at Stevens’s latest — located in the landmark Union Trust Building — include refined classics from the wood-fired rotisserie and grill, thoughtful vegetable dishes, and an excellent raw bar.

DiAnoia's Eatery

Blend an old-school Pittsburgh Italian hangout, new-school casual restaurant, and a touch of Long Island delicatessen, and you get DiAnoia’s Eatery. Visit the family-run restaurant at breakfast for Kaiser-roll egg sandwiches that would make a New Yorker jump for joy, lunchtime pizzas and sandwiches, or dinnertime plates of pasta and porchetta. Longtime Pittsburgh bartender Heather Perkins (Spoon, Grit & Grace) created a menu of morning, noon, and night cocktails, and there’s an excellent espresso bar for those who prefer their buzz to come caffeinated.

Burgh'ers

In 2009, Fiore Moletz began crafting some of the region’s tastiest hamburgers in a small restaurant tucked away in a strip mall an hour north of Pittsburgh. Now, he brings those burgers — formed from a whole-cow blend of grass-finished Jubilee Hilltop Ranch beef — to Lawrenceville. The side dishes are as much of a draw as the patties: Moletz’s pasta prowess (he also operates the excellent Della Terra Italian Bistro, located next to the original Burgh’ers) kicks in full force with the mac and cheese, and the rosemary fries are reminiscent of those served at In-N-Out.

Carnegie Café

The old grab-and-go dining options at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh have been replaced with elegant design and excellent food at the Café Carnegie, a partnership between Texas-based foodservice firm Culinaire and Sonja Finn, executive chef of Dinette. Finn and chef de cuisine Becca Hegarty execute a menu of seasonal, feel-good dishes, like pulled chicken salad and a perfect club sandwich. Young museum-goers can expect a stepped-up kids’ menu that includes tea sandwiches on house-made bread.

Taiwanese Bistro Cafe 33

Squirrel Hill’s boom as a destination for diners craving Asian cuisine now includes an excellent new player in Cafe 33, a Taiwanese restaurant located in a converted laundromat. Traditional dishes, such as three-cup chicken and flaky scallion pancakes, are draws, as are the specials, which appear daily on the colorful specials board.

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