Pittsburgh has developed a reputation for world-class dining. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients and unique dishes are a signature of many restaurants in the region. We’ve highlighted a few nationally recognized restaurants and also compiled a list of staff favorites!
If you are looking for a special dining experience, grab Lyft or Uber to Mount Washington for dinner at Altius or Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, two restaurants ranked among the top 100 most scenic in the country by Open Table.
If you’re feeling adventurous, another celebrated choice is Superior Motors in Braddock (approximately 10 miles (16 km) from the conference hotel). In 2018, Superior Motors was named one of Food & Wine’s best restaurants and Time named it one of the world’s greatest places to eat and drink.
Thrillist named Brew Gentlemen, just down the road from Superior Motors, as the state’s best craft brewery. Butcher and the Rye on Sixth Street in Downtown (just blocks from the hotel) also received honors from Thrillist last year.
If you want to support immigrant-owned food businesses we invite you to check out All for All‘s recent small business report. A longtime Literacy Pittsburgh partner, All for All recently interviewed the owners of 40 immigrant-owned businesses—restaurants, markets, food trucks, and catering and pop-up businesses—to get a sense of the challenges and successes in becoming an entrepreneur as an immigrant in Pittsburgh. Check out the report here and discover some great dining options in the city.
Looking for the best restaurants as chosen by the locals?
Literacy Pittsburgh Staff Picks
Distances are from the conference hotel
4606 Penn Avenue (3 mi; 4.82 km)
Cuisine: Vegan Eastern European
Description: The food is consistently excellent. The vibe is casual and easy going. It is not pretentious even though it could be. The cocktails are creative and strong.
Favorite dish: Pierogies!
Average meal cost: $16-40
Submitted by: Allegra Elson (Director of English Language Programs), Nancy Krygowski (Instructor)
Bae Bae’s Kitchen
951 Liberty Avenue (350 ft; .10 km)
Description: Korean-inspired eatery focusing on local, healthy, organic ingredients served in a fast, casual setting. You choose a main entree (meat/tofu), side (rice/noodles), salad, and mini-side (kimchi, tempura, other daily offerings). Delicious drinks like Vietnamese coffee, Thai iced tea, and milk tea are also served. This is my favorite restaurant because of the fast, friendly service and the truly mouth-watering food. When I have a choice of where to eat downtown, I always choose Bae Bae’s Kitchen!
Favorite dish: KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) or tofu with plum sauce
Average meal cost: $13
Submitted by: Kate Schnuriger (Program Coordinator)
Bea Taco Town
633 Smithfield Street (0.3 mi; 0.48 km)
Description: Bea Taco Town has a wide variety of soft tacos, hard tacos, enchiladas, burritos, vegan choices. You can build your own taco too! It is really difficult to choose a favorite item but the Dorados (taquitos) with chicken. They also sell Mexican Jarritos soda (favorites are the Pineapple or the Pina)! Everyone there is so friendly and the food is made to order and pretty quick!
Favorite dish: EVERYTHING!!!!
Average meal cost: With a drink, the average cost is about $10
Submitted by: Andrea Horton-Mericli (Workplace Skills Manager), Erica Hom (Intake Coordinator)
Brugge on North
40 W North Ave. (1.4 mi; 2.3 km)
Description: Casual dining fused with an urban performance space and international bookstore. On many evenings guests dine on moules frites while listening to jazz concerts or literary events hosted by City of Asylum.
Favorite dish: Brugge Frites, twice-cooked Belgian style with tarragon mayonnaise
Average meal cost: $15-25
Submitted by: Allegra Elson (Director of English Language Programs)
520 Third Avenue (0.6 mi; 0.96 km)
Description: Three Generations of legendary Chinese cooking featuring Cantonese, Szechuan and Shanghai dishes.
Favorite dish: shrimp fried rice, vegetable shrimp or beef, egg roll and shrimp lo mein
Average meal cost: $11–30
Submitted by: Gail Whitehead (Student Support Coordinator)
971 Liberty Avenue (across the street from the conference hotel)
Description: The food is inexpensive and delicious and happy hour has great deals. It is a great place to wind down with friends and coworkers.
Favorite dish: Build your own taco; the chipotle honey and chorizo is a favorite.
Average meal cost: $10
Submitted by: Caitlin Griffiths (Family Literacy Program Manager), Cara Wimberley (Immigrant Services and Connections Coordinator), Jess Orlidge (Instructor)
129 Sixth Street (.6 mi; 0.96 km)
Cuisine: Indian food
Description: This is the best place for Indian food that I know of in Pittsburgh. It is a small, peaceful, friendly, family-owned place, and the owners are super nice. My husband and I have been going there for years, and we’ve also introduced friends to it. Bonus: the mom in the family that owns the restaurant is a former Literacy Pittsburgh student!
Favorite dish: I have never had anything bad here, but my favorite is chicken korma. My husband’s favorite is chicken vindaloo.
Average meal cost: $10–20
Submitted by: Katie Murphy (Instructor)
308 Forbes Avenue (.5 mi; 0.80 km)
Cuisine: French patisserie
Description: La Gourmandine features authentic, in-house creations and a vibe reminiscent of a Sunday afternoon in Paris. Offering sweet and savory items, from macarons and tarte aux pommes to quiche and croissant au jambon, this is a perfect spot for a daytime meal or treat. I’ve never had a menu item that was short of spectacular.
Favorite dish: Le Parisien baguette sandwich, pain au chocolat, any quiche or marcaron available!
Average meal cost: $5–15, depending on how many dessert add-ons you’re tempted by!
Submitted by: Brittany Eltman (Program Coordinator)
Nicky’s Thai Kitchen
903 Penn Avenue (0.2 mi; 0.80 km)
Description: Nicky’s Thai Kitchen appears on Pittsburgh’s “best of” lists year after year. Popular dishes include red curry, basil stir-fry and the crab rangoon.
Favorite dish: Pad Thai, curry, appetizer sampler
Average meal cost: $10 lunch, $15 dinner
Submitted by: Alex Dow (Database Manager)
500 Liberty Ave (.5 mi; 0.80 km)
Cuisine: Hawaiian (poke bowls)
Description: Casual and customer-led. You can create your own healthy poke bowl from a variety of fish, fruit and vegetable mix-ins, sauces and toppings!
Favorite dish: I like to make my own poke bowl with raw tuna and salmon—and definitely top it with masago if it’s available!
Average meal cost: $13
Submitted by: Julie Walker (Compass AmeriCorps Program Manager)
701 Smithfield Street (0.2 mi; 0.32 km)
Description: Everything is homemade and the menu changes daily. You only have a few options to choose from. It is only open for lunch (11:30 am – 2:30 pm) and everything is take-out.
Favorite dish: Everything! The chickpea curry is really good.
Average meal cost: $5–8 for multiple meals worth of food.
Submitted by: Hannah Gerbe (Program Coordinator)
Stuff’d Pierogi Bar
130 7th Street (0.3 mi; 0.48 km)
Cuisine: Comfort food
Description: Stuff’d is Pittsburgh’s only restaurant and bar dedicated to the pierogi. While you will find traditional fillings of potato and sauerkraut, much of the menu features non-traditional fillings like Buffalo chicken dip, mac and cheese, pepperoni pizza and Philly cheese steak. Introduced to Pittsburgh by Slavic immigrants, pierogis have become a quintessential Pittsburgh dish.
Favorite dish: The Buffalo chicken salad is so yummy! Grilled chicken with wing sauce plus Buffalo chicken pierogis and blue cheese dressing atop salad greens. It is HUGE, but it is so good that you just may finish it all.
Average meal cost: $15–20
Submitted by: Maria Polinsky (Director of Marketing and Communications)
214 6th Street (0.4 mi; 0.64 km)
Cuisine: Hip Mexican street food, except not…because it’s actually sit-down and really hard to get a reservation
Description: It is extremely delicious! The food is excellent and very ingredient-focused. They make certain flavors really sing.
Favorite dish: When they have it, the mushroom taco with maitake mushrooms is out of this world!
Average meal cost: $15–20
Submitted by: Gretchen Costello (Director of Volunteer and Community Programs)
The Simple Greek
431 Market Street (0.5 mi; 0.80 km)
Description: Chipotle-style Greek food! It combines high-quality ingredients, open kitchens and Greek atmosphere in a fast casual setting.
Favorite dish: Falafel bowl
Average meal cost: $12
Submitted by: Cara Wimberley (Immigrant Services and Connections Coordinator)
409 Wood Street (0.5 mi; 0.80 km)
Cuisine: Ramen, Japanese
Description: It’s got a cool bar and upscale ramen vibe. I love their food and it’s a cool place to hang out. Their happy hour specials are good!
Favorite dish: Shrimp tempura and sukiyaki ramen
Average meal cost: $25
Submitted by: Melissa Tabak (Program Coordinator)