As a recovering consultant, I’ve spent my fair share of time in various cities across the Midwest and East Coast. Pittsburgh was not one that I was very excited about. My only impression of the Steel City was that it was an industrial, blue-collar town that would presumably be devoid of the culture, activities and food that make any consulting assignment tolerable.
Thankfully, I was very wrong! In recent years, Pittsburgh has been called “underrated” and the “city of the future”. It boasts a revitalized downtown, increases in tech and innovation jobs, major sports teams, and a growing food scene. Today, I’ll share some of my favorite restaurants in downtown Pittsburgh. I’m fairly certain we tried almost every restaurant in town during my year there, and these were the ones that stood above the rest (in no particular order)!
Where to Eat in Downtown Pittsburgh
Sienna Mercato (942 Penn Ave.) – If you only have time to hit one of these, Sienna Mercato would be my top recommendation! The restaurant is split into three levels, each with distinct offerings. On the first floor, you’ll find Emporio, a meatball joint with a great beer list. On the second floor, Mezzo serves up Italian fare. I still dream about their pizzas! On the top floor is Il Tetto, a rooftop beer garden. They serve bar snacks and pizzas, and the space features a retractable roof to take advantage of summer days! You can’t go wrong on with any of the three options – the food is amazing!
Proper Brick Oven & Tap Room (139 7th Street) – Wood-fired pizzas and beer…enough said! Proper has 30 beers on a tap, a good wine list and delicious pizzas. According to their website, they’ve also recently opened a mobile food trailer called Proper Pronto! Check their website to find out where it will be.
Butcher and the Rye (212 6th Street) – The ambiance at Butcher and the Rye is fantastic, and it’s the perfect place to grab a cocktail. Check out the whiskey wall behind the bar! The food is indulgent, but fantastic – reservations are recommended!
Bar Marco (2216 Penn Ave.) – Bar Marco is a small wine bar housed in a former firehouse in the Strip District. The space is small and intimate, but they do take reservations. The menu is also fairly short, but features great dishes that are perfect for sharing. Grab a glass of wine to go with your meal or have one of the bartenders make you a cocktail!
Meat and Potatoes (649 Penn Avenue) – Owned by the same restaurant group as Butcher and the Rye, Meat and Potatoes does not disappoint. Reservations are recommended as this restaurant is also very popular. Check out the Meat & Potatoes for Two on the menu – the ribeye is HUGE!
Gaucho Parrilla Argentina (1601 Penn Ave.) – Also located in the Strip District, Gaucho serves up delicious Argentinian steak and sides. The menu is written on a giant chalk board inside, and you’ll order at the counter. There’s not much space inside to eat, so most people get their food to go or sit outside on the patio. There can often be a wait, but we would go towards closing time on a week night and usually received our food fairly quick.
What are your thoughts on Pittsburgh? Did we miss any great restaurants?