Eat Like a Local: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
For Yahoo Food’s travel summer series, Eat Like a Local, we’re taking you on a cross-country food crawl, city by city. Here’s where to chow down in America’s lesser-known destinations without sticking out like a sore thumb.
Pittsburgh’s dining scene has blossomed well beyond the old-school sausages and French fry–stuffed Primanti Brothers sandwiches over the past five years. The modern culinary tropes of “seasonal and local” have taken hold, sure, but in addition, there’s a broader enthusiasm among locals about dining and drinking.
Best Hole in the Wall: Jozsa Corner
From the outside, Jozsa Corner looks like a “completely abandoned building,” Sudar admitted. But when you step through the door—”and walk right through the kitchen”—a small back room with two long picnic-style tables comes into view. The white walls are lined with tchotchkes, and patrons are seated so closely that they’re nearly on top of each other. The menu? “Warm, traditional, Hungarian food like a great-grandmother would make.” Goulash, rouge-hued paprika-spiked chicken, and the noodle-and-cabbage dish haluska are all on order. “The best time to go is the second Friday of every month,” Sudar advised. “There’s no menu, it’s all communal dining, and [the owner] just starts bringing out dishes,” she said. “It’s a great place that no one ever knows about.” (4800 Second Ave., Pittsburgh, PA; 412-422-1886)
Best Dive: Kelly’s Bar & Lounge
When considering dive bars, go where the locals go. In Pittsburgh, that’s Kelly’s. “It looks dive-y, but it’s a great bar,” said Sudar, who is particularly smitten with its “killer macaroni and cheese that when it comes to your table, the top is burnt and bubbling.” Red walls, diner-style booths, and a checkered floor lend an old-fashioned vibe, as does the old-school jukebox in the corner stocked with an eclectic mix of soul and punk-rock classics. (6012 Penn Circle South, Pittsburgh, PA; 412-363-6012)
Yellow fin tuna, spot prawn, calamari, scallop, caponata, saffron risotto and sea asparagus at Dish. Photo credit: Dish Osteria and Bar/Facebook
Best Dark and Sexy Date Spot: Dish Osteria and Bar
Tucked amongst the sports bars and college kid haunts of Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood is Sudar’s favorite date spot, the Italian and Mediterranean-accented Dish Osteria and Bar. Located in the ground floor of a former saloon built in 1885, Dish has an Old World quality uncommon this side of the Atlantic. “When you go at night, the atmosphere kind of transforms it,” Sudar said. The maroon-and-gold color scheme and simple feel to the whole place make you feel like “you’re in a tiny European village.” She favors their homemade pasta, particularly a rich dish of cream-laced rigatoni topped with smoked mozzarella, prosciutto, pistachios, and peas. (128 South 17th St., Pittsburgh, PA; 412-390-2012)
The wood-burning oven at Gaucho. Photo credit: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina