“Where do you want to eat?” just may be the most challenging question of all time, especially in a city like Pittsburgh because here in the Steel City, the options are practically unlimited. In a town full of pierogies and Primanti’s, you should know what else is out there for you to feast on.
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of top-notch places for you to get your grub on in Pittsburgh and exactly what to order when ya get there. You’ll never have to wonder where to eat in PGH ever again. These places have earned themselves the *prestigious* label of “Spoon-Approved.”
Thanks to your input and our never-ending quest for the most perfect food in PGH, you’ll never have to wonder where your next meal should come from. Here are just a few of our (and your) essential Pittsburgh eats and drinks.
Spoon-Approved Burger Joint: Burgatory
What it is: Burgatory is what dreams are made of. This is the ultimate spot to dig into a massive and delicious patty. At Burgatory, you have the choice between selecting a burger from the standard menu or creating your own burger masterpiece. You get to pick everything from the patty to some crazy-delicious toppings (grilled pineapple, bacon jam, and bourbon BBQ sauce to name a few).
And no trip to Burgatory would be complete without getting one of their signature milkshakes. With flavors like burnt almond torte and caramel pretzel, your tastebuds will be singing.
What to order: Get the Morty’s Steakhouse burger and a salted Nutella crunch shake to wash it down. Boom.
Spoon-Approved Happy Hour: Mad Mex
What it is: While Mad Mex does have its fair share of yummy Mexican cuisine (we’ll get to that later), it’s also known for thirst-quenching margs, a huge list of craft beers and tequila.
This trendy spot (with locations in Oakland and Shadyside) is the perfect place to drown your post-exam sorrows. Mad Mex’s massive 22-ounce margaritas are a mere 7 bucks from 10 ’til midnight every day. Crowd favorites include the sangria blur and strawberry margaritas.
What to order: Get to a Mad Mex during the autumn months to snag one of their fall-inspired margs, the cranberry apple margarita. Your liver will thank you.
Spoon-Approved Brunch Spot: The Yard
What it is: The Yard is a new Pittsburgh classic. This gastropub specializes in gourmet burgers, grilled cheeses and booze. However, the brunch menu really steals the spotlight here.
Chicken & waffles and an insane chorizo scramble always hit the spot after a long weekend. Of course, you can’t forget the grilled cheese menu with 26 **amazing** different sandwiches, including my favorite: mac-and-cheese grilled cheese. Yup, that exists. Get ready to carbo-load and drink mimosas ’til you can’t anymore.
What to order: A trip to The Yard is not complete without the Mac Attack grilled cheese. Just do it. It is cheesy carb heaven.
Spoon-Approved Pizza: The Porch
What it is: If you’re a Pitt student, you know that there are a plethora of options for when you’re craving some pizza. You also know that some of those options are pretty pathetic. Look no further: The Porch whips up delicious bistro pizza, and they use super fresh ingredients and cool flavor combinations (shrimp & zucchini pizza? Yes, please.) that will save you from so-so pizza.
Fun fact: pizza is 1/2 off Monday through Thursday from 9 ’til 11 PM. Indulge yourself in a little doughy and savory goodness.
What to order: If you’re a fan of the classics, order the Margherita pizza. Looking to try something new? Get the Bianca pizza (Black truffle oil- need I say more?).
Spoon-Approved Vegetarian Eats: Red Oak Cafe
What it is: This casual eatery in the heart of Oakland is go-to spot for vegetarians in Pittsburgh. Red Oak offers quick and healthy eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu is so unique and has a ton of delicious options for meat-lovers as well.
They have massive and delectable salads, a huge selection of breakfast foods, and the most refreshing smoothies. Healthy never tasted quite so good. Warning: this place is super popular for lunch. If you’re heading in for a mid-day meal, be prepared for a little wait. It’ll be worth it.
What to order: All-day breakfast is the best thing ever. Make room for the banana Nutella pancakes. Not feeling breakfast foods? Order the salmon avocado salad. Bet ya can’t finish the whole thing.
Spoon-Approved Sushi Joint: Sushi Fuku
What it is: Before I came to Pitt, I was not a huge sushi fan. I would pretty much eat anything else besides the stuff. Sushi Fuku changed that for me. I am #blessed to live above this place.
Needless to say, my sushi intake this semester has skyrocketed. Sushi Fuku is all about customization, AKA making your own roll, bowl, or burrito (yup, SUSHI BURRITO). You get to pick from fresh veggies, toppings, and sauces to create your perfect roll. So many different choices, so little time.
What to order: Obviously, this place is heavy on you creating your own roll. But, if you are’t feeling so creative, order the Oakland Avenue roll. Chicken tempura and bacon are a match made in sushi heaven.
Spoon-Approved Sandwich Spot: Campus Deli
What it is: This place is an Oakland staple, and for a good reason. The sandwich creations at Campus Deli are every college kid’s (drunk and sober) dream come true. Sandwiches with names like the Professor and the Mascot are some favorites among Pitt students.
And you can’t forget about those INSANE bacon cheese fries. Can you say cheat day?
What to order: First of all, get yourself an order of bacon cheese fries. Save some room for the Mascot. This monster of a sandwich is made up of chicken tenders, pepperoni, fries, pepper jack cheese and a dousing of thousand island dressing. Open wide.
Spoon-Approved Mexican Joint: Mad Mex
What it is: Mad Mex makes this prestigious list again, this time for the grub. Mad Mex is the spot if you want something a little more special than your usual Chipotle order. Fresh chips and salsa to start you off, followed by one of the delicisoso burritos or tacos? POR FAVOR.
What to order: The Gobblerito is one of the best things I have ever tasted. The geniuses at Mad Mex decided to combine everything you love about Thanksgiving dinner and put it into a burrito. Hurry up—this masterpiece is only available until late November!
Spoon-Approved On-Campus Eats: The Cathedral
What it is: Not only is Cathy the most beautiful thing on our campus, she also houses the best on-campus food options. In the basement of Cathy, you can find an old-school deli, a Chik-Fil-A, a sushi spot and many other awesome options.
Whether you’re snagging a snack between classes or getting a late lunch, head to the basement to get your fill. Dig in.
What to order: The world is your oyster here. But where else can you find Chik-Fil-A? Get your chicken tenders on.
Spoon-Approved Date Night/Parents’ Dinner: Union Grill
Example 1: Congratulations: you finally landed yourself a date.
Example 2: Crap. The ‘rents are in town. Where can you take them?
What it is: It is pretty difficult to find a date-appropriate spot and also a place that your folks will love. Lucky for Pitt and CMU students, we have the Union Grill on Craig Street. This grill is the go-to for classic American choices, like huge burgers, crispy fries, and a finger-licking dessert menu.
They also offer a wide-range of Italian-inspired plates and a $10 bottle wine special. An all-round solid pick for the ‘rents and first date.
What to order: The crazy grilled cheese is to-die-for. This also comes with their classic waffle fries. Save some room the s’mores kit.
Spoon-Approved Dessert Spot: Dave and Andy’s
What it is: Got a sweet tooth? Want to take a whiff of freshly-baked waffles cones? Get yourself to Dave and Andy’s. This ice-cream spot in Oakland makes the creamiest, most indulgent homemade ice cream for miles.
Each day, the workers of Dave and Andy’s produce more and more amazing flavors for you to try. Enjoy this while the weather is still nice. Warning: this place is cash only!
What to order: Birthday cake is everything you could want from ice cream (and more). Chunks of homemade cake in your cream? I’ll take 10 cones.
Spoon-Approved Cheap Eats: Uncle Sam’s
What it is: Another Pittsburgh staple, Uncle Sam’s makes some of the most affordable and awesome sandwiches in da ‘Burgh. Everything about this place rocks; from the fresh doughy bread to the greasy cheese and meat to the prices.
Massive sandwiches and fries for 6 bucks? Uh-huh, honey. I crave Uncle Sam’s on daily basis. No joke.
What to order: First of all, eat in. That way, you get an order of fries for free. Then, get the provolone and egg sub. DIG IN. Your wallet will thank you.
Spoon-Approved Diner: Pamela’s
What it is: A weekend in Pittsburgh is not complete without breakfast at Pamela’s. This classic diner is always packed on weekends with people looking for that greasy breakfast fix.
Pam’s carries classics like omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, and their famous hotcakes. Get ready to dig in and leave with a belly-full of carb-loaded goodness. Oh, and bring cash. No cards accepted here.
What to order: The crowd favorite: the banana walnut hotcakes. Sweet, indulgent and stuffed with whipped cream. Need I say more?