As college students, we’ve mastered the art of ordering as much food as possible for under $8. This price range, unfortunately, cuts us off from some of Pittsburgh’s greatest eats. Luckily, the end of the semester is coming up, which likely means our parents (and their checkbooks) are coming to town. Here are some of the best dinner places near Pitt to hit up at your parents’ expense.
1. Bar Marco
Bar Marco is a trendy and quaint wine bar/restaurant located in the Strip District. They offer a delicious dinner, wine, and cocktail menu Tuesday to Saturday, serving up creative cocktails and one-of-a-kind dishes cooked by their in-house chef Justin Steel. Bar Marco has a reservation-only wine tasting and pairing experience called The Wine Room, which offers a 6-7 course meal with wines selected by an in-house sommelier.
In addition, Bar Marco offers frequent happy hour specials, giving you the opportunity to try even more cocktails without hurting your parents’ wallets.
Throughout my two years in Pittsburgh, I’ve found really good Thai food. The Silk Elephant is an exception — they serve amazing Thai food. Located in the heart of Squirrel Hill, this authentic Thai restaurant (with a small attached bar) serves incredibly flavorful and hearty traditional meals. The pad thai is a classic choice, but if you are feeling more adventurous, try one of the curries. If you go, be sure to check out their delicious tapas menu.
The hamburger is a true staple of American food, and the Button Buster at BRGR is the best burger that I have ever had in my entire life. BRGR serves up ludicrously-sized burgers topped with delicious things like short ribs (yes, short ribs), pastrami, onion rings and more. Get anything on the menu, you won’t be disappointed.
While the Grand Concourse may be the most expensive restaurant on this list, it never disappoints. There’s a deep seafood menu, containing everything from lobster to pan-seared scallops — nothing on this menu is a bad choice. The cavernous and well-decorated interior creates a perfect atmosphere for the amazing seafood dishes offered at the Grand Concourse.
Altius is a modern American restaurant serving tasty cocktails and American dishes. The breathtaking view is an added plus. Their entrée menu is to die for, with delicious Chilean sea bass and a killer strip steak. A bonus is their commitment to using organic and local products for both food and drink.
Everyone loves a good taco. Täkō is an artfully decorated modern Mexican restaurant shelling out unique tacos in Pittsburgh. Located downtown, their menu has an extensive list of tacos with some infused cultural flavors (my personal favorite are the Korean tacos). Make sure to sample everything on the menu — all dishes are equally delicious.
7. Avenue B
Closing out the list is Avenue B, a tiny but delicious New American bistro located in Shadyside. With a chef-curated seasonal menu, Avenue B always has fresh choices to try when dining. A true fan favorite is the Wagyu beef meatloaf (pictured above). Be sure to make a reservation well in advance, as they are always packed.