I have had the chance to do a lot of travel this fall domestically, visiting a few new locations including Portland, Maine and traveling back to some of my favorite locations such as Seattle, Kansas City and Pittsburgh. I had the chance to visit Pittsburgh last fall and was invited back on a foodie press trip at the end of September and anxiously anticipated my return! This was going to be a quick trip back but it would be filled with a lot of fun new food experience that I’m excited to share with you in case you are planning your own visit.
Where to Stay
Right in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh is the beautiful Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, a luxury hotel with newly remodeled rooms and contemporary styling. This hotel is right on the river across from PNC Park, Heinz Field and next to Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts. There’s also easy access to some of the most amazing restaurants in the city including Butcher and the Rye and Täkō. Between the location and the friendly staff at the hotel, it would be worthwhile to book a room for your visit.
Where to Eat
Since I was only going to be in Pittsburgh for 48-hourse, it was important to fit in as much as I could and eat at as many places as I possibly could visit! For a good variety of options I suggest heading over to the Strip District to visit the Smallman Galley, the launchpad for some of the best new restaurant concepts in Pittsburgh. There are 4 restaurant concepts housed within the space, each run individually for 18-months to allow chefs to bring their concepts to market and determine if they would be successful. They are currently on their section rotation of chefs that put out some amazing cuisine each day ranging from Vietnamese to Detroit-style pizza. My suggestion is to try the Pupusas from Colonia and then finish off your meal with the s’mores from Brunoise.
Smallman Galley | www.smallmangalley.org
If you’re looking for a cozy little Italian spot then I recommend a visit to Bar Marco. This restaurant is located in the Strip District in an old firehouse and offers European charm at its finest. Their menu is seasonal and their wines are hand selected from small producers. I enjoyed a tasting menu complete with a heirloom tomato and burrata salad, rigatoni with ricotta and an amazing panna cotta with salted caramel. Whatever the menu may be during the season of your visit it is sure to not disappoint.
Bar Marco | www.barmarcopgh.com
If you want to really experience the cuisine of a Pittsburgh neighborhood then I suggest joining a foot tour hosted by ‘Burgh Bits and Bites. I got to experience their Brookline tour the last time I was in the city and I knew that I would not be disappointed by their tour of the Strip District. You should not arrive on one of these tours having eaten anything and you should anticipate going home full at the end of the tour. Their tour of the Strip District includes tastings of homemade sausages, fresh cheese, pierogies, pizza and wine, and some of the best biscotti that I have ever tried. ‘Burgh Bits and Bites offers 6 different neighborhood tours and I’m excited to return to try another.
‘Burgh Bits and Bites | www.burghfoodtour.com
If you’re anxious to venture outside of downtown for dinner or a cocktail then you can head over to the East Liberty neighborhood to the historic Ace Hotel. The hotel itself is not historic but the fact that it is housed in a former YMCA building makes it a really awesome spot for a cocktail and tour of the hotel. The Whitfield lobby bar offers a full selection of food including duck fat kettle corn and a platter called the ‘sausage party’ featuring sausage, bread, mustard and onions. It’s a great place to grab a cocktail before dinner or hang out for late-night drinks.
Whitfield @ Ace Hotel | www.whitfieldpgh.com
For a unique dining experience with some amazing food, head over to Spoon. This restaurant helped to spark the rebirth of the food scene in Pittsburgh and has been serving up high quality dishes for over a decade! It is also located really close to the Whitfield so it’s a great place for dinner after cocktails. Their head chef, Jamilka Borges, was just interviewed by Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations, so you know she’s sort of a big deal. More importantly, she’s got a menu that speaks for itself when it comes to mixing unique flavors and presentation that looks like artwork.
SPOON | www.spoonpgh.com
Pittsburgh has a lot to offer in terms of art, sports and one of the best food scenes in the Midwest and quite possibly in the US. Check out some of my other recommendations here: