By Blake Matthews
Pittsburgh is a city rich with culture. We started out as a Steel Town where immigrant workers who came from all over to work in the steel mills settled by nationality in their own separate regions. As a result, each of the areas that we know today are so evidently unique from one another. I tip my hat to them as we now have the palatable opportunity to savor deliciously diverse foods no matter what bridge we cross.
Though not every neighborhood has stayed 100% true to its original nationality’s cuisine, there are certainly outstanding representations and noteworthy additions to the culinary roll call in these areas. Today, we’ll venture to Bloomfield, our very own Little Italy, to call out the top five dining destinations and what makes them worth crawling to!
Del’s Restaurant & Bar
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-11pm, Fri and Sat 11:30am-midnight, Sun 10:30-10pm
Authentic Italian food and tradition and an ambiance which threatens to make any patron a regular make this family owned restaurant a local favorite. I would suggest sticking with the pizza, it’s what they do best! I was shocked to find that Del’s has a received bad rap on Urbanspoon, but I’ve been going there for delicious pizza and fun with friends since my sophomore year of college and don’t plan to stop any time soon.
Alexander’s Italian Bistro
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-10pm
A few blocks away from the main strip in Bloomfield lies a tiny hole-in-the-wall by the name of Alexander’s. This place serves Italian comfort food. No tricks, no slights of hand — just delicious (like Nonna used to make). Stop by in the spring, summer or fall and sit outside on the covered patio — it’s perfect for people watching! The “Pastabilities” (where you create your own pasta dish) are okay, but I suggest the Salmon with Walnut Pesto!
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-9pm, Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 10am-3pm
I first tasted J’eet’s clean and modern cuisine at Pittsburgh’s Hot House, 2009. I was so blown away, I waited in an obnoxiously long line twice to get seconds. I would have gone back for thirds, but their food was so delicious, they ran out of samples very quickly. J’eet (which, in Pittsburghese translates roughly to “did you eat?”) is a breakfast and lunch joint famous for their crepes. I happen to love them for their bold salad combinations and their Turkey Fig sandwich. That’s right, I said Turkey Fig. G’head and give it a try n’at!
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-3pm, 4:30-9pm; Fri 11am-3pm, 4:30-10pm; Sat 4:30pm-10:30pm
Where food is art. The new kid on the block in late 2008, this adorable bistro burst on to the scene in style offering an inventive seasonal menu that never fails to impress. In my mind (and to my tummy), it takes a talented professional to make a good risotto. These guys pull it off quite well. Sausalido is also a BYOB restaurant which helps you save on the cost of indulging.
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-11pm
Sure, it may look like I’m just making my way down Liberty Avenue, but Tessaro’s is a must-try on this block. If being the consistent winner of the coveted “Best Burger in the Burgh” title and being featured on Serious Eats and Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” isn’t enough to convince you then maybe you’ll take my word for it: these burgers CAN’T be beat.
Blake is the opinionated foodaholic behind the Taste of Pittsburgh restaurant review blog. As a Steel City transplant originally from Chocolatetown, USA, she’s on an adventure to find the best kept culinary secrets of the city and revel in every bite.