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Spicy food is usually an all or nothing proposition. You either love it or can’t tolerate it. If you prefer dishes with spice, there can also be some health benefits that come along with that spicy meal. Hot peppers and sauces have been known to help with weight loss goals, protect against some types of cancer and raise endorphin levels for a more enjoyable eating experience. If you love spicy food, here are some restaurants in Pittsburgh with tasty spicy dishes.

Noodlehead
242 S. Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
www.noodleheadpgh.com

Noodlehead has a variety of noodle dishes ranging from noodle soups to rice, egg and semolina noodle dishes. A favorite is street noodles which features rice noodles, Thai fried chicken, bok-choy, bean sprouts and cilantro. You can ask for the level of spice you prefer, so take it up to five if you prefer things extra hot. Noodlehead is cash only, so be sure to stop at the ATM before you go.

Mad Mex
2101 Greentree Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
(412) 279-0200
www.madmex.com

Mad Mex offers a variety of sauce spice levels for a great dining experience, no matter your preference. Wings, burritos and wraps can all be made with your sauce and spice preference. Ask for “insane” if you want a super spicy experience. The San Fran sauce is especially spicy at the “insane” spice level and is perfect in a burrito offset by plenty of guacamole. Be sure to get a frozen margarita or ice cold draft to counteract your spicy meal.

Nicky’s Thai Kitchen
856 Western Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15233
(412) 321-0424
www.nickysthaikitchen.com

Nicky’s Thai Kitchen is a local favorite for Thai food and offers many different menu options from Thai stir fry dishes and curries to soups and salads. Try the Pad Phet which has a spicy sauce of garlic, peppers, green beans, onion, basil and chili sauce. Let them know your spice preference on a scale from 1 to 10. You can choose from chicken, vegetables, tofu, pork, beef, shrimp or seafood for your Pad Phet dish.

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Tamarind
257 N. Craig St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 605-0500
www.tamarindflavorofindiapa.com

Indian cuisine is known for its spicy flavor and the authentic Indian cuisine at Tamarind is no exception. Not only can you find hot dishes, but also dishes full of exotic spice-filled flavors. The menu has many chicken, lamb, vegetarian and seafood options. Get your meal off to a spicy start with the Samosa, a fried pastry filled with spicy vegetables and served with chutney.

DeBlasio’s
1717 Cochran Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15220
(412) 531-3040

If you are a fan of Italian cuisine, DeBlasio’s has a great menu of pasta and Italian entrees to choose from. A favorite is the very spicy linguine don diablo. You can choose from chicken or hot sausage, though the hot sausage makes the dish much more spicy. The linguine and meat are covered in a sauce made from sweet and hot peppers and plum tomatoes.

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Jennifer Stockdale is a native of the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. She is a restaurant marketer and wine enthusiast and one of the hosts of the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.