Pittsburgh is a haven for ethnic food. From it’s steel city roots, there is a range of European style restaurants to choose from, be they Italian (Di Anoia, a KDKA news recommendation), Greek (Lesvos Gyros), Polish (S&D Polish Deli), Belgian (Park Brugge) or even Hungarian.
There is a little Hungarian restaurant on the North Side called Huszar that has all sorts of traditional Hungarian food, drinks, and even desserts. The owner can be found in the dining and bar area where she talks to everyone who comes in. Live Hungarian folk music is playing ever other Saturday evening, but be sure to make reservations well in advance because they sell out quickly. Even some of the bar stools were reserved! (Although, it turned out, they are for a group from Ohio that regularly makes the trip to see the show!) It is quite a unique place.
Spanish tapas can be found at the Morcilla restaurant in Lawrenceville. The menu is divided into sections: charcuteria, conservia (appetizers), crudo (raw food such as oysters and steak tartare ), croquetas, tapas (small mains), vegetables, and compartible (large mains ). As with any tapas place, it is best to go with a group so that you can sample more of the dishes. Many of the plates are Morcilla are small, which allows a good sampling even without a huge group. But the variety and quality present here places Morcilla among the best tapas restaurants I have been to.
For Hispanic food, you can find good tacos at Ethnic grocers. I went to Las Palmas in Oakland, and they had very good street style tacos. You can get tacos with your choice of meat: steak, chicken, pork, or carnitas. I sampled one of each, and found the carnitas were the best. Fair warning, the hot sauce is very hot.
But there is more to Pittsburgh than just European food. They have a wide assortment of Asian restaurants as well. The one head and shoulders above the rest is a restaurant in Squirrel Hill called Everyday Noodles. As the name suggests, they make their noodles fresh everyday. They have a wide assortment of steamed appetizers, soups, and noodle dishes to choose from. If I had to pick one restaurant in Pittsburgh to eat at, this would be the one.
But if noodle dishes are not your style, you can try Cambodian. On the South Side, you can find a Cambodian restaurant called Apsara Cafe. In all my travels, this was the first time I had been to a Cambodian restaurant. It reminded me a bit of Burmese cooking, with a mix of Thai, and Chinese styles. I had a very unique and delicious appetizer called Na-Taings, which was rice cakes served with a sauce. I choose Moarn Chha Kroeung as my entrée. This is a Khmer dish with fresh broccoli, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, onions, snow peas, red and green peppers, water chestnuts a sautéed in a spicy lemon grass sauce. It too was quite unique and tasty.
There are many other choices available on the South Side. A personal favorite is a restaurant called Streets on Carson that serves international street food. This place has everything from Asian steamed buns to tacos al pastor, including American dishes such as chicken wings or Beef on Weck! I ended up going with a Brazilian dish with fresh mozzarella dusted with tapioca and a balsamic glaze.
There are Middle Eastern restaurants sprinkled throughout Pittsburgh. I tried a couple, but my personal favorite is Dijlah Restaurant in Lawrenceville. They have all the standard Middle Eastern dishes: fatoosh, falafel, hummus, babaganush, and assortment of kabobs, etc … I got the large mezze platter, which allowed me to sample a large selection of their dishes. All were quite good, and the prices very reasonable. The atmosphere is very pleasant and relaxed, and the service quite good.