Pittsburgh Eats

It’s finally time for another Scape Escape! These posts are where I review the plant-based food scene of a particular city. Last year I visited Tel Aviv and it was probably the best food city I’ve ever experienced. I realize, however, that there are many of great options here in the States, if you know where to look!

Today I’m providing my recs for Pittsburgh, the city of my alma mater. The plant based food movement is gaining a lot of traction there, which I could not be more excited for.

These dishes were not all strictly vegan, but most restaurants can accommodate dietary restrictions. Now, onto the eats!

  1. The Porch

This place is right on my college’s campus, but attracts visitors from all across Pittsburgh! It’s the perfect place to take vegetarians and carnivores together, since the menu has a wide range of American-inspired but also vegetable-heavy, farm fresh, creative dishes. Confession: my boyfriend and I went here two days in a row last time I visited.

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Pictured in the foreground is my personal favorite: the Bianca pizza with fig jam, black truffle oil, and a salad’s worth of arugula.
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Dan’s was ratatouille-inspired!
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We were excited😍
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Roasted Vegetable Arugula salad
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Don’t forget dessert! Apple Crumble and Tiramisu

2. Girasole

Tucked away in Shadyside, this cozy Italian spot is another favorite. I almost always order the same thing: escarole and beans with polenta. So delicious! A great wine list as well. In the winter you can’t beat the pumpkin ravioli with charred walnuts and sage.

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I always ask for extra escarole…YUM. 

3. Whole Foods salad bar

OK I know this isn’t a restaurant, but I always find it comforting to know that WF is an option! When you’re looking for something quick (Dan and I were getting on the road to visit my parents), it’s great for grab-and-go.  Just wanted to include the location for reference 🙂

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4. B52 Café

This all-vegan cafe is quickly becoming a favorite of ours! There aren’t a ton of purely vegan places in the city,  yet this one in Lawrenceville is top-notch. The menu draws on a lot of Mediterranean influences and has a delicious brunch selection.

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Moussaka platter with roasted eggplant, vegan kofta, cashew cheese beets, saffron rice, and broccoli. Also pictured are a mushroom flatbread and vegan “BLT” fries!
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B52 takeout the next day: Seitan kofta with tofu scramble!

5. Tipsy Cow

Happy hour time! I wanted to meet up with my cousin Bella so my friend Meghan recommended this place in Shadyside. They have a build your own burger menu (with veggie options!) and half off Sangria pitchers on Thursdays.

💖👏

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6. Gluten Free Goat

I must admit I don’t understand the name of this place in Bloomfield, but their vegan options are on point. I’ve gotten their famous breakfast waffles before (I’m not gluten-free, but they were tasty). This takeout lunch was easy to order online and just what I needed on a dreary Pittsburgh winter’s day!

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Falafel waffle and vegan mac n’ cheese 

7. Tana Ethiopian 

If you’re looking for a “fun” meal experience, I cannot recommend Tana enough. Ethiopian food is a cuisine that is easily vegan but packs a real flavor punch. I always get the vegetarian sampler platter.

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8. APTEKA

If you’re looking for “hipster vegan” that is still stick-to-your-ribs satisfying, APTEKA is where it’s at! This Central/Eastern European joint is right in Bloomfield is one of the most talked about new restaurants in the area, for good reason.  I don’t have much experience with this style of cuisine, since it is often very butter and meat heavy. I loved the chance to test these dishes, and they did not disappoint! There are a ton of gluten free options as well. Next time we go I want to test some of the creative cocktails.

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“Kluski Slaskie,” a potato dumpling dish with baby lima beans, fried buckwheat, bitter greens, and marjoram
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“Placki ziemniaczane z papryka,” or potato pancakes with horseradish and and peppers
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A must-have: Pierogi! Two versions here: one with sauerkraut and mushroom, the other with smoked cabbage and potato. 

This list is by no means exhaustive! Some other great plant-based spots include:

  • Double Wide Grill — Drive-in style meals with a surprisingly huge vegan menu. I love their “TV dinners.”
  • Aladdin’s — a Mediterranean chain with all the hummus you could ask for
  • Eatunique — a perfect lunch meeting place, this menu has a great salad/soup/sandwich selection. Not to mention, vegan chocolate chip cookies!
  • Piccolo Forno — handmade pastas are the must-have at this romantic Italian spot
  • Noodlehead — affordable cash-only Thai cuisine, with a name that speaks for itself
  • Curry on Murray — another Thai spot with a wonderfully spicy pumpkin curry

I’ll be sure to add more onto this post as I explore more places. Please let me know if you try any!

 

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