10 Best Cultural Restaurants In Pittsburgh, USA

Photo of James Norman
9 February 2017

Pittsburgh’s economic success at one time rivalled that of both Chicago and New York. The economic boom attracted workers from all over the world, who created an international melting-pot and a thriving Cultural District, complete with theatres, museums and restaurants. Eating out in Pittsburgh is an exciting affair; the city offers a wide array of cheap, local eats as well as elegant fine-dining venues.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | © Ronald C. Yochum Jr./WikiCommons

Isabela on Grandview

Restaurant, European, $$$
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Isabela on Grandview, Pittsburgh
Isabela on Grandview, Pittsburgh | © Isabela on Grandview
Located near the Duquesne Incline at Upper, this elegant, stylish restaurant has been described as one of the most romantic dining environments in the USA. Isabela on Grandview offers stunning views of the Pittsburgh skyline, while the intimate seating area and mood lighting allows for couples, or groups, to thoroughly enjoy their dining experience. An open kitchen also entices diners to become immersed in the moment, watching fresh, local ingredients be lovingly crafted into delicious meals. Isabela has been awarded the ‘OpenTable Top 100 Romantic Restaurants’ status for two years in a row.

Monterey Bay Fish Grotto

Restaurant, Seafood, Cocktails, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, Pittsburgh
Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, Pittsburgh | © Monterey Bay Fish Grotto
Situated on Grandview Avenue, Mount Washington, Monterey Bay Fish Grotto offers spectacular views of the city and serves seafood fine-dining at its best. Claiming to be the region’s ‘Premier Fresh Fish Restaurant’, customers can expect fine service, a high viewpoint over the city, and melt-in-the-mouth fish, flown in from the East and West Coasts, and Hawaii. With over twenty different types of fish on offer, in a variety of styles, and a beautiful selection of cocktails on the menu, diners will be delighted by this place.

Zenith Tea Rooms and Antiques

A must for antique lovers, Zenith offers the quintessential eclectic dining experience in Pittsburgh’s historic South Side. A vegetarian restaurant, Zenith’s owners have lovingly created a whole host of delights, from wraps and stews, to salads, burgers and tacos. There is also a noteworthy selection of herbal teas on offer. After sating their appetites, diners can take a stroll through the inspired surroundings, viewing a vast collection of antiques and items collected from all around the world. It is also worth checking their website for any upcoming events.

© Salt of the Earth

Salt of the Earth

This restaurant is the result of a plan devised by architects Doug and Liza Cruze. The idea behind Salt of the Earth was to give diners a culinary experience that retains all the taste, but strips away traditional fine-dining expense and convention. What remains is the architects’ vision of how modern American dining experiences should look and feel. There is an emphasis on embracing seasonal change, with the dishes and cocktails on offer evolving, depending on the time of year. A rotating list of items on the menu makes the most of fresh local resources. Closed on Sundays, late night dining is an option during the rest of the week.

The Church Brew Works

Pub, Belgian, Beer, American, Pub Grub, $$$
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The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh
The Church Brew Works, Pittsburgh | © The Church Brew Works
An award-winning brewpub situated in Lawrenceville, The Church Brew Works is a unique venue that takes the heart of old Pittsburgh and combines it with modern beer culture. Housed inside the former St. John the Baptist Church (built in 1902), the brewpub combines clerical with culinary, allowing visitors to enjoy the spectacular surroundings. With three house draft beers, Celestial Gold (Light lager), Pipe Organ Pale Ale’(British pub-style pale ale) and Pious Monk Dunkel (German-style dark lager), there is something for everyone. Beer connoisseurs will also be happy to try the rotating stout collection. The menu is an exotic mix of salads, pastas, pizzas and other tasty treats from all over the world, including Belgian-style fries and pierogi from Poland.


For those wishing they could add some tropical sunshine to their Pittsburgh trip, Kaya may just be the perfect solution. Diners can expect the finest of island cuisine, in plush Caribbean-themed surroundings, courtesy of executive chef Benjamin Sloan and his team. Using a combination of herbs, spices and a sizzling grill, visitors are guaranteed an exciting culinary experience. Kaya’s array of exotic dishes, which include steaks, soups, rubs and wraps, are influenced by Caribbean, Pacific and South American flavours and cooking styles. There are also numerous options for vegetarians and lovers of seafood. Special mention goes to the shrimp and scallop ceviche, served with a sprinkling of fresh popcorn.

Kaya, 2000 Smallman Street, Strip District, Pittsburgh, PA, USA, +1 (412) 261 6565

Meat and Potatoes

Diner, Gastropub, Restaurant, Pub, American, Gluten-free, Pub Grub, $$$
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This exciting gastropub is located in the heart of the Cultural District near the O’Reilly Theater. The restaurant’s doors are open seven days a week for brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night eating. You’ll notice the cow-themed design and stylish interior décor, with cow skulls lining the walls, and an outdoor seating area, which is quiet and intimate with string lights and heaters to keep visitors warm and comfortable in the evening. The menu, which gives diners several gluten-free options, consists of a variety of meat dishes, including lamb, chicken, duck, beef and fish plates, which bring a creative flair to familiar British and American meals.

Grand Concourse

Restaurant, Bar, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
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This beautiful seafood restaurant is housed within the carefully restored Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad Station, built in 1898. The Grand Concourse offers fresh fish cuisine, alongside speciality pasta, steak and poultry dishes, all washed down with a fine selection of wines. The historical décor includes delicate stained glass and handcrafted mosaics, offering a feast for the eyes, while bathing diners in an aura of elegance.

Burgatory Bar

Burgatory Bar takes two of the things that American cuisine is most well known for (burgers and milkshakes), tears up the guidebook, and creates its own revitalised recipes. The most basic burger is even suffixed with a ‘deluxe‘ tag, which only leads the diner onto even more exciting options on the menu, including veggie, crab, bison, and elk variations of burger. The ‘Heavenly Shakes’ also deserve this title. This is not the place to ask for a simple vanilla, strawberry or chocolate. Burgatry offers exciting combinations of milkshake such as caramel and pretzel, cookies and marshmallow, or even the exciting apple pancakes and bacon shake. There are alternatives for those not wishing to choose a burger, and this reasonably priced restaurant (now a growning chain) prides itself on using meat that is ‘all natural & hormone free’.

Burgatory Bar, 932 Freeport Road, Waterworks Mall, Pittsburgh, PA, USA and other locations in Pittsburgh.

Green Forest

Diner, Restaurant, Steakhouse, Brazilian, Gluten-free, $$$
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Green Forest Churrascaria, Pittsburgh
Green Forest Churrascaria, Pittsburgh | © Green Forest
This venue is home to Pittsburgh’s only true Brazilian churrascariadining experience. This style of Brazilian cooking involves roasting meat on skewers over fire in a special oven. Waiters will serve meat to customers ‘rodizio’ style, slicing meat from skewers onto diners’ plates. This is a restaurant for meat lovers with a vast selection on the menu, from pork and beef, to chicken and turkey. There are also seafood and salad variations available. Managed, and ultimately owned by Oswaldo Fortini and long-standing waitress Flavia Naccarato, Green Forest has won OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards.