Pittsburgh has its share of fine Italian restaurants, and while most of them are rated high on the list of places to dine with outstanding menu’s and rates, a few did not make the mark. This list should help hungry restaurant buffs find the restaurant most fitting to their tastes. Food is not only good for the body, its great for the soul, and now you can truly experience what eating better is like with these popular Italian Pittsburgh restaurants. Its all about the quality cuisine and not breaking your piggy bank at the same time.
The Paparazzi Ristorante
What is Pittsburghs best kept secret when it comes to authentic Italian food? The Paparazzi Ristorante of course! Locals love this place, and would love to keep it all to themselves, but the smells emanating to various locations around the city naturally draw diehard Italian lovers from every corner of Pittsburgh to its unique taste’s of Italy. This particular Ristorante has an effect on romantics seeking a special dinner for two, but it also offers casual fun for families. The Paparazzi specializes in homemade Italian desserts, but they also offer some of the most sumptuous seafood and pizza around. Food critics claim that the Paparazzi offers some of the best Italian cuisine in Pittsburgh, and their pizza ranks high on the list of things that come close to heaven. The lasagna is also hard to beat, and the Paparazzi Ristorante has an atmosphere dating from the 60’s with a steakhouse feel to it. Once filled up, guests can enjoy dancing, karaoke, late night entertainment, and a bar with a beer list that goes on for miles. It also doesn’t hurt that this place is located in the heart of Pittsburghs strip district, but if you are out for a casual stroll you will have to stop and change your attire as they do not welcome jeans, shorts or T-shirts, even so, this is definitely one stop that you won’t want to pass on. The prices range from $10-$20 per plate.
2100 E Carson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Joe Mama’s Italian Deluxe
There is nothing quite like the feeling that you have walked into the past, but this is what you will be greeted with when you make plans to dine at Joe Mama’s Italian Deluxe. This high rated Italian restaurant offers a thematic ambience that was inspired by Italian cantinas from the war dominated 1940’s, and the rock & roll era of the 1950’s. This traditional restaurant hosts large gatherings, as well as though those special, intimate dinners for two, complete with low-set lights, and an exceptional wine list. The menu offers Italian food that may be unavailable at other fine restaurants as the chef has taken the time to research hard to find Italian specialties. A few of the more requested menu items include Gorgonzola, mushrooms & herbs, oven dried Roma tomato crostini smothered in goat cheese, and antipasto salad with Italian style tuna. A lunch time favorite is their fantastic house lasagna, complimented with a chilled glass of deep red wine. The service is unbelievable, and the atmosphere will send you to another time. The prices range from $6-$20 per plate.
Joe Mama’s Italian Deluxe
(412) 621-7282 3716
Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA.
Buca Di Beppo
If you truly want a piece of Italy, then look no further then the Buca Di Beppo restaurant, but you better come with an appetite as their dinner platters are huge! Guests will be treated too real immigrant cooking known and loved by the southern Italians of Apulia and Sicily. The chef shares his secret dishes with patrons who just can’t seem to get enough of his earthy Italian cuisine. He returns to Italy frequently to search for the newest recipes to try out on his guests, and they are never disappointed by his exemplary choices that never fail to please the pallette. Some of the local favorites include Spaghetti Marinara with meatballs the size of softballs, Linguini Frutti Di Mare and huge Neapolitan Pizzas. Traditional Italians believe that you should eat until you are stuffed, and Buca Di Beppo is no exception to the rule as the supper platters are literally heaped. Luckily they offer take home boxes, and believe me, you will need several. Amazingly you pay next to nothing for these large Italian meals as the chef uses many local markets to keep costs down so you would never guess that the prices would be so cheap at first glance as the tables are each set up with bottles of Chianti, and romantic Italian music greets customers with the feeling that they are getting a small piece of Italy right in Pittsburgh, and it comes as no surprise that Buca Di Beppo is on the city search list of best restaurants in Pittsburgh. The prices range from $5-$20 per plate on average.
Buca Di Beppo
3 Station Sq., Pittsburgh, PA.
The Spaghetti Warehouse
The owner of a drab warehouse had a vision of embellishing its interior with stained glass and antiques surrounding a unique dining experience. Lucky for us, his vision became a reality. In fact his interior designing abilities are so outstanding that guests come with cameras’ in hand to snapshots of the lush interior of the Spaghetti Warehouse on a regular basis. It could be the fact that a Port Authority streetcar dating from the mid-20th century dominates the interior or it quite possibly could be the dated knickknacks, statues and advertising signs from the era preceding World War II. The owner left no stone unturned and went all out restoring many of the original structure’s wood beams, as well as adding ornate glass doors throughout the interior to magnify the space. This isn’t the only thing that they come for though, enticing as it is, hungry diners come for the pasta stuffed with spinach, beef, pork & cheese, and the bruchetta, and they can never seem to get enough of the Mediterranean seafood. The prices are kept low, and there is no need to worry about leaving hungry, it simply won’t happen. The meals are not only deliciously and eloquently prepared, they are also quite large. The prices range from $5-$20 per plate on average.
2601 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA.
Location can be everything, and the owner of Abruzzi’s, Tony Masci quickly realized this as his old restaurant walls started closing in on him. Since his business has been hopping since he first opened in the early 90’s he dreamed of a bigger space to accommodate the mass of diners he so easily draws in. He is now located in a tastefully decorated space that occupies the whole first floor of the old Holiday Inn. Panoramic views are perfect for diners no matter where they are seated, and the architecture of the restaurant was designed with Italian culture in mind. Glass art and sculptures accent the interior, and there are extremely high ceilings, and wall sized windows for guests to enjoy an extensive view of the Monongahela River and the Pittsburgh skyline. When it comes to the food, it is a total reproduction of his mother’s Italian recipes. The restaurant is getting used to the large numbers of people, and prepare mountains of Vitello con Gamberi and Vitello con Salsicce. These two Italian dishes are favorites as their creamy tomato sauce is like no other. They also serve homemade Gnocchi, Manicotti, Cannelloni and Stuffed Shells. Of course no dinner is complete without a serving of Italian wine, and they have a list of it that goes on for days. The house favorites include Dolceto D’Alba and a pleasant white Vernaccia Di San Gimignano. The ambience of Abruzzi’s has been taken into consideration as guests can feel the Italian romance in the air, and if the air gets too stuffy then they can enjoy their meal on the outdoor terrace which offers a wonderful view of Pittsburgh also. The work that the owner has put into this fine restaurant is apparent, and it is definitely worth the visit. The prices range from $6-$24.
20 South Tenth St. (Holiday Inn), South Side, Pittsburgh, PA.