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5747 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside
412-362-5273 or www.harrisgrill.com
It’s hard to go wrong with the classic cheese-and-carb combo, but Harris takes this bar-menu favorite to the next level. Ask for the original version, made with a cheddar Mornay sauce, or up the fanciness and order it with lobster and lump-crab meat.
2nd: The Yard
3rd: Kelly’s Bar & Lounge
Gaucho Parrilla Argentina
1601 Penn Ave., Strip District
412-709-6622 or www.eatgaucho.com
Choose a meat — various cuts of beef, chicken, pork — or vegetable to be cooked over the wood-fire grill, before being stuffed between thick slices of cibbatta bread. It’s a mess, but don’t scrimp on the chimichurri sauce. You can also order these sammies deconstructed as a plated meal.
2nd: Thin Man Sandwich Shop
3rd: Primanti Bros.
Burgatory is everything you could want in a burger joint: a variety of patties, plus milkshakes. Be adventurous with a Piggy Butter and Jelly, with bacon, peanut butter and habañero jelly. Or pick your own meat and toppings. The milkshakes come with or without booze.
2128 Murray Ave., Squirrel Hill, and 713A Washington Road, Mount Lebanon
This perennial-favorite pizzeria keeps the oven hot, and the pizza hotter, whether you order a slice or a whole pie. Try the Sicilian — a perfect cross between pizza and a grilled-cheese sandwich. The Squirrel Hill location has an attached bar, where pizza-lovers can add an ice-cold beer.
2nd: Spak Brothers
3rd: Fiori’s Pizzaria
321 Bigham St., Mount Washington
412-431-9313 or www.bighamtavern.com
They got ’em big and juicy — and seasoned with a variety of sauces (30 in all!). Purists can stick with original, and show-offs can head to “Atomic” or “Cluckin’ Hot.” Experimenters can latch on to “Dingo,” “Hyena” or “Jackal.” Wednesday is Wing Day (44 cents/wing), but expect crowds.
2nd: Big Shot Bob’s House of Wings
3rd: Quaker Steak & Lube
214 Sixth St., Downtown
412-471-8256 or www.takopgh.com
If you’re easily bored by the three-meat taco menus, the tacos here should pique your interest. Octopus, pork butt, duck confit and wagyu short rib are among the protein fillings, and the seasonings and vegetable add-ins are influenced by Mediterranean, Asian and Middle Eastern flavors.
2nd: Smoke Barbeque Taqueria
3rd: Doce Taqueria
3810 Butler St., Lawrenceville, and 115 Forbes Ave., Downtown
Franktuary has perfected serving creatively topped hot dogs, with great sides like poutine and craft cocktails. Pick from a grass-fed beef or vegan hot dog, and consider combos incorporating bacon, pineapple, coleslaw and pierogies. If you’re on the go, look for the Franktuary food truck.
2nd: Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop
Grand View Buffet at Rivers Casino
777 Casino Drive, North Side
412-231-777 or www.riverscasino.com
Buffets live by variety, and Rivers’ ranges from barbecue to Italian and Asian fare; lunch, dinner and Sunday brunches feature a crab-legs add-on. Steelers home games are accompanied by Eat the Enemy, with delicacies including clam chowder (New England, Oct. 23) and beef-brisket quesadillas (Dallas, Nov. 13).
2nd: Grand Concourse
3rd: Hokkaido Seafood Buffet
Espresso a Mano
3623 Butler St., Lawrenceville
412-918-1864 or www.espressoamano.com
People love Espresso a Mano, and with good reason. The atmosphere is cozily hip, the baristas are knowledgeable and friendly, and the beverages are top notch. Espresso serves sustainable coffees sourced from high-quality roasters like Counter Culture, Forty Weight, Commonplace and others.
3rd: Zeke’s Coffee Pittsburgh
Bantha Tea Bar
5002 Penn Ave., Bloomfield
412-404-8539 or www.banthateabar.com
This little oasis on Penn Avenue used recycled materials in its construction, as well as tapping solar power. The tea is ethically sourced, and Bantha works extensively with local partners to create its menus. Enjoy a steaming mug while you view the frequently changing art exhibitions.
2nd: Dobra Tea Pittsburgh
3rd: Arnold’s Tea
4605 Butler St., Lawrenceville and 300 Cochran Road, Mount Lebanon
This authentic French bakery sells breads, breakfast pastries and quiches. Dessert favorites include classic pastries such as chocolate éclairs, tartes au citron (lemon tarts), cream puffs, fresh berry tarts and flan. For a dinner party, try a chocolate mousse cake.
2nd: Oakmont Bakery
3rd: Gaby et Jules
531 Allegheny Ave., Oakmont
412-826-1606 or www.oakmontbakery.com
This perennial favorite draws Pittsburghers from all corners up the Allegheny River to Oakmont. Cakes, cookies, breads, donuts and any other baked good you can think of fills the substantial display cases here. Enjoy your pastries in the spacious dining room or on the patio.
2nd: La Gourmandine
232 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside
412-404-8853 or www.millieshomemade.com
Made from milk and eggs from Western Pennsylvania farms, Millie’s sells several varieties of ice cream at local grocery stores and from their scoop shop. Flavors change seasonally, but favorites include chocolate, vanilla and salted caramel.
2nd: Klavon’s Ice Cream
3rd: Dave and Andy’s Homemade Ice Cream
511 Adams Ave., Canonsburg
724-745-4042 or www.sarriscandies.com
Inspired by the old-fashioned soda fountains of founder Frank Sarris’ youth, this chocolate factory and ice-cream parlor — which boasts a 1,500-pound handmade chocolate castle — will make you feel like a kid in … some kind of store. Stock up on chocolate-covered pretzel sticks.
2nd: Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop
3rd: Katie’s Kandy
100 W. Station Square Drive, South Side
412-261-1717 or www.grandconcourserestaurant.com
This is a fancy brunch in a location so historic you feel like you’re going to run into the Jay Gatsby at the donut station. This buffet is upscale, with options ranging from a carving station to omelets made-to-order.
2nd: Meat and Potatoes
951 Liberty Ave., Downtown
412-391-8500 or www.theumbrellacafepgh.com
It’s only been open for a little over a year, but Umbrella Café has already secured a place in our hearts (and stomachs). This friendly breakfast-and-lunch spot shows equal respect to meat-eaters and vegans, and offers fresh juices and baked goods alongside yummy daily specials.
2nd: Bluebird Kitchen
3rd: NOLA on the Square
Impressive drink discounts highlight the “Happy Hora” menu at Mad Mex, available between 4 and 6 p.m. Patrons can imbibe half-off drafts or enjoy a $2.50 discount on house margaritas. To complement the boozy specials, the restaurant also offers platters of regular wings at half the cost.
2nd: Sharp Edge
3rd: Harris Grill