Pillbox

Where to eat: Pittsburgh’s best bites

Credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor Credit: Adelaide Cole/Art Editor

With so many food options on campus and in Pittsburgh, it’s hard to know where to go and what to try. That’s why we, The Tartan staff, have decided to give you our recommendations. Based on a survey taken by 50 Tartan staffers, here are a few of our opinions on the best of Pittsburgh, both on and off campus. Happy eating!

ON CAMPUS

Coffee

It’s tough to name the best coffee on campus; it’s easily disputable and everyone has his or her personal favorite. But we here at The Tartan believe that Tazza d’Oro takes the cake. Located on the third floor of the Gates Center, Tazza d’Oro only uses fair trade coffee beans and makes the best pastries. With a hip staff that plays great music, Tazza d’Oro is an on-campus escape from campus life — that is, until you have to wander into Gates 3000 to print your paper. If you’re on the opposite side of campus, try La Prima, located on the fifth floor of Wean Hall.

Quick breakfast

Depending on the line, The Exchange may not be the quickest option for breakfast. But if you have a few minutes to spare (and trust us, it’s worth getting to class two minutes late for), we highly recommend grabbing a breakfast sandwich on your way to class. If you’re in more of a hurry, stop by Entropy+ and grab a yogurt or bagel to go.

Salads

For fresh salads made before your eyes, try Spinning Salads. Located on the second floor of the University Center, Spinning Salads has the best salads on campus. To be fair, the salads at The Exchange were a close second, but you can’t beat the options available at Spinning Salads. There’s usually a long line around lunchtime, so try to go a little before or after the rush.

Sandwiches

Hands down, the best sandwiches on campus are made at The Exchange (formerly known as Ginger’s). The ridiculously long line should say it all, but in case there was any doubt, it’s well worth the wait. With an exceptionally friendly staff that’s always willing to chat — when the line’s not out the door, of course — The Exchange is the perfect place to meet friends for lunch or to grab a sandwich before class. The Exchange is located on the first floor of Posner Hall (home to the Tepper School of Business), and all of its sandwiches are named after economic concepts. We recommend the Free Market.

Vegetarian and Vegan

Evgefstos consistently offers the best vegetarian and vegan food on campus, which makes sense since that’s all it serves. Located on the second floor of the University Center, Evgefstos features a menu that changes daily, with lots of vegetables, tofu, and seitan as meat substitutes. We recommend the pizza. Evgefstos also has a lot of great gluten-free options.

Late night

Open until 2 a.m., Skibo Café is one of the only places on campus to get your late-night fix. It has a lot of food options — paninis, pasta, salads — and runs the full menu until it closes. With its convenient location (on the second floor of the University Center) and plenty of seating, Skibo is a great place to take a study break or just grab a bite to eat.

Hangover Cure

Hangovers happen to everyone. Luckily, a big breakfast at Schatz is all you need to feel alive again. The buffet style is perfect for a hungover appetite; you can get practically anything you want and as much of it as you want. There’s also ice cream. At breakfast. Need we say more? The only downside is that you’re sure to see a few people from the party you were at last night, so consider taking a shower (or at least changing your clothes) before you stumble over there for breakfast.

OFF CAMPUS

Coffee

Aside from the conveniently located Starbucks on South Craig Street, Pittsburgh has some great coffee. We recommend trying Commonplace Coffeehouse in Squirrel Hill. Commonplace (located at 5827 Forbes Ave.) offers a wide variety of coffee blends and is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon sipping coffee and getting some homework done.

A close second, Coffee Tree Roasters also fits this bill. There are a few locations around the city, but the closest are in Shadyside (5524 Walnut St.) and Squirrel Hill (5840 Forbes Ave.). The Shadyside location is a favorite among students and features a garage door wall that opens when the weather is nice, so it’s perfect on warm days.

Vegetarian and Vegan

For the vegetarians and vegans out there, we recommend Quiet Storm and Eat Unique. Quiet Storm, located in Bloomfield at 5430 Penn Ave., features an all-vegetarian menu, with a lot of vegan and gluten-free options, and a quaint, comfortable decor. Even for non-vegetarians, Quiet Storm is an excellent place to grab lunch or dinner any day, except when it’s closed on Tuesdays.

Eat Unique is a favorite among students, thanks in part to its location on South Craig Street. Eat Unique is like Panera, but better. Offering a wide selection of sandwiches, soups, and salads made from fresh ingredients, Eat Unique has something for everyone (including your non-vegetarian friends).

Pizza

While Vocelli’s may seem like the only pizza option (because it’s the only pizza place that takes DineX), we recommend spending (actual) cash and trying Pizza Sola. Pizza Sola is a New York-style slice shop where you can stop by anytime to eat a slice in store or to pick up a pizza to go — sadly, they don’t deliver. It’s reasonably priced, and all of the pizza is baked on a stone. The nearest location is in Oakland (114 Atwood St.), but there are also stores in East Liberty and South Side.

Sweet Spot

When your sweet tooth kicks in, we recommend Razzy Fresh. With three convenient locations — in Squirrel Hill (1717 Murray Ave.), in Oakland (3533 Forbes Ave.), and at 300 S. Craig St. — all of your frozen yogurt needs are easily fulfilled. Fill your cup and adorn your yogurt with as many toppings as you please; you’ll never be unsatisfied. If you’re in the mood for ice cream, go to Dave & Andy’s in Oakland (207 Atwood St.). This small ice cream shop has been a Pittsburgh favorite since 1983 and offers a large selection of homemade ice cream flavors.

When Your Parents Are in Town

There’s no better time to treat yourself to a nice meal than when your parents are in town (and they’re paying). We recommend taking them to Salt of the Earth. The first restaurant from chef Kevin Sousa, Salt offers a lot of vegetarian options and its menu is constantly changing to take advantage of seasonal availability of local produce. The first floor of the restaurant features communal seating for walk-ins, and the mezzanine level is reservation-only. Salt, which is located at 5523 Penn Ave., was voted best new restaurant in 2011 by Pittsburgh Magazine. A word to the wise: Salt only has a few dessert items on its menu, but be sure to order one — you won’t regret it.

OTHER WINNERS

Best Mexican: Mad Mex (370 Atwood St., 220 S. Highland Ave.)
Best Italian: Piccolo Forno (3801 Butler St.)
Best Chinese: Orient Express (4609 Forbes Ave.)
Best Thai: Bangkok Balcony (5846 Forbes Ave.)
Best Burgers, Best Milkshakes: BRGR (5997 Penn Circle South)