As the semester reaches its final lap, with all the exams and essays piling on top of each other up to our eyeballs, it seems impossible to even think about taking time to relax, chat with friends, and enjoy a good meal. But sometimes, taking time for ourselves, away from campus, tests, and deadlines, is the best way to relieve all the stress that has been building up on us since the start of the semester. For me, great food with great friends is the perfect remedy.
This is my first semester at Carnegie Mellon, and I’ve tried to explore Pittsburgh as much as I can. After visiting Oakland and Shadyside, Squirrel Hill was next on my list. This week I decided to go to Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill with a friend. As soon as we entered the restaurant I instantly knew I would have a good experience there. We were seated immediately, since we arrived early in the evening, before 6 p.m., but the place was already bustling with people relaxing after a long week. The interior of the restaurant is nice and laid back, the ideal spot for college students and families. Customers can watch the chefs make the noodles from scratch through a glass screen looking into the kitchen at the front of the restaurant. I was surprised to see the chefs making the noodles by hand in the Chinese style because it’s something I haven’t seen in many Chinese restaurants outside of China or a Chinatown.
The menu itself is extensive, ranging from a variety of noodle choices, to dim sum, to several rice dishes. It took me a while to choose what I wanted, but I finally settled on a classic Chinese dish — braised beef and tendon noodle soup — while my friend selected the hot spicy wonton noodles and an order of pork soup dumplings for us to split. Instead of a waiter asking for our order, the restaurant provides paper menus and pencils at the tables so customers can check off everything they’d like to order. When the waiter came to pick up our menus, he simply asked which type of noodles we preferred (thin or wide). This was a new style of ordering that I hadn’t experienced before, but it felt right with the casual but chic style of the restaurant.
The food came very quickly, with barely a wait at all. The moment the beef noodle soup was placed in front of me, I could smell the familiar aromas of beef and spices. It was phenomenal, with exquisitely tender beef and tendon, steamed broccoli, and handmade noodles. The dish immediately took me back to Shanghai, where I ate my first authentic Chinese beef noodle soup. It was quite spicy, just the way I like it. If you aren’t partial to spicy food, be sure to tell your waiter for a mildly spiced dish. My friend and I shared dishes, and her wonton noodles were just as delicious, with the hot chili oil flavoring the noodles in the best way. The pork soup dumplings were also a great addition to the meal, with soy sauce and thinly sliced ginger complementing the dish. This was my first time eating soup dumplings, and they left a great impression. The pork was mildly seasoned, allowing for the soy sauce and ginger to enhance the dumplings. By the end of the meal, I was completely stuffed and satisfied.
Of all the places I’ve visited in Pittsburgh so far, Everyday Noodles is definitely at the top. The service was efficient, but not overbearing, the restaurant atmosphere very welcoming, and the food itself spectacular. It had some of the most authentic Chinese dishes I’ve had in a restaurant in America. This was the perfect way for me to relax after a week of endless assignments and to catch up with my friend. The place was busy, but not overcrowded, which allowed us to feel comfortable. I'm excited to go back with more friends and try different dishes. I would highly recommend Everyday Noodles to anyone — the menu has something for everyone, including vegetarian choices, desserts, and bubble tea. Plus, it’s very close to campus — just a short ten-minute bus ride away. I will definitely bring my family to eat there the next time they are in Pittsburgh.