Pillbox

Where To Eat In Pittsburgh

Pamela's Diner (credit: Caleb Miller/Publisher) Pamela's Diner (credit: Caleb Miller/Publisher) Waffallonia (credit: Caleb Miller/Publisher) Waffallonia (credit: Caleb Miller/Publisher)

When I first arrived to Pittsburgh, one thing I quickly learned is that the city has an underrated food scene. There’s something for everyone, and there are endless choices within walking or busing distance of Carnegie Mellon’s campus. There are three main neighborhoods that surround campus: Oakland to the west, Shadyside to the north, and Squirrel Hill to the southeast. All three neighborhoods have amazing food choices to offer, and here are some you have to check out!

Oakland

Pamela’s Diner
A Pittsburgh breakfast staple since 1980, Pamela’s Diner is famous for its crepe-style pancakes, called hotcakes. They’re thin and crispy at the edges, and are delicious with cream and maple syrup, or stuffed with fruit like strawberry and blueberry. I also recommend the corned beef hash with two eggs on the side. Down Forbes Avenue, Pamela’s is a great spot to get your day started on the weekends. The wait can get pretty long, so plan accordingly.

Las Palmas
Down Atwood Street off Forbes Avenue, Las Palmas is easy to miss, but the tacos are decidedly can’t-miss — they’re that good. Las Palmas is a food cart attached to a small Mexican grocery store. For $2.50 a taco, you can get authentic Mexican tacos with any meat and unlimited toppings, from salsa to guacamole to chimichurri.

The Porch
If you’re looking for a more formal spot, try The Porch. Next to Schenley Plaza and the Carnegie Museums, this place is perfect for a nice brunch, late-night cravings, or a place to take the family. They offer a wide variety of daily soups and salads, thin-crust pizzas, and large sandwiches. And from Monday through Thursday, go between 9-11 p.m. for half-off pizzas!

Shadyside

Noodlehead
Along South Highland Avenue, the 71B will take you straight to this student hotspot. I would describe Noodlehead as thai food for millennials. The place is rustic, with dark mood lighting and many decorative plants. The menu is limited, and it’s cash only, but the entrees are so good it doesn’t matter. They offer pad thai, curries, and pork buns, but my favorite is their see yew, with flavorful wide noodles and the choice of chicken, shrimp, or tofu.

Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream
Next door to Noodlehead is Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream, my favorite ice cream spot in Pittsburgh. Millie’s rotates flavors by month, but has great staples in Chad’s Vanilla and Vietnamese Coffee. I’ve loved their temporary flavors like Lavender and Mango, and I’m always excited to see what new things they come up with. But the one thing you must get is the waffle cone. It’s warm and delicious with a touch of cinnamon, and really makes the ice cream sing.

The Yard
Off the bustling Walnut Street, The Yard is quintessential Pittsburgh. Wood floors, a long bar, and ample television sets for sports-watchers. The Yard is all about grilled cheese. They put everything on it—mac ‘n’ cheese, onion rings, pulled pork, pierogis—literally any grilled cheese concoction you can think of. Also be sure to try the sweet potato fries with the cinnamon butter dip. Your stomach will be so full, but so very happy.

Squirrel Hill

Sichuan Gourmet
Squirrel Hill boasts many wonderful Asian restaurants, and Sichuan Gourmet might just be the best of the bunch. Any of the 61 bus lines will take you to the intersection of Forbes and Murray Avenue, and this place is right down Murray. The menu has some truly authentic Chinese choices, like stir-fry green beans, braised beef tendon, and sliced pork belly. They also have an American menu, with staples like lo mein and General Tso’s chicken, but I suggest trying the Chinese menu; many of my Chinese friends say it’s the best in the city.

Everyday Noodles
If you’re in the mood for noodles, Everyday Noodles is the place for you, right down Forbes past Murray. Inside the restaurant, there is a glass window so patrons can see the chefs make the hand-made noodles from scratch, threading the dough through their fingers. The beef noodle soup is some of the best I’ve had in the States, and the soup dumplings are top-notch as well.

Waffallonia
It’s right there in the title: waffles! Waffles and a scoop of ice cream, waffles slathered in Nutella, waffles with banana and strawberry — this place has a wide variety of combinations of sweet desserts. Each one is pretty large, so you can split one with a friend after a nice meal down the street. The only downside is that there’s limited seating, but the waffles go quickly, so it’s usually not a problem.

There are many more food places in Pittsburgh that I love, but these are the best spots to get started. Bon Appetit!