Park Bruges, located in the Highland Park section of the city (and its cousin restaurant Point Brugge, located in Point Breeze) pay homage to the European experience of finding unique bistros in obscure residential sections of villages or towns. Both restaurants are in sections of the city which could be described as isolated, but that is part of their intended charm. Both feature food with Belgian inspired fare. Park Bruges is different from its cousin in that it has a flair of French food emphasis and will be the venue focused on in this review.
Park Bruges features a great food and drink menu. A great starter cocktail is the Black Manhattan, but there are a variety of other drinks to choose from including a good selection of Belgian beers. A great appetizer to start with is the mussels. They have four different versions to choose from. Go with the small portion because it is more than amble for a party of four to share. I strongly recommend the Spicy Creole mussels that have great broth for bread dipping. For the less adventurous, go with the Classic White Wine mussels. I would suggest skipping over the Green Curry mussels though; curry doesn’t go with everything. There is a wide spectrum of dinner salads, but if you’re going to a restaurant with such unique food, go with one of the entrees. My three favorites are the Bay of Fundy Salmon, the Chicken Milanese, and the Braised Short Ribs. If you aren’t that hungry, go with the Bruges Burger and try the slaw.
The greeter, servers, bartenders have always consistently been very welcoming and friendly. In all the instances that I have been at Park Bruges, the bartenders were not frantically overworked and had time to banter with the patrons. However, in my last visit, the wait staff was undermanned and therefore the service was slow and not as fluid. One example of the irregularities was the waitress bringing the entree course before the appetizer course dishes were cleared. This was all inconsistent with past visits, and the staff warmth overall has been always been terrific.
Park Bruges, unlike its cousin, offers a choice between indoor and outdoor seating. If given a choice and the weather is nice, go for the outdoor seating. The decor offers a bright vibrant space to enjoy one’s dinner. The lighting and music are not overbearing and strike a nice balance of both.
Park Bruges reliably provides a terrific restaurant experience. Although, my last visit there were some bumps with the service and my short ribs entree was a little overcooked, this is inconsistent with what my Part Bruges encounters have been. My overall rating is:
“Go For It!”
5801 Bryant Street
Highland Park, Pittsburgh PA