Browsing Tag

Italian food

Pittsburgh Restaurants

Talia Cucina & Roticceria

Talia is located in downtown Pittsburgh on Sixth Avenue in the renovated old Alcoa Building.  Recently opened, it specializes in modern upscale Italian cuisine.

The Food

Being fairly new, this restaurant is one that I have only visited once.  There is a terrific, trendy drink menu to order before dinner cocktails which consisted of drinks not often appearing in Pittsburgh restaurants.  I enjoyed the black martini.  Please keep in mind though that this is unique, contemporary Italian food with much influence from northern and southern Italy.  Less pastas and more meats.  There is a great selection of appetizer and entree items.  For appetizers, the Margharita flatbread was a nice compliment to the Roman salad with its arugula, padano, leeks, and mint with a white balsamic.  For a main course, I had the ricotta gnocchi with tomato, Calabrian chili, beef brisket and could not have been more pleased with my decision.  For a side, I got the braised baby carrots.  Both were delicious and the meal filled me up.  No room for desert.  I’ll have to go back.  It is definitely worth another visit.

The Service

Talia provided terrific service.  The greeters were very polite and accommodating, as some of our party was late having been caught up in Penguins traffic.  Our waiter was outstanding.  He was able to eagerly explain in great detail drink and food items and answered all of our questions with great enthusiasm.  The table service was brisk and well organized.  Water glasses were filled, drinks were replenished and dishes removed and replaced, all with great efficiency.

The Ambiance

Talia is a bright and open venue.  The windows surrounding provides amble natural lighting.  As it turns to dusk, the lighting provides a warm glow that is very welcoming.  The decor is beautiful.  I particularly enjoyed the homage to Jack Legh’s photograph of the Bad Girl statue originally located in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia and later used for the cover of the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. As visually appealing as the Talia is, aurally, there are some issues.  The acoustics are too alive.  The music and ambient sound is simply too loud and makes it very difficult to hear guests at the same table even though the seating is quite intimate.

Overall

Talia is a hip new arrival to the Pittsburgh downtown restaurant scene  and quite worthy of a visit.  My overall recommendation and rating is:

“Go For It!”

Contact

425 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
412-456-8214
Visit Talia

Pittsburgh Restaurants

Girasole

girasole pittsburgh

Girasole, just off of Walnut Street, in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh, offers authentic Italian food in a venue that is reminiscent of being in rustic Italy.

The Food

Girasole has a unique feature in that its menu is seasonal.  There is always a reason to go back.  To start with, the Girasole salad is a must.  In addition to the standard mixed greens, red onions, and tomatos, the Girasole salad also has garbanzo beans, olives and gorgonzola with a sunflower vinaigrette.  It is very tasty.  There are a variety of other appetizers from  bread, meat, and cheese plates to escarole and caprese, all depending on the time of year.  Their penne marinara, polenta, and spinach ravioli are served year round and are always reliable entree choices.  I prefer to save those for a lunch visit so that I can have one of their seasonal dishes as a dinner entree.  In the spring, go for the tortelloni with its light cream sauce, peas, and prosciutto.  When summer arrives, try their either their chicken, fish, or steak of the day or if you like squid, have the squid ink linguine.  Once autumn starts, have either the rigatoni with Neapolitan meat sauce, or the risotto with Italian rice, smoked mozzarella, sausage, peppers, and onions.  When winter inevitably comes around again, have the lemon pepper spaghetti.  It is a kaleidoscope of flavor with caramelized onions, olive, lemon, and pancetta.

The Service

To start with, there is an older gentlemen, who stands by the door sipping wine.  I’m not sure if he is the owner or the person who opened Girasole, but he is a fixture making sure everyone is happy.  This is exactly what I want to do when I retire, for the record.  The rest of the staff is professional, friendly, and efficient.  The wait staff members are knowledgeable about the menu items and the vast wine list.  Glasses, drinks, dishes, silverware, water come and disappear with great efficacy.

The Ambiance

Girasole has a rustic feel to it.  The walls are stone and the artwork on display creates a nostalgia for rural Italy.  The lighting and music are just right.  With its location being on Copeland Street, right around the corner from Walnut Street, patrons are close to all of the lively activity of Walnut, but Girasole serves as an oasis.  My favorite time of year to have dinner there is in the winter.  Girasole has a warm, welcoming, hearty sense of family and is a great place to have a late dinner when it is snowing out.

Overall

Girasole is one of my favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh.  The food, service, and ambiance all come together for a remarkable lunch or dinner experience.  It is without hesitation that I am pleased to give Girasole my recommendation and highest rating of:

“Absolutely Must Visit!”

Contact

733 Copeland Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15232
412-682-2130

Girasole Website

Pittsburgh Restaurants

Piada

Pittsburgh Piada restaurant Review

I am starting by reviewing three restaurants here in the great city of Pittsburgh.  My first review is of one of the newest additions in the Oakland section of the city, Piada.  Opened in the spring of 2017, Piada is commited to create modern, healthy, and fresh Italian cooking with top notch ingredients.  Piada, an up and coming national chain, has its roots in the Midwest, as well as in Texas.  The Piada in Pittsburgh is the first one in Pennsylvania.

Food

I visited Piada three times.  Their piada is an Italian thin crusted dough that is baked with the ingredients the customer wants.  I had the summer avocado piada with grilled chicken.  It was absolutely delicious.  When you enter the restaurant, the menu is on the wall before you order.  On it, there are recommendations for the different types of meats to have with your entrée whether it be a salad, piada, or pasta.  Pay heed to these recommendations.  I got the Pasta Carbonara twice.  The first time with the recommended grilled chicken and it was fantastic.  The second time, I thought I would be brave and try it with the Italian sausage.  The sausage was an odd juxtaposition with the other ingredients.  Lesson learned.  Follow the menu.  Overall, the food is quite delicious and the pricing is spot on.

Service

I have been there when it was slow and when it was busy.  Each time the service was efficient and I was served quickly.  The staff and managers were upbeat all three times that I was there.

Ambiance

The ambiance at Piada is great.  It has a clean, bright setting visually with windows that face the intersection of Forbes and Meyran avenues.  There is an upbeat buzz that has a nice balance with acoustics and music.

Overall

This is a great spot to dine in or to pick up.  The food is delicious and I didn’t feel guilty as though I was eating something unhealthy.  My rating and recommendation is:

“Go for it!”

Contact

3600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone:  412-224-2432
Visit Piada’s website