Exploring every eatery in the city is a worthwhile endeavor. One that’s getting more rewarding all the time, too. What with all the new (and delicious) restaurants opening. The only downside is that, as your list of must-try restaurants continues to grow, your bank account just might run dry. The bill adds up fast when you factor in a couple craft cocktails or a bottle (or two) of wine. Looks like your try’em all adventure is over before it began.
Or is it? Not if you eat and drink your way around the city, hitting these standout BYOB spots it’s not. So grab your favorite bottle(s) and these places will take care of the rest.
If simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, this is the most sophisticated spot in Pittsburgh. The menu offers a limited number of items, but each is abound with flavor. And the curated space manages to achieve a minimalist style without feeling sterile. When it come time to order, we have two words for you: fried chicken. Whether it’s by the bucket or on a sandwich you can’t go wrong, especially when you pair it with a bottle of your own choosing.
This neighborhood noodle joint keeps it super simple. No nonsense. Just noodles, folks. No telephone. No reservations. Cash only. BYOB. $6 soups. $9 noodles. Place your order, choose your spiciness level 1 – 5 (FYI, 5 = crazy). Do yourself a favor, order the steamed buns. Then, kickback and enjoy the trendy, wood + metal industrial design that contributes to a stellar atmosphere, while you slurp down your street-eats inspired noodles.
Known as the go-to brunch spot on Butler Street, Coca Cafe also does breakfast, lunch and dinner. Best of all, you can bring your own bottle to any meal. Yes, even breakfast. No judgement here. While we never pass judgement for day (or morning) drinking, skipping this spot is frowned upon. Although skipping the full-on brunch frenzy is acceptable. But no matter when you stop by you’ll find a menu complete with options that upgrade the same old eats you’re used to.
Penn Avenue Fish Co.
If you’re craving seafood, in any form, Penn Ave Fish Co. is the obvious choice. Fish tacos? Yep, hard and soft shell. Sushi? Depends. Do you want rolls or sashimi? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Spare yourself the agony of deciding. Just order both already. Heck, you could even stock up on some fresh fish in preparation for a home cooked meal. But why bring the fish home when you can just bring your bottle of wine here? Dinner out it is. Good choice.
Over in Lawrenceville, Butler Street is bustling with energy and all sorts of amazing eateries. But if you venture off the beaten path, onto 43rd Street, you’ll find this eclectic hidden gem. The Kaleidoscope Cafe is hard to miss, even if you’re not looking for it. The exterior of the building is a wonderful, artistic mosaic. Like the decor, the menu is unique and creative. Expect a meal that wows your taste buds in the same way the aesthetic delights every diner.
Nicky’s Thai Kitchen
With two locations, Downtown and North Side, Nicky’s brings a double dose of traditional Thai cuisine to Pittsburgh. They’re spicing up the restaurant options in the Cultural District, making this the perfect place for pad Thai prior to a play or performance. And on Western Avenue, the house turned restaurant couldn’t be more cozy. But you can’t go wrong dining at either location. Especially if you come ready with your favorite bottle (or two) of wine to pair with your meal.
Dining out usually means you have to stray from your healthy ways. And chances are, at some point later that night or the next morning, you’ll feel bloated, fall into a food coma or both. Of course you could avoid those outcomes altogether, choosing instead to eat at Eden. It’s Pittsburgh’s go-to spot for raw, vegan and gluten-free meals that taste amazing. Better still, since they allow you to bring your own bottle, you can enjoy your healthy meal with a side of balance, in the form of your favorite wine.
Cafe du Jour
Somehow this spot manages to surprise, delight and fly under the radar all at once. Those in the know seek out this small South Side eatery with a bottle or beverage in tow. The food and atmosphere will have you convinced you’ve been transported to Paris via Pittsburgh. And the outdoor seating area will make that you’ll never want to leave. If you bring an extra bottle of wine and ask your server to bring on the dessert menu you won’t have to. At least not any time soon.
There’s a lot to love about this place. Especially if you enjoy Italian food. Feast on any one of their pasta dishes. Or have a panini. But know that the best decision of all would be to order a woodfire pizza. Pair your pizza with a bottle of wine and great company to make this night one to remember. Make this evening unforgettable by indulging in the homemade tiramisu for dessert.
Walk through the door at this Shadyside eatery into a small and welcoming space. Limited seating makes calling ahead a must. A bottle of wine should also be a requirement. Examine the chalkboard menus on the wall. Listen closely to the specials. And take note of the seasonal nature and locally sourced elements of each dish. These elements combine to make Avenue B an easy choice for one of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants, BYOB or otherwise.
Tucked away on Spahr Street, just off Ellsworth Street in Shadyside, is where you’ll find this eclectic eatery with a menu made up of Mediterranean and Portuguese flavors. While the space is understated and on the smaller side, the menu and offerings are anything but. From starters to dessert you’re sure to find a few things that make venturing off the beaten restaurant path worthwhile.
Smiling Banana Leaf
The restaurant is small, but the traditional Thai food is satisfying. In fact, it’s so good you’ll be left with an empty plate, full stomach and a smile on your face. It won’t put a dent in your wallet, either. Every entree on the menu is under $13 and there’s no corkage fee if you BYOB. Nestled in Highland Park, this spot is unlike anything in the neighborhood. Which makes it worth checking out. When you do, reservations are encouraged. As is trying one of everything on the menu.
It’s hard to imagine anything being better than Gaucho’s Steak Burger. Who are we kidding, it’s hard to think up a meal that tops anything on the menu at this place. So then, how do you upgrade a meal that has it all? You add booze, of course. Luckily, Gaucho allows for the addition of alcohol with their BYOB policy. And thanks to their new, expanded dining area you can hang out while you eat and drink your way through everything on the menu.
The only thing better than a restaurant that lets you bring your own bottle, is a BYOB spot that serves a brunch buffet. And it’s a vegetarian-friendly buffet at that. While you eat and drink, take in the art and antiques that fill the space. Because Zenith is an art gallery, eatery and antique shop in one. If that sounds like something you might be into, know that you should get there early, or be prepared to wait in line, if you want to get in at all.
Now maybe you’re thinking you’ve already has your fix of Thai flavors at Noodlehead, the Smiling Banana Leaf and Nicky’s Thai Kitchen. To which we’d respond, not so fast. Just because you’ve tried those spots doesn’t mean you should pass on Pusadee’s. As a matter of fact, this spot should be atop of your list of Thai-inspired, noodle joints. Outdoor dining in the garden is highly recommended. So is the pumpkin curry, and Street Noodle #1.