With its buzzing and vibrant business and cultural district, towering, inward skyline view, and accessible touring of street art and window shopping, Downtown has all of the attractions and must-attend events to rediscover. Plus, it has an exuberant afternoon nosh, everyday nibble, and up-scale nightly food scene to add to your dining bucket list. Here are 11 must-visit cafés, heritage-inspired food hubs, and best-rated restaurants located in the heart of Downtown, Pittsburgh:

Bae Bae’s Kitchen

Image via Bae Bae’s Kitchen

Located on Liberty Avenue, Bae Bae’s Kitchen is a family-friendly Korean-inspired Bistro. Specializing in sustainable, local, and organic cuisine, they offer fresh items daily with seasonal offerings in a fast, casual setting. Plus, they also offer a variety of vegan and vegetarian options and make their own vegan kimchi in-house. With accolades from Yelp as one of the Top 100 Places to Eat in America for 2020 and ranked as the Top Place for Fried Chicken in PA, Bae Bae’s won’t disappoint. Order online to grub or purchase a gift certificate for a loved one to spread a little cheer. Plus, they are now available for dine-in!


Image via Talia

Talia is the place for elevated food in a casual atmosphere. A modern feel on a traditional Italian trattoria, the restaurant specializes in house-made pasta, pizzas, vegetable small plates, and rotisserie meats. Stop in on Tuesdays for their Lasagna Night, their chef’s rotating selection of homemade lasagna with a green salad and freshly baked focaccia for only $22! Their wine selection pairs nicely with their Italian rustic influence along with cocktails curated with an Italian spirit in each one. The restaurant is also known to have the largest Italian Amaro selection in the ‘Burgh! Follow Talia on social media for a visual taste of their signature menu and delicious daily updates!


Image via Vallozzi’s

Since 2012, Vallozzi’s Pittsburgh has carried on their family’s restaurant legacy that was started over 60 years ago with Helen Vallozzi making homemade gnocchi in her basement in 1955. The fine restaurant’s traditional and modern take includes Italian fare, an extensive wine list, and popular craft cocktails that offer something for anyone’s tastes. They even have a number of Italian meats and cheeses flown in from Italy weekly and served from their Fresh Mozzarella bar. Whether you’re having an intimate date night, casual drinks with friends, a memorable business dinner, or hosting a private event, Vallozzi’s has the perfect space and vision for you.

Rosewater Middle Eastern Grill

Image via Rosewater Middle Eastern Grill

Rosewater Middle Eastern Grill roasts and boasts about their middle eastern food with authentic recipes and specialty chef creations. Scratch style and fresh ingredients, they use extraordinary spices, some grounded, to give that elevated, unique taste. Plus, Rosewater Middle Eastern Grill allows guests to create their own items using their build your own menu. The extensive list of options has something for everyone: vegan, vegetarian, keto, low carb, and so much more. The customizable menu also includes a wide selection of 11 protein options, 14 appetizers options, and nine sauces. Order online for convenient pickup or delivery to savor every item they offer.


Image via täkō

Since 2015, Täkō has combined flavor and excitement as a Japanese/Mexican fusion approach to street food. Engulfed in a dark, moody vibe, you’ll be relaxing in an exclusive oasis of dimmed, intimate red lighting with an eye-catching bar while pairing up with their locally unmatched selection of tequila and mezcal. Some of their most popular eats include their signature tako and Korean tacos. The tako is grilled octopus, harissa aioli, fried chickpeas, and charred jalapeno pico. The Korean is flank steak, spicy cucumber, napa cabbage, peanut salsa, and a soybean glaze. Plus, täkō’s experienced chefs make at least seven mouthwatering and flavor-packed rotating salsas in-house and all of their tortillas are hand-rolled, pressed, and grilled for each order. Order online or make a reservation today!


Image via gi-jin

gi-jin is one of the newest and hottest restaurants in Downtown with a refined, intimate bar that’s reimagining their take on the sushi experience. The focus is sushi, hand-rolls, and gin as a simple yet elegant concept. Their approach is a balance of respect for Japanese technique, tradition, ingredients, and self-restraint, infused with childhood memories and experiences. The space offers two different types of hand rolls that include the Classic Rolled, in which the restaurant honors and respects tradition, simplicity, and harmony. The other includes Open-faced Hand Rolls, which are non-traditional and allow the chef’s creative mind to play. It’s the ultimate dining experience of subtle and bold flavors with playful approaches to warm and cold plates. One of the many intriguing dishes includes The Tuna Pizza, which furthers the chef’s creativity and is a must order on the menu. Reservations are competitive, so don’t wait and place your seat online today.


Image via Arepittas

Arepittas is a small family business. They offer traditional Venezuelan food, doing everything possible to share their cultural heritage, inherited from their grandparents, to make it a pleasant experience for customers, providing them with a very friendly service and the flavors of a healthy, homemade food full of love, in  a simple and informal place. They prepare their traditional arepas, they have empanadas, cachapas, tequeños, tostones, tacos with the flavors of Venezuelan cuisine and varied vegan options.  You will also find its unique, delicious and refreshing traditional Venezuelan drinks and desserts.Visit their website, to see their products, the opinions of their customers and order online.

Alihan’s Mediterranean Cuisine

Image via Alihan’s Mediterranean Cuisine

Family-owned, Alihan’s Mediterranean Cuisine offers authentic Turkish cuisine within an enjoyable and comfortable restaurant setting. They have options made with fresh, whole ingredients. Whether it’s traditional Mediterranean, a seafood entree, or even a Middle Eastern-inspired dish, vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, it’s there waiting to be ordered. Plus, coordinate with the restaurant for premier catering. Book a reservation to enjoy their outside patio or order online and stop in to enjoy the warm atmosphere. Don’t forget, Alihan’s Mediterranean Cuisine is BYOB, too!

Giovanni’s Pizza and Pasta

Image via Giovanni’s

A Downtown staple, Giovanni’s Pizza and Pasta offers more than 150 affordable items on its menu and prides itself on flavor joy while evoking the five flavor zones. The pizza place serves gourmet pizzas, hoagies, wedgies, calzones, specialty pasta, salads, tiramisu, cheesecakes and offers a vegan menu as well as gluten-free pizzas, hoagies, and falafel. Get to know about Giovanni’s and order online for free delivery (and even order beer for delivery, too!)

Yuzu Kitchen

Image via Yuzu Kitchen

Bright and zesty as the yuzu fruit, Yuzu Kitchen focuses on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean inspired ingredients with a colorful take of contemporary craft, East Asian influence. The menu offers stir fries, ramens, and shareable bites along with an extensive and inviting cocktail list. Some of the most popular items include Yuzu Kitchen’s General Tso, salt & pepper tofu, and Yuzu shio. Yuzu shio has been the restaurant’s prominent and most popular dish, which contains a traditional Japanese paitan broth that cooks for 18 hours served with Chinese vegetables, charred shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, and a unique flavor enhancer they call “yuzu bomb,” a Korean chili paste. Check out their menu online for the full scope of savored offerings.

fl. 2 Modern American

Image via fl. 2

Tucked away delicately on the second floor of the Fairmont Pittsburgh, fl. 2 packs a punch with its bright yet neutral-toned setting and inviting space that allows guests to be whisked away in fine dining pleasure. The space was designed by Barcelona-based designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, who created the vision for the space, evoking casual luxury with Pittsburgh touches throughout the restaurant. The menu features modern American dishes, many of which have ingredients sourced from local farms and businesses, and the chef team has also created a welcoming variety of vegan and gluten-free dishes, too. Follow fl. 2 on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to check out their selection of online menus here.

This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.
Colin Parrish

Colin is a Pittsburgh born and raised, daydreamer, restaurant foodie addict whose passions include running, thrifting, camping, and having a healthy amount of coffee or Malbec (depending on the time of day) . As a typical jagoff, you can catch him shopping in the Strip, running in Highland Park, or finding the best hiking views just outside of the city. He is a content manager for YaJagoff Media LLC and currently lives in Etna, PA.

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