Food, glorious food.
We all have our favorite foods, favorite meals, favorite restaurants. We offer up a challenge to expand your horizons and possibly your waistbands — the Trib 100 Foodie Challenge. How many of these 100 meals can you sample?
It’s common knowledge that everything at Salem’s is good. No exaggeration – kabab, biryani, curries … But we recently discovered that they also serve up the most underrated burger in Pittsburgh. It’s huge, juicy and perfectly cooked. You can get it with bacon. And their fries are awesome.
For a comforting meal on a cold winter day, or a light refreshing meal on a hot summer day, go with a bowl of pho at Tram’s. Order with the protein of your choice – meat or tofu – and add extra vegetables. It’s filling, delicious and fresh. It’s the cure for any ailment. Add fresh spring rolls with shrimp to complete your order.
The moules frites — mussels and fries — and an endless supply of bread to soak up the choice of sauces is not to be missed. There’s Classic White Wine — shallots, garlic, cream, herb butter, Green Curry or Spicy Creole, which includes andouille sausage.
Queso (the burnt ends is a fav) is a meal in itself with a generous portion of housemade buttermilk flour chips to accompany this amazingly flavorful queso. Cut back on your lunch or dinner meal order if you decide to take on this queso.
Print the Trib 100 checklist
8. D’s Six Pax and Dogz, Regent Square; 1118 S. Braddock Ave,, Swissvale, 15218
This is hot dog heaven. So many choices. The Chicago Dog never disappoints. Order two.
11. Aiello’s Pizza, Squirrel Hill; 2112 Murray Ave., Pittsburgh, 15217 Pittsburgh has its pizza wars. Aiello’s is always right up there in the debates. The sauce is tangy. The crust is divine. The pepperoni tops it off.
12. Superior Motors, Braddock; 211 Braddock Ave., Braddock, 15104
Salmon: Cooked to perfection, laid atop a mix of zucchini, carrots and other vegetables. The fish is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Very tasty!
13. Frankstown Wood Fired Pizza,Penn Hills; 12911 Frankstown Road, Penn Hills, 15235
If it’s old-school Italian you’re looking for, it’s hard to top the margherita pizza at Frankstown Wood Fired Pizza. Cooked in an authentic brick oven built into the tiny restaurant, this pie has the requisite char marks, dropped mozzarella and a sprinkling of basil leaves. Bring some bills, as it’s cash only here.
14. Leena’s Food,Murrysville; 4180 William Penn Highway, Murrysville, 15668
It wouldn’t really be fair to call it “gas station food,” but Leena’s Food is nevertheless housed inside the Marathon fuel station in Murrysville. No gas station, however, could ever hope to churn out the crispy, delicious falafel you can get along with plenty other delicious Middle Eastern food prepared by owners Mohammed and Mahera Issa.
15. Wise’s Resturant, Scottdale; 239 S. Broadway St., Scottdale, 15683
There are practically endless options at this build-your-own taco joint. Pick one of the suggested tacos or design your own creation. A wide range of proteins, shell types and other fillings are available, ranging from Thai chili tofu and braised beef brisket to habanero/mango barbecue sauce and Chihuahua cheese. The house made chorizo is pretty spicy and pairs well with a hard shell taco, lettuce, queso fresco and cilantro/lime aioli. Don’t forget the chips and guacamole and a margarita to top off the meal.
Whether you’re a student who ne a place to study, a professional who want a quiet place to work, or a parent who ne a quick coffee stop with the kiddo, this place is perfect for everyone. The quality coffee and beautiful homemade baked goods will satisfy everyone. A must-try is the lavender shortbread.
18. Madero Cantina,Murrysville and North Huntingdon; 4462 William Penn Highway, Murrysville, 15668 and 8865 Norwin Ave., Irwin, 15642
The pico de gallo, avocado and creamy chipotle-mustard sauce on the grilled mahi-mahi tacos is the perfect combination. Three tacos are filling, so pick two lighter sides and be sure to save room for fried ice cream.
19. Hoshi, anywhere the food truck parks, 412-427-5271
A variety of meats are cooked up in Hoshi’s hibachi-style food truck to top a bed of steamed rice and sliced vegetables, including zucchini and carrots. Try the teriyaki mahi-mahi or ahi tuna steak with an upgrade to fried rice for a filling, restaurant-worthy meal. Follow the truck’s accounts on social media to see their regularly posted schedule of upcoming locations.
20. Rizzo’s Malabar Inn,Crabtree; 126 Rizzo Road, Crabtree, 15624
It’s nearly impossible to go wrong with the menu at Rizzo’s, but the homemade ravioli is a specialty. The spinach ravioli have a delicate spinach pasta encasing ricotta cheese and more spinach inside. Top them with marinara sauce. The ravioli also are sold frozen in the restaurant’s market to make at home.
It might be listed as an appetizer, but the poutine is deliciously filling. A layer of waffle fries is topped with cheese curds. The combination is drenched with a flavorful stout gravy. Beer cheese comes as a side and tater tots can be substituted for the waffle fries. Good luck having enough room for the rest of your meal.
A wide variety of tacos here pair well with a pineapple margarita. But the best might be the fish tacos. Crispy mahi-mahi sits on a homemade tortilla that is brightened up by a lime sauce and citrus slaw.
Mintt serves up a variety of authentic Indian fare with an extensive menu, from curries and dosas to butter chicken and, of course, naan. The chicken tikka masala has tender chicken, plenty of rice and can be adjusted for the level of heat preferred by the diner.
If you’d like to try something different, but you’re not sure what you might like, peynirli kofte is a good choice. Meat patties with cheese are served over rice and perfectly charred vegetables. Get a little more adventurous with Anatolia’s extensive, authentic menu that has descriptions of each dish.
25. Angelo’s II, Monongahela; 111 Third St., Monongahela, 15063
A salad? Yes, a salad. It’s the house Italian dressing and pizza cheese that makes this one special. The dressing is homemade and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything like it. A hearty dump of cheese used for the pizzas and it’s a great way to start off a meal or it makes a good light meal on its own.
Crispy pepperoni and pizza sauce on the pepperoni pizza pierogi make this a mouth-watering dish. A wide, and sometimes unexpected, variety of homemade pierogi dishes make up the menu at Stuff’d. They can be boiled or fried. Make sure to save room for dessert pierogies.
Bubba’s homemade potato and cheese pierogies with butter and onions are worth trying. And while it’s a takeout or delivery only joint specializing in Polish foods, their Italian roast beef sandwich is a must-try. Perfectly seasoned roast beef is served with a soft, round bun.
With a large selection of beer and outdoor dining space during warm weather, The Headkeeper offers plenty of different flavors for any palate with tapas. Try the Headkeeper toothpicks — chicken wrapped in tortillas with poblano peppers, onions and smoked gouda cheese, a dish that is unlike others anywhere else.
A house salad and margherita pizza may be a simple order, but it’s one that’ll have your mouth watering. The salad is piled high with vegetables, almond slices and cheese. The thin crust pizza has juicy plum tomatoes, olive oil, cheese and basil, but it’s the touch of sea salt that makes this one special.
The baked ziti is amazing. It’s a full plate of ziti pasta, smothered in the restaurant’s tasty homemade sauce — meat or marinara — and covered in provolone cheese and then baked to perfection. The cheese oozes all over your fork as you take your first bite. It comes with two pieces of crispy garlic toast and a salad (try the homemade Italian dressing) or coleslaw. Featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” host Guy Fieri’s photo hangs in the restaurant.
Get the rainbow trout in basil cream sauce with wilted spinach and roasted potatoes. Simple? Yes. Delicious? Yes.
If you’ve not had Sun Dawg doughnuts before, you’re missing out. Each day, the cafe offers two or three unique homemade selections and always has gluten-free options.
34. Carol Dave’s Roadhouse, Ligonier; 122 N. Market St., Ligonier, 15658
35. Kitchen on Main, Ligonier; 136 E. Main St., Ligonier, 15658
The Hot Sour Soup is hands-down the best.
Order the Dry Sauteed Green Beans with Minced Pork and Chinese Eggplant in Garlic Sauce. To start, try some Sichuan-style Dumpling in Red Chili Oil (it’s a little sweet, a little spicy!) and a cold cucumber salad, also served with chili oil. BYOB, so bring a cold six pack to wash down the spicy veggies.
Everything – seriously everything – is amazing. Highly recommend the “Blue Plate Specials” and any of the stroganoffs. Come hungry: The main dishes are very filling and could easily make for a takeaway lunch for the next day. Be sure to try each item on the plate by itself, to take in the flavors, before mixing it all together. Bring a couple bottles of wine (they’re BYOB) and enjoy the cozy atmosphere.
For the New York transplants looking for a slice of home: Fazio’s has it. Sauce is not too sweet, cheese ratio is spot on. Order an XL pie to get the right crust consistency. Always hot, consistent and reasonably priced.
Bar Marco’s brunch menu almost always features an excellent take on old-school buttermilk pancakes. If you’re lucky, you might catch these chestnut buttermilk pancakes topped with a sweet apple spread, resting on rich, creamy whipped ricotta — deliciously savory with just a touch of sweet. (Their baked eggs are also a hit!)
The Vault’s food menu boasts five options for enjoying their house-made mac and cheese, but the traditional version — “Not Your Grandma’s Mac” — is sure to become a classic. Featuring tender orecchiette pasta and a crunchy panko topping, be sure to leave room for some cheesy goodness before hitting the tap.
42. Frick Park Tavern, Regent Square; 1100 S. Braddock Ave., Pittsburgh, 15218One of Pittsburgh’s newest spots, Frick Park Tavern is sure to win the hearts of its Regent Square neighbors with its buttered popcorn alone, which is the most delicious version of this classic snack you’ll find. Don’t fill up on the popcorn, though — their fig and bleu tartlets are smoky and savory.
43. Meat Potatoes, Downtown Pittsburgh; 649 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, 15222Grilled cheese and tomato soup for brunch? Absolutely! Meat Potatoes offers an outstanding take on this classic lunch combo, featuring muenster, goat cheese, caramelized onions.
Pittsburghers in the know have been enjoying Iron Born’s wide range of Detroit-style pies for many months out of their carry-out shop in Millvale. Their newest location in the Strip, just blocks from their first home in Smallman Galley, features an all-new build-your-own pasta menu, which was used to build this dish: orecchiette in alfredo sauce topped with lemony ricotta and herbs. It’s amazing, but don’t forget to grab a pizza too, like the Classic Pie or the Spicy Pie, which is topped with spicy soppressata, pepperoni, and Mike’s Hot Honey.
45. Deer Creek Diner, West Deer; 13 Creighton Russellton Road, Russellton, 15076
Try the Big Man’s Breakfast for a real foodie challenge. This massive meal consists of three pancakes, three eggs, home fries and toast, and your choice of bacon, sausage or ham. Finish it (without help), get a shirt and a place on the diner’s Hall of Fame. Fail, earn a spot on the Hall of Shame.
46. Mad Mex, multiple regional locations
Forget plant-based burgers. The Pennsyltucky Fried Tofu is General Tso, err Zaragoza— sweet soy sauce, peanuts and sesame se — meets organic fried tofu. This is the vegetarian dish for non-vegetarians and vegetarians.
The Pork Belly Steamed Buns are pretty self-explanatory and oh-so tasty. The soft, steamed buns are filled with a deliciously sauced pork belly. Two per order. Order two orders.
The Mixed Grill is a huge platter of grilled chicken, beef, lamb chop and other delectable Turkish fare to share with others. Go with the bulgur rice. Finish off with the baklava. You will not be sorry.
Rotisserie chicken pot pie at arguably the city’s best-known fish place? Yes. Real rotisserie chicken. Top crust and, wait for it, a bottom crust. Baked fresh. Golden, flaky, scrumptious. Best pot pie in Pittsburgh. Period. Get it at the deli counter.
Orecchiette with a creamy sage sauce, blended with dried cranberries and grilled chicken, will melt in your mouth. For a cream-based dish, it is surprisingly not heavy. You’ll want to soak up some of that sauce with some crusty bread.
Costillas de la matanza: These baby back pork ribs are coated with a sweet, pomegranate sherry caramel. They are fall-off-the bone tender and go perfectly with many of the other tapas at Morcilla.
Spent Grain Chicharrones are a clever version of pork rinds, without the pork belly. Instead, these chip-like snacks are made of grains from the beer-making process. Dip them in a fabulous cheese sauce and have with a pint of cold beer.
Though you can’t go wrong with any of Gaucho’s sandwiches, the rosemary braised beef stands out because the beef is so tender. It is served with caramelized onions and horseradish sauce and it’s so big you may take half of it home.
55. Primanti Bros., multiple locations
Can you really have a Pittsburgh foodie list without a Primanti’s “Almost Famous” sandwich? We’re partial to the turkey version — on Italian bread piled high (as with all of their sandwiches) with tart, tasty coleslaw and crispy fries.
This beef bourguignon is an outstanding French classic in the heart of Lawrenceville and, quite frankly, this is not your grandma’s beef stew. It is rich, deeply flavorful and beyond succulent. A must-try dish.
57. Evolution Grille, Buffalo Township; 1186 Butler Road, Freeport, 16229
The menu is wide, but in a nod to its Irish roots, the Monterey’s standout dish is the Shepherd’s Pie: a savory beef and veg stew topped with mashed potatoes and melted cheddar cheese. A one-dish meal of efficient bliss.
60. Anchor Inn, Natrona Heights; 2202 Freeport Road, Natrona Heights, 15065
You can’t go wrong with the juicy, tender, seasoned wings at this iconic bar.
61. Villa Ballanca, Lower Burrell; 2740 Leechburg Road, Lower Burrell, 15068
62. Hoffstot’s Café Monaco, Oakmont; 533 Allegheny Ave., Oakmont, 15139
You’ll get enough eggplant Parmagiana for the whole table – tender, lightly breaded and smothered in sauce.
63. Herminie Diner, Herminie; 103 Sewickley Ave., Herminie, 15637
You seriously can’t go wrong with light, fluffy pancakes as big as the plate. They’re huge. And delicious.
64. Zala’s Café, Herminie; 222 Sewickley Ave., Herminie, 15637
This little neighborhood place offers up one of the tastiest fish sandwiches around … Lent or no Lent.
The Homewrecker is the burger you never knew you needed. The juicy patty is covered with bacon, egg and peanut butter (yes, peanut butter) and comes on a tasty fresh bun. And a side of maple syrup for dipping. Dip every single bite, trust us.
Everything else surely is good here, but we wouldn’t know. The Pork Carnitas pizza won our hearts and has been the standard order every single visit. The thin crust is baked in the restaurant’s wood-fired, 800-degree oven and is topped with roasted pork, chipotle ranch, cheddar, hot sauce, cilantro and a lime. Pro tip: Squeeze that roasted lime over the entire pizza … perfect zip of acid.
Have a seat on the back patio at Bar Nine, while enjoying the signature Brussels sprouts — seared and tossed with bacon and truffle oil. Think you don’t like sprouts? These will make you a believer.
Nestled right in the heart of the city’s cultural district, the historic Rialto serves up tasty fare from pizzas, burgers and daily specials. The fried fish sandwich is a go-to. It’s perfectly breaded and big enough to share or not share, depending on your appetite and mood!
69. The Nest Restuarant, Jeannette; 407 Clay Ave., Jeannette, 15644
The signature fresh lobster dinner makes every meal a celebration at The Nest. It’s just so good. Period.
70. Out of the Fire Café, Donegal Township; 3784 Route 31, Donegal, 15628
Start with a hummus tasting: traditional hummus, harissa spiced hummus, feta, olives, tabbouleh, roasted red peppers, red onion, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, Bibb leaves, dolmas, lavash and grilled pita. You may not need a dinner after all of this goodness. Visit in the summer and enjoy the mountain views from their patio seating.
71. Sand Hill Berries, Mt. Pleasant Township; 304 Deerfield Road, Mt Pleasant, 15666
Pie lovers need, yes need, to try fresh raspberry pie with ice cream. Visit the Mt. Pleasant Township bakery/winery in the summer and enjoy live music in their gardens with a glass of your favorite vino and dessert.
For the finest of fine dining experiences, try the Jamison lamb. If you’re up for an adventure, try The Chef’s Experience — a five-course dining adventure.
Head over to Marino’s to watch your favorite sporting event and enjoy “Westmoreland county famous” cheese wedges and marinara. Wash them down with one of the many local beers on tap beer.
74. Grieco’s Carefree Inn, Indiana Township; 903 Route 910, Indianola, 15051
Rock lobster tail — you can’t imagine anywhere southwest of Maine or northeast of South Africa selling such big ones — as big as your fist and wrist.
It’s the breakfast place not to be missed — particularly pancakes, bacon, sausage. It’s the perfect place to start your day.
The Bianca pizza features River View Dairy goat cheese, fig jam, baby arugula and truffle oil. Need we say more?
77. JG’s Tarentum Station Grille, Tarentum; 101 Station Drive, Tarentum, 15084
The Cajun Combo — featuring filet, scallops and shrimp — will make you think you’re in the bayou not along the Allegheny.
78. Chelsea Grille, Oakmont; 515 Allegheny Ave., Oakmont, 15139
The Chelsea Grille is a proper restaurant, complete with white tablecloths and a varied menu of many fine dishes — Italian, steaks, chicken, seafood and vegetarian. But they also have a Rajun Cajun burger — “a hearty ground beef burger with American cheese, Cajun seasoning and special coleslaw.” We can’t describe the bun, often an overlooked but key part of any sandwich, but it is part of the appeal. The mix of Cajun and coleslaw works wonderfully with the beef.
No menu needed when dining at Noviello’s Sunset Cafe. It’s always the Veal Saltimbocca. Literal translation: “Jumps in the mouth.” It’s a simple dish — prosciutto and provolone stuffed veal cutlets in a veal demi-glace — that triggers your taste buds into a happy dance.
80. The Village, Mt. Pleasant; 236 W. Main St., Mt Pleasant, 15666
Like every community in Western Pennsylvania, there is a raging friendly debate about the “best pizza” in town. And while I can’t bring myself to order pizza for dinner, my wife (and a whole lot of other folks) almost never can bring herself to order — always plain cheese — anything else at The Village. (Full disclosure: I know we’re taking home leftovers so I do benefit).
81. Leo Sons Grille 31, Mt. Pleasant; 501 W. Main St., Mt Pleasant, 15666
On the appetizer menu, try the Jar Heads: fresh white mushroom caps stuffed with cream cheese, garlic and herbs, hand breaded and deep fried. The grille is located across from the Doughboy statue on Mt. Pleasant’s Main Street.
82. Olives and Peppers, Trafford and Richland; 833 Harrison City Road, Trafford, 15085 and 6052 William Flinn Hwy, Bakerstown, 15007
Did someone say Italian? From meats to seafoods to pastas and salads, this place runs the gamut of Italian cuisine. If you can only try one thing, make it the gnocchi. If you’re a light eater, share it with someone or be prepared to take some home.
One of Greensburg’s newer hot spots is Major Stokes. This place combines delicious food with fascinating Greensburg history, and (if you believe in this stuff…) a touch of paranormal activity! They have a daily changing menu. You can’t go wrong with any of their locally sourced, small-batch prepared selections.
Try out the St. Hildegard West Coast IPA, and try to coordinate on a day that the Earth, Wheel and Fire mobile pizza truck is there. Good beer, good eats.
85. Four Seasons Brewing Co. Pub, Latrobe; 745 Lloyd Ave. Ext., Latrobe, 15650
For an unforgettable meal, treat yourself to a dinner tour. Around the holidays, a Christmas-themed tour in a horse-drawn carriage takes diners to enjoy appetizer and salad courses at each of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Polymath Park, ending at the restaurant with a fine dining main dish and dessert.
This is a great place to catch a football game, or just grab a beer with friends. It’s family friendly, with a really neat kids and game room for the younger people to enjoy while the grownups try the Belsnickel Winter Warmer Brew. There are also cool pop-up events with food vendors like Mediterranean night or taco takeovers!
Iron Rock offers fine dining, quick bar eats and tasty cocktails. Try a Smoky Spicy Lemonade from the bar — it packs a sweet tart punch and ends with just a touch of savory smoky jalapeno.
89. Ruthie’s Diner, Ligonier Township; 1850 Route 30, Ligonier, 15658
90. Zottola’s Pub Eatery, West Deer; 5068 Bakerstown Culmerville Road, Tarentum, 15084
Want to feel like you’re at grandma’s for Sunday dinner, only the food was created by a real chef? This is the place. Ask for a Gaucho, seasoned steak or chicken, pepper jack cheese, topped with sautéed onions, roasted red peppers, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers and chimichurri folded onto flat bread.
91. Hotel Loyal Pizza, Latrobe; 615 Ligonier St., Latrobe, PA 15650
Hotel Loyal’s thick crust pizza topped with pepperoni is a classic. Filling and fabulous, this pizza is a must-try.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan this is the place for you. Try the Tasty Tofu Wrap for a delectable breakfast. For the carnivores among us … Yumzio offers plenty of options for you, too.
93. DeNunzio’s Italian Chophouse and Sinatra Bar, Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, Unity, 48 Aviation Lane, Latrobe, 15650
Check out DeNunzio’s Sunday lunch buffet. The patio views offer a front-row seat for the planes taking off and landing.
Little E’s wood-fired pizzas and subs hit the spot after a long work day. We love the classic white pizza — topped extra virgin olive oil, garlic sauce, lots of oregano, Roma tomatoes and cheese, of course. Bonus: There are numerous gluten- free options on the menu here.
95. The Pier at Sharkey’s, Latrobe; 3960 Route 30, Latrobe, 15650
Stop by The Pier for one of their interesting “cast iron skillet dishes.” We like the Crispy Iron Duck — crispy medium-rare duck breast, served with hoisin reduction. The tiki torch lined indoor/outdoor deck is a great place to unwind.
Calamari. Get the calamari. These delectable rings are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and topped with sweet Thai chili and Asian vegetable slaw. So, so good.
If you’re looking for a more traditional breakfast, head over to South Greensburg Restaurant, for the eggs, bacon and pancakes. This no-frills family restaurant packs big portions and consistently good food.
99. Penn Murry, Murrysville; 5089 Cozy Inn Cutoff, Export, 15632
A sports bar atmosphere with clearly better food. You’d have to be trying to find something you don’t like on the menu but the Grilled Chicken Salad will satisfy even the most devout carnivore. Chicken breast slices and a salad with more than the usual greens big enough you might have to take some of it home.
100. The Pickled Chef, Latrobe; 1020 Latrobe 30 Shoppes, Latrobe, 15650