40 North Review – Eastern European Vibes in the North Side

40 North is the newest restaurant concept in the Alphabet City space located in the North Side. With James Beard Award-nominee Bethany Zozula at the helm, the restaurant features local and seasonal cuisine that both comforts and inspires.

When we heard Zozula was going to lead 40 North we had high hopes for this space that has seen its share of restaurants come and go over the past few years. Zozula was most recently the chef at the now-closed Whitfield, a standout spot for steaks and weekend brunch.

While the menu at 40 North is decidedly new, fans of the Whitfield will likely find much to love here. Entrees include simple but well-executed preparations of steaks, fish, and chicken, while the sides and appetizers make use of seasonal produce with middle eastern and Eastern European flavors sprinkled in.

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Pusadee’s Garden Review – A Dining Experience Worth the Wait

When Pusadee's Garden closed in 2017 for renovations, we thought they'd be open the following year. 2018 came and went, so did 2019, and so did 2020 all without hearing a single update about the project. After enough time passed, we really thought this one was closed for good and were rather sad at the prospect of losing such a great restaurant in Lawrenceville.

Cut to early 2021 and the restaurant announced that they would finally be opening again, and we knew we had to visit as quickly as possible.

It only took about two steps after walking into the door for us to realize we should forget everything we remember about this one. To call the upgrade extensive would be an understatement- it was a complete transformation that was executed flawlessly. The restaurant went from being a good Thai spot to becoming one of the finest restaurants in Pittsburgh– Thai or otherwise.

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Umi Review – The 11 Course Omakase is a Seafood Feast

Umi is a Japanese restaurant located in Shadyside, and it is part of the Big Burrito restaurant group. Having been around since 2000, Umi has quite a long history of serving up some of the city's best sushi and omakase (set menus determined by the chef each night).

Umi is located on the second story above Soba, and it has a pretty traditional Japanese feel with minimal decor, seating at the sushi bar, and tatami seating as well as regular tables.

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Gi-Jin Review – A Stellar Sashimi and Hand Roll Experience

Gi-Jin, a gin, sashimi, and handroll bar in downtown Pittsburgh, is the latest concept from Richard DeShantz. If you've been to any of his other restaurants, you know that they are borderline over-the-top in their theming and ambiance while also delivering consistently amazing food and service: Gi-Jin is no exception.

The striking dragon mural and wood decor, high quality and creative sushi, and impeccable service all combine for one of the best sushi-eating experiences we've had in Pittsburgh.

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Casa Brasil Review – Brazilian Food in a Casual Atmosphere

Casa Brasil located in Highland Park is a cozy neighborhood restaurant cooking up traditional Brazilian food in a casual atmosphere. With occasional specials, weekend feijoada stews, and a respectable number of vegan options, Casa Brasil does a fantastic job showcasing the variety and deliciousness of Brazilian food.

Naturally, we had to order a feast when we visited.

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Coop de Ville Review – Fried Chicken Sandwiches in the Strip

Coop de Ville is one of the newest concepts from the Richard DeShantz restaurant group and it's serving up fried chicken and other Southern classics. What's unique about this spot in the Strip District is that it's also an entertainment venue offering duckpin bowling, arcade games, a champagne vending machine, and more.

We recently ordered takeout and have to admit we were not overly enthused about the food, although we should note that we were one of the first orders of the day during opening week.

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Oak Hill Post Review – Artisan Sandwiches in Brookline

Oak Hill Post is a cute neighborhood restaurant in Brookline serving up soups, sandwiches, and sides, all made from scratch with special, creative touches.

The menu here goes way beyond your typical burger and fries – take the Man Bear Pig, for example, with fried mortadella, shaved roast beef, fontina, house-made giardiniera, and mustard; or the No. 26 with fried chicken, kimchi, gochujang BBQ sauce, and mayo. Naturally, we were intrigued and went shortly after they opened.

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Farmer x Baker Review – Fresh Dining on the Allegheny River

Farmer x Baker is a unique restaurant housed in a shipping container along the riverfront in Aspinwall that offers fresh, local, and seasonal brunch fare (with the occasional dinner menu). We have long wished for better waterfront usage in Pittsburgh, and Farmer x Baker is a beautiful and delicious concept that we hope is the start of more great waterfront dining options for our city.

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Smoke Review – Once a Taqueria, Now a Sandwich Shop

As of early 2021, Smoke has once again become a taco shop. We visited this one many times prior to it changing to a burger joint in 2020, and will return for an updated review of the taqueria shortly.

Prior to 2020, if you had heard of Smoke in Lawrenceville, odds are good it was in context of being a barbecue taqueria with some pretty flavorful offerings including what was arguably the region's best chips and queso.

Over time, Smoke would do a weekly sandwich night where they sold their products on a bun instead of in a tortilla. In early 2020, Smoke changed concepts altogether to be a burger and barbecue sandwich shop and left its taqueria menu behind.

Naturally, we had to check this one out as soon as we heard about it, and sadly, we kind of miss the tacos.

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