La Tavola Review – Authentic Italian on Mount Washington

Tucked away off of Grandview Avenue on Mount Washington is an unassuming Sicilian restaurant we have been visiting for years- La Tavola.

This restaurant is not a high-end, modern dining experience by any stretch, but simply offers a robust menu of classics, served in monster portions, in a friendly and welcoming ambiance.

Throw on a pizza shop tucked away with a side entrance, one of the best corkage fee policies in the city (just $5 per 750ml bottle as they don't sell alcohol- so BYOW), and hearty food that makes you feel like it came from your Italian grandparents, and you can see why return again and again.

As it had been a while since our first review, we thought this one was due for an update and we revisited with friends (plus several bottles of wine) in early 2022.

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Fujiya Ramen Review – Go for a Japanese Feast in Shadyside

Fujiya Ramen in Shadyside is a Japanese restaurant serving up not only ramen but also other traditional dishes like rice bowls and yakitori. While we love sushi, we also love other Japanese foods and are happy that there are more and more restaurants in Pittsburgh showcasing the breadth of Japanese cuisine.

Naturally, we had to make our first visit a feast!

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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker – a Holiday Treat

The Nutcracker is a classic ballet that is a Christmas tradition for many. With familiar music, hundreds of colorful and dramatic costumes, and a story full of wonder, it's easy to see why this ballet keeps people returning to performances year after year.

The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre has been performing The Nutcracker for decades, and yet each year there are new twists to enjoy.

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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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