Chicken Latino is a casual Peruvian restaurant in the Strip District known for rotisserie chicken. With huge portions and affordable prices, a homemade chili sauce that is seriously fiery and delicious, and weekend specials, Chicken Latino is a great restaurant for takeout or a low key lunch while shopping in the Strip District.
When we published our article about famous Pittsburgh foods, we got a lot of feedback and recommendations for restaurants that are famous (and rightfully so) but are not necessarily offering foods that are quintessentially Pittsburgh.
Places like The O in Oakland, Lenten fish fries, and Gus & YiaYia's were a few great suggestions. These all have die-hard followings, but we can't say that French fries, fish sandwiches, or ice balls are universally identified as being “Pittsburgh” despite their popularity.
We made the distinction in that article to only focus on foods that were either invented in Pittsburgh, adopted as regional cuisine, or offer the definitive dish in a few key categories. Simply being a popular restaurant in the city does not necessarily make the cut for what we were going for there.
Instead, we consider these popular spots to be Pittsburgh institutions. These are spots that have die-hard followings, perhaps are historical in nature, and have tried and true offerings that have stood the test of time- be it for decades or generations. While there may be some overlap on institutions that also offer famous Pittsburgh foods, we view these as being distinctly separate topics.
So in this one, we're going to share awesome Pittsburgh institutions for food and beverages!
202 Hometown Tacos opened in Bellevue in mid-2019 and focused on having short order tacos in Tex Mex / modern American style, as well as a robust bar stocked full of Mexican and domestic beer (plus an array of liquor).
During my visits to this one, I was able to sample my way through several of their tacos plus their aptly named Bellevue Bowl. While I walked away somewhat disappointed by the tacos, the bowl is something I'll be thinking of time and time again.
If there is any staple restaurant for higher-end seafood in the Strip District, it is most certainly Luke Wholey's Alaskan Grille. While this one is known for its entree-style seafood dishes, the menu is also complete with sushi, sandwiches, and more which gives a number of options for any guest.
Naturally, we tried a bit of them all when visiting.
Supper on Penn first started as a concept at the incubator restaurant Federal Galley in the North Side. During its tenure, we were fortunate enough to eat our way around the menu and become quite big fans of the concept overall. So when this one spun out for its own restaurant in the Strip District and retained most of the styles perfected while at the galley, we were quite excited.
Despite being somewhat let down on the space of this one, the menu delivers with all of the things we loved about the galley concept (and more) with approachable takes on modern dishes.
Emerson's Bar first started as a Christmas pop-up bar above Market Street Grocery in downtown Pittsburgh in late 2019, and was converted into a permanent bar space in early 2020 with a large and inviting space and a relatively straight forward bar menu.
So if you're in need of a cozy space to enjoy a drink with friends in downtown Pittsburgh, you may want to give this one a try!
It is hard to beat a good Italian pizza made in a wood fired oven. For the longest time we had heard Mercurio's is the place to be to try out this particular pizza style, but never quite made it out to Shadyside or Fox Chapel to give them a try.
If this intro sounds familiar, you can imagine what comes next. We regret waiting this long.
Mercurio's checked a lot of boxes for us for a good wood fired pizza, namely being well cooked, well priced, and focusing on classic Italian toppings (over some of the more unique counterparts you see at other pizza shops in the city). If these are things you seek out when enjoying a pizza, you really need to check this one out.
Just be sure to save room when you do visit, as the gelato bar is also a must-try as well!
We regularly get reader recommendations on where to go next. We try and go to all of them, but with the number of places we still have to visit it is hard to prioritize everything. When we hear the same recommendations over and over again, we know we have to hit those immediately, and Big Rig's BBQ in Monroeville was one such recommendation.
This barbecue spot opened in late 2019 and is making waves within the local community, so much so that we went to check it out just a few days after receiving the (admittedly large number of) recommendations to do so.
A few days was too long of a wait for this one.
Cafe Raymond is a popular breakfast and lunch spot in the Strip District that serves up an array of options that will hit just about all interests.
While we had a few misses from our meal (partly due to price), we walked away fairly stuffed and talking about this one's delicious pancakes all the same!
Zorros opened in Mt. Lebanon in late 2019 with a focus on cuisine from Latin America with an emphasis on dishes from the Dominican.
I visited this one for lunch with hopes of snagging one of the restaurant's entrees with a few trusted appetizers but ended up being won over by their lunch specials in order to try more food for less- and I don't regret it in the slightest.