Lilith Review – A Treat in the Heart of Shadyside

Published by Angie. Last Updated on November 21, 2023.

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Lilith is the newest venture from Pittsburgh Chefs Jamilka Borges and Dianne DeStefano. Located in Shadyside, this cozy little spot is allowing them to showcase their talent and creativity in very delicious ways. Our recent visit for dinner had us savoring the satisfying and interesting flavor combinations of their entrees, and left us wanting to return immediately.

In short, this is honest-to-goodness delicious food that's also beautifully plated, served up in a delightful dining space.

Lilith Makes You Feel Right at Home

Lobster Rolls at Lilith

Lilith's space is in a tiny little corner spot in Shadyside (the former home of Cafe Zhino). Upon stepping in the door, we felt instantly welcomed by the cheery green paint, colorful artwork, velvet pink dining chairs, and friendly service.

The menu here defies any genre – instead, the dishes are playful, taking elements and ideas from different cuisines and themes. For example, on our visit there were dishes like a lobster roll starter, pumpkin ravioli, and a beef dish with sweet plantains. Despite these varying flavors, the menu feels cohesive, tied together by the great execution and beautiful presentation of each dish.

House-made focaccia and ricotta started our meal off on the right note with crunchy salt on the focaccia and smooth, creamy ricotta swirled with olive oil.

For appetizers, we tried the fancy lobster rolls and yuca pierogi, two great examples of the chefs' creativity, with Puerto Rican flavor nuances in each dish. The lobster rolls were just as adorable as they were delicious- house-made pan sobao was stuffed with creamy lobster salad in an achiote aioli, all topped with fresh herbs. The hint of sweetness in the pan sobao perfectly complemented the sweetness of the lobster. The creaminess of the lobster and the bright freshness of the herbs tied everything together nicely.

Yuca Pierogi

The yuca pierogi were also great with a creamy and smooth filling, and they were topped with a ginger escabeche and chili crisp. The crispness of the escabeche and chili crisp contrasted with the creamy filling in an excellent way, and the toppings' spice and zing provided a lift to the dish.

Swordfish at Lilith

The swordfish dish with clams, lemongrass, and taro was the kind of dish that was familiar yet intriguing at the same time. A creamy taro puree and a well-seasoned savory broth were the bases for the incredibly tender fish. The clams were great, too, but we could have used a few more.

King Mushroom Scallops

We also tried the king mushroom “scallop” dish, with mushroom pieces cut in the shape of scallops and cooked with cross-hatched grill marks. The visual tricks work – our brains could have sworn we were eating something meatier than a mushroom. The “scallops” were accompanied with a rich, meaty jus (still vegetarian, though!), and a creamy sunchoke puree with artichokes. The textures and flavors were spot on in this dish- it was one of those dishes that although we aren't vegetarian, we would gladly order time and again.

Whatever you order at Lilith, save room for dessert; Diane DeStefano's creations are magical.

Baked Alaska

We tried the baked Alaska with a tahini semifreddo, sesame crisp, citrus cake, and buttermilk. The meringue on the outside of the cake was perfectly torched and beautifully piped. The tahini semifreddo was mind blowing – it was so creamy and nutty, the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the meringue. The sesame crisp on the side enhanced the savoriness and nuttiness of the dish. This was one of the best desserts we've had in a very long time.

We're still dreaming about it!

Our only regret is that we visited Lilith before they had their liquor license- we can't wait to return once that's in place to see what other gems can be found on the menu!

We've been following Jamilka Borges and Dianne DeStefano at their various ventures throughout Pittsburgh the past several years, and we're so happy they have finally found a place they can call their own where they can express themselves and cook the food they want to cook. We love the welcoming and beautiful atmosphere of the space, the subtle nods to Puerto Rican and Sicilian cuisine, and the creative flavor combinations in each dish.

Lilith is located at 238 Spahr Street in Shadyside.

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