Condado Tacos Review – Tacos Without Breaking the Bank

One of the biggest complaints we hear about taco joints in Pittsburgh is that they are, for lack of a better term, overpriced. Throw in the premium of downtown Pittsburgh and it is pretty fair to say that you have a hard time getting a decent taco in the area without breaking the bank.

So when Condado Tacos, a Columbus-based budget taco restaurant, invited us to check out their first Pittsburgh location right in the heart of downtown, you knew we had to go. Thankfully, we have to say that this one comes in to fill that void with more appealing prices, roughly $3-$4 per taco, meaning you could walk away with a full meal for under $15 per person quite easily.

When it comes to restaurant dining in downtown Pittsburgh, we'll call that a win.

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The Abbey on Butler Street Review – A Unique Dining Space

Pittsburghers seem to like re-purposing old buildings and giving them new concepts and new lives. Maybe that's why The Abbey on Butler Street, a funeral home turned restaurant, seems to fit right in.

Not only is this a restaurant, it's also got an impressive bar as well as a cafe, all under the same roof. We recently ate at the restaurant and had a decent experience, but if we returned, we would consider going back for small plates and drinks instead of a full on meal.

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Industry Public House Review – Pub Fare and Beer

If you think finding a place to drink on a Sunday in Pittsburgh is difficult, try finding a place that's open on Monday. Harder still, make that Monday a public holiday when the entire city is virtually shut down.

Throw in our desire to go out and have a beer with friends, and that's how we ended up at Industry Public House in Lawrenceville on our recent visit.

Although this intro may make it sound like we were desperate for anything, which is somewhat true, Industry Public House had been on our list of places to try for quite some time and was rushed to the top due to this odd string of circumstances.

Thankfully, it ended up being a great choice for a beer-filled pub meal.

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Salonika Imports Review – Greek Groceries and Gyros

We love to go to the Strip District when we want to hit a lot of different types of international grocery stores in one trip, or when we're entertaining out of town visitors. But that doesn't necessarily mean the Strip District is the best place for all types of grocery shopping.

For better prices or a bigger selection, sometimes you need to look at specific stores outside of the Strip. One such store is Salonika Imports, a Greek and Bulgarian grocery store on the edge of lower Lawrenceville and the Strip District.

We recently ended up at Salonika Imports on a Friday during lunchtime and were pleasantly surprised with the great prices, the wide selection of products, the delicious gyros, and the friendly service.

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Umami Pittsburgh Review – A Japanese Izakaya in Lawrenceville

One of the facts about Japanese cuisine in the USA we've always lamented is that most restaurants are the same old sushi places with eerily similar menus. Sure, you may get lucky enough to find an odd bowl of ramen or some delicious tempura here or there, but odds are good that any given Japanese restaurant will have a menu similar to the rest.

It wasn't until I visited Japan, where I tasted so many other unique Japanese cuisines, that I realized how much we are missing in our own Japanese restaurants.

Thankfully, many chefs have taken note of this as well and the under-represented foods of Japan are now getting their audience in the USA for the very first time.

In Pittsburgh, one restaurant that will be at the forefront of this blossoming trend is Lawrenceville's Umami. Themed after a Japanese izakaya (equivalent to our own alcohol-heavy gastropubs), this restaurant is one of just a few places in Pittsburgh where you can find some of the country's best entrees you've likely never heard of before.

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Morcilla Pittsburgh Review – A Spanish Tapas Experience

The recent opening of Morcilla in Lawrenceville grabbed our attention because, let's face it, Spanish cuisine is some of the best in the world. After spending our honeymoon in Spain we fell deeply in love with the country and its food, but we lamented the fact that the tapas bar model doesn't really exist in the U.S.

The good news is that Morcilla gets so much right about the Spanish tapas bar experience that if you've ever been to Spain, you'll be giddy with delight and if you haven't, you will want to hop on a plane immediately.

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The Vandal Review – Attractive Food and Relaxing Vibe

The Vandal fits right in to Lawrenceville amidst the sea of trendy, chef-driven restaurants. But does it fit in too well? Does it stand out? These were some of the questions we had to ask.

The Vandal is an interesting mix of casual and formal. Upon first glance you get a welcoming vibe for a more casual dining experience, but the prices and the presentation of the food skew the experience to something a bit more than casual.

With breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch menus, this BYOB establishment utilizes lots of local suppliers and farms to provide the ingredients for its simple but interesting menu. We visited the first time for dinner and returned later on for brunch, and share both experiences in this full review!

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Allegheny Wine Mixer Review – Wine and Conversation

Sometimes when you go out to drink you really just want to have a nice glass of wine. Short of visiting a nice restaurant, bars with extensive wine menus in Pittsburgh are few and far between, meaning you often have to settle with limited menus and a glass of wine that is less than stellar.

Luckily, many new wine bars are opening in the city to help solve this problem, and if good wine is what you are craving, at Allegheny Wine Mixer in Lawrenceville you can get just that.

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The Roberto Clemente Museum – More Than Baseball

Although you might not expect it, the Roberto Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville is about much more than the Pirates' baseball legend; this museum has something for everyone.

Even if you don't necessarily love baseball or know much about Clemente, you're bound to find something here that appeals to you. Whether it's the beautiful old firehouse in which the museum is housed, the amazing photography on display, or even the classy wine bar, this museum is sure to keep you surprised and interested.

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Grapperia Review – The Most Italian Bar in Pittsburgh

Spritz Homage at Grapperia in Pittsburgh

Grapperia Bar in PittsburghIt only took one word to get me into Piccolo Forno's annexed bar, and that word is grappa.

For those who do not know this spirit, grappa is made by distilling the waste products from the wine-making process (think skins, pulp, seeds, etc).  The result of the distillation process is an extremely concentrated, very flavorful, and incredibly high-proof alcohol that quickly became one of my favorites during our travels around Europe.

For reasons unknown to me, this spirit has not taken off as much in the USA, and grappa has been something I've only enjoyed while abroad- until now.

Congratulations Pittsburgh, you're now officially a European city.

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