Mandy’s Pizza Review – An Allergy Conscious Pizza Joint in West View

Mandy's Pizza in West View is a popular pizza joint that has a robust menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, pizza, and more.

But where most pizza shops would simply thrive on a vast menu alone, Mandy's goes one step further with being incredibly flexible with customer requests- especially around dietary restrictions. Gluten-free? You got it. Allergies? They can handle it. Vegan? That too. 

In fact, Mandy's is probably the most vocal business we've seen in Pittsburgh when it comes to catering to dietary restrictions, so if you fall into this category but still crave pizza, this should be great news to you (but as always, pending the severity of restriction it is always best to call and talk with them about their practices).

But during our first visit, we stuck with a fairly traditional order of pizza and fries. So let's share what it was like!

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Treetops Review – Fine Dining With a Frank Lloyd Wright Vibe

The Laurel Highlands in southwest PA is a hub of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and Polymath Park in Acme, PA, takes things one step further with their on-site, Wright-inspired restaurant- Treetops. 

As we are always down for fine dining in unusual locations and the Wright architecture experience in the region at large, you know we had to check this one out to see what it is all about.

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MoonLit Burgers Review – Smash Burgers Come to Dormont

MoonLit Burger is one of those restaurant concepts that has taken Pittsburgh by storm starting from their very first event. In just one year the concept went from having somewhat infrequent popups around the city to opening a dedicated restaurant to sling their popular LA-style smash burgers in Dormont.

While we, unfortunately, never made it to a pop-up event, we made sure to be one of the first people in the door when the restaurant opened in November 2021.

It was worth the wait, but admittedly with some kinks that we couldn't completely overlook as well.

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Cafetano Review – Visit for Coffee, Stay for the Food

When we found out the Honduran coffee roaster Cafetano was opening in the former Gaucho space in the Strip District, we weren't entirely sure what to think of it. This had nothing to do with the coffee shop itself (we will never say no to more amazing coffee in Pittsburgh), but rather the use of the space outright.

By Strip District standards, Gaucho had one of the larger building footprints in the neighborhood. Then, when it comes to coffee shops, we're not used to seeing any of that size anywhere in the city. So hearing that a coffee shop was moving into this particular space was a bit of a surprise.

Thankfully, it only took a few seconds after entering the shop to be sold on it. The wonderful use of the building was a hard reminder of how much space in coffee shops is sorely needed, and this is especially true in the always bustling Strip District. 

But Cafetano goes far beyond simply roasting and serving delicious coffee in a large and welcoming space. They also have a pretty stellar food menu to go along with it to make this one a full-service cafe in just about every respect. So when you visit, while you may go for the coffee, do yourself a favor and stay for a meal as well.

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The Woods House Review – A Historic House Turned Scottish Pub

When we first heard about The Woods House restoration project, our ears perked up. As one of the oldest houses in Pittsburgh (constructed in 1792 by John Woods), we often remarked about how unfortunate it was such a beautiful and historic structure was in a state of disrepair every time we drove by.

When we found out that the restoration project involved turning it into a Scottish pub to honor the history of the early settlers of Hazelwood, we were in. Naturally, we visited The Woods House shortly after it opened to give it a try, and stuffed ourselves full of hearty and traditional pub fare.

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Afghan Kabab House Review – Don’t Miss Out on the Appetizers

Periodically we'll lament about what Pittsburgh needs, and when it comes to the city's dining scene, the answer is always the same- fewer gastropubs and more international restaurants.

Not just any international restaurants (although we'd certainly take whatever came out), but restaurants with cuisine from countries that are woefully underrepresented in the region. One such country whose cuisine was lacking in the city was Afghanistan, but we're now happy to report that Carnegie is home to a wonderful spot right on Main Street- Afghan Kabab House.

While you may find the flavors of the kababs to be in line with other delicious Middle Eastern fare you've had in the city, you'll do well to throw on several of the Afghan appetizers as these are true gems that are unlike just about anything we've had to date.

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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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Nanban Review – Asian Soul Food Merging Ki Pollo & Ki Ramen

Ki Pollo and Ki Ramen were two staple restaurants in Lawrenceville for many years with the former serving up an interesting mix of fried chicken and empanadas and the latter serving Japanese and east Asian fare like ramen, gyoza, and more. 

But in 2021, Ki Ramen closed for construction due to apparent water damage in the building, and it was announced that the menus of the two restaurants would be merging into one Asian soul food concept known as Nanban in the Ki Pollo space.

In a way, this one takes all of the best elements of the two restaurants in one combined space, but also comes with some of the same drawbacks- specifically when it comes to deciding what to order outright as the menu here can only be described as varied!

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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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