Golden Gai Review – Premium Japanese Dining in Bakery Square

The Richard DeShantz Restaurant Group has been making an interesting move in recent years by turning its conventionally high-end restaurants in the Cultural District into fast-casual concepts in Bakery Square.

First was Tako Torta, which brought back tako's acclaimed (and often infrequently available) torta menu alongside classic dishes like the namesake tako taco serving up some of the city's best octopus in a tortilla.

So when the second concept, Golden Gai, was announced as an izakaya-style expansion of the sashimi and nigiri restaurant Gi-Jin, we were in, and were one of the first to place an order on opening day.

While the restaurant was only open for takeout to start, this one was everything we love about Gi-Jin- all without the multi-week wait to enjoy a reservation!

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Otaru Review – Fine Japanese Dining With a View

It is not often that a new restaurant opens on Grandview Avenue on Mount Washington, but when one does, it comes with a bang.

Otaru opened on Mount Washington in 2024 and hit the ground running with a premium Japanese menu, a respectable cocktail and sake program, and, of course, a view worthy of the name of the street the restaurant resides on.

So snag a reservation, save your pennies, and get ready for a splurge with many delicious options to choose from here!

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Novo Asian Food Hall Review – Many Options in the Strip

Novo Asian Food Hall in the Strip District Terminal building is a restaurant concept with seven different Asian food stalls, each showcasing a different country and style of food. We absolutely love food halls when they're done well, and are happy that Novo is focusing specifically on Asian food, from local chefs, including some cuisines that are underrepresented in Pittsburgh- like Filipino.

Overall we are quite happy with the food here; however, we have had a few problems with the general dining experience during our visits during initial opening.

So in this one, we thought we'd share our thoughts on the food and the space so you can make the most of your visit to Novo and have the best experience possible!

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Pizza Bari Halal Review – A Hidden Uzbek Menu Downtown

If you've ever spent some time walking around the Cultural District, you may have seen Pizza Bari and thought of it as just another pizza shop downtown.

But go inside and you will discover that this unassuming shop also has a not-so-secret Uzbek menu full of delicious cuisine to try. So on your next trip, look past the pizza and try some wonderful central Asian cuisine!

But be warned- the portions here are quite large, so go with a group and eat family style if you can.

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Fet Fisk Review – Stellar Nordic Dining in Bloomfield

Fet Fisk is a new restaurant in Bloomfield featuring delightful Nordic cuisine with an old school yet trendy vibe.

As Fet Fisk has been around for several years now, its offerings have morphed from pandemic era takeout to pates and spreads at farmers' markets to pop-up dinners where reservations consistently booked up within minutes of being announced.

The culmination has been a James Beard nomination for Chef Nik Forsberg and one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings in Pittsburgh in quite some time. We were fortunate to dine here on a soft open weekend and were thrilled at the way the menu feels familiar yet special.

Ingredients not typically found on Pittsburgh menus weave their way into a mesmerizing array of downright delicious plates. To top it off, the service is a pure delight!

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Barcelona Wine Bar Review – Spanish Tapas and Wine Downtown

Barcelona Wine Bar is a new addition to the downtown Pittsburgh drinking and dining scene offering small plates and a huge selection of wine by the glass. Although it's a national chain, we absolutely love the concept of Barcelona Wine Bar- snacking our way through a meal and sampling Spanish and South American wines is our idea of a great night out.

Occupying the former Sharp Edge space on Penn Ave., Barcelona Wine Bar has completed a stunning reservation of the space; the decor suggests the kind of high end wine bar you might find in a much larger city. A long bar with sleek pendant lights runs the length of the space, with large, comfy booths beside the bar, and an adjacent room offers a larger dining space with tables.

Both the food and wine menus here are pretty extensive- it took us a while to take it all in and make decisions, as we truly wanted to order some of everything!

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Ramen Bar Review – Many Styles to Choose From and More

Ramen Bar is a casual spot in Squirrel Hill serving up solid takes on traditional Japanese ramen in addition to rice bowls and noodle dishes. In a neighborhood with a high turnover of Asian restaurants, Ramen Bar has stood the test of time for more than a decade with comforting noodle soups that hit the spot in chilly Pittsburgh winters.

Although we lived in Squirrel Hill when Ramen Bar opened more than ten years ago, we somehow have never made it in. But on a blustery winter day, we found ourselves shopping at Cuvee (a great bottle shop by the folks behind Independent Brewing Company and Hidden Harbor) and in the mood for a hardy meal. Ramen sounded like it would hit the spot, so we walked the few doors over to Ramen Bar, ready to cozy up to some steaming hot bowls of soup.

The space is informal and on the smaller end, and it's nearly always bustling. Although we didn't have a reservation, we were lucky to snag a table and started perusing the menu.

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Chengdu Gourmet Review – Authentic Sichuan Cuisine

Chengdu Gourmet is a much-lauded Chinese restaurant specializing in Szechuan cuisine, with two locations in Squirrel Hill and McKnight Road. With James Beard nominee Wei Zhu at the helm, you really can't go wrong with anything on the traditional Szechuan menu here. Just be sure to dine with lots of friends or family, as the portions are family style – the best way to experience the restaurant is to order lots of food and share.

Chengdu Gourmet has captured the hearts and stomachs of many a Pittsburgher over the past decade with their Squirrel Hill location. We are excited for the newer McKnight Road location as it makes shopping trips infinitely more enjoyable knowing that there is delicious Szechuan food waiting for us once we complete our errands.

Although we have been to the Squirrel Hill location before, we visited with just the two of us and it was hard to fully appreciate the restaurant. Fast forward to the McKnight Road location opening, where we've visited with friends and have a much greater appreciation and understanding of the delicious food that is being served here.

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Della Terra Review – Delicious Italian Dining in Zelienople

Della Terra in Zelienople is an Italian restaurant serving pizzas and pastas with equal prowess. One glance at the menu here and you'll likely want one of everything, which we highly encourage. From traditional and familiar Italian flavors to plates with a few twists, everything we tried was satisfying and delicious.

The delightful food was enhanced by excellent service and stunning mid-century decor.

The decor instantly caught our eye upon walking in the door. Several of the features from the building's history as a bank remain in place like the super tall ceilings and the bank vault door that leads from the dining room to the kitchen. But what I couldn't stop staring at the whole meal were the 1940s-style chandeliers – simply amazing!

Suffice it to say, Della Terra has quickly become a favorite of ours in our local Italian dining scene.

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