Cafe Agnes Review – Salvadorian Pupusuas and Tamales at Home

If you frequent farmer's markets in Pittsburgh, chances are you've seen Cafe Agnes' booth – it's usually the one with a really long line. Having opened in the spring of 2019, Cafe Agnes quickly gained a reputation over the summer for serving up delicious Salvadorian pupusas and tamales with both traditional and creative fillings.

Although they don't currently have a storefront, you can continue to order frozen pupusas and tamales in the off-season and cook them yourself at home!

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Big Shot Bob’s Review – Wings, Wings, and More Wings

Normally when we think of getting fried chicken wings, we think of heading to a gastropub where we can enjoy a dozen or so along with a few pints of beer from Pittsburgh breweries. We do this mostly because of the availability, but also because ordering wings for takeout was never really something on our radar.

That is to say, until we tried Big Shot Bob's House of Wings. After having these, there may be no going back.

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Mi Empanada Review – Empanadas, Sandwiches, and More in Lawrenceville

Mi Empanada has been on the Pittsburgh food scene for a few years now slinging their Argentinian empanadas at local events and brewery pop-ups. Now they have their own storefront in Lawrenceville where you can order takeout empanadas, sandwiches, and sides.

We were well-acquainted with Mi Empanada having tried them at several of their pop-ups around town over the past few years. At events they always had long lines and it's no secret why – their empanadas have a rich, tender dough and the fillings are a mix of traditional and creative options, including a lot of vegetarian options as well.

Needless to say, we were ecstatic to learn they were opening up a storefront in Lawrenceville. The spot is takeout only, but they offer ready-to-eat empanadas or a “take and bake” option which we haven't tried but also sounds delicious. Sandwich options include a steak or chicken milanesa, and they also offer sides like salads, rice, and polenta.

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Chicken Latino Review – Peruvian Chicken in Beechview

Chicken Latino is a casual Peruvian restaurant in Beechview (formerly 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.

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11 Pittsburgh Institutions For Eating and Drinking You Shouldn’t Miss

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!

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202 Hometown Tacos Review – Short Order Tacos in Bellevue

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.

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Luke Wholey’s Alaskan Grille Review – Higher-End Seafood in the Strip

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. 

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Supper on Penn Review – Approachable Takes on Modern Dishes

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. 

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Mercurio’s Review – Italian Wood Fired Pizza and Gelato Done Right

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!

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Big Rig’s BBQ Review – Tender Meats in Monroeville

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.

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