Pad Thai, Pierogies, and Other Ethnic Foods Celebrated in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is a melting pot of cultures, which has had a delicious impact on local cuisine. You can find authentic German spatzle in the North Side, Italian pasta in Bloomfield, Jewish fare in Squirrel Hill, and so much more. Here are a few of the ethnic foods us Pittsburghers are most excited about these days.
Just like pizza joints, Pittsburghers have their favorite Thai restaurant and they will fight over who has the best pad Thai, curry, and Thai fried rice around.
You’ll find a long line at Nicky’s Thai Kitchen both in the North Side and downtown, but it’s well worth the wait. Be sure to make a reservation at the North Side location, where you can enjoy your meal in the tranquil garden outside. In addition to their specialty pad Thai, the pineapple fried rice and pumpkin curry are must-try menu items.
In Lawrenceville, Pusadee’s Garden also provides enchanting outdoor seating. Start your meal off with the golden bag (which includes a mix of taros, carrots, peas, onions, and corn) and curry puffs before you dive into entrées.
For a taste of Thai street food, head to Noodlehead in Shadyside where the pad Thai and other noodle dishes come hot, hot, hot! The pork belly steamed buns steal the show on the snacks menu and the Chiang Mai curry will warm you up on a cool fall day. There are no reservations and this place is cash only, so come hungry and prepared.
Pierogies are a Pittsburgh specialty. Our city loves them so much, we even have a Pierogy Race at every Pittsburgh Pirates’ baseball game.
You can find great pierogies made and sold in many local church basements, but also at a ton of restaurants. Just outside the city in McKees Rocks is Pierogies Plus, where some of the best pierogies around are being produced in a former gas station. This takeout spot—which supplies many local restaurants with the Polish delicacies—offers a variety of fillings like potato and cheese, cabbage and mushroom, as well as hot sausage.
In the Strip District, S&D Polish Deli makes pierogies with traditional fillings, but they offer dessert options filled with cherries, strawberries, and sweet farmer cheese as well.
For a more nouveau take on this traditional dish, head to The Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville, where you can order “untraditional pierogies” featuring a unique daily filling. This brewery also serves traditional potato and cheese pierogies with sautéed onions, melted butter, and sour cream.
Downtown in Braddock’s Pittsburgh Brasserie, the braised short rib pierogies served with creamed leeks are so delicious, you’ll want to lick the plate clean and then order another round (or three).
Though there are many Chinese restaurants around, you’ll find several quality spots in Squirrel Hill.
Everyday Noodles is equal parts dinner and entertainment. Tables overlook the kitchen where you can see the homemade noodles being stretched and slapped. Order the pork soup dumplings and one of the noodle soup bowls for a satisfying combo.
Chengdu Gourmet offers traditional Sichuan cuisine. Bypass the American menu and order off the traditional Chinese menu instead (with help from your server) for an authentic dining experience.
Mexican street tacos
Street tacos satisfy the soul, and luckily, there are a variety of options in Pittsburgh. We love them so much, we’re holding our first taco festival in October.
Some of the most authentic tacos can be found at the Las Palmas locations throughout town. The tacos are cheap and filled with delicious meat options—there’s even a topping bar so you can dress them up however you like.
If you’re looking for a more creative take, head downtown to Tako for boldly flavored tacos in homemade tortillas. Start your meal off with a grapefruit and sage margarita and opt for the namesake “tako” made with grilled octopus or the chorizo tacos topped with a fried egg. If you come with a crowd, the taco big board is your best bet as it comes with six pairs of the tacos of your choice.
Pittsburgh is more than just a meat and potatoes town—our culinary scene is reflective of the many cultures that have chosen to call the Steel City home. Check out which of these ethnic options Foodee will deliver right to your door.
Photos: ARENA Creative / Shutterstock.com; Neraz Tuladhar, courtesy of Noodlehead; Pierogies Plus; Everyday Noodles; Adam Milliron, courtesy of Tako
** I was contacted by Foodee and was compensated to write this post for their blog. I thought it was super fun and informative, so I’m sharing it with our readers as well.