Ovens at Gianni's Pizza & Wings melt the cheese and bake the crusts of specialty or custom-designed pizzas as cooks coat wings in 34 flavors of sauce and spice. They adorn bacon-cheeseburger pizzas with three types of cheese, bacon, and ground beef and philly steak pies with steak, green peppers, and onions to fill in the large cracks ringing them like the Liberty Bell. Crusty strombolis and calzones surround steak, mushrooms, and A-1 sauce or vegetables and cheese, and toasted hoagies sport gyro meat and meatballs with red sauce.
Inside Mike’s Place, a relaxed setting dotted with sports paraphernalia and a pool table, classic Italian-American recipes meet standard bar eats. As guests alternate bites of homemade lasagna and jumbo wings doused in 1 of 10 sauces, bartenders keep glasses brimming and campaign-finance-reform discussions to a minimum. On Friday nights, live musicians and DJs take center stage.
At Bella Frutteto Restaurant, executive chef Jessica Headrick and sous chef Daniel McQuiston make all sorts of ravioli—lobster, mushroom, butternut squash—but none catch the eye quite like the signature apple ravioli. To make it, they cover jumbo cheese ravioli with a sautéed scramble of golden raisins, figs, and the same granny smith apples used to make the apple-bruschetta appetizer. Their inventive Italian eats share menu space with hearty dishes such as marinated skirt steak, crab cakes, and striped bass that is stuffed with crab, scallop, shrimp, and mermaid-scout cookies.
All of the food is arranged on differently colored plates and served in one of three spaces: a dining room peppered with yellow tablecloths, a bar with seasonal draft beers and flat-screen televisions, or a patio overlooking the orchard that gives Bella Frutteto—roughly translated to “beautiful orchard”—its name.
Ten on tap. Sixty varieties in bottles. The beer selection at Cenci's Italian Restaurant & Bar has something for everyone, from Great Divide Hibernation ale on draft to Erie Presque Isle bottled pilsner and a surfeit of other craft options. Cenci’s has more to offer, though, maintaining decor and a food menu worthy of the frequent events it hosts. As hanging lamps gently illuminate tables and booths dressed in warm, brick-based colors, guests indulge in Italian-American fare. In addition to making specialty pies such as steak-onion-ranch pizzas and chicken-broccoli pizzas, the folks at Cenci's are skilled holiday celebrants: heart-shaped pepperoni spangles their Valentine's Day pizza, Halloween parties welcome beer-swilling jack-o'-lanterns with discerning taste, and viewers of important NFL games may be lucky enough to receive free slices at halftime. Like the time Napoleon played Ulysses Grant in an awkward game of chess, weekly trivia encourages brains to battle. Neon writing decorates a chalkboard menu boasting that evening's discounted beers, bombs, and food—there may even be $1 sicilian slices available. The menu also includes calzones, burgers, and pasta.
For more than 50 years, Beto’s Pizza has pampered Pittsburghers with a hearty menu of unconventionally prepared pizza alongside an array of hoagies. The pizzeria's signature pie-making process entails adding shredded provolone cheese and generous layers of toppings ($0.50 each) to every slice or cut ($1.25 each) after the dough and sauce have been baked. A full pizza contains 28 pizza rectangles ($34.11), each boasting an inimitable texture of hot crust and half-melted cheese that serves as an interactive alternative to tasteless geometry textbooks. For less saucy fare, patrons can try a steaming steak hoagie, capped by a layer of bubbling cheese ($5.39 for a half; $10.69 for a whole). A high-powered veggie telescope grants herbivores access to a planetary bowl of tossed salad, available with orbiting sides of fried cauliflower, mushrooms, and hot peppers ($3.89+).
The cooks at Nobby's Pizzeria sprinkle hand-tossed crusts with tangy, homemade sauce and aromatic cheese made from a smoked provolone blend. In addition to classics such as pepperoni and sausage, they adorn seven signature pizzas with creative toppings ranging from ranch and buffalo sauce to capicola and olives. Their menu also includes other Italian-American staples, including meaty hoagies and ricotta-covered calzones.
Serving up some of Pittsburgh's best brick-oven pizza, Fat Tommy's Pizzeria fills tummies with a menu of toothsome fare. Pizzas range in size from individual slices ($2.29+) to extra-large 18-inch pies ($11.99+), with more than a dozen toppings available to add much needed topographical landmarks to vast expanses of cheese. Nine-inch baked subs such as the ultimate cheesesteak fulfill meaty cravings with rib-eye steak topped with a blend of Italian cheeses, all snuggly nestled in an Italian roll ($6.49). Vegetarian-minded diners can choose from a selection of salads, including the tossed salad, with romaine lettuce, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, onions, and cheese blended together in euphonious harmony ($4.49). Soft drinks offer chilly salve to mouths stung by hot pizza or intemperate rhetoric about Harold and the Purple Crayon's proper place in the canon ($1.69/16 oz., $1.99/22 oz.).