The chefs at Pizzutti's Restaurant roll and slice delicate ribbons of spaghetti, and other pastas in the bustling kitchen. The housemade pastas, alongside other noodles imported from Italy, act as anchor for dishes that also feature housemade pesto. Classically prepared Prince Edward mussels with tomatoes and chives join the seasonally rotating menu, served indoors, on the patio, or next to a Leaning Tower of Pisa hologram.
The talented dough slingers at Pizza Sola hand make New York–style pies with time-honored methods and top-shelf ingredients, which led to the Best Slice of New York award from Pittsburgh Magazine. Cooks craft each pizza using traditional techniques: hunting wild dough blobs and subduing them with a thorough tossing and a slathering of imported San Marzano tomato sauce. Each New York pizza (18", $14; $2.75 extra for classic toppings, $3 extra for gourmet toppings) sports a tasteful chapeau of romano and whole-milk mozzarella, capping savory sauce flavors with a mouthwatering layer of creamy cheesiness. To seal in flavor, delicious disks bask in oven heat atop hot stones, resulting in a fragrant finish and even tan throughout the pie. Though today's deal is valid for dine-in or carryout, dine-in customers snack on complimentary garlic knots, baked with olive oil and herbs.
The chefs at Minutello's Restaurant & Lounge work from scratch when assembling gnocchi dumplings or crafting the tomato sauce they spread over baked ziti casseroles. Staff hand-toss each pizza before sprinkling the crust with a special blend of spices and layering it with freshly grated cheese. Patrons can personalize their pies by adding meatballs, green peppers, or pieces of monogrammed stationery before they slide into a brick oven.
The proficient pie twirlers at Merlino’s blanket crusts of homemade dough in palatable piles of fresh cheese and toppings. A large 16" pizza quells the hunger pangs of game-day gatherings or an impromptu Thanksgiving with 12 slices of golden crust oozing with melted cheese. Although not included in the price of this deal, additions of pepperoni, sausage, jalapeños, pineapple, or green peppers ($1.95 each) add piquancy to each steaming bite, and specialty ingredients such as gyro meat ($3.25) add a gourmet touch to the comestible circlet. Fingers receive pre-meal warm-ups and postmeal cool-downs by lifting hefty doses of piping-hot wings, made all the more succulent when slathered in a choice of eight sauces, including hot barbecue, buffalo parmesan, Cajun, and butter garlic.
In the most basic of terms, kitchens are places where ingredients come together to create a satisfying whole; the marriage of Pat and Brigitte Joyce, co-owners of 17th Street Cafe, proves that this pairing of complements is not always limited to the food. In 1988, Pat was starring as the café's executive chef when Brigitte joined his kitchen staff. Over their years working together, their love simmered on slow, low heat until they were finally married in 1995. Seven years after tying the knot, the couple jumped at the chance to own a piece of their shared history and took over 17th Street Cafe, which they now operate as a labor of love on many levels.
Today, two staple entrees—the pork chop au poivre and the veal with crab—are the lone holdovers from the original owners' menu. These favorites of long-time regulars join a revamped menu crafted from sustainable and organic ingredients whenever possible. Pat's current favorite—chicken- and asiago-stuffed pasta "pillows" served in an aioli sauce—exemplifies this new approach, which tends to add an innovative twist to traditional fare such as pasta, seafood, veal, and chops. Lunch also hosts a wide array of fan favorites, including the stuffed Portabella–a large mushroom cap filled with zucchini, sweet peppers, onions, carrots, artichoke hearts, domestic mushrooms, and spinach topped with asiago cheese. Chefs Ed and Lance craft creative burgers to sate midday appetites as well. Longtime patrons opt for the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner burger, cooked to order and topped with peanut butter, a fried egg, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
Inside the dining space, chocolate-brown and gold walls flank dark oak tables, lending the space a Mediterranean look that has been featured in several film and jeans commercials. Location scouts aren’t the only guests to have taken notice of the delicious entrees and cool ambiance—players from the Pittsburgh Penguins can often be spotted dining on puck-sized veal cutlets at nearby tables.
Passed down through three generations of the DelPizzo family, Del's Bar & Ristorante earned its place as a neighborhood treasure with a rich history and mouthwatering helpings of traditional and contemporary Italian fare. The lunch menu overflows with tasty midday meals, such as the Del's muffaletta panini, boasting a meaty core of mortadella, capicola, sopressata, and olive relish ($10.95), and the chicken cacciatore, conditioning a head of angel hair with sliced chicken breast, peppers, mushrooms, and rich marinara sauce ($10.95). The dinner menu promises evenings graced with the welcome presence of family-recipe veal parmigiana ($21.95); specialty pasta pairing of ravioli and stuffed shells in meat, marinara, mafalda, or alfredo sauce ($15.95); or traditional italian wedding soup ringing in the happy union of palate and ladle ($4.95).