Brasserie 33 maintains a distinguished reputation as a mainstay for classic French cuisine. Now under new management, the dining bastion is reclaiming the culinary identity that earned it foodie fanfare for years. Executive chef Omar Mediouni and the staff dot pristine white tablecloths with rich, meat-centric dishes that encapsulate a menu of classic French cuisine. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review lauded Brasserie 33 for its authenticity, citing a French-speaking wait staff and palate-popular selection of classic dishes, such as escargot brushed with garlic and parsley butter sauce and seafood bouillabaisse brimming with salmon, shrimp, and calamari. A stone-topped bar runs parallel to the neatly kempt tables that line the narrow brasserie. During daylight hours, diners are awash in natural light pouring through the front windows, and during the evening, gourmand moonbeams filter through the glass to get tastes of dessert.
Gene's Last Chance is an all-American grill that serves up meaty sandwiches, barbecue fare, pastas, and veggie-centric dishes. The menu offers an eclectic selection to make any picnic-basket-intoxicated bear salivate tears of joy. Dig into shareable starters such as the beer-cheese dip, a bread-friendly cauldron of cheesy flavors ($6.95) or a effigy mound of wings slathered in your choice of sauces including buffalo, Cajun, barbecue, and hot-honey glaze ($6.95+ for 1/4 bucket). Gene's Last Chance's grilling gurus man the restaurant's hardwood grill with strong burger-flipping forearms and flame-retardant mustaches, serving up honey-pepper-glazed pork chops ($17.99), colorful grilled-veggie sandwiches ($5.95), and white-shirt-thwarting baby-back ribs ($19.99 for a full rack). Brave souls test their gastronomic elasticity with the restaurant's special Monster Reuben sandwich, an ode to all-around good guy Reuben as well as deliciously seasoned deli meat that's piled extra high and smothered with sauce, cheese, and sauerkraut ($9.95 whole, $5.95 half).
When guests walk into the bright blue confines of Square Café, they find owner Sherree Goldstein and her friendly crew serving up smiles and steaming cups of custom-blended Kiva Han coffee. Preparing eclectic breakfast and lunch dishes, chefs crack shells for three-egg omelets, green eggs and ham with homemade pesto, and form their own housemade veggie burgers. Attentive servers endlessly refill freshly brewed ice tea and help health-savvy diners find the best menu options. Inside, colorful local artwork fuels discussions about which colors deserve to be primary, and on the sidewalk patio, diners can scan the street for signs of Square Café's vegetable-oil-powered Mercedes.
Gayot proclaimed Square Café a "vibrant eatery," describing the "generously portioned, cooked-to-order breakfast and lunch items on huge square plates." In addition to the well-crafted eats, the staff's energy and enthusiasm keep the café's sizeable crowd of regulars coming back—the manager, Kevin, even sports a Square Café tattoo as evidence.
Under the leadership of owner Nicholas Mineo and executive chef Michael Simpson, the experienced culinary team at Sausalido concocts an ever-changing array of New American– and European-style dishes from a wealth of local produce. Though Chef Simpson's menu changes seasonally, he always pairs seafood, pasta, and meat entrees with salad, locally baked rustic bread, and a white bean and fresh rosemary dipping sauce whipped up in-house.
Sausalido’s main dining room evokes the aesthetics of the Napa Valley with soothing jazz music and acrobatic sommeliers dangling from grapevines, while still incorporating work from Pittsburgh artists to remind the walls where they come from. The expanse hosts up to 40 diners who can BYOB, while upstairs, a private party room fits up to 30 guests. Along with hosting in-house celebrations, Sausalido feeds guests at offsite soirees with catered cuisine from its 15-page catering menu.
Channeling the sights and smells of an Ibiza villa, Mallorca Restaurant posts a tuxedoed gentleman at the door to greet guests with continental flair. Owner and host Antonio Pereira outfits the upscale restaurant's four dining rooms with eye-catching adornments of carved archways, frescoed ceilings, and chandeliers that hang low enough to fix ailing hairstyles. Natural light floods into the dining room through decorated skylights, illuminating linen-topped tables buttressed by original Spanish recipes. Fresh seafood and generously portioned beef dishes have inspired the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to label Mallorca "one of Pittsburgh's most popular restaurants," and its rich, saffron-scented paella captured the eye and taste buds of Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Pamela Starr.
Put on your wandering pants and cavort through the storefront entrance at Bingham and 14th to enter a realm of nomadic mouth meanderings and mobile delights. Start out with some sea-salt-roasted pumpkin seeds ($4) and a vegetarian Ajvar plate (roasted red pepper and eggplant blended with garlic, crushed red pepper, Hungarian paprika, olive oil, and lemon, and served with crostini and olive-feta garnish; $7). Blow your sufficiently whet whistle to signal the start of the main course with options such as the gypsy chicken (chicken breast sautéed in olive oil and braised in three-pepper and tomato sauce with Hungarian paprika over polenta, $17), or Sicilian-inspired creamy lemon-sauce pasta with tuna (imported Italian tuna, lemon-caper sauce, and linguine; $10–$15). Liberate with a liberal libation from the wine list, which changes based on whims and seasons, so ask your server for the most up-to-date incarnation.