Perusing Ristorante La Buca’s menu beforehand doesn’t necessarily give diners the full idea of what to expect. To showcase the day's fresh catches, servers roll a seafood cart through the dining room, giving diners the chance to pick whatever strikes them in the moment. And diners can rest easy knowing that whatever they choose from the seafood cart will be in capable hands. “Chef-owner Giuseppe Giuliani is a minimalist with seafood,” says Philadelphia magazine, “only lemon and olive oil on the whole fish, perhaps adding a bonus of lump crabmeat to a pan-crisped fillet.” Fish, lobsters, and scallops may receive the most attention in the dining room, but the menu also includes a number of familiar Italian dishes from terra firma, such as veal marsala and Tuscan-style chicken breast. Within Ristorante La Buca’s intimately lit dining area , a mural dominates one entire corner of the room. The ocean-side scene mimics the look of a Renaissance-era fresco, depicting small groups of revelers hefting goblets and jugs mid-conversation. This bright and dynamic scene lends a lively spirit to the rest of the dining room’s rustic assortment of brick archways, dark wooden trim, and cellar-like wine racks.
The readers of Pittsburgh Magazine have heaped mounds of praise on Alchemy N' Ale, a rustic pub known for its savory entrees and crisp libations. In a 2012 readers' poll, Alchemy received the second-place spot for Best Burger and took home first-place honors as Best Pub. To see what the fuss is about, all you need to do is sit down and look around. Faux ivy clings to exposed-brick walls, which surround diners as they sink their teeth into mouthwatering burgers or quintessential pub eats such as fish 'n' chips and shepherd’s pie. The recently expanded menu also showcases entrees for vegans and vegetarians as well as dishes forged from local, organic, and Fulbright scholarship–winning ingredients.
White columns frame the red-tiled awning of Bellissimo Ristorante, a slice of Tuscan villa welcoming guests to a restaurant full of Sicilian and Neapolitan art and cuisine. The patio features classic statuary and a burbling stone fountain, while the interiors boasts rich wooden tables and chairs atop a terracotta tile floor. The flavor of authenticity extends beyond the d?cor to the menu, which features filet mignon douses with gorgonzola cheese and topped with lumps of crabmeat and thin curst Italian-style pizzas cooked in real brick ovens.
Rizzo's tosses Italian tradition with sauces made from family recipes and homemade bread dough blended with secret spices. Pizzas come in five savory circumferences and tempt taste buds with specialty flavors that include chicken ranch ($10.20/10", $13.20/18") and Jonesy's BBQ ($9.95/10", $12.95/18"). Tongues transform into lingual letter openers as they dig into layers of ham, beef, sausage, and pepperoni enveloped in meat calzones ($7.75/single, $9.75/large), and house specialties, including shrimp pomodoro ($12.99) and Rizzo’s pasta bread bowl ($10.75), make mouths metamorphose into teeth-lined esophageal openings. Diners can also satisfy cravings for authentic tastes of Italy by tucking into veal parmesan ($13.50) or licking Mount Vesuvius. Hot and cold subs, palate-prepping appetizers, and a mélange of salads round out the mighty menu, which also offers mini meals ($5.25) for hungry bambini.
The 200-year-old stone walls of Christine’s Creekside Inn sheltered an 18th-century grist mill, a knitting mill, and a Prohibition-era speakeasy before hosting executive chef and owner Doug Delong. This is a second homecoming for Delong, who was one of the original chefs here during the early 1990s when the restaurant was called Old Mill Inn. After an apprenticeship at the Green Hills Inn to study American and French cuisine, Delong returned to restore the elegance of the restaurant and pour two decades of experience into his hearty meat- and seafood-focused cuisine. Italian taste dominates the menu, so veal and chicken are draped in traditional sauces with lemon and capers, artichokes, or marsala wine to complement their tiny borsalino hats. Steaks are hand-cut from certified Angus beef and pair nicely with wine or a microbrew from the diverse list of 14 bottled beers.
Delicate iron chandeliers descend from timber beams in the peaked ceiling, but their soft glow seems unnecessary against a wall of arched windows that reach nearly two stories on their tippy toes. The broad hall exudes both cathedral grandeur and country charm, making it suitable for an elegant night out or a wedding reception.
Hailing from Sicily and Italy’s Reggio Calabria province, the Caricari family relies on time-tested recipes and skilled cooks at its two Feasta Italia restaurants. The eatery is known for its handcrafted pizzas, as chefs create every pie to order. Hand-tossed crust and fresh, never frozen ingredients highlight every pizza. Zesty toppings include black olives, ham, and meatballs. Feasta Italia’s menu rounds out with pasta dishes and other entrees, such as veal parmigiana and seafood marinara.