Zagat–rated Kabul Afghan Cuisine transports diners to another land with spiced Middle Eastern dishes in a dining room adorned with traditional rugs, colorful costumes, and ornate desert murals. Soft Afghan music floats through the festive dining room, mixing with the scents of spice-simmered lamb and chicken dishes and sizzling kebabs of ground beef, salmon, and veggies as diners balance palates with their BYOB bounty. In the back of the restaurant, patrons can reserve a taqh—a raised platform covered with Afghan rugs and ornate cushions—where parties kick off their shoes and dine without silverware to invoke airs of an authentic Afghan dinner or of a meal savored at home while waiting for the dishwasher repairman.
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.
Traditional Japanese culture dictates that the hearth of the house is the heart of the house?a common space where family and friends broke bread together. The robata restaurant takes that concept further, typically by making a fiery grill the centerpiece of the dining room. Mr. and Mrs. Shindo, the owners of Robata of Tokyo, aim to capture a familial, welcoming atmosphere, where you can sample a wide range of Japanese cuisine spanning sushi, tempura, and hibachi grilling.
Cooking is theatre at Robata: take a seat at the sushi bar to watch the chef prepare both traditional and unique sushi rolls. The Halloween roll features salmon, avocado, and masago. You can also watch as chefs at the hibachi grill slice and dice meat and veggies and serve it directly to patrons. A full bar is on hand, too, serving sake and beer.
While most of us are still getting ready in the morning, Hall of Flame BBQ's grill masters have already began slow-smoking dry-rubbed portions of pulled pork and beef brisket. That’s because each meat takes 12 hours to smoke before it’s basted with from-scratch barbecue sauces. Diners can pair their meaty mains with classic from-scratch sides, such as mashed potatoes crowned with white pepper gravy and coleslaw.
Though the eatery’s cooks consider barbecue a kind of comfort food, they aren’t afraid to experiment. Hall of Flame’s signature bacon-wrapped beef frank, for instance, arrives topped with pulled pork, slaw, and cheese sauce. And each order of deep-fried wings comes tossed in your choice of 30 sauces, from Death by Garlic to black cherry habanero.
Dishes from across Asia make up the menu at Oriental Buffet, where you can try everything from moo shu to lo mein. Chicken can be dressed up in more than 10 different saucy outfits—try the chicken curry, broccoli, or with garlic sauce. There are also numerous beef dishes, such as pepper steak and Szechuan beef, as well as seafood plates, including some that incorporate shrimp with cashews or lobster sauce.
Bella's Ristorante’s rustic stone exterior, rippling Italian flag, and trio of gables lure guests inside, where they’re greeted by the savory aromas of classic italian marinara and lemon-butter white-wine sauce. These blanket giant portions of new zealand clams and shrimp, chicken and veal, and gluten-free options. While enduring favorites such as personal pizzas loaded with portobello mushrooms, ricotta, and calamari are always on the menu, rotating specials such as ravioli plump with goat cheese prevent dinners from getting too predictable, unlike waiters who never tell you the specials via charades.
The restaurant’s decor transports diners to Italy with murals of boats rowing along aquamarine canals, Roman arches, and plaster chipped away to reveal brick underneath. Guests lounge in black leather chairs or booths as they lick their plates clean.