Owner and chef Omar Mediouni imbues La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar's menu of traditional Spanish and Moroccan small plates and entrees with local ingredients and an appetite for culinary fusion that, according to Pittsburgh City Paper, "combines sophistication and comfort, authenticity and simplicity." Flagpole-addicted tongues warm up with a choice of 16 hot tapas, including the chorizo catalan's spicy sautéed sausage and spinach in a red-wine reduction ($10), and tomatoes, sweet pepper, and eggplant form the base of a duo of Moroccan dips ($8 each). Larger entrees ($16–$28) sneak garbanzo beans, chicken, lamb, and eggplant into piles of couscous or saffron paella rice like parents tucking Easter eggs into an egg carton.
Nestled within a brick house along a neighborhood street in Shadyside, La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar greets springtime by opening its patio to warm breezes and showers of cupid arrows. Inside, a hanging Spanish guitar, lanterns lit by candles, and the wide grin of a bright red hearth contribute to a cozy, eclectic spirit.
Qdoba's burrito baristas handcraft a catering menu of Mexican-inspired cuisine, customizable with a panoply of fresh ingredients for a taco, nacho, or burrito bar. Qdoba's culinary crafters craft succulent fillings for burritos, tacos, nachos, and quesadillas, including protein-packing choices, such as slow-roasted pulled pork, adobo-marinated grilled steak or chicken, and spiced shredded or ground beef, with vegetarian options also available. Taste the gooey flavor accents of the signature queso sauce, a three-cheese blend with roasted poblanos, tomatoes, and jalapeños, the pinto or black beans simmered in cumin and onion, or the creamy, hand-smashed guacamole that's ideal for filling up Queen Elizabeth's diamond-studded guacamole chalice. Tortilla chips with salsa bar and desserts complete each catered event, and customers can opt for burrito-boxed lunches and any add-ons.
Chefs craft authentic Mexican dishes for dinner and lunch, using fresh ingredients and choice cuts of imported meats. Kitchens simmer sauces to order instead of pre-making and freezing blocks of mole, and guarantee every vegetarian entree is fully meat-free by dusting all tortillas, rice, and vegetables for butchers' fingerprints. A batch of fresh, hot tortilla chips and a dish of salsa greet each table, and Cuzamil's Murray Avenue location pours 15 different Mexican beers and 40 tequilas.
Named after retired Chicago police officer Jim Mullen, who was seriously injured in the line of duty, Mullen's Bar & Grill first opened its doors in the Windy City before branching out to Pittsburgh. Classic bar fare such as boneless wings, nachos, and burgers shares menu space with deep-fried philly cheesesteak sandwiches and SpaghettiO's straight from the can. An entire squad of flat-screen televisions hangs from exposed rafters so eaters can easily view broadcasted sports without craning their necks or duct taping rear view mirrors to their wrists. Mullen's Bar & Grill has two locations, one stationed near the cheering crowds at PNC Park and the other in the midst of the nightlife scene on Carson Street.
Las Velas' dinner menu tempers a raging appetite by dancing a crispy tortilla flag dunked in salsa ($2.50), guacamole ($3.75), or queso ($5) in front of you. Las Velas offers a smattering of soups, starters, and salads. Try corn empanadas ($7.50) with cheese and choice of fish, fungi, chicken, or beef, or a fresh burrito salad that features everything but shell ($9.50). Main courses include personalized tacos ($9 for two), burritos ($10.50 to $13), chilaquiles al natural (tortilla chips doused in green salsa and piled high with chicken or steak, onions, cilantro, cheese, and sour cream, $12), and alambres (chicken or steak topped with grilled peppers, onions, and a heap of melted cheese, $16). The crepas Las Velas ($9.50) brings the spark tableside with ripe strawberries and bananas blazed with a sugary syrup and dosed with cognac. Spicy savories and sweets can be washed down with a house margarita ($6) or traditionally prepared mojito ($6.50).
The chefs at California Taco Shop borrow culinary inspiration from Mexico and the Golden State as they fill fresh tortillas with meats and veggies. Their tacos, tortas, and burritos—stuffed with carnitas, beef tongue, and shrimp—transport tongues to sunnier locales with their authentic, equatorial spice and peppers.