Tamari takes its name from the Argentinean Huarpe people’s word meaning “to do everything with passion,” and the staff heeds it as a call to action. Executive Chef Roger Li expresses this joie de vivre through a bold menu of Latin, Asian, and European cuisine, uniting cultures through food like a model of the 1933 World's Fair made from fondant. Lobster-tempura maki tempts mouths alongside shrimp tacos garnished with yuzu-margarita foam and scottish salmon paired with chimichurri and ginger polenta. While dining, guests take part in a rich, interactive experience, sipping exotic açai mimosas and watching chefs prepare shareable tapas or custom-made menus in an open-pit kitchen. Altogether, the combination of unexpected flavor from the kitchen and unhindered elegance from the dining room has earned Tamari a great deal of respect. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for instance, named it on its Best Dining: Top Dishes list, and CBS Pittsburgh ranked it at the top of its list of Best Outdoor Dining options.
The authentic menu features dishes that heap on the spice without overwhelming the subtle interplay of textures and flavors for which the culinary culture of Thailand is known. Although there are many dishes designed to set palates ablaze, Bangkok Balcony also offers a multitude of milder bites. Ignite the meal with an appetizer of mussels and fresh basil in hot garlic sauce ($9) or a more-sweet-than-sassy steamed pork-and-shrimp dumpling ($8). Season your stomach with curried plates such as pineapple curry with your choice of meat, green peas, and coconut milk ($14) or an oodle of see-you noodles with broccoli and egg ($13). Stick to the ground level of the food chain with one of many vegetarian delights, such as the tofu platter with deep-fried tofu stir-fried with carrots, broccoli, and onions in a roasted curry paste ($14).
Pho Van's large kitchen conjures a menu packed with authentic Vietnamese noodle soups, appetizers, and family-style meals. A starter of banh bot loc, pork- and shrimp-filled Vietnamese dumplings wrapped in banana leaves ($5), or cha gio, crispy rolls served with a chili-garlic dipping sauce ($4) sets palates to their spicy-jungle settings in time for a bowl of pho ($7–$9), a Vietnamese staple that lets a range of beef, rice noodles, earthy basil, and tangy lime go skinny-dipping in a pool of made-from-scratch beef stock. Those who eschew broth will prefer to mouth surf the goi du du, a salty band of shrimp or beef jerky atop a bed of shredded green papaya and tucked under blankets of crushed peanuts and mint ($4). Fresh coconut juice ($3) helps soothe spice-stung throats, and the fruit smoothies with black tapioca pearls come in three refreshing flavors: avocado, jack fruit, and durian ($4 all). A custard dessert of banh flan ($4) adorned with fried bananas and coconut milk finishes the feast on a sweet note, unlike the shockingly gory original ending to The Sound of Music. Pho Van's BYOB policy and convenient location make it an apropos backdrop for a spicy night of revelry, a quick lunch, or a first date with a mannequin-come-to-life.
Most chefs get stage fright when customers are watching, but the fearless artisans at Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar concoct intricate Japanese dishes in plain view—either at tableside grills or just behind the sushi bar proper. Their collection of specialty maki exudes creativity and playfulness, from the deep-fried Godzilla roll with tuna, salmon, white fish, and crab meat to the Rainbow roll with fresh fish, avocado, and two wishes. Complete hibachi dinners satisfy hearty appetites and short attention spans with a choice of protein alongside soup, salad, vegetable, rice, and noodles—all prepared amusingly right at the table. Each location sports sleek and modern décor with accents such as bamboo walls or a back-lit bar glowing in chic blue or red tones.
The chefs at Taipei bridge the gap between two of Asia’s superpowers, plating Chinese favorites from Taipei duck to general tso’s chicken alongside delicately rolled Japanese sushi specialties. Although their menu is built upon a pair of thousand-year-old culinary traditions, they also understand the value of a speedy bite; each day, they arrange a selection of favorites such as the moo goo gai pan into fast, tasty lunches paired rice, egg rolls, soup, and your own personal fast-forward button.
The Original Fish Market's delectable dishes are expertly crafted by executive chef Sean Davies and delivered to each table on the back of a seahorse. The sushi, lunch, and constantly changing dinner menus feature fresh fish that’s flown in twice a day, more than 68 wines served by the glass, and a time-machine-cooled raw oyster bar that serves up shells so fresh they don’t even exist yet. Patrons can sample tongue-tantalizing maki and temaki such as a spicy scallop roll ($8) and a tuna roll ($7), as well as heartier dinner fare. Main-course selections such as lobster pasta provençal ($29) and farm-raised Tasmanian sea trout ($24) with toasted orzo salad, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts tame the swelling appetites of any matey. This Groupon is not valid toward the pre-fixe menu.