At Ladles Restaurant, sandwiches layered on homemade syrian bread form foundations of comfort-fare feasts augmented by Italian entrees and served within a quaint storefront setting. Diners can plunge into Ladles' signature soups or seas of sweet-potato fries ($3.99) before sailing to the savory shores of the grilled Caprese panini ($7.29), where fresh Roma tomatoes and mozzarella cheeses mingle amid delicate olive-oil drizzle. Main courses of chicken cutlets ($12) or grilled bone-in pork chops ($13.99) simmered in an apple-potato hash ensure all sizes of appetites attain satiation. The aromas of eight specialty pizzas waft over the Arnold location’s country-kitchen styled dining room, tempting diners to sample the pizza con funghi’s ($8.00) mushroom-topped surface nose-first.
Zottola’s Pub & Eatery specializes in evening entrees, serving up a dinner menu stocked with European-inspired dishes and delicious desserts. Coronate a feast with friends using an order of PEI mussels ($11) before savoring a tongue-tingling house favorite, such as three-cheese or beef ravioli, served slathered in a special tomato-herb sauce that sets the bar of aspiration for newborn tomatoes ($13), or wrestle the broiled wild haddock away from a shark and savor the delicate flavor of sweet, sea-caught victory ($16). Each dinner entree comes with a house salad and chef's side of the day. For lighter eating, try a pub sandwich, such as the asiago chicken, which combines chicken, bread, cheese, and awesome for a handheld feast ($8.25), or an old-time pub burger—a half-pound patty of hand-formed ground beef cooked to order and dropped straight onto your appetite ($8.50).
During the last three decades, Charley’s has shuffled up standard decks of carbs in a fresh, innovative fashion. Though the soul of Charley’s spawns from the beefy abyss of the signature cheesesteak sandwiches ($4.59–$8.99), the entire menu is flavorfully filled to capacity with delicious grilled combinations (prices vary by location). The chicken teriyaki sandwich ($4.89–$9.29) is quaint for a stomach sublet, while the Italian deli deluxe carnivorously conquers with a bed of pepperoni, ham, turkey, provolone, and generous dustings of Italian seasoning ($4.59–$8.99). Diners can load their gastronomic cargo-carriers with a combo meal, complete with Charley's famously crisp fries ($1.79–$1.89 for a regular order), or ascend a mountain of abominably coated fries featuring cheddar, ranch, and bacon
Back in 1994, the proprietors of Phillippi's traveled to Arnold, PA, to buy a 70-year-old secret pizza recipe from a mysterious couple known as Lefty and Mooney. Today, this exclusive formula is used with housemade dough and fresh, housemade sauce to create Birdville pizzas, named for Natrona Heights' former moniker. As special blends of cheeses bubble atop baking pies, cooks deftly grill up Black Angus burgers, stack hoagies with meatballs, and crisp ironically flightless buffalo wings in the trans-fat-free deep fryer.
Inspired by both local and international influences, the chefs of Cornerstone Restaurant & Bar prepare a menu of American cuisine that delights in seasonal ingredients and changes. Housed within a building that was originally a bank—complete with original vault doors—the restaurant has offered tastes of pan-seared scallops, served alongside barley risotto, pancetta, blood oranges and roasted brussels sprouts.
While they sit next to exposed-brick walls, diners can feast on risotto with wild mushrooms, duck confit, pomegranate seeds, and crispy parsnips. Lamb burgers are bedecked with goat cheese, arugula, and a balsamic-truffle vinaigrette, and roasted beets are thin sliced and served with fennel and arugula to make up a salad.
Accompanying these meals are a selection of beers, cocktails, and spirits. Domestic and imported beers reveal microbrew and seasonal tastes, and cocktails deliver everything from fruit-flavored vodkas to straight bourbons.
Inside a building that once sat vacant for several years, Barcelona at Rivers Edge transformed the empty space into a modern European restaurant that fuses flavors and styles of Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy. The revamped establishment merges international bites with views of the Allegheny River, which are especially impressive from Barcelona’s top-floor lounge and summertime rooftop deck. In addition to its extensive food spread and riverside vistas, Barcelona offers a wide range of wines and cocktails, including house-made sangria.