Redfin Blues, Washington’s Landing. Somehow Redfin Blues, which overlooks a marina on the Allegheny, had Pittsburgh’s rivers all to itself for the longest time. (Remember when it was Troll’s?) Located on the island of Washington’s Landing, Redfin is a great spot to dine on the water from the deck overlooking the marina. The menu sticks to the basics, plus lobster rolls and “all-you-can-eat Alaskan Snow Crab Clusters” — and the beer selection is quite good.
Spirit, Lawrenceville. Nightclub, concert venue, superior pizza place—is there anything Spirit can’t do? They’ve got a very nice, and very spacious back patio, too, for when your ears are ringing and you just need to clear your head.
Meat & Potatoes, Downtown. Photo courtesy of Meat & Potatoes.Meat & Potatoes, Downtown. It’s hard to say when Downtown Pittsburgh really, finally became an actual destination for great food. It might have been before Meat & Potatoes, but the restaurant was the icing on the cake (or the fat on the bacon, or something . . . ). Everything about this place is built to last, from the simplicity of the menu to the huge amount of space devoted to outdoor dining. Right in the middle of the booming Cultural District, this is a great place to people-watch, with as many well-dressed theater/symphony patrons as mustard-stained Pens jerseys.
Roland’s Seafood Grill & Iron Landing, Strip District. One of the best people-watching perches in Pittsburgh is right above Penn Avenue at Roland’s in the Strip. It seems like everybody in Pittsburgh—and boatloads of tourists—all want to get their cheap groceries and bootleg Stillers’ gear at the same time—and the bustle is a sight to see. Plus, you can eat big pots of mussels or “Hot Lobster Roll Sliders” while taking it easy on the large second-floor balcony.