Photo by Adam Milliron

Ask any Pittsburgher-on-the-street what their favorite local restaurant is and chances are you’ll get as many answers are there are hills in Western PA.

What about the hottest restaurants in town? Zagat chimes in to answer the question. For its Buzz section, Zagat writer Alia Akkam profiles what the online restaurant and hotel guide dubs the “8 Hottest Restaurants in Pittsburgh.”

Before digging in to the magazine’s mouth-watering slide show, Akkam writes:

Courtesy of Zagat
Courtesy of Zagat

“After the factories shuttered, like so many other once-thriving industrial epicenters Pittsburgh was poised for Rust Belt ruin. But Steel City is anchored by grit and determination, and between the barrage of slick condo developments, the forthcoming arrival of an Ace Hotel and a robust arts scene best known for the Andy Warhol Museum, today it’s a gleaming example of urban renewal. A lively food scene, particularly in the feels-like-it’s-Brooklyn enclave of Lawrenceville, has especially helped raise the city’s profile—and it’s only growing more expansive and intriguing. From Downtown to Bloomfield, here are eight newcomers adding culinary dynamism to an already captivating bridge-dotted skyline.”

So who made Zagat’s big 8?

Lawrenceville is home to four of the top eight, which includes Justin Severino’s latest venture, Morcilla, scheduled to open any day now at 3519 Butler St.; Grapperia, where owner Domenic Branduzzi “has assembled an expansive list of bottles, along with myriad bitter amari selections” to complement longtime staple Piccolo Forno; newcomer The Vandal, the laid-back Butler Street spot dreamed up by former Bar Marco chef Joey Hilty and Mid-Atlantic Mercantile owner Emily Slagel; and the worth-the-wait Smoke BBQ Taqueria (formerly of Homestead), where Austin expats Jeff Petruso and Nelda Carranco serve up Texan-inspired tacos “stuffed with the likes of apricot-habanero-laced Berkshire pork and a mess of chorizo and pinto beans.”

Courtesy of Zagat
Courtesy of Zagat

Over in Bloomfield, Zagat recommends Bread and Salt Bakery on cozy Pearl Street, where baker Rick Easton serves up “stellar Italian-inspired loaves spun from heritage grains” along with “pizza al taglio made from heirloom wheat and strewn with toppings like green tomatoes, garlic and anchovies;” along with the East End neighborhood’s latest addition to the restaurant scene, Station–a collaboration between Grit & Grace alum Curtis Gamble and Justin Janosko and John Pieranunzi of Craftwork Kitchen.

Zagat heads downtown to nosh The Commoner, nestled within a gorgeous first floor space of downtown’s new Hotel Monaco (try the chile pepper martini and then head up to the rooftop Biergarten); and then over to Richard DeShantz ‘s joint täkō at 214 Sixth St. (grapefruit Sidecar and beet-avocado tostadas anyone? Yes please).

Read the article and see the slide show of Zagat’s 8 Hottest Restaurants in Pittsburgh.

Jennifer BaronArts & Entertainment / Jobs Editor

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.