Photo by Adam Milliron

Zagat just released its list of “The Top 17 Food Cities of 2015,” and Pittsburgh has earned the top spot.

To compile the list, Zagat asked its editors around the country to “make a case for the city they believe had the biggest year in food by examining at the caliber of new openings, award-recognition and national media attention had by each, be it their home turf or elsewhere.”

Looking back on 2015’s national food scene, Zagat writes:

“2015 proved that culinary innovation is booming in cities outside of the usual suspects like NYC and SF. With chefs spreading out to smaller markets across the country, food scenes are ramping up in more unexpected places. But which food town had the biggest growth spurt in 2015?”

What helped Pittsburgh land the leading spot?

“While hefty Italian bread sandwiches from Primanti Bros. remain musts on the Pittsburgh culinary circuit, as of late it’s an abundance of more refined food glories that Steel City is becoming known for. Consider the don’t-mistake-it-for-Brooklyn neighborhood Lawrenceville, where as of this year, locals now eat fried chicken and carrot slaw sandwiches for lunch at the Vandal, then jamon croquetas with leek ash aioli for dinner at Morcilla (pictured), chef Justin Severino’s low-key Spanish follow-up to Cure. Chaz & Odette, with its jerk pork and yam coulis, debuted in Shadyside, just as Station made its mark on Bloomfield with dishes like miso-poached apple,” says Zagat writer Alia Akkam.

“Downtown, well-known restaurateur Richard Deshantz opened täkō, serving chorizo and Wagyu short rib tacos alongside newfangled tequila cocktails. Perhaps the most robust symbol of Pittsburgh’s ascent is the arrival of a retro-utilitarian Ace Hotel, home to acclaimed Brooklyn butcher Brent Young’s just-opened Whitfield. Bethany Zozula and pastry chef Casey Shively—who also did time in New York at Del Posto—are the stars of the female-fueled kitchen, turning out Americana-inspired creations like rabbit accompanied by semolina gnocchi and parsnip bread smothered in whipped Pennsylvania honey. With its geography straddling both the East Coast and the Midwest (likelihood of poaching more chefs from those areas = high), this town is poised for even more exciting things in 2016,” Akkam adds.

Joining the Burgh as a top culinary destination on the list are San Francisco, Charleston, Denver, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Portland and others.

Read the entire article and view the slide show of Zagat‘s Top 17 Food Cities of 2015.

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.