It’s Monday night. You’re hungry. And many of your favorite restaurants are closed, giving their cooks and servers a well-deserved night off.
Why are Mondays such a restaurant desert? It’s the one day of the week that typically has the lowest foot traffic for the dining out crowd, and often costs restaurants money to stay open.
But consider this list your oasis. Although some of your go-to spots might be out, there’s still a solid list of great place that keep their doors open every Monday.
If you’re craving Asian fusion, Soba is your spot. The best choices at this Shadyside establishment are their traditional Asian menu offerings, like the bi bim bap. It’s a Korean specialty with pickled vegetables and beef over rice topped with spicy gochujang sauce. Pair it with the delicious lobster tacos or pork dumplings from the appetizer menu. Still hungry? The chocolate pretzel stack, smothered in salty sweet miso caramel sauce is a solid way to finish off the night.
Soba (5847 Ellsworth Avenue)
Tender Bar + Kitchen
Stop by tonight (and every Monday) to enjoy our Tender Burger or Veggie Tender Burger with a side of cheesy potato wedges or crisp local greens for just $10. Our worcestershire-marinated patty is topped with cheddar, carmelized onions, pickled fennel, greens, and pub sauce and served on a house-made challah roll, and our bar team will gladly recommend a little something to wash it all down.
If drinks with a side of food make up your perfect Monday night meal, Tender Bar + Kitchen in Lawrenceville is your stop. The dimly-lit interior gives off a speakeasy vibe that pairs well with the bar’s classic cocktails, like The Penicillin, to give you just what the doctor ordered for a rough (Mon)day. If it’s already been an especially hard week, the Corpse Reviver #2 is a smooth way to reanimate yourself for the evening. While you sip, munch on the Tender burger (just 10 bucks on Mondays!) topped with some of the best caramelized onions on this side of town.
Tender Bar + Kitchen (4300 Butler Street)
Round Corner Cantina
Five dollar tacos! Round Corner rewards your Monday hunger with cheap tacos. Our pick for the best tacos on the menu are the chorizo, but the 12-hour Brisket tacos are a close second. Elotes, or Mexican street corn slathered in cheese and spices, rounds out a solid meal. And, you have to wash it all down with a Michelada, a specialty at Round Corner. Not familiar with the drink? A Michelada is beer (here, it’s Dos Equis) with a twist of salt, spices and sauces, and Round Corner has five varieties available. If you’ve ever thought about skipping the food and drinking your hot sauces straight, this is the drink for you.
Round Corner Cantina (3720 Butler Street)
Muddy Waters Oyster Bar
If happy hour is what you need, Muddy Waters Oyster Bar in East Liberty delivers. The hours of happiness here are from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and the bar is usually hopping on Mondays. Oysters are, of course, ready to be shucked, with at least one East Coast selection for $1 and one West Coast selection for $2. If bubbles make you even happier, Muddy Waters has $10-off bottles of champagne too. Staying late for dinner? The lobster rolls and the po’boys are standout sandwiches.
Muddy Waters Oyster Bar (130 S Highland Avenue)
Kaya in the Strip offers a mini-weeknight getaway to the islands. The conch hush puppies here rival those in Key West. They’re deep-fried with just the right amount of conch-to-dough ratio, and the conch is tender without crossing into rubbery territory, plus they’re served with a seriously delicious habanero aioli. For a main dish, try the Cuban sandwich, Kaya’s take on an island classic.
Kaya (2000 Smallman Street)
Emporio at Sienna Mercato
With endless combinations of balls and sauce, Sienna Mercato is great place to get your night rolling. Their fried buffalo chicken balls are smothered with a creamy buffalo sauce and served over a bed of shaved celery and blue cheese. And while all that may sound like an affront to good nature, they are a guilty pleasure that doesn’t disappoint. If meatballs are a little too casual of a dish for your tastes, head upstairs to the second level to Mezzo, where you’ll find more refined fare like pasta and wood-fired pizzas. Both levels also have great craft beer selections.
Emporio: A Meatball Joint (942 Penn Avenue)
From brunchtime to bedtime, Whitfield has Mondays covered. As one of the only restaurants in town that serves brunch outside of weekend hours, Whitfield is a perfect for those who want to partake in a weekday fun. The Whitfield Breakfast is a version of Eggs Benedict with a twist. Rather than an English muffin, their poached eggs arrive on bird’s nest of potato and beet rosti. For dinner, locally-sourced steak will melt in your mouth. Go big with the 36 oz. porter, and whatever the soup of the day is, get it. From potato and leek with kale crusties to French onion, it will consistently be the best soup you’ve ever had.
Whitfield (120 S Whitfield Street)
G&G Noodle Bar
G&G noodle bar, formerly Grit and Grace, is the place for dim sum. If you are a fan of the kimchi, the pungent, fermented cabbage dish, you’ll be happy to know that G&G gets this hard-to-make dish just right. The restaurant’s pork belly bites are sweet and sticky, and incredibly tender. Round out your meal with steamed buns with either beef or crispy chicken, and you’ve got yourself a pretty spectacular Monday night.
G&G Noodle Bar (535 Liberty Avenue)
ANA Vietnamese Cuisine
ANA Vietnamese Cuisine in North Oakland is a good stop for a casual Monday night dining experience. The interior may be sparse, but the traditional Vietnamese food is phenomenal. We recommend the Bun Bo Xa, a Vietnamese dish with lettuce, vegetables and sizzling hot protein over vermicelli noodles, and drizzled with sweet vinegary fish sauce and garnished with a fried spring roll. The summer rolls here are also a must, with succulent shrimp and a thick sweet soy dipping sauce. And when you’re finished, wash your meal down with a sweet a cup of Vietnamese coffee.
ANA Vietnamese Cuisine (256 North Craig Street)
Another Monday-night Oakland pick is Butterjoint, which serves elevated casual fare (read, comfort food with interesting, upscale ingredients) and craft cocktails. The pierogies here are outstanding, and chewy and crispy in just the right proportions. Toppings range from sauerkraut to Italian sausage. And their bar program is on point, too. We suggest enjoy a Black Manhattan, darkened with walnut bitters, which will ease any Monday blues in a delicious way.
Butterjoint (214 N. Craig Street)
Any other restaurants that are open on Monday that we missed? Share in our comments.