Welcome back to the latest edition of You Ask, We Answer, where we try to answer your Pittsburgh-related food questions! Have a question for us about dining out in Pittsburgh? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do what we can to help!
Q. Ramen… Best ramen? – @audrey_yanru
Hi Audrey! There’s nothing better than a get-to-the-point question! We wrote a guide to the best ramen in Pittsburgh a little while ago, but I’m always happy to explore this subject a little more in-depth, as it’s one of those dishes that I absolutely crave sometimes. Fujiya Ramen in Shadyside has only been open for a little over a year, but people go crazy over their authentic ramen, especially their Tonkotsu Ramen, with pork belly chashu, spinach, egg, kikurage mushroom and scallions (it’s my go-to). I also went once with a vegetarian friend who said that their Vegetarian Ramen (with mushroom, bamboo shoots, spinach and egg) is the best in the city. Whenever I’m in Lawrenceville (and am hungry), I’ve been finding myself drifting towards Ki Ramen more and more lately. They pull their own noodles (you can tell), and have just changed their menu to add a few new favorites – the Shitake Bolognese with whipped tofu and fermented black beans is worth a try. I also really love their rotating selection of ‘butter bombs,’ and usually include one in my ramen order, to give it just a touch of additional creaminess. And, you can also find fantastic ramen at Roger Li’s other Lawrenceville spot, Umami.
You’re also going to want to try Squirrel Hill’s Ramen Bar, which has a popular build-your-own option, and the Yuzu Shio option at Yuzu Kitchen downtown. This one comes with their 30-minute egg, but if you choose an option that doesn’t ADD THE EGG.
If you feel like taking a trek, Yama in Morgantown, West Virginia, is a delicious spot. And if you feel like taking an even longer trek, Ippudo (West Side for the win) and Totto Ramen in New York City are worth the six-hour+ drive. And if you have three days to spare, you can make your own with this Bon Appetit recipe.
Q. Visiting friends. Where are the best places to take a big group of girls visiting? – @madisbass
I love a good girls trip! Here’s a few (food and drink) ideas for a large group visiting Pittsburgh. Smallman Galley and Federal Galley are great options, because not only is there a lot of space, but there’s also a lot of different types of cuisines available at each, so no worrying about picky eaters. The new Cinderlands Warehouse is huge, and has a great upstairs lounge and patio area (and a really fantastic menu). Two places that I love for rooftop drinking with groups are Il Tetto, and Biergarten at the Hotel Monaco downtown – you’ll just find really fantastic vibes there, and the locations can’t be beat. And, if you’re looking for activities to do a group, we put together a great Bachelorette Party guide, with lots of good things to do with a group.
Q. Mocktail, anyone? I’m not drinking at the moment, and am looking for places that do really, really good non-alcoholic cocktails. Any ideas? – Elisabeth H.
Yes! So many good places to try. I’m not a big drinker myself, and am always testing out non-alcoholic drink ideas in bars. The bartenders at downtown’s new Bridges & Bourbon created a fantastic cucumber concoction for me the last time I visited, and the team at Bar Marco is also really adept at putting together a tasty non-alcoholic drink – just tell them what flavors you like, and leave it in their hands. Kevin Sousa’s Superior Motors has a full menu of non-alcoholic libations (Sousa spoke with Eater about the rise of mocktails), and the bartenders at Fl. 2 make great non-alcoholic drinks using their fresh-pressed juice combinations. But your best bet is always to chat up your bartender. I’ve said ‘surprise me with something good’ tons of times, and have almost always been… surprised with something good. Good luck!
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