6 new Pittsburgh-area eateries to try this spring | TribLIVE.com

6 new Pittsburgh-area eateries to try this spring

Tawnya Panizzi
Jan Pakler | For the Tribune-Review
Executive Chef Benjamin Sloan makes homemade pasta at Alta Via restaurant in O’Hara.
Jan Pakler | For the Tribune-Review
The Alta Via Restaurant in O’Hara.

Spring is in bloom, and so is the Pittsburgh-area restaurant scene.

Here are six new eateries around the region to try.


Alta Via, O’Hara

Diners salivating for the opening of big Burrito’s modern Italian restaurant in Fox Chapel Plaza must wait no longer.

Alta Via, the intimate eatery, which touts “the hearth as the heart,” opened April 1 and ended anticipation for foodies longing to nosh on handmade gnocchi and gelato.

The upscale eatery is nestled along Fox Chapel Road in the space formerly occupied by Donato’s.

A 90-seat dining area with a horseshoe-shaped bar, Alta Via is named for a footpath through the Dolomite mountains in northeastern Italy.

Corporate Chef Bill Fuller said the menu explores Italian cooking in a way that reflects a fresh, clean and active lifestyle, much like those found in the California wine country and the mountain towns of the Italian Alps.

Focused around a wood-fired hearth and pasta made in-house daily, menu specialties include mushroom Bolognese Mafaldine and tortellini with La Quercia Speck.

Each dish is imbued with an earthy warmth and subtle smokiness, according to the website.

Prolific across Pittsburgh, big Burrito operates the ever-popular Mad Mex and several other restaurants including Kaya, Eleven and Soba.

Ben Sloan, formerly of Kaya, will move into the executive chef position at Alta Via.

For more, visit altaviapgh.com.


Ba-Co, Strip District

Think outside the shell with a stop at Ba-Co, housed in the Strip District’s Smallman Galley.

Designed by Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Tim Dominick, these aren’t your typical tortillas.

Launched this year in the 21st Street restaurant accelerator, Ba-Co touts itself as a street taco concept with a southern twist.

“Not Your Grandma’s” taco features southern hot chicken, slaw with honey and confit garlic aioli, pimento cheese and pickled red onions.

There’s an option for veggie-lovers too, filled with rubbed and roasted cauliflower, sweet beetroot pepper sauce, sultanas, black bean and corn picadillo, cilantro and house-fermented red cabbage.

A Pittsburgh native who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, Dominick developed a passion for Mexican food while stationed in California.

Upon his return to the ‘Burgh, Dominick worked at Ditka’s in Robinson Township, the Duquesne Club and Nemacolin Woodlands.

He opened the artisan taco company earlier this year in the space formerly occupied by plant-based restaurant, Crumb.

Of course, not all of the menu items are enveloped in a tortilla. Other specialties include loaded fries with brisket or chorizo, or, mac and cheese with cheddar sauce and crème fraiche.

For more, visit smallmangalley.org/restaurants/ba-co.

Doce Taqueria, Ross

Recognizing the popularity of its South Side taco shop, the owners of Doce Taqueria are opening a second location along McKnight Road in Ross.

Chef Alex Balint, a resident of the North Hills area, will bring his piled-high tortilla dishes to the former Boston Market space, across from Target.

The family-friendly space will offer beef, chicken and vegan varieties smothered with the diner’s choice of cholulo creama, farmers cheese or pico de gallo, among others. A fish taco will be added to the new menu.

An outdoor patio will complement the large dining area speckled with bright colors.

Balint promises an expansive drink list when the site opens in May or June.

For more, visit docetaqueria.com.

Sugar Spell Scoops, Sharpsburg

Foodie Amanda Burk cast her magic on the Pittsburgh region with its first vegan ice cream shop, Sugar Spell Scoops, in Sharpsburg.

At 1014 North Canal St., Burk is crafting cashew-based, dairy-free goodness in flavors like almond butter maple cookie and pistachio caramel.

A featured sundae, “Welcome Spring” is made with ice cream scoops, green coconut grass, PB Magic Shell, marshmallows and sprinkles.

Sugar Spell Scoops debuted three years ago at the Pittsburgh VegFest and has been seen around town at festivals and pop-up shops, making a name for themselves with quirky unicorn cakes and other decadent treats – all cruelty-free.

Some might have sampled the treats, which sell in pints at Soergel’s Orchards in Wexford, or, at the Harry Potter-themed SharpsMeade festival in Sharpsburg.

Revelers on Facebook appear to enjoy the uniquely designed flavors, like the floats made with horchata ice cream to mark Cinco De Mayo.

Sandwiched between the borough’s popular breweries Dancing Gnome and Hitchhiker Brewing, the shop is open weekends only during winter but is expected to expand hours as temperatures climb.

For more, visit facebook.com/sugarspellscoops.

Garbarino’s, East Liberty

Anyone who loves authentic Italian cuisine should be counting down the days to the opening of Garbarino’s, a trattoria and wine bar scheduled to open April 12 in East Liberty.

Chef Andrew Garbarino will bring family recipes from Genoa, Italy to the Baum Boulevard location shared by the popular The Twisted Frenchman.

The name is a nod to the legendary Long Island eatery, run by Garbarino’s aunt, but the recipes will be a twist on family favorites. Specials will include hand-made pastas, complimentary garlic bread, chicken piccata and gnocchi ratatouille with fresh veggies. There are gluten-free options and pasta substitutions for diners on restricted diets.

Educated at the Culinary Institute of America, Garbarino worked previously at Spoon in East Liberty and Il Pizzaiolo in Mt. Lebanon. The Johnstown native plans to serve Italian beer, Peroni, along with fine wines.

Campari USA and Aperol will sponsor happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. to mark the grand opening.

To book a reservation, visit opentable.com.

Two Sisters Vietnamese Kitchen, East Liberty

Churning out traditional dishes of bun bo hue and beef shank, Two Sisters Vietnamese Kitchen is a bustling spot that recently opened along North Highland Avenue.

With recipes passed down from their Vietnamese restaurateur grandparents, siblings Trinh Phan and Trang Somphomaphakdy envision their eatery as somewhere families can socialize over a meal.

Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, the restaurant specializes in pho, the trendy noodle bowl.

Other featured items include jasmine rice bowls accented with pickled carrots and cauliflower, and kohlrabi salad.

For Atlantic City natives Phan and Somphomaphakdy, cooking is truly a family affair. Their nieces own grab-n-go sandwich shop Bánh Mì & Tí in Lawrenceville.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121 x1512, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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