We asked savvy businessman, local restaurant owner (current tally: 12), and irrepressible Pittsburgh champion Herky Pollock to share the dishes he enjoys the most in this food-loving town. He shares some of the most memorable plates of the last year with TABLE readers.

Herky Pollock Shares His Favorite Pittsburgh Food

Lobster Mac & Cheese / Ritual House

524 William Penn Place, Downtown 

What better place to launch into this list than through the happening Downtown eatery that’s inspired by my travels as well as my passion for Pittsburgh. This dish defines decadence, bringing together claw and knuckle lobster meat, blue claw crab meat, five-cheese mac and cheese, sherry cream sauce, and parmesan panko.

Crispy Tofu / Soba

5847 Ellsworth Ave, Shadyside

The combination of sweet and crunchy makes this incredible choice a standout, served inside a reappointed brick row house in Shadyside. Vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike can savor the flavorful combo of jalapeño, peanuts, cilantro, and lemongrass sauce.

Rock Shrimp / Umi

5849 Ellsworth Ave, Shadyside

Whether you settle in at the maple wood sushi bar or cozy up at a traditional tatami table, you’ll find that this classic dish is been done to perfection at Umi. Here, guests choose to dine Umi Family Style or omakase, and additional items can be ordered à la carte.

Crispy Cod / Barcelona Wine Bar 

922 Penn Ave, Downtown

Who doesn’t love cod done with a crispy skin? Enjoy it inside this venue ideal for groups and celebratory evening: a Downtown hot-spot that’s a recent arrival in the Pittsburgh scene. Think sharable tapas, heartier large plates, decadent desserts, creative cocktails, and of course a wine list heavily featuring Spanish and South American varietals.

Morty’s Steakhouse Burger / Burgatory

Multiple locations

Imagine your favorite steak in the form of a hamburger. That’s what you’ll get at this friendly venue with multiple locations around town, including PPG Paints Arena and Heinz Field. (Tagline: “helluva burger and heavenly shakes.”) The eatery proudly steers clear of “frozen processed stuff” and works with local dairies, growers, butchers and bakers, too.

Pork Belly Steamed Buns / Noodlehead

242 South Highland Ave, Shadyside 

The texture and taste make this dish so delicious. In even better news, you can get these buns in a bustling and laid-back Shadyside restaurant (cash only) that’s inspired by the street markets of Thailand. It’s also BYOB, with only a 75-cents-per-person recycling fee.

Gnocchi Sorrentina Bread Bowl / DiAnoia’s Eatery

2549 Penn Ave, Strip District

Combining two loves—a bread bowl and gnocchi—makes this a standout. The now-famous bowl, created by chef/owner Dave Anoia, features handmade potato gnocchi tossed in a tomato cream sauce with fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, all united in a pizza dough “bowl.” (In October, try their autumnal special, the Gnocchi Pumpkin Bowl.)

Milanesa Torta / Bakersfield

940 Penn Avenue, Downtown

Who would expect such an amazing chicken sandwich from a taco joint? Bakersfield is a hub for Mexican street fare, whiskey, and tequila, yet it’s also making waves with this tasty combo: telera roll, black beans, house-made salsa verde, fried, crispy chicken cutlet, arugula, and avocado lemon mayo.

Veal Chop Milanese / Alla Famiglia

804 East Warrington Ave, Allentown

This combination is delectable, and also happens to be a house specialty at a wonderful Italian restaurant. This particular version of the veal chop comes paddle-thin, crumb-coated and pan-fried in clarified butter. It’s served with lemon, pignoli, and Indonesian blue lump crab.

Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare / Dish Osteria & Bar

128 South 17th St, South Side

An old classic is done with a modern, delicious flair. In a sleek setting, enjoy spaghetti with calamari, shrimp, scallops, mussels and Manila clams in white wine, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, parsley, and tomatoes.

Osteria Wedge Salad with Wagyu / Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse

247 North Shore Drive, North Side 

The secret here: Take a delicious wedge, and add slices of meaty heaven. This steakhouse’s setting between PNC Park and Heinz Field means you may just have the chance to dine alongside regional and national pro-athletes and coaches, sports media, and local celebs.

Asian Fried Chicken / Ritual House

524 William Penn Place, Downtown

I have to circle back to Ritual House. At my home away from home these days, tucked inside the grand Union Trust Building, a plate of Asian-inspired fried chicken with Szechuan syrup, Asian slaw, and micro basil hits the spot.

Khao Yum 17 Ingredient Mixed Salad / Pusadee’s Garden 

5319 Butler St, Lawrenceville

Flavors explode in this memorable 17-ingredient dish, meaning you’ll leave already plotting your next return. The magical setting sure doesn’t hurt, especially on a sun-soaked day when the garden area is bustling with happy diners savoring the tranquil scene.

Story by Herky Pollock / Photography by Dave Bryce

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