Less expensive offerings are available throughout the city; however, those that are true destinations are in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh’s traditionally Jewish neighborhood and its Little Asia.
Chengdu Gourmet serves authentic Szechuan cuisine. Be sure to order from the Chinese menu (translated and with photos), and ask about the current fresh vegetable.
Everyday Noodles is known for their soup dumplings, as well as the wonderful noodles you can watch being made.
Northeastern Kitchen serves food in the a culinary tradition called Dongbei, dishes from China’s most northeastern province, Heilongjiang, which shares borders with North Korea and Siberia. Tofu hot pot is served bubbling with kelp, soft tofu and cabbage. Corn, a crop uncommon in most Chinese cooking, is a significant part of the regional economy and plays a role on this menu.
At Sakura Teppanyaki & Sushi it is the Chinese menu that local diners love. Despite its name, the restaurant touts its traditional Northwest Chinese cuisine, including Xinjiang Style Chicken, Shredded Pancake Lamb Soup, BBQ pork sandwich and Lamb Minced Noodle Soup (though it does also serve sushi).
The menu at Taiwanese Bistro Café 33 describes the delicious dishes’ ingredients. Tan Lac Vien Bistro offers a variety of pho, bun (noodle bowls without broth), banh hoi (vermicelli lettuce wraps), salad, satay, and a few vegan dishes.
Took Took 98 Thai Street Food provides tasty Thai dishes.
All of these restaurants are BYOB, and there is a state liquor store in Squirrel Hill at 1824 Murray Avenue. The Independent Brewing Company, at 1704-1706 Shady Avenue (across from Tiawanese Bistro Café 33), has beer to take away, as well as 16 taps and a full food menu by Executive Chef Jamilka Borges, a 2019 James Beard Foundation nominee for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. Next door is Hidden Harbor, Pittsburgh’s Tiki bar that also serves Caribbean small bites.
Ki Ramen in Lawrenceville is a slightly more upscale option with a bar and truly excellent noodle dishes. It remains a less expensive restaurant with distinctive cuisine. Its nearby sister, Ki Pollo, has more limited hours, no bar, but good empanadas (some vegetarian) and fried chicken.
Tana Ethiopian Cuisine in the gentrifying neighborhood of East Liberty is another less expensive and delicious option.