Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Columbus lunch and dinner spot recs (good glass/coravin/or half bottle list +/- great cocktail list ideal)?

I will be traveling to and from each of these three cities on business in the next couple of months and will be arriving or departing on a schedule that would allow me to enjoy a very fine lunch (and on perhaps a couple of occasions dinner) solo. Looking for spots with really excellent food and ideally wine service as well. Budget is high but not limitless. Any recs?

For what it’s worth, I would also be down for any kind of incredible food or incredible spot that would not lend itself to wine as much as well.

Hoping to have at least a couple of reservations set up for when I fly in/out soon!

1 Like

I’m not really sure about lunch, most higher end restaurants
here are mostly open for dinner. I would consider pusadee’s garden, altius, meat and potatoes, apteka, Lilith, morcilla, and some others.

We ate at Fet Fisk last night, very good and we’re going back. like Michael said very few of the best restaurants are open for lunch. Alta Via, Italian in Market Square, is open for lunch along with the chain steak houses downtown.

the larder in cleveland is a must for lunch. no alcohol there that i can remember, it is good enough for the likes of thomas keller and daniel boulud to visit however.

cent’s pizza is also pretty cool if you are into a younger crowd and more natty wines.


Currently, Cordelia is my favorite. The chef is in the running for James Beard Best Chef- Great Lakes.
Love the diverse menu.

If you want to splurge, Cru Uncorked. They have fantastic food and a pretty amazing wine program. We occasionally go for a small bite and drink and sit in the bar area, which is really nice. They have a beautiful patio, as well.

1 Like

I’m a Pittsburgh native, but haven’t lived there since 2017. My family is still there so I go back frequently enough to check in on my favorite restaurants.

Casbah, East Liberty/Shadyside - This is a “lick your plate clean” establishment. This is a favorite of ours for dinner. Sizable wine list. Must go.

Eleven, Strip District - Another favorite of ours. Great food, and another great wine list.

Gaucho, Cultural District (Downtown) - At one point, Gaucho was my favorite restaurant in the United States. Since then, they’ve moved and expanded and changed their model a bit. When they were in the Strip District, there was always a line around the block to get in. If you’re looking for somewhere to try, I suggest popping in here for lunch to feel it out, and then come back for dinner. When I was there last before they relocated, they had a small drink list but BYOB was available for a $10-$20 corkage. The provaletta is a must order. I’d recommend the rosemary braised beef sandwich for lunch and a ribeye for dinner. Get a few sides.

Tako - Cultural District (Downtown) - There was a time when Tako had a 30+ day wait list. I know what you’re thinking. Tacos…in Pittsburgh? This restaurant is owned by a small restaurant group. This particular one is right next to a whiskey bar that they also own. You could pop in here for a casual dinner as well if reservations are easy to come by. Incredible food.

I’ll also +1 Meat & Potatoes with the caveat that I haven’t been there in a long time. Owned by the same group that owns Tako. That restaurant helped breathe some much needed culinary life into Pittsburgh that became, in my opinion, the starting point for the city’s food renaissance. I don’t think I knew bone marrow was edible until walking in there in 2012 :joy:

Hit me up when you are in Columbus and I’ll be happy to share a bottle from my cellar. On restaurants, my favorite right now is Agni:

It is a small list, but the somm, Jared Kraus, does an amazing job of having it curated that everything is great:

Also I would recommend Veritas:

They also own the wine shop next door, Accent Wine, and have a top wine program and a much larger list:

The largest wine list in Columbus is The Refectory, but it is overpriced and the food isn’t as good as the first two mentioned:

Also in Columbus, I would highly recommend Bethia and Andy’s Columbus Food Tours:

Bethia started a project in graduate school at OSU where she started tracking and reviewing taco trucks, and from there, they started reviewing every hole-in-the-wall ethnic place. Truly some hidden gems.