Each month we ask one of our favorite Pittsburghers the question:

If you only had 24 hours to show a friend the best that urban Pittsburgh has to offer, where would you take them?

Leah Lizarondo

Food Writer and Activist,  The Brazen Kitchen,  http://www.brazenkitchen.com
Live: Stanton Heights
Work: East Liberty
How Long: 3 years


During the work week, I mostly eat breakfast at home but weekend brunch is a different story. It’s a great way to indulge and celebrate weekends. My top brunch places are Eden in Shadyside – great veg, gluten free and raw food that even omnivores will love; Square Café in Regent Square – a breakfast all day menu that is nothing short of phenomenal; Zenith in the Southside and Tin Front Café in Homestead are worth venturing out of the East End for. There are many brunch options but there is only one for coffee: Espresso a Mano.


For a quick bite downtown, nothing beats Bluebird Kitchen with its amazing array of whole-food, fresh, hand made food that changes daily. My favorites are the Thai Tomato Soup, the whole grain and vegetable sides, and of course, the fresh potato chips that are hard to say no to. If you have time to linger for a little bit, Habitat downtown is a great place to relax before you get on with the work day. If I’m in the Strip District I always love to get the beans and greens from Enrico’s and the Jamaican Green Curry Vegetables at Kaya. Closer to home, I love to go to Park Bruges in Highland Park for amazing salads and my favorite frites in Pittsburgh.


I have been going to Casbah since the first time I moved to Pittsburgh. I have left and come back and still think its one of the most consistent restaurants in town. Great Mediterranean food paired with an amazing wine selection. Root 174 is a little restaurant in Regent Square that always has a couple of surprises up its sleeve – I am addicted to the Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze. I love Legume, its truly a modern Pittsburgh classic. I recently had a crispy farro with grilled radicchio dish that was divine. In Highland Park, E2 is just plain good – beautiful and messy Mediterranean food made to be shared.


Tamari in Lawrenceville has the best Happy Hour in town, hands down. I’m a grazer so this is the perfect opportunity for me to grab a drink, a little appetizer and segue right into dinner. The Livermore in East Liberty has a nice neighborhood vibe and if I didn’t make any plans, I always head over to Bar Marco where I’m sure to run into people I know. If you love tequila, Verde in Garfield is the place to go. And if I want to leave my fate in the hands of the bartender, Salt and Harvard & Highland never disappoint.