Pittsburgh’s restaurant boom has put the city on the national food map. Yinzers are foodies now, and we’re all searching for the next great gourmet taco or build-your-own burger joint. But luckily, there’s no shortage of healthy hot spots either.
So, round up your running group and prepare to chow down on your favorite farm-fresh grub. These local restaurants are serving up the healthiest cuisine that the Burgh has to offer.
Discover this hidden gem tucked above Round Corner Cantina in Lawrenceville. Trust us, the Japanese street food joint will change the way you eat sushi. Need a pick? Order a hand roll — a seaweed cone filled with your favorite fish and skewered with a soy sauce-filled pipette. Or, amp up your protein intake with a Robatayaki meat skewer. Each dish is plated beautifully, so you may wanna sneak an Instagram shot when the waiter’s not looking.
To know honeygrow is to love it. If you haven’t experienced this East Liberty hot spot yet, you’re missing out on some serious stir-fry and salads. Choose one of the flavorful menu options or go rogue and customize your own creation from the ground up. Have we mentioned the honeybar? Satisfy your sweet tooth with natural sugars like fruit, honey, and added toppings.
East End Food Co-op
Skip Whole Foods and spend some quality time on Pittsburgh’s East Side. This co-op stocks its shelves with hundreds of local food products and may even offer the city’s largest selection of vegan and vegetarian foods. The groceries are great, but the cafe steals the show. A smoothie bar, espresso bar, and hot foods bar packed into one market? It’s any foodie’s dream. Catch their vegan pancakes on the weekends for a healthier alternative to a breakfast classic.
This is NOT your grandma’s Indian restaurant. Choolaah, a fast-casual Indian BBQ spot in East Liberty is bringing a modern twist to classic Indian meals with customizable tandoor BBQ bowls, salads, wraps, and snacks that feature tangy masalas and fresh-baked Naan (um, yum!). And don’t worry if your vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, or gluten-free — they’ve got plenty of options for you, too. Hello, veggie croquettes. Bonus: their open kitchen concept lets you watch your meal being made in their custom tandoor ovens. Get ready to eat happy.
The Porch goes beyond simply sourcing fresh ingredients from local vendors. This Oakland restaurant’s very own rooftop is also home to a garden of herbs, produce, and beehives. From garden to kitchen to table, their method is as sustainability focused as it gets. Plus, the Porch’s ever-changing menu offers salads, entrées, even pizzas, prepared with seasonal spices and vegetables.
If you (like the rest of the world) love avocado toast, B52 is your spot. The thick, crunchy toast and mashed avocado are somehow made better by a tahini drizzle that turns the flavor profile on its head. But don’t stop there — keep the goods coming with the kale-packed Kofta Tofu Scramble. Top it all off with kombucha made in-house, and you’ll leave the Lawrenceville eatery feeling your healthiest yet.
Feelin’ fancy? Head to Floor 2 for healthy and high-end eats. Accurately named, the second floor of downtown’s Fairmont hotel is open to both guests and the general public. Adventurous eaters, order your favorite seafood from the raw bar. If that’s not your thing, no worries. Floor 2 has an entire menu section for vegetables alone, so you can get your greens in while dining in style.
Lawrenceville is home to some of the city’s trendiest restaurants. The Vandal is no exception. Described as “hyper-seasonal”, this cafe hopes to build a connection between farmers and foodies. And the head chef’s Hungarian heritage helps create an Eastern European menu you won’t find anywhere else. The dishes may change every couple of weeks, but The Vandal’s Instagram page keeps locals in the loop with mouth-watering snapshots.
A vegetarian cafe with a killer brunch, this part restaurant, part art gallery, part antique shop considers itself South Side’s best-kept secret. Zenith packs your favorite foods (pasta, burgers, barbecue, you name it) with tons of vegetables and plant-based proteins. Try the Calypso Burrito for a sweet, yet zesty, vegan dish that’ll send your taste buds into overdrive. Before leaving, re-caffeinate with of the cafe’s unique tea blends.
Think Panera-style cafe, but with a fresh and creative menu. EatUnique is a go-to North Oakland spot for handmade soups and sandwiches that won’t drown you in grease. Looking for a recommendation? The Sweet Bean Hummus sandwich is of another world. Seriously, it’s that good. Homemade hummus combined with veggies and cranberries create an odd combination that somehow just works.
Haven’t given in to the juice and acai craze yet? Now’s your chance. Salúd brings beautiful, colorful creations to the table, yet, they taste even better than they look. And no matter where you live, you’re sure to find one nearby. The Sewicky juicery is also servin’ up its health-forward goods in Oakland, Lawrenceville, Shadyside, Aspinwall, South Pointe, and even State College. First-timers, you can’t go wrong with the sweet and filling P-Bee Bowl — what better way to get in a healthy dose of bee pollen?
Serving authentic Turkish flavors on the bustling Ellsworth strip, Daphne’s cozy atmosphere is perfect for a relaxed lunch. Take in the cafe’s warm colors and intricate designs over a kebab platter. Looking to soak up the rare Pittsburgh sunshine? Check out the outdoor patio to bask in some much-needed rays.
OTB Bicycle Cafe
Grab a few beers and a bite to eat at this bike-friendly pub with a killer menu. Find yourself near East Carson St.? Keep it clean with the uber-healthy South Side selections. Plus, their designated paleo menu was curated with the help of CrossFit Athletics, so you know it means business. For those craving some early morning grub, hit up the North Park location instead for a Sunrise Scramble cooked with your favorite veggies.
Chop Shop Salad Shop
Add one more name to the list of Pittsburgh’s growing food truck scene. Each salad built by Chop Shop features crisp, local fruits and veggies drizzled with house-made dressing. And if you ask us, the Mediterranean Salad is unlike any other — falafel balls mixed perfectly with greens and chickpeas for a taste that’s savory, yet refreshing. Can’t track down the truck? Check out their Facebook page for all the details on where to find this feel-good food around the community.
If you like hummus, you’re in for a treat. This family-run restaurant has blessed North Oakland with authentic Middle Eastern food for 45 years. Looking for clean and fresh? Try the sleek. This mixture of kale, bulgur wheat, black-eyed peas, and caramelized onion is cooked daily to melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Mix with a side of hummus — your taste buds will thank us.
Reed & Co.
Looking for a quick bite or AM pick-me-up? Reed & Co. takes fast casual to a whole new level by adding vegan eats, fresh coffee, and pressed juices to the mix. No matter what you order, this Butler St. cafe won’t disappoint. Plus, they’ve got vegan nachos topped with cashew cheese and coconut bacon — what more could you ask for?
Coca Café is the go-to healthy brunch spot in Lawrenceville. And with a rotating seasonal menu, they’ve got something for everyone. Vegetarian eats? Check. Gluten-free pancakes? You bet. And if you’ve got your eye on a dish that doesn’t quite work with your diet — no worries. The staff is always down to swap out ingredients to create a better alternative that’ll fit with any lifestyle.
Bitter Ends Garden & Luncheonette
Bitter Ends gives farm-to-table a whole new meaning. Owners of this Liberty Ave. luncheonette, who also tend to a farm in Verona, deliver their home-grown ingredients straight to Bloomfield to create one-of-a-kind dishes for the whole East End community. But they’re servin’ up more than just veggies here. Stop in for snacks and sandwiches, local coffee, baked goods, and some friendly conversation. The best part? The menu changes daily, so you can get a new fresh and healthy meal with each visit.
Kahuna Poke and Juice Bar
Next time you’re looking for your raw fish fix, head to this East Liberty spot for healthy and affordable creations. The best part? The whole process is completely customizable — think Chipotle, but for sushi. Start with a rice or veggie base, then build up your masterpiece. Choose from tuna, tofu, and everything in between before loading up on mix-ins like pineapple or edamame. Top with your favorite sauce for the bowl of your dreams. And if you’re looking for something to wash it all down, we recommend a cold-pressed juice or hand-crafted cocktail to seal the deal.
**Updated by Cassidy Zimmerman, October 2018