One of the more recent additions to Penn Avenue is the remarkable Gaucho Parrilla Argentina, a wood-fired grille where seats fill up fast, because Gaucho’s protein-heavy menu draws a crowd any time of year. It’s BYOB to go with your lomo, chorizo or pescado.

At the other end of The Strip is an eco- and ethically-conscious halal butcher shop owned by the Salem family, and right next door, Salem’s Market and Grille serves some of the best Mediterranean cuisine cooked to order. Grab your curries to go or sit and enjoy your spanakopita at a table. It’s not fancy but it’s very good.

And make a DINNER Reservation.

Yes, The Strip is known for shutting down early if you’re grocery shopping or buying a cup of coffee. But dinner is available here, too. In fact, there is plenty of authentic foreign cuisine to choose from.

Reyna Foods, which sells Mexican meal provisions in their store and tacos from their street stand, now features a restaurant downstairs. Casa Reyna has colorful tile, big wooden tables, a giant menu of Mexican dishes and margaritas that come by the carafe.

Pho Van is one of the few places in Pittsburgh to get Vietnamese cuisine—delicious noodle soups and bowls of vermicelli with no-nonsense service. Linger as long as you like with a pot of Dragon Eye Oolong tea because if there’s no crowd, there’s no reason to leave.

Little Bangkok is The Strip’s Thai food restaurant where you can find anything from Pad Thai to the most traditional dishes served just as they are in Bangkok.

The wood-fired oven at Cafe Enrico. Photo by Rob Larson.

The wood-fired oven at Cafe Enrico. Photo by Rob Larson.

Across the Street from The Cork Factory Lofts is Cioppino, a restaurant and cigar bar that features a seafood and chophouse style menu and posh atmosphere. The wine list at the bar is extensive and there is usually some live entertainment to enjoy. Next door is the very pleasant Osteria 2350 on Smallman St., where you can often find a last minute table on weekend evenings. The menu ranges from meatballs to antipasta and pizza–all quite good and reasonably priced–and the wine and beer selection is first rate.

Roland’s occupies a big wide space in The Strip and features a very big bar and seating upstairs and on the deck. Here you’ll find seafood, soups and sandwiches, including their signature lobster rolls.

Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grill is the newest addition to the Wholey family business. Reserve a table for dinner (they fill up fast) and choose from an endless menu of seafood—fresh catch, oysters, sushi, crab, scallops. If you’re looking for a place to watch the game, post up on the bar side where you can order anything on the full menu, including lobster pizza.

A few doors down, Bar Marco now occupies the old firehouse building. Now famous for their no-tipping policy which begins in April, the mixologists behind the bar like to create their own cocktail for you. Come for No Menu Monday when the restaurant owners swap out their menu for that of a local chef.

You can never go wrong at Lidia’s Pittsburgh, a beautiful restaurant with outstanding Italian food. Yes, it’s owned by the famous Lidia Bastianich and the gorgeous interior was designed by David Rockwell. Try the pasta tastings and the Osso Buco.

At Eleven Contemporary Kitchen it’s usually necessary to make a reservation except in the stylish and comfortable bar area which is a great place to hang. For over a decade, this restaurant—with Chef Derek Steven’s culinary innovations made from local ingredients and the staff’s flawless execution—has been a favorite choice for those looking to celebrate an occasion or enjoy an evening out. Try one of the two tasting menus, and for the full experience, don’t skip out on the wine pairing. Both Eleven and Lidia’s are open for lunch, too.

Savoy, with its lush interior and lively bar is quite popular with the dinner crowd and has valet parking plus a lot next door. Enjoy live music and a big menu ranging from Delmonico steak to seafood and chicken marsala.

At the end of the Strip closest to town, in the 1200 block of Penn, is Sushi Kim for Japanese and Korean food, including of course, sushi.

What you might not know about dining in The Strip District

Harp & Fiddle has free wings at happy hour on Fridays. You can grab take out, buy a growler and sit down to dine at East End Brewery’s Growler Shop in The Pittsburgh Public Market. Leaf & Bean is the only place in The Strip where you can get a coffee (or fresh beans) after 5 p.m. At Marty’s Market you can grocery shop, get a coffee, build your own terrarium or sit down and order off the menu at the Café. Lucy, who’s in her 70s, runs a food stand (weather permitting), and she will make you the best banh mi in the city. She’s one of the best things about The Strip and that’s saying a lot.