Because I am perpetually behind with my Pittsburgh restaurant review posts…
My parents were visiting around the Christmas holiday and the big decision always is deciding where to eat with them. (The other night they’re here, my mom and I always make a fantastic meal; this visit was Omani cuisine and it was magnificent.) After coming up with the idea to visit Clayton, the Pittsburgh mansion of robber baron Henry Clay Frick since we hadn’t been in about a decade, Pino’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar seemed ideal. It’s also located in the Point Breeze neighborhood but more importantly, my parents had never been and D and I had never eaten a proper dinner there (we attended a Pittsburgh Restaurant Week event there one year but it consisted mainly of snacks).
One of the greatest things about Pino’s is that it’s truly a family owned and operated business. It’s run by Joe, otherwise known as Chef Pino, and his wife Jen who, according to the website, have been married 21 years and have been business partners for 19 of them! In this day and age that’s truly rare and worth mentioning, I thought. You go to Olive Garden, your business supports a huge restaurant corporation. You come to Pino’s, a neighborhood eatery, you’re supporting a locally owned business.
We dined there on Dec. 30 and they were featuring their special New Year’s Eve menu. Even better was that you could order a la carte from any of the items on said New Year’s Eve menu.
Being a wine bar, the wine list is obviously quite extensive but they also have a decent array of cocktails and beers on draft too. I ended up getting a Negroni which was extremely tasty.
Since there were four of us, there was a large amount of food ordered so I’m just going to give a rundown of it and note whether or not it was on the New Year’s Eve menu.
Both my parents and I ordered the Arancini, an arborio rice ball consisting of sweet peas and stuffed with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. Options are a single ($4) or a double ($8). I could eat these all the time and they are one of the main reasons I want to go to Sicily.
D opted for the New Year’s Eve three course meal and for his appetizer selected a salmon dip. He’s been obsessed with the fish ever since our Alaska cruise. It came with toasted flatbreads.
For my entree I selected a chicken ravioli dish from the New Year’s Eve menu. It was delicious and a welcome change from the standard red/white pasta sauces. It was accompanied by sauteed mushrooms.
My mom also ordered a dish off of the New Year’s Eve menu, the Eggplant Rollatini. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of her leftovers later that week. Eggplant rollatini has been a favorite of mine ever since I had it for brunch at Palo on a Disney cruise. Like all the pasta dishes, you get to choose the type of pasta you want, either thick spaghetti noodles or casarecce.
While he was sorely tempted by the red and white pizza offerings (these range from $16-$20), D stuck with the New Year’s Eve menu and got a steak dish for his entree (I really need to write down the actual specifics of what people order as months later I completely forget). He was thoroughly pleased and sated afterwards.
My dad ordered one of his favorites, the Bolognese, which was made using creste de gallo pasta ($23).
For dessert, we got two orders of the sinfully delicious Tiramisu. One can die a happy death when it involves tiramisu.
While the restaurant had gotten considerably busier during the course of our time there, service remained wonderfully attentive. Everything we had tasted sublime and even though I should have made it back a lot sooner than I did, I’m glad that I was able to take my parents there too for I know they thoroughly enjoyed everything about the meal as well. For as the lyrics from the famous Billy Joel song “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” go-
I’ll meet you any time you want
In our Italian Restaurant
And that, folks, could be Pino’s.
Pino’s Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
6738 Reynolds Street | Pittsburgh, PA
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