Best Cheap Places to Eat in Pittsburgh

Traveling to Pittsburgh soon? Make sure to bring your appetite because in addition to the many pubs and bars serving craft beers and creative cocktail concoctions, the city is also well known for its innovative food scene. Visitors will also find that the best cheap Pittsburgh restaurants are aplenty and not that hard to find. With that in mind, here are some suggestions to consider when looking for cheap grub.

Poutine at Meat and Potatoes. Cheap Pittsburgh Restaurants
Poutine at Meat and Potatoes

Best Cheap Pittsburgh Restaurants

Meat Lover’s Delight

One of the city’s most popular spots is a gastropub on Penn Ave simply called Meat and Potatoes. However, don’t let the name fool you. Despite its plain labeling, the food here is anything but plain. The restaurant prides itself on offering comfort food with style. Items like pork belly tacos and French toast with bacon and almond brittle are some of its most popular entrees. Most items from the menu averages around $12 but portions are large enough to share. That amounts to as little as $6 per person per plate!

Tessaro's Bacon and Mushroom Burger
Tessaro’s Bacon and Mushroom Burger

In a quintessential sports town like Pittsburgh, having great burgers on the menu is practically a must and at Tessaro’s, that’s exactly what you will find. This American bar and grill is one of the best cheap places to eat in Pittsburgh and is consistently rated by locals as having the best burgers in the city. The patties are 100% freshly ground beef and cooked to order on their infamous hardwood grill. Tessaro’s also offers salads, entrees, and a variety of hearty sandwiches to choose from. Burger prices start at $8.75.

Tom Yum Hotpot
Tom Yum Hotpot

New and Adventurous Cuisines

If you’re staying at one of the many downtown Pittsburgh hotels like the Courtyard by Marriott Pittsburgh Downtown, you’ll likely hear about this authentic Thai restaurant known for its fresh ingredients. Nicky’s Thai Kitchen’s downtown location sits right on Penn Ave and is a favorite among locals craving for spicy delicacies from the far east. In addition to its downtown location, it also has one at North Side close to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the National Aviary. Its standout favorites include basil tilapia and pineapple curry. Rice and noodle dishes start at $12 which makes it one of the best cheap Pittsburgh restaurants.

Dish at Conflict Kitchen
Dish at Conflict Kitchen

The Conflict Kitchen started as a project by an art professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Its concept is a unique one—to only feature food related to cuisines where the United States is in conflict. Its current offerings feature Haudenosaunee Confederacy food (also known as the Iroquois) but the restaurant also featured Cuban, Venezuelan, and Iranian cuisines in the past. Despite the number of countries the USA find itself in conflict with the restaurant only rotates its menu twice a year. The Conflict Kitchen is also a take-out only establishment, located in the city’s Cultural District, right next to the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. The restaurant has developed a steady following and everything on the menu remains less than $12.

Grilles Scallops at Penn Ave Fish Co.
Grilles Scallops at Penn Ave Fish Co.

From Sea to Plate

In addition to being one of the best cheap Pittsburgh restaurants, you are guaranteed to consume the freshest seafood while dining at one of Penn Ave Fish Company’s restaurant locations. You can have your pick of fish sandwiches, from traditional English style cod to barbecued swordfish. Visitors trying to cut down on carbohydrates can opt for a salad topped with blackened tilapia or grilled scallops instead.

Another spot to get fresh seafood is the Strip District, which doubles as a seafood market. If you’re the type who wants to know exactly where your food is coming from, this is the place. Patrons can literally see how their lunch or dinner is prepared. The Strip District truly is one of the best cheap places to eat in Pittsburgh if only for the variety of fish sandwiches and salads offering. Sandwiches start at $8 and the place allows for guests to bring their own beverages. Everything on the regular menu will be enough to make your mouth water but keep an eye for the daily specials handwritten on the blackboard as well.

For more tips on planning your culinary adventure to Pittsburgh, check out the Visit Pittsburgh website or the Fodor’s guide to the top things to do in Pittsburgh.

About Iris A


Born in the Philippines, but grew up in Texas, Iris has been traveling and writing about her experiences for well over a decade. Her work has been published on well-known travel sites like Hipmunk (#hipmunkcitylove) and D Magazine Online Travel Club. She has been all over Europe, the US, and has recently started exploring Latin America. She loves trying local cuisine and visiting UNESCO deemed World Heritage sites. Her favourite city is New York, with London, following a close 2nd. You can follow her on Twitter @sundeeiris or through her travel blog, Traveling With Iris.

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