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DiAnoia's Eatery in Pittsburgh (Strip District)

From the outside it looks like a garage or a diner/cafeteria style joint, but I assure you at DiAnoia's Eatery in the Strip District, right here in Pittsburgh, Pa. you will have the best Italian food you've ever had outside Italy. 

Appetizer: Cauliflower baked in a ricotta/pesto sauce
First course(s): Squid ink spaghetti with oil & garlic
Papardelle in a veal osso buco ragu
Main course: Roasted Branzino 
Dessert: assorted Italian cookies and espresso

I don't even know where to start other than to say DiAnoia's knocked it dead on absolutely every one of these dishes. To me the real highlight of the meal was the squid ink spaghetti. It's not something you find very often on menus in this country, and it's not for everyone. But these guys nailed it; the homemade noodles (black) would have been tasty enough on their own, but the come in a nice, light garlic and oil sauce, tossed with pieces of fresh, lightly roasted squid. Unbelievable.

Points as well for the spacious, open atmosphere that makes it feel like a communal setting without feeling like you're eating on top of the table next to you, as it feels like in a lot of "trattorias" in this country. 

You think of Italian food and Italian restaurants in this country and you tend think of red sauce, the little shaker of pepper flakes, the bottle of Chianti in the wicker bottle, the checked table cloth, etc. etc. or else the way-too-expensive-for-no-reason places where they try to fancy-up things which should not be fancied up (the dime-sized portion of beef carpaccio or the pesto gelato) and/or subscribe to the less-is-more phenomenon that is the antithesis of Italian culture. DiAnoia's is neither of these. 

Instead, it's a really refreshing take on contemporary Italian cuisine. It's obvious that a great deal of attention is paid to the food -- little details like the perfectly roasted potatoes with the Branzino; you can't fake that kind of care -- but without the pretentiousness and without sacrificing that "right from grandma's kitchen" feeling that will always be inextricably tied to Italian cooking. And all of it done in a cool, relaxed atmosphere that, in the true Italian style, while it may have been carefully cultivated and practiced, looks like it all fell together effortlessly. 

Even got a free cookie at the end of the meal!


Anonymous said…
Sounds fantastic, can't wait to try it!

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