Skip to main content

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!

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review: "The Apologizer" by Milan Kundera

Issue: May 4, 2015

Rating: $$

Review: It took me five years and three separate attempts to finish Milan Kundera's famous novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but in spite of that, quotes and insights from that book still rattle round my head on a weekly basis. What I mean to say is: my feelings on Kundera are very similar to my feelings on Haruki Murakami. I enjoy reading his work, but in small doses, like this short story.

Like Murakami, Kundera uses elements of magical realism, but where in a Murakami story you might encounter a flying dolphin or a disappearing hotel or a person who has lived his whole life in the same room, refusing to leave, Kundera's magical realism offers more direct insights and perspective on real life.

In Kundera's worlds, time and space are malleable and everything that ever happened in history is happening at the same time, and the narrator is a completely omniscient, caring, witty, and hands-on god-like being.

And so it is with "The Apo…

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "Meet the President!" by Zadie Smith

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. If you told me when I was 12 that I'd be doing this I'd have been like, "Dork. There's no such thing as blogs," and I'd have been right...

Issue: Aug. 12 & 19, 2013

Story: "Meet the President!"

Author:Zadie Smith

(Please note: I've developed a highly sophisticated grading system, which I'll be using from now on.  Each story will now receive a Final Grade of either READ IT or DON'T READ it. See the bottom of the review for this story's grade...after you've read the review, natch.)

Plot: Set in England, far into the future (lets say 2113) a privileged youth of 15, named Bill Peek, encounters a few poor villagers from a small, abandoned coastal town on the southeast shore. He meets a little girl named Aggie, who is going to her sister's funeral. Peek is cut-off from real life by a sophisticated video game system that is implanted in his head, therefore th…

Saying Goodbye to The Wellington (from afar)

My favorite bar in Indianapolis -- and probably my favorite bar ever -- The Wellington, closed it's doors forever yesterday. I found out via a text message from my good friend Chris on Tuesday. I hoped I would have enough time to go back to Indy and have one last pint in The Wellington's cozy, wood-paneled interior, and commune one last time with the bar that was like a second home to my friends and I during grad school, but there was not enough time. As it is with certain people who leave us too soon: I never got to say goodbye.

It bothers me that I'll never know exactly when I had my last drink at The Wellington, but it was probably during the summer of 2016, my last summer in Indy. By then The Welly had become like an old reliable friend that you've stopped hanging out with regularly but whom you still go out of your way to visit. The days when I could show up at the bar and reliably find one or two of my friends there, or a familiar regular, or someone I knew behi…