Pittsburgh's Surprising (And Affordable) Hotel and Food Scene

by  Megan McLachlan | Feb 4, 2019
The Commoner dining room
The Commoner dining room / Photo courtesy of the property

Over the past decade, Pittsburgh has become a loosen-your-belt foodie destination thanks to its wide selection of up-and-coming restaurants and talented young chefs. You'll find plenty of those restaurants within the confines of the city's newest and trendiest hotels. If you’re stopping by the ‘Burgh, make sure you visit any of these hotels and their respective eateries for the ultimate hospitality experience.

1. Or The Whale, The Distrikt Hotel

Ever a city built on second chances, Pittsburgh is home to a collection of newly revitalized properties that once had other uses. The Distrikt Hotel is located in a former Salvation Army building along the Boulevard of the Allies in downtown. Its restaurant, Or the Whale, serves seafood and name-checks Moby Dick in its decor with maritime ropes draped across the ceiling for a nautical vibe. For literary lovers, the menu is organized by chapter. There's Chapter One's "Loomings" (appetizers) to Chapter Four's "The Ship" (think massive seafood towers). Plus, at the end of your meal, you'll receive your check with a page from an old book. The hotel itself, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has preserved the building's original Gothic Revival-style architecture. A sleek mezzanine bar is perfect for nightcaps. And while the property certainly celebrates the past, it also looks to the future. Note the living wall in the lobby, which is filled with lush, green foliage. Entrees at Or the Whale start at $28, while hotel rates start at $133 per night, depending on the season.

2. The Commoner, Kimpton Hotel Monaco

If you're looking for eccentric accommodation, look no further than Kimpton Hotel Monaco, which has 248 guest rooms. The property definitely has nature on the brain, with bird cages hanging the walls, butterfly-print chairs, and floral decorations floating from the ceiling above. And what's more, the on-site restaurant, The Commoner, provides guests with a classic American tavern-like ambiance, while the menu takes classic dishes and elevates them to a new level (think porcini-dusted scallops and pork chops with pear butter). Entrees start at $18, while hotel rates start at $127 per night, depending on the season. 

3. fl.2, Fairmont Pittsburgh

You can’t get much closer to the action in the bustling Market Square (think restaurants, events, vendors, and more) than at the Fairmont Pittsburgh. Even though you’re close to an abundance of great food, all you have to do is head to the hotel's second floor for top-notch dining at the appropriately-named fl.2. Here, you'll find a raw bar, lobsters, beef tartare, and family-style dishes perfect for sharing, including a whole Laurel Hill trout and cast-iron ribeye. Added bonus: The eatery's tall windows provide incredible views of the city. If you're craving a high-end retreat, check into the 185-room hotel, which has large suites, an amazing spa, and great packages. Entrees start at $20, while hotel rates start at $229 per night, depending on the season. 

4. Whitfield, Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel always brings a touch of celebrity to any city. Located in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, this one occasionally caters to real-life stars like Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who frequents the property when he's in town. When it comes to design and decor, clean, minimal, and locally-made products can be found throughout the hotel. Vintage furniture combines with Pendleton quilts, which were designed especially for the property. When you’re feeling hungry, head to Whitfield on the first floor for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Family-style New York strip steaks with your choice of two sides and sauces, can serve large groups, while dishes like the baby kale salad and potato gnocchi are just a few of the options for vegetarians. Entrees start at $26, while hotel rates start at $149 per night, depending on the season.  

5. Union Standard, Omni William Penn Hotel

Despite its name, there’s nothing ordinary about Union Standard, with its sleek and sophisticated decor. The innovative menu includes bacon-wrapped monkfish and cauliflower schnitzel. Located in the restored Union Trust Building (which was built by American industrialist Henry Clay Frick in 1915), the restaurant honors Pittsburgh’s past and present. Adjacent to Union Standard is another former Frick architectural venture, The Omni William Penn Hotel, which features a whopping 597 guest rooms and suites. Cherry wood furnishings and Old World-style color palettes adorn the property, and, for the ultimate throwback, head downstairs to the Speakeasy bar to enjoy Prohibition-era cocktails. Entrees start at $28, while hotel rates at $170 per night, depending on the season.

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