Located on Reynolds street in a quiet little section of Pittsburgh is an amazing little restaurant named, Pino's Contemporary Italian Restaurant and Wine bar.
The friendly persona of the eatery, is only equaled by the pleasantness of the staff. If you have never been to this section of Pittsburgh, Point Breeze is a well kept secret. Everyone is friendly, and the little block long shopping section of business are cute and bursting with charm.
My wife works close by, and every time I pass this place, the aromas emanating from it make my mouth water. So today, I decided to take my wife and son inside for dinner. The decor is warm and trendy. The wooden bar with brass rail is very pleasing to the eye. The well lit spirits behind the bar are tempting to the palate, and if I wasn't driving I would have most definitely sampled some of their diverse wine selection.
Our server, Mary greeted us and sat us at the beautiful stone top tables. Adorned with multi colored frescoes, the tables add a whole other level to the ambiance that fills Pino's. From hand made pasta dishes to fresh to table appetizers, this place has something for everyone.
My son, who is 6, spots the spaghetti and meatballs right off the bat. Our server, Mary was kind enough to explain that the portion would be massive. "I can eat it Daddy!" he says with the type of confidence only a six year old can muster. My bride orders the fried calamari, and my eye is drawn to the tempting whispers of the Margherita pizza.
The hand made pasta with "all beef" meatballs is only what I can imagine eating if I had grown up in an Italian household eating recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. The tomato sauce is well seasoned and not acidic. The pasta is cooked to perfection, and has explosions of texture that can only come from freshly made pasta. The meatballs are evenly cooked with an abundance of flavor that only enhances the already delightful dish. My son ate the entire dish by the way. I was lucky to even get a bite in.
When it comes to seafood, I'm a bit of a snob. Having served in the U.S. Navy, I was spoiled to being stationed on bases that were on the ocean, so we had access to "Fresh" seafood, that was caught THAT DAY. The more "inland" you go into the country, the more frozen things like seafood becomes.
Not at Pino's. The fresh calamari is out of this world! Battered in a secret recipe, that according to staff took many tries to achieve until the chef reached perfection; is fried in peanut oil and served with lemon and a tomato dipping sauce that is hands down, damn near heaven sent.
The crunch, the floral accent of basil, the brightness of the San Marzano sauce and the creamy delight of the fresh mozzarella all come together into the perfection that is this Margherita pizza. Perfect for sharing or even indulging ones self, this pizza is a must try!
I can only imagine how everything would have been elevated by one of the wines that are available at Pino's. I can honestly say that, although not a place I could afford on a regular basis; Pino's is a definite destination that should be on all Pittsburgh "Foodies" lists of places to eat.
I give Pino's of Point Breeze 4.5 Stars.
CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
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