Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene
Well the final stop for Restaurant Week is already here. I can say we have been extremely happy with our first 2 choices (Altius and Grit & Grace), but can we go 3 for 3? I say yes! While our first 2 stops have been more upscale, this last stop is more low-key and has the added bonus of being BYOB! La Palapa is not new to Pittsburgh, but it is new to us. We have seen the stand at Pgh Public Market but never eaten the food. That was our mistake.
South Side has never been our first choice for dining destinations. Between the traffic, the parking and some of the people down there it’s just not always an enjoyable trip. If we are heading down to East Carson we try and keep it on a weeknight to cut down on traffic and idiots.
We managed to find a parking spot in the lot across from Fat Head’s (lucky break). So the most difficult part of the night is already handled. We enter La Palapa and realize this place is tiny; I counted 24 seats with no room to add any more. Thankfully we were seated right away. The menu combines some traditional and non-traditional Mexican dishes. Sorry, but loaded Nachos is not an Authentic Mexican dish.
There are tacos, tortas, flautas, barbacao, sopapilla, enchiladas and plenty of other dishes to try. We are skipping the Restaurant Week 3 course dinner for something a bit more exciting. We decided to order the queso (4-cheese dip) with fresh fried tortilla chips. Very good, but nothing spectacular, you can order decent queso at all the Mexican Restaurants in the city. We weren’t sure what we wanted as our main course, so many choices, and so little stomach space. We notice the Charola Para Dos! (tray for 2). This tray is massive, it comprises of 1 tamal, 1 flauta, 1 quesadilla, pork ribs, empanada, a giant chicken breast with mole’ sauce, a scoop of rice and basically a whole avocado. The quesadilla was ok, the empanada was great, the chicken was a tad dry but the mole’ was good, the rib was tender but a bit fatty, loved the flauta and all the sauces were great.
There are plenty of Mexican restaurants out there, La Palapa is definitely up there with they rest of them. Sadly, after the tray for 2 we were too stuffed to order the sopapillas that we had been eyeing up. Maybe next time? Also on our next visit we will have to bring some beer and or wine.
I am sure at some point we will run out of new spots to dine at. But for now we are enjoying using Restaurant Week as a way to get out and try only new places. That is part of the idea behind doing the whole Restaurant Week around the city. If you are only eating at chain restaurants or national drive-thru spots, then you are missing a major part of the city that makes it so wonderful to live in. The dining scene has never been better. Travel magazines, food magazines and even numerous TV specials are starting to label Pittsburgh as a Foodie Destination. We could not be happier to be a part of it.
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1925 East Carson St
Pgh, PA 15203
Also located at Pittsburgh Public Market
Closed Monday and Tuesday