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“The best meal I have ever had in Pittsburgh” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Salt of the Earth

Salt of the Earth
5523 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206-3512
412-441-7258
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Ranked #79 of 1,899 Restaurants in Pittsburgh
Cuisines: Contemporary
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“The best meal I have ever had in Pittsburgh”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2011

This place is my dream restaurant come true. And not because Maggie Gyllenhal was sitting at the bar with her family! The food is absolutely a work of art! The flavors and ingredients on the blackboard menu can't even be imagined until you taste them...Scallops were tantilizing, salmon was delicious, and Pittsburgh Pretzel salad was the best dessert I have ever had. I don't even care that my meal alone was $75 with tip. It was worth every penny and that is my favorite restaurant to date. Decor is cool and trendy but the community tables and open space as well as the food bar with Chef access make it inviting and comfortable. You will of course see hipsters or trendy people there because they appreciate great food but don't be intimidated. This place is gorgeous and the food is divine. Service was fantastic too!

  • Visited August 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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94 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Greensburg, PA
Top Contributor
128 reviews 128 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
“One of the best meals ever”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2011

My husband and I certainly agreed this was our best meal at least in PA. We're already planning our next visit. The service was wonderful and two of the three dishes I had were the best ever - best trout and best dessert. My husband's scallops got that rating as well. And the other dishes were certainly up there too. How lucky are we to have this place in Pittsburgh? Next time I want to sit at the bar so I can see the chefs in action. If you're reading this - call and make your reservation now. You won't be sorry. (unless you're one of those folks who doesn't like snails or other more interesting ingredients - although they were kind enough to hold the sweetbreads for me!)

  • Visited October 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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San Francisco
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“inventive food with down-to-earth atmosphere”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2011

First, the ambiance: I don't normally like long-table communal dining but for some reason, it worked in this restaurant. Maybe it was because everyone seemed to be having a really good time. I loved the fact that one entire wall was a chalkboard with the daily menu. Second, the food: Reading the inventive ingredients listed under each dish, I actually started getting excited about being served my meal. It was a strange but wonderful feeling. Aha, this is what New American food is all about. I get it now! Anyway, I ordered all vegetarian dishes and the food was fantastic. I highly recommend this restaurant, I think it's spot on.

  • Visited September 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Pittsburgh, PA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Octopus Tentacles, Snails, & Sweetbreads...and that's Just the Apps We Ate!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2011

To celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, my husband & I made a longforsaken reservation at Salt. I had eaten there a few months ago with my Girl's Night crew, and after I was challenged with fried cockscombs (google it) over collard greens & some grits (if I recall correctly), drizzled with maple-flavored something, I could not wait to take my main man there.

Chef Sousa did not disappoint.

This time, we each began with one of the freshly made (& concocted) cocktails. I chose the tequila-based one, & Chris chose the bourbon one. Each drink reminded us of an aromatic, alcoholic gazpacho-ish soup of flavors. (I know that sounds terrible, but I don't know how else to communicate the taste.) His even had a lemon verbena leaf floating around in it. These drinks set the scene for our starters. Chris chose the snails & lamb sweetbreads (again, google it), which accompanied a basil pasta. Although I was quite apprehensive, I tried a sweetbread & lived to write about it. I, the hater of all things seafood, yes, I know, ordered the octopus risoto. The server told me not to worry because the suckers were already scraped off. Well, that was a relief. I ate every bite of this delicious plate.

For dinner, Chris went with the scallops, which he raved about, while I chose the chicken (again). However, unlike the first time I ate here, the chicken was prepared quite differently. This time, the breast was cut into 4 pieces, which sat among cubes of fresh watermelon, slices of green olives, and 2 sauces. I know that one of them was made from microwave popcorn, but I can't seem to recall what the other sauce was. They both were very tasty & unique.

For desert, we shared a pot of french press coffee and split the chef's take on s'mores. It invovled chocolate, marshmellow fluff with some oil drizzled over it, and crushed up Golden Grahams. It was very creative, & for once, not scary like the apps.

This restaurant does not disappoint. The servers encourage you to select a dish, but they caution you that substitutions are not permissible (or, at least, looked upon with favor). You must trust the chef, they say, and look for the hidden flavors and ingredients in each dish. It is almost like a scavenger hunt.

If this review is not convincing enough, just remember that I have now eaten cockscombs, sweetbreads, snails, & octopus in just two sittings there. And, though I was scared to do it, I was so happily surprised. And, I will do it again.

  • Visited September 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“excellent, imaginitive, funky”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2011

Turn up to get a place at the bar at the open kitchen or at the long refrectory tables (fun); book to get a table up in the mezzanine (more private); and turn up late too - the kitchen is open late, so it's somewhere to go when everything else is closing, or if you like to eat at 9.00, or after the theatre. The menu changes according to what is in season and available in the markets, and is written up on a wall-sized chalk board (the whole design is great, modern, funky, elegant). It's not a meat-and-potatoes kind of place, but informed by avant garde cooking of the last decade. That said, their pork loin, when ever I've had it, is the best ever. Waitstaff wear black; chefs wear black and ink. Lots of ink. Follow chef Kevin Sousa on twitter @saltpgh

  • Visited September 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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