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“It started out great, but then...”

Penn Avenue Fish Company - Downtown
Ranked #66 of 2,150 Restaurants in Pittsburgh
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Seafood, Sushi
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighborhood: Downtown
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“It started out great, but then...”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2014

My experience with Penn Avenue Fish Company started off pretty great. My team and I are here on a work assignment in the area. I found this place on Google yesterday, so we all agreed to check it out. The decor was really cute, and even though it was a small restaurant and crowded, we got prompt and attentive service. The waitress brought our food out quickly and it was delicious! We all loved what we had and agreed to come back the next day.

Today was a different story. One coworker ordered the black cod chowder, which he really enjoyed. Three of us ordered the salad. One had grilled shrimp, my boss had salmon, and I had the swordfish since she was raving about how great it was the day before.

The grilled shrimp salad came out first. After waiting fifteen minutes after that, we tried to get the waitress' attention to find out why the food was taking so long, but she kept flying past us delivering food to people who had come in after us. My boss finally got her attention while she was walking past us. My boss started to ask her about our food, but she rudely cut her off and said, "not yet", and kept walking. No explanation, no assurance, no apology, just "not yet."

We saw another staff member dealing with a problem order, so my boss went to ask her what was happening with our food. She told her that different food takes different amounts of time. (Thanks for the tidbit, Captain Obvious.) My boss explained that we had ordered a salad with fish and that it shouldn't take this long. She went back to check and told us that our food was in the window and it was coming out now. We basically waited over 30 minutes for our salads after the other salad had come out and we had ordered them together.

The waitress brought our food, still with no apology for the wait. Our coworkers had long since finished their food and were waiting for us. I had two bites of my salad, which tasted really good. Then I took a bite of my fish. It wasn't really hot for something that just came out and the salmon and my swordfish were burnt on the bottom. I explained to the other staff member about the fish. I told her that I didn't want another one since it took so long in the first place, and wanted my money back. She went to get the manager who turned out to be the rude server who we had already had issues with.

I told her that the fish was burnt. She said that it wasn't burnt and that all of their fish is fried all the way through or something to that affect. I think I know the difference between well done and burnt, but whatever. This isn't my first time out of the house. She asked me if I wanted them to fix up another fish and I said no. She said that she would put it in as a priority and I said no. I wanted my money back. It took too long and we needed to get back to work. She came over, put the money on the table and left. We barely saw her. No one apologized. The waitress / manager and the other staff member were rude and condescending. It was clear that customer service was a foreign concept for both women.

It would have been okay had there been better communication. It was busy, they are understaffed with there only being one waitress who happens to also be the manager. Mistakes happen and I get it, but to avoid us at first, cut us off when asking a valid question, and then not apologize for what happened says a lot. I would not go back there and I wouldn't recommend it to any one else. It is unfortunate, because the food was awesome yesterday. This place makes my the no-no list.

Signed,

Cruise Director

  • Visited August 2014
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Cruise D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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93 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    48
    35
    6
    2
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
151 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Average sushi”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 9, 2014

After lots of meat and potatoes cuisine my wife and I were looking for sushi and went here. Sushi is unique but kind of expensive compared to what I'm used to in Toronto (after the exchange rate) and not nearly as good as my favourite places in the same or lower price range. The fried apple turnover was average as well. I didn't find other sushi places in Pittsburgh so I cannot compare it to them.

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank JeremyFromToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Level Contributor
467 reviews
378 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 231 helpful votes
“The Best Ever”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2014

Okay, here's the deal: If you know of a place in North America that has better oysters and smoked salmon, contact me, we'll meet you there, and if you're right, the meal's my treat. Why do I feel that enthusiastic? Well, my daughter from the Frozen North and I from the Steamy South met there one day as we explored our old haunts in the Strip District, and we had a good chat with a couple of the seafood pros working in the back, one of which gave us a taste of the $35/lb salmon. Wow! No teeth required for that treat. Absolutely delicious. So we sat down in front of the kind-of-a-restaurant-but-not-really area and ordered a few oysters, as we have done for years hither and yon across the continent. Eastern oysters, not western. Two varieties. $3 a pop. Overpriced? Maybe for some folks; maybe not for others. The Best Ever? Only some that we had in Delray Beach, FL, came close, but then we had been drinking first. None we've had in Europe or the Pacific Rim, so far as I can recall, were close either. We also ordered some more salmon. Unreal. And some sushi, too, just for desert. Terrific. So... a strange place to eat, great service, top of the line cuisine. Check it out. Is it worth the price? That's a matter of opinion, but for a once in a while treat, most certainly.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank AlPhD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
384 reviews
311 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
“Good but overpriced”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 26, 2014

Our overall thoughts about the downtown Penn Avenue Fish Company get colored a bit by the pricing. We had good meals, from the appetizers, through the entrees and dessert. The winter squash chowder was quite good, but at $13 a bowl, it really ought to be very, very good! Others at the table had salads, and liked them. The main courses were very good but again almost $40 for sea bass or tuna is a high price point. We had two desserts, a carrot cake which was very good, and a apple-berry cobbler which was fair, but again they were $9 each. The vegetable sides were also pricey. Service was pleasant, but two requests for some ice went unheeded. We asked for bread and it turned out that that was an extra charge. We certainly don't mind spending the money for good food, but these prices seem to be high for this market, especially compared to other seafood restaurants of similar quality.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank bbwex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
101 reviews
83 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Overpriced for the quality”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2014

I don't mind spending more to get more, but I must admit I was expecting something really different here.
The place is nice, in a good location, but the food was not up to what I was expecting.
I got some rainbow trout filled with crab meat, and that was not so good.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank SuperCD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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