La Gourmandine will take over the former Penn Avenue Fish spot on Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh restaurants offer dining options to satisfy every mother this Mother’s Day. Is your mom a wine connoisseur? Check. Vegetarian or meat-lover, check again. Tough to please? No worries. Has a worldly palate? Not a problem.
Here’s a sampling of where to dine out on May 14 — simply find the category that best suits that special mom in your life. Mother’s Day is the busiest restaurant holiday of the year, so don’t forget to make reservations.
If your mom is an oenophile, consider treating her to a wine walk where she can try several different varieties.
Mother’s Day Wine Walk: Kick off Mother’s Day celebrations with a wine walk on the eve of the big day. This stroll through Squirrel Hill features self-guided stops from 4 to 8 p.m. May 13 throughout the business district. Stops include food hubs such as Giant Eagle, Mineo’s Pizza House and Coffee Tree Roasters, and retailers such as Neighborhood Consignment, Classic Lines Books and Hair Forward. There will be wine and food samples and discounts at each of the stops. Tickets are $20 for one person or $35 for two and are available at mothersdaywinewalk.eventbrite.com. Ages 21 and up only.
Mother’s Day Wine Trail: Wine and dine your mom with visits to three Lawrence County wineries — Knockin Noggin, Fractured Grape and Nova Cellars — with an option for an added stop for brunch and a flower at Cedar Farm Inn in New Wilmington. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. May 12-13, and noon to 5 p.m. May 14, with the brunch package available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 13-14.
Cost is $25 for one ticket or $45 for two for the wineries only, or $43 for one ticket or $79 for two for the “Brunch Trail.” During brunch, you may open any bottles of wine purchased on the trail. The wine trail includes olive oil and bread, a full glass of wine or cider, other samples and a Polaroid photo at each stop, with a frame at the end to collect the day’s memories. Start at Knockin Noggin, 600 Main St., Volant. knockinnoggin.com; 724-704-0662.
Vegan and vegetarians don’t need to be confined to their homes for dinner. They have plenty of choices at all-vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants.
B52 (5202 Butler St., Lawrenceville): This all-vegan cafe has a Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekly. Nothing extra is planned for Mother’s Day, but regular brunch choices include buckwheat sourdough pancakes, tofu scrambles, toasts with toppings such as almond butter or avocado, veggie flatbreads, pitas with dips such as hummus or baba ghanoush and salads. B52 also has homemade baked goods, chocolates and a full service espresso bar. b52pgh.com; 412-781-5204.
Square Cafe (1137 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square): It’s not entirely vegetarian or vegan, but many menu items are veg-friendly or can be made so. The menu includes an easy-to-read key that makes vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options clear. Mother’s Day specials include Tiramisu Pancakes — espresso and cocoa-flavored pancakes layered with mascarpone cream. The new spring/summer menu also features lemon ricotta pancakes and blueberry matcha pancakes. Vegan options include an acai berry bowl, a tofu chopped salad and “Jerky Jack” — a jerk jackfruit sandwich with lettuce and pickles on grilled ciabatta. Square-cafe.com; 412-244-8002.
The Block Breakfast at Block 292 in Mt. Lebanon. (Block 292)
For moms on a meat-protein diet, options are aplenty.
Block 292 (292 Beverly Road, Mt. Lebanon): Meat is the centerpiece at this restaurant/butcher shop/market and Jamison Farm in Latrobe supplies much of the sustainably raised meat. Chef Christian Schulz’s usual brunch menus feature meats cut by in-house butcher Max McCarty, plus traditional breakfast foods. There are vegetarian-friendly dishes, too, along with cocktails such as Block Mary (Boyd & Blair vodka and house-made bloody mary mix garnished with bacon and olives) and the Block Mimosa (fresh orange, Gran Gala and prosecco). On Mother’s Day, all moms will be greeted with a Gerbera daisy. A prix fixe brunch menu will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but details and pricing are TBA. block292.com; 412-668-2292.
Smoke (4115 Butler St., Lawrenceville): The barbecue taqueria has meaty options for brunch, including chorizo gravy with biscuits and eggs, chicken tacos, burgers, breakfast fries topped with bacon and pork enchiladas. It also has doughnuts and meatless options, as well. Note that it’s a cash-only restaurant. smokepgh.com; 412-224-2070.
House cured gin salmon bruschetta.
What if your mother is not about being classified a vegetarian or meat-lover but in fact is both of those and just likes to have lots of options?
Revel + Roost (242 Forbes Ave., Market Square, Downtown): Dine downstairs at Revel or upstairs at Roost at the split-level restaurant. Revel will offer the usual a la carte brunch menu that includes a build-your-own bloody mary bar, lamb hash, and fried quail and waffles. Upstairs, a buffet will feature six stations: salad and cold breakfast, appetizers, hot breakfast, omelets/waffles, carving station and desserts. Cost is $40 for adults, $15 for children and free for those under age 6. revelandroost.com; 412-281-1134.
Smallman Galley (54 21st St., Strip District): The incubator for emerging chefs is about to graduate its first class. The four restaurateurs will serve their final brunch at the end of May, so Mother’s Day is a chance to get in on one of the last brunches. Provision PGH will serve a gluten-free “Hot Mess” with crispy tortilla, green chili chicken, pickled onion, goat cheese, cilantro and fried egg. Carota Cafe is planning on Sweet Dutch Baby Pancakes. Josephine’s Toast will serve a variety of brunch toasts. Aubergine Bistro has shrimp and grits on the menu. The bar will serve mimosas and bloody marys. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. No reservations here, though. smallmangalley.org; 412-281-0949.
House-made pastas at TALIA. (Christina Emilie Photography)
Two restaurants are debuting their brunch service on Mother’s Day. If your mom likes to be the first to try something new, here’s her chance.
Talia (425 Sixth Ave., Downtown): The Italian “cucina and rosticceria” (translates to kitchen shop specializing in roasted meats in Italian) will serve brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The three-course a la carte menu will feature Italian-inspired breakfast dishes with slow-roasted meats and pastas. So Mom can have duck confit with a sunny-side-up egg, ricotta and ciabatta; carbonara with egg yolk, pork belly and peas; and rotisserie chicken and biscuits with tomato gravy and poached egg. Bellinis and mimosas top the cocktail list. taliapgh.com; 412-456-8214.
Union Standard (524 William Penn Place, Downtown): Chef Derek Stevens plans to launch permanent Sunday brunch soon but he’s offering a preview at his Mother’s Day brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Starters will include roasted grapefruit, smoked salmon and avocado toast, and oysters on the half shell. Main dish choices will include a morel and ramp omelet; potato bread and bourbon French toast; and Locust Point chicken potpie. Wash it down with cocktails such as the Coffee Flip with Rhum Barbancourt, St. Germain, coffee beans and a whole egg. unionstandardpgh.com; 412-281-0738.
Flora & fauna Mom
Hit two birds with one stone on Mother’s Day if your mom is a nature-lover by taking her to an attraction that serves brunch and has plenty of flora and fauna. This year, the special brunch already is sold out at both the Pittsburgh Zoo and Phipps Conservatory.
National Aviary (700 Arch St., North Side): Mom and the family get one-on-one time with special guests who call the Aviary home during brunch, when handlers will introduce some of the birds. Brunch menu includes antipasti, seafood quiche Florentine, bourbon-glazed ham, smoked Atlantic salmon, chicken enchiladas, breakfast meats and eggs, French toast, pastries and fruit, plus Bloody Marys, sangrias, mimosas and magic screw drivers. Seatings are at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Cost is $37 for adults, $19.50 for ages 4 to 10, and free for ages 3 and under, including aviary admission. 412-258-9445; aviary.org.
Is your mom the type who on a car ride frequently exclaims, “Oooh, look at the view”? Then how about dining at spots that offer just that.
Monterey Bay Fish Grotto (1411 Grandview Ave., Mount Washington): The top item on the menu, given the restaurant’s location atop Mount Washington, is the view of Downtown. Pair that with chef Eric Wallace’s special menu and wine to make mom feel extra special. Gazpacho with Andalusian olives, tomatoes and preserved garlic comes with white peach sangria; soft shelled crabs with johnnycake, fennel slaw and chipotle emulsion is paired with tempranillo; and striped bass and clams with potatoes, pancetta and cream is served with pinot noir. Dinner will be from 1 to 9 p.m. montereybayfishgrotto.com.
Gateway Clipper: The Pittsburgh riverboat fleet offers two-hour buffet-style brunch, lunch and dinner cruises. The boats will sail Pittsburgh’s three rivers, offering beautiful vistas while you eat. Reserve ahead, and then catch the boat at the Station Square dock. gatewayclipper.com; 412-355-7980.
Take mom on a trip that won’t require a passport.
Umai (297 Beverly Road, Mt. Lebanon): The sushi bar and Japanese/Thai fish market doesn’t have Mother’s Day specials, but an extensive menu is available from noon to 9:30 p.m. Choices include bento boxes with an entree choice served with rice, California roll, house salad and miso soup or spring roll for lunch. Lobster pad Thai, snapper ceviche, sushi and sashimi, noodle bowls, curries and Bangkok-style steamed fish are available for dinner. The kids’ menu has the usual chicken fingers and also sweet and sour shrimp and chicken teriyaki. umaimtlebo.com; 412-344-7874.
La Feria (5527 Walnut St., Shadyside): Peruvian entrees include ropa vieja (shredded beef cooked with onions and tomatoes), arroz tapado (ground beef, olives, raisins and tomato picadillo layered with garlic rice) and vegetarian options such as black bean salad and tortilla de papa (sauteed potato, Spanish onion and egg frittata). Meat and vegetarian sandwiches are served with homemade sweet potato chips. For dessert, there’s bread pudding with caramel sauce, a pastry layered with dulce de leche and chocolate cake with raspberry compote. Handmade Peruvian crafts also will be available for sale. laferia.net; 412-682-4501.
Istanbul Sofra (7600 Forbes Ave., Regent Square): The Turkish restaurant will feature a selection of items from its regular menu on a buffet table — two soups, cold appetizers, entrees and desserts. Popular dishes on Istanbul Sofra’s menu include kebabs, Turkish gyros, mixed grill platters and falafel. Seatings are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Every mom gets a rose and a free glass of champagne. Cost is $27.50 for adults, $15 for ages 6 to 10 and free for kids under age 5. istanbulsofra.com; 412-727-6693.
Mom who likes her seconds (and thirds)
Not to be gauche, but these buffet options are for moms who like refills.
Bella Sera (414 Morganza Road, Canonsburg): This spacious wedding and catering hall can accommodate up to 400 people, and so is perfect for a big family. The Mother’s Day spread features more than 60 different breakfast and dinner items, including a spring soup and salad station, made-to-order omelets, cinnamon French toast with berry compote, pasta with fresh toppings and sauces, a carving station and an assortment of desserts. Seatings are at 10:30 a.m. and 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m. Cost is $34.95 for adults, half price for ages 6 to 12, and free for ages 5 and under. 724-745-5575, ext. 111; bellaserapgh.com.
Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South (164 Fort Couch Road, Upper St. Clair): The brunch features an omelet station, quiches, bacon, sausage, soups, salads, strip loin, roasted chicken, grilled salmon, pasta, veggie sides, breads and a dessert bar with coconut cake, triple chocolate mousse, cookies and cream cake and vanilla and chocolate cheesecakes. There’s also a mimosa bar, and Mom gets one complimentary mimosa. Cost is $32 for adults, $30 for seniors, $20 for ages 6 to 12 and free for ages 5 and under. Seatings are scheduled hourly from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 412-347-0351.
Braddock's Pittsburgh Brasserie (107 Sixth St., Downtown): There’s a station of every kind — omelets and Belgian waffles; eggs Benedict; cold seafood; salads; carved meats; pierogies; hot foods such as potato gnocchi carbonara and honey-chipotle-rubbed chicken breast; Iron City breakfast fare such as French toast with berry compote and sage breakfast sausage; and desserts. Cost is $47.95 for adults and $27.95 for children. 412-992-2005. Although the buffet is called brunch, it is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Habitat, Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel (510 Market St., Downtown): At $79 per adult, Habitat, serves the most expensive brunch buffet in town. Mom and the rest of the family can dig into scrambled eggs, country-style sausage, spring-inspired salads and sides, shrimp cocktail, tapas-style entrees, leg of lamb and beef brisket, and finish with fruit tart, ginger flan and pistachio parfait. The feast is free for children 5 and under and $39.50 for children 6-12. 412-773-8848; habitatrestaurant.com.
Some moms are all about the familiar or the traditional and prefer a standard breakfast or an elegant high tea.
Local Bar + Kitchen (1515 East Carson St., South Side): For its weekend brunches, the South Side spot offers breakfast sandwiches, sausage gravy with biscuits, eggs Benedict, French toast, and non-breakfast sandwiches and salads. On May 14, Mom can not only dine for free but also gets a complimentary bottle of champagne as long as the party purchases three additional entrees. localpgh.com; 412-308-5183.
Della Terra (100 Perry Highway, Harmony): The bistro’s Mother’s Day meal is traditional but has a twist and will be served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Biscuits come with jalapeno cheddar sausage gravy; bagel sandwich has bacon, shrimp and grits; and fried chicken and waffles are served with bourbon maple syrup. Starters include pimento cheese on a bagel with ham or hush puppies with ranch dressing. Entrees are $18; starters are $10. For the sweet tooth, there’s a $7 funnel cake. dellaterrapgh.com; 724-473-0630.
Arnold’s Tea (502 East Ohio St., North Side): A high tea awaits moms who adore “Downton Abbey” and all things Victorian. Arnold’s will serve its annual Mother’s Day High Tea in two seatings — 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The menu includes tea, scones with clotted cream and jams, tea sandwiches and petite sweets. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for ages 6 to 13. For tickets, go to eventbrite.com and search on “Mother’s Day High Tea.” arnoldsteapittsburgh.com.
If your mom likes big-ticket places, impress her with these restaurants.
Nine on Nine (900 Penn Ave. in Downtown’s Cultural District): A buffet will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes martini salad shakers, omelet station and Belgian waffles made with Madagascar vanilla bean batter. Lunch-style entrees include lemon almond spring asparagus, wildflower honey and rosemary fingerling potatoes, chicken piccata, cherry-smoked bacon with maple glaze and pistachio mahi mahi with coconut fluff. Cost is $45 for adults, $20 for ages 5 to 12 and free for kids under age 5. nineonninepgh.com; 412-338-6463.
Eddie V’s (501 Grant St., Downtown): The Mother’s Day Jazz Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. After starting with warm cinnamon rolls, mom can opt for a choice of smoked salmon, fried green tomatoes with crab, or a deviled egg trio with black truffle, seafood and caviar filling. Pan-seared steak and eggs, lobster quiche Florentine, shrimp and grits, crab omelet with citrus hollandaise are among the main-course choices. Berries with cookies, bananas foster cake with butter pecan ice cream, and butterscotch panna cotta with salted caramel and biscotti will be served at the end. Cost for adults is $49 and $15 for children. Cocktails are $8. The regular dinner menu also will be available from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. eddiev.com; 412-391-1714.
Capital Grille (301 Fifth Ave., Downtown): Usually open only in the evenings on Sundays, the steakhouse will be open for brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and serve dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. as usual. The brunch menu includes filet mignon ($30), Chilean sea bass ($29) and filet Oscar with lump crab ($34) as well as salads and burgers. Appetizers and soups include tuna tartare with avocado, mango and sriracha ($19) and New England clam chowder ($10). thecapitalgrille.com/locations/pa/pittsburgh; 412-338-9100.
Rebecca Sodergren: firstname.lastname@example.org; @pgfoodevents.