Italian food is one of my favorites, right behind Mexican and Thai. It’s not easy to find an authentic Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh. I’ve tried several Italian bistros over the past few years, some good, and some not so good. One of the better Italian restaurants in the city is Bravo Cucina Italiana, at the Waterfront.
Even though it’s a chain-restaurant, Bravo is authentic from the time you walk through the large glass doors. A strong scent of garlic grabs your attention immediately. High ceilings and marble adorn much of the restaurant. The oversized bar is usually crowded, especially in the evenings and during the weekend. As we entered Bravo, a nice hostess greeted us and asked, “How many in your party?” “Two.” It was Friday night at 7pm, and we were seated immediately. I noticed the wait staff working in a hurried manner, and were dressed in pressed black slacks, black bow-ties, and long white aprons. Our waiter arrived, took our drink order, and was off. My guest and I tried to have a conversation, but it was difficult to hear each other-bad acoustics! We were served warm bread and dipping oil which was very tasty- be careful, you can easily fill up on this!
I love Caesar salads, so I ordered one. My dinner mate chose the house salad. The romaine was crisp; the dressing was tart, with enough anchovies (I usually order extra). The dinner salad was comprised of greens, cucumbers, and parmesan dressing-very good.
For our entrees, I chose the Pepperoni Pizza ($9.99), and my dinner companion selected the Grilled Salmon served with green beans, potatoes, lemon-caper butter sauce and a parmesan crust ($19.99). My pizza was excellent- the cheese had a smoky flavor, and the sauce was sweet, with a small kick of heat. The crust was chewy and sweet- the cornmeal used to keep the dough from sticking to the cooking surface added extra flavor. The salmon was tasty and not over cooked; the parmesan crust added some extra saltiness that the fish needed. Other entrées at Bravo include: Chicken Parmesan ($15.49), Lobster and Shrimp Ravioli ($18.99), Chicken Scaloppine ($15.49), Grilled Scallops with Gnocchi ($18.79), Sauteed Crab Cakes ($19.99), and Filet Mignon Toscano, 8 ozs. ($28.99), and a New York Strip Steak, 14 ozs. ($21.00). *Ask you server for daily specials.
If you like dessert, and are one of the few people that have never tried Tiramisu, try Bravo’s. In consists of lady fingers dipped in coffee liqueur, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa ($6.99). Excellent!
If you like Italian food, you’ll be pleased with Bravo’s. The good food and consistently first class service will put a smile on your face.
Chef Chuck Kerber