My Journey: Brazil to Pittsburgh

My Journey: Brazil to Pittsburgh

I moved to Pittsburgh in 2012 right after graduating from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

While living in Clarion, a small, college town two hours north of Pittsburgh, I would visit Pittsburgh during the spring and summer to enjoy social activities and the “big city” offerings.

During that time, my son was little, so a lot of our trips to Pittsburgh involved visiting places like the Strip District, the Children’s Museum, the Carnegie Science Center and cultural festivals like the University of Pittsburgh’s annual Latin American and Caribbean Festival. It was during one of these visits to Pittsburgh that I first ate at Green Forest Brazilian Churrascaria. Sadly, due to pandemic restrictions, they closed their business in 2020. A great place, it was the first official home for Brazilian food in Pittsburgh. 

I started exploring the city a little bit more after I relocated to Pittsburgh, seeing everything as a local with a foreigner eye. So much has caught my eye in my new hometown, including many attractions, places, people – and of course – food! 

Food Scene:

Pittsburgh gained some great additions to its food scene throughout the last decade. I believe and hope that we will continue to see many new flavors popping up around the city in the next 10 years as well. 

Exploring new flavors beyond Brazilian food is something that I also like to do. So, here is a brief list of some restaurants and/or food businesses I’ve enjoyed grabbing a bite at during my nine-year journey in Pittsburgh. This was definitely not an easy task! These are mainly Black, immigrant or women-owned businesses serving great food and providing fantastic service in our area. 

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  • Ali Baba - The fattoush salad has a special place in my heart!
  • Arepittas - A home to Venezuelan food in Pittsburgh. You can order anything on the menu, and you will be happy!
  • Azorean Café - In the heart of Bloomfield, a Portuguese café full of character and delicious food and coffee. If you stop by, say “hello” to Elsa!
  • Edgar’s Tacos - Street food tacos! Carne asada, carnitas, barbacoa, lengua - you pick! 
  • Everyday Café - Located in Garfield and featuring a delicious breakfast menu. 
    Fireside Caribbean Restaurant - Do you like Jamaican food? Never had it? Why not give it a try? 
  • Kilimanjaro Flavor (Food Truck) - Chef Grace takes a break over the winter, but soon she will be back on the road with her wizard chicken and Wakanda beef! 
  • La Palapa - Have you had their fish tacos? So good!
  • Leona’s Ice Cream - You can buy the delicious, lactose-free ice creams throughout the city in many local businesses.
  • Love Rocks Café - Chef Jackie brings her flavors and love to McKees Rocks. 
  • Pure Grub – Chef Asante brings some great and healthy goodness to the table. It’s not a restaurant (yet), but you can follow him on social media to see where he will pop up next. 
  • Roux Orleans Catering - I’ve never traveled to New Orleans, but Chef Mike Barnes doesn’t play when the topic is good and authentic food. 
  • Tamarind Flavor of India - While working at the Robotics Institute at CMU, this Indian food gem was one of my favorite spots for lunch in the Oakland neighborhood.
  • Smiling Banana Leaf - One of the most traditional Thai places in Pittsburgh, and we are lucky to have it right across the street from Casa Brasil. 
  • The Colombian Spot - Lots of options, but the Beef Colombian Empanadas are to die for!
  • Tupelo Honey Teas - Are you a tea lover? Check out this tea menu! So many great options!
  • Wild Rise Bakery - They don’t have a location yet, but you can place an order online and enjoy a long list of gluten-free breads and sweets! 
  • Z-Best Barbeque - I was  introduced to Z-Best’s ribs through a friend and life has never been the same! Make sure you add a side of yams to your order as well. 

Additionally, I know I’m biased, but I have to add Casa Brasil to my list of food places to visit in Pittsburgh. We are very proud of what we do and what we bring to the table, which is a variety of dishes authentic to Brazilian cuisine with an inclusive menu providing food for different dietary needs.

Museums:

I have always loved going to museums. I always tried to visit as many as I could while living in São Paulo, Brazil. I really enjoy spending a few hours looking at artwork. and I try to get out and visit as many museums in Pittsburgh, too. Here are my local museum recommendations: 

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Sightseeing:

Downtown Walking Tours - I love walking in Downtown and looking up, especially at the older buildings. The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation offers a really cool Downtown Self-Guided Walking Guide. Download the maps and take the tour at your own pace. 

  • West End Overlook - This is my favorite spot in Pittsburgh. It’s usually not as crowded as Mt. Washington, and you still have a great view of the city.
  • The “Point” at Point State Park - Two words - summer sunsets.
  • The Strip District - I love the colors, the vibrancy and the variety of shops the “Strip” offers. 

Cool Shops:

Explore the Outdoors:

I really enjoy exploring all the nature that surrounds Pittsburgh. Here are a few places to keep in mind for your next adventure! 

  • North Park - Taking a hike in the parks’ trails is a summer-must! 
  • Falls Run Park - If it’s rain season you can enjoy a mini-waterfall not too far from Downtown.
  • Laurel Caverns - Have you ever been inside a cavern? It’s pretty dope! 

I hope you enjoyed my recommendations and have a chance to enjoy a meal from any of the restaurants or visit one of my other recommendations. And, if you happen to stop by at Casa Brasil, make sure you say hello!