Sake is Japanese wine made from rice that can be served warm or chilled. So, when I say ‘sake,’ you think Pittsburgh, right? Yeah, not even close. But you may be surprised. First of all, the Japanese word ‘sake’ really just means ‘liquor’ in English. So are we getting closer? When I say ‘liquor,’ you think Pittsburgh, right? (Most of the Pittsburghers I know do!) So why not sake? Seriously, if you haven’t tried sake, you should. And there really are some great little sake bars in and around the Burgh. Here are a few of the best Pittsburgh sake bars:
Located at 5808 Bryant Street in Pittsburgh, this izakaya (somewhere to enjoy good food and drink in casual surroundings) is a wonderful restaurant that serves traditional Japanese cuisine and fantastic sake. At Teppanyaki Kyoto, you can enjoy your sake with dinner at a standard table, or if you really want an authentic Japanese experience, try their zashiki seating in semi-private areas where you and your guests can take off your shoes in a classic Japanese atmosphere. Hours of operation: Tuesday-Friday lunch 11:30 am to 2 pm and dinner 5 pm to 9:30 pm; Friday-Saturday 5 pm to 10:30 pm; Sunday 5 pm to 9 pm. Call 412-441-1610 for more information and reservations. PAT bus can take you there.
They didn’t put the ‘bloom’ in Bloomfield for nothing. This area sure has grown into a great little area to find unique places to eat. Located at 4734 Liberty Avenue, Ginza is upscale in atmosphere but not price. It’s an unpretentious Japanese restaurant known in the area for authentic cuisine to go along with your sake bomb. You’ve never tried sake bombing? Ask your server … you’ll love it! The menu is incredible, and they even have Weight Watchers options. But if you’re watching your intake, don’t skip the sake, for hebun sake! Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday lunch 11 am to 3 pm; Monday-Thursday dinner 3 pm to 10 pm; Friday-Saturday dinner 3 pm to 11 pm; Sunday dinner 4 pm to 9 pm. For more information and reservations, call 412-688-7272. PAT bus likes Bloomfield, so no worries in finding your way to Ginza.
Tokyo Hibachi & Sushi Buffet:
Sushi and sake, sake and sushi … you really can’t say one without thinking the other. This great establishment has fused a fresh all-you-can-eat sushi buffet with wonderful family atmosphere. Try hot sake as you partake of some fabulous sushi. You really will be amazed at the wide selections they offer at their buffet, and the kids will love trying something new. They’re located at 4801 McKnight Road in the North Hills, so you won’t be able to get there easily by PAT bus. Hours of operation: Monday-Sunday lunch 11:30 am to 4 pm; Sunday-Thursday dinner 4 pm to 9 pm; Friday-Saturday dinner 4 pm to 10 pm. For information, call 412-366-4288.
Nakama Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar:
Seriously, I cannot think of any better combination than sushi, steak, and sake! A little on the pricey side, but Nakama’s fabulous sake and great food are well worth it. You can find Nakama on the Southside of Pittsburgh at 1611 East Carson Street. (They also have a Long Island location.) The atmosphere is a little on the mysterious side, which makes for great conversation. Sit back and enjoy their highly skilled hibachi chefs put on a show and prepare a feast all at the same time. And they have a wonderful selection of sake, so you can sit for a while and try them all! You know PAT bus loves the Southside, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a bus here. Hours of operation: Dining room: Monday-Wednesday 11 am to 10 pm; Thursday-Saturday 11 am to 11 pm; Sunday 1 pm to 10 pm. Bar: Monday-Saturday 11 am to 1 am; Sunday 12 pm to midnight. For more information or reservations, call 412-381-6000.
Okay, so Pittsburgh may not be the first … or the second … or the thirtieth place you think of when somebody asks where to get great sake. But now you know there really are some outstanding sake bars in Pittsburgh. So what are you waiting for? Dorinku up!