Sitting atop Pittsburgh’s Restaurant Row on Grandview Avenue in Mount Washington is the fine dining restaurant, Altius. Mount Washington is known for its amazing views, overlooking the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tourists and locals alike flock the several overlooks just to gaze upon the magnificent sight.
With the Steel City boasting 446 bridges, it seems as if you’re looking directly at a post card or a painting.
And don’t worry, no one’s gonna blame you if you wanna take photos (or selfies) here. With that gorgeous view, it’s almost as if my background is fake. I swear, it’s real. You can read more about it in my Mount Washington travel guide here.
But if you want to take the experience a step further, you just HAVE TO dine at one of the restaurants on what is famously called, the “Restaurant Row”. With million-dollar views, restaurants in this area are a bit pricey… making it a popular spot to pop the question or celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions. And that’s exactly what we did. We decided to try Altius for our anniversary dinner.
TIP: Call in advance to reserve a table, especially if you want window seats during the weekend. However, it’s easy to get a table during the weekdays. We called in 10 minutes before getting there (on a weekday) and we were accommodated without any problems. Current contact number (at the time of posting): 412-904-4442. You can also make reservations via OpenTable.
PARKING: Paid parking is available in their garage before 6pm. Valet is $6 after 6pm.
Before we step inside, I wanted to show you the side of Altius to give you an idea of how the restaurant is positioned on Mount Washington – elevated and looking down on the city of Pittsburgh. It’s only fitting that the restaurant is named Altius which translates to “higher” in Latin.
Also another thing to note, the restaurant sits next to the Duquesne Incline with a nice observation deck and historical cable car that you can ride going up and down, to enjoy the views of the city. So if you’re going on a date, add this to your itinerary!
When you enter the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by this award winning interior. Designed by Architect and Designer, Teresa Bucco, Altius won an American Institute of Architects [AIA] Certificate of Merit for the Design Pittsburgh 2015 competition. The designer has created a directional pull to the view with a series of elements: hostess station, open stair, communal tables, and bar – all positioned perpendicular to the windows to allow guests to move through the space with a continual connection to the expanse of windows.
As soon as we entered the restaurant, it didn’t take long for us to get seated. We went on a Monday. So the place was not packed, but probably more than half the place was occupied. We were brought to our table by the window and handed the menus.
The views were obviously amazing.
Complimentary popcorn was served with your choice of still or sparking water. This delicious popcorn, if I remember correctly, had sriracha and… IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. Right there and then, I knew we were going to enjoy Executive Chef Jessica Bauer and Chef de Cuisine Michael Guadagnolo’s creations.
For our drinks, A went with red wine, while I got curious about their cocktails. Our server told us their cocktails are among the best in Pittsburgh. So I decided to take her word for it.
Faced with several options, I finally decided to try the Lavender Brown (seen below). As I took my first sip, smelling the hints of lavender, I could not be any happier with my choice. It was the perfect amount of sweetness and no bitter taste or even an after taste. It’s a delicious cocktail that I recommend for social drinkers – those who don’t like the bitter taste of beer or red/dry wine.
While we sip on our cocktails and wine, we were served this delicious tart compliments of the chef. I forgot what it was (my bad), but I know it had goat cheese in it. It was really good.
We were then offered a variety of breads (not pictured) and spreads while we wait for our starters. A had a baby greens salad with a vinaigrette dressing, but mine was phenomenal. It was a ramen-based soup with scallops and poached egg. It was heavenly, I tell you. The husband got jealous of my order.
For the main course, A had Chilean Sea bass, served on a bed of spring vegetable risotto, morels and saffron orange lobster cream. The sea bass melts in your mouth. The vegetables were cooked perfectly… and the lobster cream? Superb.
I, on the other hand, craved for duck. So I went with the Pennsylvania Duck Breast, with a duck confit risotto, pear cinnamon gastrique, foie gras stuffed cremini mushrooms, chestnut mascarpone, French green beans, Cipollini onion puree and toasted chestnuts. The result was an explosion of flavors that harmoniously made such a warm and heavy meal. The duck was exquisite, although I must say, I didn’t like that the center was too pink for my taste. I requested that it be medium well to almost well done, but the middle part was still too pink for me. The risotto was pretty good too. But the best part about this dish? The foie gras stuffed cremini mushrooms. It was heaven!
By this time we were already too full. I had ordered coffee and A got another glass of wine. But we just had to try their dessert for a full review, you know? So we got the Triple Chocolate Mousse – milk chocolate, dark chocolate & hazelnut, white chocolate & orange mousse, chocolate-hazelnut crumbles, blood orange coulis, and red currant gel. Amazing!
Another amazing thing about this restaurant is that when they give you your check, there’s another extra on the house. They send you home with a bite-sized dessert bar compliments of the chef. I ate it the following day and really wanted to go back just to ask if they sell that too. And saying that is pretty huge, because I’m not a dessert-kinda person. I’m very picky when it comes to sweets. Call me a dessert snob if you will. But that dessert bar – it had that melt-in-your-mouth goodness that reminded me of the best Pastillas in the Philippines mixed with the deliciousness of butterscotch.
Overall Thoughts on Altius
Overall, the service was exceptional, the food and drinks were divine. The extras were very much appreciated and truly enjoyed. Our tummies were full and happy. Even our eyes were delighted with such a beautiful view.
I’ve been trying to think of what I didn’t like about this restaurant. But really, I can’t think of anything except for the little pink in my duck. It was almost too perfect. I probably have to go back to try other dishes, maybe I’ll find something I don’t like next time? So for now, let me give Altius a 4 out of 5 stars. Actually, make that 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Good To Know
|Cuisine||American, Fine Dining|
|Location and Restaurant Hours||1230 Grandview Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15211
For hours, head over HERE
|Complete Menu||Click HERE|
|Tip||Try to go on a weekday, so it’s not busy and you can easily get a great table by the window. Also, try to go when there are Prix Fixe Menus on special occasions to get the most out of your buck.|
|Note-worthy||Best libations in Pittsburgh indeed. Their scallops ramen soup starter is a must. All their extras (compliments of the chef) are so delicious… especially that dessert bar take away! Exceptional service!|
It was an elevated experience indeed. If you live in Pittsburgh or you’re visiting the city in the future, I highly recommend dining at Altius or at least trying their cocktails with some appetizers in the bar!