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Cuisines Converge at 40 North Restaurant and Bar

Roast Chicken
Roast Chicken

40 North Restaurant and Bar is the best of both worlds in many ways. The restaurant is located in City of Asylum, which also houses a bookstore and event space. The room is open and airy with each space flowing into the next. The large windows let in copious amounts of natural light if you’re lucky enough to dine before the sun sets. Cozy couches and warm wooden tables round out the restaurant. Patrons can browse the bookstore to their hearts’ content before their reservation. Many times, while customers are enjoying a meal, a concert or live reading may be taking place. 40 North is a space where cultural activities meet, which makes it more of an experience, rather than just a meal.

American, Eastern European and Middle Eastern flavors converge to create 40 North’s menu. Dishes like borscht, falafel with basmati rice and butternut squash risotto topped with chèvre all show the depth of 40 North’s eclectic menu.

The evening I enjoyed dinner at 40 North, there were no performances, but the restaurant was a cozy respite on a chilly winter day. I was craving comfort food, and they delivered.

My dining companions and I wanted to try so many of the starters, but we only had so much room. The deviled and pickled eggs, chèvre seasoned with za’atar and served with warm flatbread and grilled wings with cucumber yogurt were all contenders. We ended up deciding on the khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread) and potato and chive pierogies.

I’d sampled khachapuri at other restaurants during my previous travels, and 40 North’s version holds its own. The bread itself is fluffy, and the mixture of sheep’s milk feta, chèvre, mozzarella and ajika (a Georgian dip made with red peppers, garlic, herbs and walnuts) was both salty and savory. Grilling the bread added a subtle charred flavor, which only enhanced the ingredients inside the bread. My only complaint was that I wished there was more of it.


I am a Pittsburgher through and through, which means I love pierogies and have high standards for what a good one should taste like. 40 North’s pierogies passed the test with flying colors. The restaurant keeps their pierogies simple with a classic potato and chive filling. The caramelized onions added richness, while the dill sour cream added a cool, fresh flavor to the dish. If you’re a pierogi lover like me, then these are definitely worth a try.

Next up were the mains. I’d heard rave reviews from friends and Pittsburgh food influencers alike that the roasted half chicken was one of the best dishes at 40 North. While I love a good roasted chicken, I was skeptical. How good could this actually be? The answer is excellent, of course. I see what all of the fanfare is about. This chicken was tender, succulent and perfectly seasoned with thyme jus and celery root vinaigrette, which gave it both an herbaceous and acidic flavor. The dill yogurt from the pierogies made another appearance and complemented the other elements already present in the chicken. The spätzle (a Central European egg noodle) and roasted parsnips both melted in my mouth. I would recommend splitting this with someone (like I did), as I couldn’t even finish half. I wasn’t disappointed about having leftovers though.

New York Strip Steak
New York Strip Steak

Another main our table ordered was the NY strip steak. Many times when I enjoy a steak at a restaurant, it’s always a little overcooked for my liking (which is medium rare). However, 40 North was the exception. The steak was perfectly cooked and absolutely juicy. The accompanying smashed and fried potatoes with chimichurri were a tasty twist on a classic side.

The dessert selection at 40 North is extensive and outstanding. Both the dark chocolate and hazelnut torte and carrot cake were tempting, but I opted for the warm apple croustade, and my dining partners each got an affogato, which is espresso over vanilla ice cream. The apple croustade was the ideal treat to wrap up this cozy, winter meal. The pastry was crisp and flaky, while the warm honeycrisp apples melted in my mouth. The vanilla ice cream on top melted slightly, which rounded out this delicious, gooey treat.

40 North introduces flavors from an array of cuisines, some of which Pittsburghers are familiar with, and others which are new to them. They also incorporate local, seasonal produce and other items. Both of these elements make for a unique and dynamic dining experience that will leave diners satisfied and wishing to come back for more. I’m looking forward to seeing how 40 North’s menu will change with the warmer weather on the way. One thing I know for certain is that it will be sure to excite my tastebuds.

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