NOTHING COOKIE CUTTER
Nothing cookie cutter about this place
Unique food and decor. A limited menu but everything tastes like your alternate-reality Italian grandmother made it with love just for you. Try the ricotta cake. And the homemade sausage.
EXCELLENT FIND with very eclectic decor - like my grandma's on a holiday when everyone is coming over. Got a love the mismatch chairs tablecloth and napkins. Makes you think company is coming.
Very nice sized entrees (we shared and added an extra salad and sausage). A good fresh salad - variety not just plain old iceberg you find passing as salad - and the balsamic was good.
Great homemade bread and even freshly grated parmesan to die for!
The housemade sausage and meatball was a great addition to Judy's Ricotta Noodles - think big gnocci like pasta - with a flavorful sauce my grandparents would proudly call 'gravy'.
And dont pass on the desert, the tiramisu was fresh, full of flavor and big enough to share!!!
Overall a 5 star performance!!! Thanks Donny!
LINQUINE DI CONTOSTA
We were invited to Zarra's because friends had the Groupon and I'm so glad they asked us to join them. Our evening was fantastic. Three of us chose the Linguine di Contosta (linguine with mussels, shrimp and scallops) but each prepared in a different sauce - all delicious. Flavorful and not overpowered with garlic or salt like some places. My other friend had ricotta and homemade sausage - he liked it so much that he was on his last bite before he thought to ask if I wanted to try it. (I found out why). The salads are served with a house balsamic dressing and had a lot more than just the basics. If you come, absolutely save room for the tiramisu!
We had two waitresses who worked in tandem. Pleasant, knowledge about the menu, and attentive throughout our entire evening, they were on top of everything.
The decor is definitely unique. From interesting (old diving helmet) to pretty (paintings) to cool (various swords), there is everything and anything.
I will definitely return and recommend Zarra's to others.
PASTA! PASTA! PASTA!
What a great experience. This is a true, family-owned taste of Italy. Mom works the kitchen with Dad behind the bar. Our waiter was their son and his service couldn't have been more attentive. My son had the calamari pasta and my wife had the ricotta noodles. I went with the sampler and the lasagna was the lightest pasta I've ever had. The red sauce was fresh and authentic. We ended the night with fresh house-made desserts. The connoli and creme brulee were excellent but the ricotta cheesecake was unbelievable. It was, by far the best Italian meal we've had. Well done!
CMU PROFESSOR RECOMMENDS ZARRA'S
Was in town visiting CMU and one of the professors we met with recommended this place. When we entered the décor was a little overwhelming at first, but after a while we enjoyed pointing out new and interesting things hidden throughout the restaurant. Overall the dining area is large yet cozy.
There were six of us but no one was starving so we got two orders of the stuffed banana peppers and three orders of the Zarra's sampler to share. The samplers were entrées so each one came with a salad which we also shared, and the table had fresh bread with olive oil, garlic, cheese, and red pepper flakes for everyone. Everything was delicious. The eggplant and sautéed spinach were my favorite. The lasagna had so much cheese, it was amazing. We walked out of there with full bellies and had basically licked the plates clean.
Our waitress was very attentive and helpful. At one point the owner or owners son (not sure which), stopped by the table to say hi and make sure we were enjoying ourselves. Overall, it was a very good experience.
I was a visiting surgeon from Chicago working at UPMC and stumbled accidentally upon this absolute gem one night when I was looking for dinner alone. The food was fabulous. The owner, Donny, could not have been more gracious and generous. The staff, Chelsea, made sure that I felt right at home. The eggplant was spectacular and one of the best I've ever had. I sat at the bar and ate dinner and had a conversation with everyone at the restaurant that made me feel like I was right back at home in Little Italy in Chicago. I'll be in Pittsburgh for another two weeks and I'll try to make it back here at least once each week while I am here.
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