“Cuffing Season” is upon us once again. What’s cuffing season? Well, according to the Urban Dictionary, it occurs during the fall and winter months and notes that people who would normally choose to be single find themselves desiring to be “cuffed” or “tied down” in a serious relationship.
With that being said, Netflix & Chill invitations are at an all-time high, but I urge you to decline most of the offers and instead insist on being taken out on a real date. I love date nights with my boyfriend, it’s a great way to reconnect.
I am here to give you my first-ever edition of what I believe are Pittsburgh’s best places for a date. Whether you want to impress with a fancy restaurant, have a casual lunch or just sip some drinks, I got you covered. And make no mistake, this list is good for new couples, “friends with benefits” and married folk alike.
Oh, You Fancy Huh?
How about being greeted at your seat with a glass of champagne? That’s what you get at Siempre Algo, located at 414 E. Ohio St. on the North Side. The intimate dining area sets the mood for romance. The menu is small, but the flavors are huge! During my date we shared the ceviche appetizer, it was fresh and flavorful, a great start to our meal. For my entrée, I decided on the rib-eye steak, served with roasted fingerling potatoes, wilted greens and chimichurri. The steak was one of the best I’ve ever had. The seasoning on it was sent directly from heaven. It was tender, juicy, medium rare, in other words—PERFECTION! We also had one cocktail each and shared a dessert. The total with tax and tip was about $120.
Worth the Drive….
What better way to connect with your boo, then to take a nice drive to Washington, Pa.! A 40-minute drive from Pittsburgh will get you to Al’ an Rubens Bar & Grill, at 2390 Jefferson Ave., and it will be worth every second you spent on the road. This award-winning restaurant is my go-to for a great date and other celebratory events. They specialize in Italian comfort food but give a soulful twist to classic dishes. One of my favorite appetizers is the Mozzarella in Carozza, which is mozzarella inside of Italian bread that’s breaded and deep fried and topped with a Parmesan cream sauce. “It’s like a grilled cheese on steroids,” says Owner and Head Chef, Alan Collins. The restaurant always has daily specials and if you have a sweet tooth, check out the cheesecakes. They currently have over 170 varieties and offer a different one every day. In addition to the amazing menu, they have live entertainment a few days per month. A complete meal (appetizer, cocktails, entrees and dessert) for two will cost about $80.
Surf & Turf
Coast & Main Seafood + Chop House, 705 Mall Circle Dr. in Monroeville, is taking Surf & Turf to new levels, with their wide range of meat, poultry and seafood. Their vast menu offerings will allow each of you to find something you will enjoy. I started by ordering one of their signature cocktails, the blueberry thyme martini, and loved it. For dinner I ordered a signature seafood dish, the jumbo stuffed shrimp. The shrimp is stuffed with Dungeness crab filling and is coated with lemon butter. My boyfriend ordered the salmon and we shared a massive twice baked potato. All their seafood is flown in fresh daily! Not only did I enjoy my meal, the bread service was equally delicious. They came to the table with a basket filled with three different freshly baked breads; a pretzel bun, Italian, and a cranberry & date. I literally tried to consume the entire basket! Our meal with tax/tip was $130.
Dine on a Dime
Perhaps for a first date, you just wanna do a casual lunch. You are tired of the mundane fast food choices and are looking for something to get your MCM (Man Crush Monday) or WCW (Women Crush Wednesday) taste buds jumping. Head to Cilantro & Ajo at 901 E. Carson St. on the South Side for authentic, Venezuelan street fare. The inside of the restaurant boasts vibrant colors and lively music. I have been drawn to the daily lunch specials—each special has been served with their delicious rice, black beans, sweet plantains and a protein. They also have a variation of menu items such as arepas, empanadas and tostadas. These affordable options will cost no more than $20 for the two of you, so you’ll leave with a full belly and wallet.
Drinks on Me
Going out for drinks can take the pressure off a first date or can be a great idea for long-term couples to relax after a long day. One of the coolest, or should I say hottest places in Pittsburgh to grab a drink is at Mixtape, 4907 Penn Ave. This cocktail lounge mixes up great drinks and plays dope music, the vibe is chill and hip (hop) at the same time. During the night, you’ll probably hear Tupac, Biggie, Run DMC and other legendary artists. Plus, they have board games, so you can see how competitive your boo is. Get comfy on a couch, enjoy the complimentary popcorn and prepare to have a great evening. The cocktails range from about $9-13. So, a couple drinks per person will only set you back 50 bucks or less and taxes and gratuities are already included in the price. If you still insist on leaving a tip, it will be donated to a local charity.
With these suggestions, you’ll be cuddled up in no time, and who knows, you may not need to recruit for next season. For the longtime love birds, dating should still be a part of your life—it’s always important to keep the spark alive.
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