By Andrew L. at 2016-12-04
Lucca is a favorite when visiting Pittsburgh. I like their approach to Italian-American cooking. The menu at Lucca changes frequently, so one is sure to find something new among the entrees or the salads. I liked the Spinach Salad on my first visit, but have not seen it listed since. After trying the Cesar salad and the Chopped Salad on different visits, I will stay with the Chopped Salad for now. A tasty appetizer for sharing is the Fritto Misto, combining oysters, shrimp and calamari. (Better than calamari alone!) For an entree, I select a pasta dish. Each of the pastas comes with its own signature accompaniment. I've tried the Tagliatelli and Rigatoni (both with braised pork sugo), Risotto ai Vitello e Pepe (with veal and a trio of peppers), and Alla Chitara (with meatballs). The latter is a spaghetti-like pasta, but is hollow. I've enjoyed them all, but I suppose my favorite is the braised pork sugo. Portions are ample, so here will be some to take home for later.
The interior of Lucca is very attractive. It is dark in the evening, but lit with a variety of stained glass panels. The only downside to Lucca is that seating is very snug. Someone always seems to be bumping into my chair no matter where I sit.
Parking can be a challenge, but I am usually able to find a spot on Fillmore Street, down from the restaurant.
By Ana G. at 2016-11-14
I really liked this place. We came in because my husband had a good deal on a groupon. The ambiance was slightly upscale for the neighborhood, but we were dressed pretty casual.
Our waitress was pretty nice and knowledgeable of the menu, which came to be quite useful when we were told that they were out of both risottos which is what we both opted for initially.
We ended up ordering the meatballs for appetizer. The meatballs were pretty flavorful and satisfying for an app.
I ended up getting the mushroom ravioli with scallops when they ran out of the mushroom risotto. Despite the fact that I did not originally order this dish, I was so glad I ordered it and took the waitress's recommendation. The raviolis were very flavorful with that earthiness that mushrooms tend to have. The sauce that accompanied this dish was mushroomy and creamy, just amazing topped with scallops. Overall this dish was very, very good and delicate at the same time.
My husband had the bucatini with wild boar bolognese. My husband was not too impressed with this dish, and to be honest, compared to my dish, it was night and day.
Overall it was a good experience and would be willing to return, especially because of the reasonable prices and to actually try that mushroom risotto, because that mushroom sauce was out of this world!
By Lillian T. at 2016-05-12
We came here for dinner at the recommendation of a friend (and with a groupon). Our group was seated outside with a lovely view of Craig. The perfect weather and calm atmosphere definitely enhanced our experience. The service was prompt and accommodating.
Between the four of us, we tried a few starters including the caprese buffalo mozerella and the mushroom risotto which we asked to be served as an appetizer. The risotto was delicious! I would definitely order it again as a meal. My entree (scallops) was a chalkboard special for the day. Overall really good, and beautifully presented. My one critique is the lentil purée was a little funky in color and taste, although I'm not the biggest lentil fan to begin with. My boyfriend had the sea bass Branzino Striato which he really enjoyed. Overall great experience, will defiantly come back for lunch or a relaxing evening meal.
By darren l. at 2016-11-30
Convenient location to CMU, Pitt, and the Museum, and gluten-free friendly. Pastas were very good even if the chef favors al dente more so than any other restaurant in the area. Everything put on the table was really good, including some of the more unusual pasta sauces. Oddly the wine by the glass menu was void of Italian reds.
Service a bit slow, but I left with the feeling that everything was made to order in a small kitchen. We would go back here.
By Laura M. at 2015-12-14
I live approximately two blocks from Lucca, and have walked by it about a gazillion times. Given that my friends and I had plans to head to Phipps on Sat. evening, and that they wanted to have dinner somewhere on Craig St., I suggested it, given that it's one of the few upscale options. As you can see by my rating, unfortunately, our visit left something to be desired.
The main issue was the service. From the time we sat down, it was clear that serving us was not a priority. After 10 min., the waiter came to take our drink orders, and then brought them out in another 5 min. However, after that, we sat for about 15 min. with no sign of him coming back to take our food orders. I finally went up to the hostess stand and demanded service, which was followed by him coming over to take our order in short order.
For our appetizer, we ordered the terra stracchiatella de bufula ($15), which consisted of fresh mozzarella, crispy prosciutto, and fig jam. We also ordered the crispy calamari ($11), which comes with red peppers, onion, and spicy tomato basil sauce. While the crispy prosciutto was good, the fresh mozzarella was more watery than I'd like. I'm not a huge calamari fan, so I'm not the most objective judge of calamari, but it wasn't as crispy as I'd like, and I wasn't a fan of the spicy elements--though I get that they were included to add flavor.
For our entrees, we ordered the following from the pasta menu: tagliatelle ($18), braised rabbit risotto ($14), and wild mushroom risotto ($12). The tagliatelle was quite al dente, to the point that my friend who ordered it was wondering if it was cooked properly. He became accustomed to it eventually, and enjoyed it after that. I can't speak for the braised rabbit risotto, as I didn't try it. However, I can speak for the wild mushroom risotto, which I ordered, and it was severely underseasoned. Because our table didn't have salt and pepper shakers, I (miraculously) caught our waiter's attention when he was waiting on the table next to us and asked for some. The addition of salt and pepper greatly improved the dish--even then, though, it was 3.5 star quality at best.
As expected, when finished our dinner, we sat for a good 10-15 min. waiting for the check. Fed up with waiting at this point, I got up and approached the bar, where our waiter was working, and firmly requested the check. It was at this point when I realized that our waiter was actually the bartender, and that the restaurant was understaffed. Out of goodwill, we tipped 15%--needless to say, the actual deserved tip was much less. In his defense, he did make a delicious French 75--though, not to sound like a cocktail snob, but it was served in a martini glass instead of the proper highball glass. For those keeping track at home, we spent 1.5 hours from arrival to departure. Needless to say, we were less than impressed, and won't be returning until they up the ante with the food and get the service under control, esp. at this price point.
By Mara K. at 2016-04-13
Oakland was hopping on a Friday night so I decided to give Lucca a shot for a quick happy hour drink before heading to an event.
My friend and I got a two top table near the bar and ordered the cheese plate and two glasses of wine. I don't believe they had any drink specials, but the prices were reasonable.
The cheese plate was a nice snack to accompany the wine. Small bar area that was full, a medium sized dining room, and when the weather is nice you can sit at their outdoor patio.
For the area this is a more upscale restaurant and you can expect to pay a little more than you would at the surrounding eateries. But you can expect a much more quality meal and service.
By Iris H. at 2016-05-20
The food here was fine with a nice wine selection. However, our group was seated in the back room and there was no air conditioning. It was *incredibly* warm. Uncomfortably so. We spoke with the waiter, but nothing ever changed. It was a relief to leave this establishment!
Will not return.
By Claire N. at 2016-05-21
We went because with a Groupon. The reviews are mixed on Yelp so my expectations were tempered. They have a great covered patio outside on a level above the sidewalk which allows you to people-watch.
We shared two appetizers:
Stracciatella di Bufalo: delicious. Buffalo mozzarella mixed with cream.
Wild mushroom risotto: this went fast so I couldn't get a proper photo. Pretty good.
For entrees, people got the Branzino and the Scallops special. I had the Fettuccine with mushrooms, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, feta. The balance of ingredients made for an unremarkable flavor. The pasta texture was excellent: thin and delicate.
For the non-veggie dishes, the Branzino and the Scallops were reportedly good but it came with a strange lentil purée which had no real flavor.
Overall, there were a few highlights (buffalo cheese, fish preparation, and pasta quality) but there were inconsistencies between and even within the dishes. It's a nice restaurant with mediocre food.
By Jeffrey C. at 2016-11-16
Went at 8 pm on a Thursday night and it was almost empty when we got there. The place looks nice but the host was wearing a Tshirt, which I thought was oddly casual. While we were there, a large group came in and raised the energy level of the place.
Service was quick and friendly, and the food was good - perhaps a slight salty. I probably wouldn;t seek it out, but would be happy to eat there again
By Alyssa F. at 2016-01-11
Order the Brussels and steak with bacon jam. The cocktails were perfection, be aware the selection is more about whisky than wine. My partner ordered a pasta dish with chicken and the poultry was not seasoned. He found it to be underwhelming although the pasta was perfection. I think any Italian making that statement is a win in my book. We will be back, soon.
By Elisabeth B. at 2015-08-14
I've been here twice myself for lunch and have scheduled business dinners here on two other occasions.
The food is fantastic - I highly suggest any of the pasta dishes. They do a fantastic job of balancing their dishes to not make them too heavy. Keep in mind that their menu changes. I wouldn't say that it's "seasonal" because it doesn't work to cater to seasonal vegetables or anything of the same. However, they do take dishes off and put new ones on, so don't be surprised if you view an old menu somewhere online or if you return and the dish you loved the last time isn't there any more. (I promise you that you will find something else JUST as delicious!)
While this isn't really a beer sort of place and you'd most likely order wine with the dishes, if you ARE a beer drinker (you probably are if you're in Pittsburgh...) the beer selection is odd. Dogfishhead 60 min IPA, Hoegarten, and Peroni - that's it. I haven't tried the cocktails, so I can't speak to that.
Someone below mentioned the service as to why they gave such low stars. I've never been impressed with the service, but they're not horrible. I think it's just a little odd at the not top notch service for such a nice restaurant, but don't let that keep you from coming. Just keep it in mind where you do!
By Shanna C. at 2015-11-03
I heard Lucca had hired a new Chef and have been there twice since in the last few weeks, once for lunch and once for dinner. Let's get this out of the way first: Lucca is pricey.
I got their burger at lunch and it was really well seasoned and perfectly cooked. It's really up there for me for beat burgers I've had in Pittsburgh. They added some crispy prosciutto and that was a nice touch, but the burger itself was a star. As for the fries I (sadly but wisely) opted out. The salad was small, but light. The burger was more than enough for me.
And for dinner I devoured a gnocchi dish with 2 large scallops in a butternut squash sauce for dinner and it was perfectly executed. Maybe I'm just really easy to please but gnocchi and scallops are both a little bit of a challenge to get right.
Lucca is also doing brunch now and I'd love to come back to try it out. I think they're really trying to compete now that the more laid back Union has remodeled and foodie darling Legume is up the street, and honestly they should be competitive! Lucca has the best outdoor seating on the street, so they get points for that.
To many Pitt and CMU grads it might remain the place that was too expensive for them to even look at the menu. However to those alumni: if you're not overburdened by student debt (TBH a small population), you should give Lucca a chance.
By Anon. E. M. at 2016-08-02
Food was pretty good, but not worth the prices.
And, I find it really annoying when a snobby restaurant serves nasty, undrinkable tap water. No, you're not going to squeeze more money out of me for a beverage so that your skanky water won't ruin my meal. And no, serving said water in a fancy cobalt blue glass doesn't make it taste any better.
By Anthony C. at 2016-01-04
Nick Senske stars as the new executive chef of Lucca. The appetizers are amazing from the cheeses paired with fig jam and crispy prosciutto to the lightly fried calamari with spicy tomato sauce and peppers. Be sure to try the pastas which are made in house using locally sourced vegetables for the sauces. The meatballs are also handmade to order and are full of flavor. Together, it's easily best dish of spaghetti and meatballs (topped with melted straciatella cheese). The tagliatelle is just as good if not better. My favorite entrees are the filet, veal, or the mixed grill are always solid choices. But do not miss out on the marvelous molten lava cake!!
By Rob V. at 2016-10-02
Great food and atmosphere. Took my son and his Pitt roommate there for dinner. My son had the Bistec and said it was the best meal he ever had. Loved the sticky toffee pudding to wrap up a great experience.
By Luke T. at 2015-12-02
Lucca is a fine Italian dining experience. Having lived in Italy for nearly 2 years of my life, I can say this place is the most authentic in Pittsburgh. Now if you want a menu with typical Americanized-Italian (Stromboli, calzone, Alfredo, etc), then Lucca will shock you. Yes they have a delicious steak on the menu. And yes, steak is very Italian (central Italy).
Fantastic appetizers (stracciatella cheese with olive tapenade was incredible), insalate mista was spot on, and for an entre I had swordfish with capers a lemon sauce, side of red sauce bolognese pasta. wow. So good.
Truly a 5-Star establishment.
By Susie H. at 2016-02-13
Came here on a Saturday night and it wasn't busy at all. The portions were tiny, and service was super slow. The server also had an unpleasant attitude. The biggest reason why I'm only giving one star is because I witnessed the server dropping something from my Risotto as she was bringing it over. But instead of apologizing, she picked it up and hid it behind her back. Even though I witnessed her doing this, I didn't say anything because I wasn't 100% sure if it was food that she dropped on the floor. But my suspicions were confirmed when I saw that the table next to us ordered the same risotto and had more content that my plate was missing. Overall, not worth the price nor the quality of service nor the time.
By Branden C. at 2016-09-25
Had a poor experience at this place. Two of our entrees were so salty it was hard to stomach. They charge $14 a glass for house wines and the pours are too light. A bowl of soup is $7 and the "bowl" is more like a plate it is so shallow and I had 2 bones in my soup. Absolutely nothing is included with the over priced entrees. I opted to add scallops to my fettuccine an the gave me 2! That's right 2! The service was terrible. It took us 20 minutes to get our drinks and we only got 3 out of 4 and he had to wait another 5 minutes. When our meals came, the first 2 of 4 came and the other two took nearly another ten minutes to come out. All said and done $224 for 4 of us to eat at this place after tip. I would not mind this, but the best part of the meal was the over priced wine. Terrible, we will never go back and will be tell others the same. Wanna be upscale place that is really bad. I mentioned our dissatisfaction at the end of the meal and there was a light apology and no other service recovery was offered.
By Betty W. at 2016-02-04
Best pasta ever!! Everything was made fresh not frozen . Staff was great ! Would definitely go there again. The restaurant was old world quiet and dark loved it!!!
By John M. at 2016-01-15
The food was delicious with a nice ambiance and good service. We had the mixed olive appetizer and salad. Bailee had spaghetti and said it was delicious...she even ate the meatballs. I had the grouper special that was very good. Well worth the money.