Papa J’s Ristorante in Carnegie

I hope everybody had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and that you didn’t let the cynics get you down!

I know Valentine’s Day seems like an evil ploy from Hallmark and chocolatiers to make money, but enough with the snide comments already. When I asked my 5-year-old what Valentine’s Day means to him he said simply, “Loving. And that’s it.”

He said this while wearing a Valentine Hat. Love the holiday spirit…

Amen, Marco. Amen. So, here’s to hoping that each and every one of you took a moment on Tuesday to appreciate all of the love in your life. And if you and your Valentine went on a special date to celebrate your love– I hope you enjoyed every second of it!

I know I did.

Usually at 8 PM on a Tuesday night, Yuseff and I are lounging in sweatpants and eating something that I had to cook. But last night we were all dolled up eating at Papa J’s Ristorante on Main Street in Carnegie– so I say: Hooray for Valentine’s Day, you gave me an excuse to brush my hair on a Tuesday night and let someone else do the cooking!

Generally speaking, I do not go to Italian Restaurants (unless I’m in New York City, because it’s actually good there). I think the Olive Garden’s of the world ruined it for me (sorry if you like it there, but save for their salad and breadsticks, I think their food is gross)– also I’m Italian so my family cooks way better than 99% of the Italian Restaurants in Pittsburgh.

Part of the magical 1% is at Papa J’s Ristorante for sure. First of all, the restaurant is cute as can be. One of my favorite features are the window-walls in the kitchen so passers-by on the street can see the Chefs hard at work preparing mouth-watering dishes (this is what lured us in to begin with…). Our waitress was super sweet and friendly, which always makes for a pleasant experience. And our food was amazing. Hands down the best bruschetta I’ve ever had. They also had Veal Parmigian0, which made me so happy, because you usually only see Chicken Parm on a menu, or Eggplant Parm– if you’re lucky (*spoiler alert* Papa J’s has both of those dishes too!)

Once again, I was working with a cell phone camera in candlelight, so the picture quality isn’t stellar or anything. I tried to use instagram to make them look better… but, I’m not sure if it helped, or just made the food look like hipsters.


Stuffed Banana Peppers

Veal Parmigiano

Not Pictured: A delicious fresh loaf of bread with dipping oil and vinegar and Yuseff’s lamb.

What did you do for Valentine’s Day? What did you eat?



3 thoughts on “Papa J’s Ristorante in Carnegie

  1. I agree, Papa J’s is fantastic! And Olive garden is ‘fake’ Italian food, although I am a fan of their soup, salad, and breadsticks meal

  2. Haha! Mark and I always say that Olive Garden is only considered good because they took great ideas and added a tonnn of heavy cream and addictive fattening elements to lure you in. I agree that Papa J’s is excellent. I could live happily off of their bread with oil and balsamic alone!

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