Food For Thought | Piada Italian Street Food

Food For Thought is a biweekly blog where Kendall Swift reviews restaurants around Pittsburgh.

On the corner of Meyran and Forbes Avenues is Piada Italian Street Food. With all the restaurants in bustling central Oakland near campus, you might not have seen or tried this one yet. But, if you’re looking for some quick and yummy pasta between classes, this might be the spot for you.

Piada Italian Street Food is a chic quick-service restaurant. Guests can choose between wraps, salads, bowls or pasta. Staff assemble all the meals in front of you, and you can make it your own with all types of protein options and additives. There is even an option to build your own wrap, bowl or pasta! Then, you can take your meal to-go or dine inside their large dining room.

With all the options available, it is difficult to pick just one. But, after all, who doesn’t love pasta? I ordered the carbonara. Carbonara is a pasta dish from Rome that contains parmesan alfredo, bruschetta, tomatoes, pancetta, spinach and grated parmesan. I added hot fried chicken on top of it. 

The hot fried chicken with the pasta might seem like an odd choice at first, but it adds so much to the flavor. The chicken has a thick rub of spices and is very juicy. I couldn’t ask for better seasoning. It perfectly combines with the alfredo sauce and the other components to make the dish cohesive.

The alfredo sauce itself wasn’t particularly noteworthy. It had a great creamy texture, but not a lot of flavor. Luckily, the other ingredients pick up where the sauce fails. The other ingredients, namely the tomatoes and pancetta, add more variety than the plain sauce.

The crunch of the pancetta is amazing. The flavor is very smokey, like you expect from pancetta and bacon. I also got a little bit of crunch from the spinach and tomatoes. All the vegetables are raw, which I thought at first to be a little off-putting. Despite my initial drawbacks, the vegetables give a refreshing texture that cuts through the heaviness of the pasta itself.

The carbonara, along with the other pastas, is available in small or regular sizes. I chose the small size for myself and I’m glad I did. The serving comes with a heaping handful of spaghetti or penne, if that’s what you choose and a generous portion of each topping. It might not look like a lot compared to the regular size, but it fills you up quickly. I felt myself starting to get full after only eating half of the bowl.

Piada Italian Street Food also offers a range of sides, from Piada sticks to meatballs.The Piada sticks intrigued me, so I opted to try one of them. Piada sticks are the business name for a breadstick and come in parmesan or pepperoni flavors. Since most people have tried a parmesan breadstick before, I opted for the pepperoni Piada stick.

The Piada stick is very lightly golden and crusted with sprinkles of cheese. Inside, it is stuffed with pepperoni, more cheese and tomato sauce. It’s more than a foot long, which is a nice deal for a little more than $2. The pepperoni has a good smoky flavor. That is about all the good things I have to say about the Piada stick.

But I was disappointed that the stick was cold. Without it being hot, it freezes up into a rather unappetizing lard. The sticks are on display in the front of the store, though, so I understand why they may not be warm. The fillings inside are very scarce and the pepperoni outpowers the tomato sauce and cheese. The flavor is reminiscent of a frozen pizza or a pizza Lunchable. 

These items may be great if you’re feeling nostalgic, but not if you want a good breadstick. I think that a quick microwave or oven stint for the Piada stick could do it some good, if you happen to take your food to-go. I don’t know if that would completely redeem it, though, because some of the flaws revolve around taste rather than temperature.

All in all, Piada Italian Street Food is a great choice if you’re looking for something quick and easy. I was very happy with their pasta. Should I ever go back, I would love to try some of their wraps as well. However, if you do go, it might be a smart idea to stick to the main dishes only and stay away from the sides. 

Food For Thought | Piada Italian Street Food

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