I recently went to Pittsburgh to visit my family, eat some good food, and play pinball! While I was there, we decided to get dinner at a brand new restaurant from Pierogi Night founders, Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski. Last year, they launched a Kickstarter campaign for a brick and mortar restaurant named Apteka. The restaurant recently had its “soft open” and is located between Bloomfield and Lawrenceville. Apteka serves up polish delicacies which are common in certain neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, but the difference is, their menu is 100% vegan. And boy, is it good!
Upon walking into Apteka, the first thing I noticed was the casual atmosphere, with low lighting, open brick walls, and tall ceilings. I also couldn’t ignore the music. It was a little odd—a cross between ambient sounds and animal noises that you might expect to hear at a meditation center or spa.
A large handwritten menu hangs on the wall as soon as you walk through the door. While I found this aesthetically pleasing, it was dinner time, and there were three other dinner parties standing in the small doorway trying to view the menu. Having a few small loose menus to pick up from the counter would be ideal. Then again. This place is pretty casual.
Once you are ready to order, you simply walk up to the counter and place your order. The server will give you a numbered card for your table, silverware, your glasses and water carafes to take back to your table.
While I went to Apteka to try the Pierogi, I knew as soon as I saw the Kanapki, I had to try that, too! The Kanapki is basically a set of three tartines. One with carrot pate + radish pickle; another with a leek + apple + mint puree; and the third with celeriac + pickle + apple + dill. The third tartine was the stand out for me. The “polish” salad mix was acidic and fresh, and kept me wanting more! I must admit, it was hard to choose. I liked all three! I sincerely hope this item becomes a menu staple!
The Pierogi was a beautiful dish. The vibrant colors of sauerkraut and greens, coupled with the yogurt and mustard sauce over lightly browned peirogies made for a simply stunning plate of food. There were two types of pierogies included with the order—one with sauerkraut and mushrooms and the other with smoked potato and parsnip. The smoked potato pierogi was my favorite. It had a powerful flavor, but was also close enough to a traditional pierogi to taste comforting and familiar.
Every single bite of food was better than the last! The sauces and herbs elevated the natural flavors in each dish. This food tasted like it had been perfected by true pros. Everyone at my table was highly satisfied with their meals, and nothing on the menu was more than $11. This restaurant has hit the mark on affordable food with fine dining flavor and plating!
Don’t hesitate to head to Pittsburgh and give Apteka a try. You won’t regret it, and your wallet and your tastebuds will thank you!