Living in Manchester on Pittsburgh’s North Side, we are very fortunate to have several varieties of Asian/Asian-American cuisine available within a 10-15 minute drive, including Indian, Nepalese, Thai and Cambodian as well as multiple Chinese restaurants with different regional emphasis. So we were pleased to learn about a relatively new location serving Burmese cuisine.
Royal Myanmar is located in an unassuming business strip off the main West View business district – if you are familiar with the horseshoe curve, you can find it with ease. After reading the article in the Post-Gazette, we opted to head out early to avoid crowds which was a wise decision. When we arrived, there was only one other table of diners. When we left, there was a line at the door.
It is a cute space with about 12 tables of various sizes and a clean, simple decor. The kid-friendliness is evident by the rather significant stash of booster seats and high chairs near the entrance as well as the server not blinking when a child at another table loudly asked to be served “plain rice with some pineapple, please.”
We went a little overboard, but it was worth it. We ordered the West View Roll based on the server’s recommendation (she used to work with the owner/chef as a sushi prep cook for Giant Eagle) and it was delicious – tempura shrimp, cucumber, avocado, spicy tuna and more. We polished off nine generous pieces in no time. We also tried the Samosa which is a favorite of ours. This is probably the best in the region – crisp without being too doughey and a flavorful filling that wasn’t overwhelmed by the sauce.
Ledcat tried the Chicken and Potato Curry which she loved. She’s able to tolerate a bit more spiciness than me so she has her eye on a spicier curry dish the next time we visit. Her chicken was moist and tender, the curry sauce was flavorful and just creamy enough to tie the dish together. The menu includes several curry dishes that can be prepared mild as well.
I opted for a noodle dish, Kyarzan Kyaw, which is essentially stir friend rice noodles with vegetables and a scrambled egg. Traditionally, this dish is served with fried pig intestines, but I went with chicken. It was very good – your basic stir fry with light noodles and lots of flavor from the veggies which were crisp. The chicken was plentiful and quite tasty. This is a great starter dish for someone who is a bit unsure about trying new cuisine and/or unsure about spiciness. There is a version with egg noodles as well (Kauk Swe Kyaw.)
We also tried the Royal Myanmar Tea which is a black tea sweetened with condensed milk and half and half. Ledcat loved it, but I found it too bitter for my taste – she drank mine and couldn’t fall asleep until 2 AM. We were too stuffed to opt for dessert, but there were several interesting options on the menu.
All of this food, including 3 leftover meals for us, came to less than $40.00. That’s incredible. Every sit-down order comes with a complimentary bowl of miso soup or a salad with ginger dressing – not just entrees, but anything. We both opted for the salad because we love ginger dressing. It was a generous portion and delicious.
Royal Myanmar has an extensive menu so it is the perfect place to explore Burmese cuisine even if you have a reluctant culinary explorer in your group – there’s plenty of easy to recognize Americanized Asian food on the menu. We are looking forward to some of the soups which all come in hot-pot size servings. It is also a good reason to educate yourself about Myanmar/Burma as well as the diverse Asian-American communities choosing to relocate to Pittsburgh.
The service was a little slow because they were overwhelmed by the response to the Post-Gazette article, but during the lull when we first arrived our server spoke with us at length and helped us to identify Burmese dishes on the menu. She told us the most popular item is Pad Thai, but we wanted to stretch ourselves a bit. The chef was delivering entrees to the tables herself and everyone seemed to be relaxed about the slight lag.
Royal Myanmar is open for lunch and dinner, offering limited delivery service. There’s plenty of street parking which also lends itself well to take away, a value add.
Royal Myanmar * 644 Center Avenue * Pittsburgh, PA 15229 * 412-415-3380
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