Due to the presence of two major universities, the Pittsburgh district of Oakland has a large number of cheap restaurants that serve quick food. For the most part, the food served in these restaurants is rather mediocre at best, especially in the many Chinese food restaurants in the area. One major exception to the mediocre Chinese food in the area is Lulu’s Noodle Shop on South Craig Street.
Lulu’s Noodle Shop is a Pan-Asian restaurant that serves a mix of traditional Chinese dishes and Thai noodle recipes. Compared to anything but a traditional sit-down Chinese restaurant, the Chinese food in Lulu’s is of the highest quality. But, quality Chinese food is just a side benefit of Lulu’s Noodle Shop. The true delicacies of this restaurant are the Thai noodle dishes.
Lulu’s Noodle Shop serves an extensive variety of Thai noodle recipes ranging from Pad Thai to Pho to Udon. Each type of noodle has a unique flavor and texture and is prepared and served in a traditional style. Noodle dishes are served both on plates and in soup bowls and at approximately $6 a bowl, the nearly overflowing soup bowls are an absolutely unbelievably good value for your money.
In fact, the entire menu consists of dishes that cost less than $8. For these prices you might think that serving sizes are small, but the opposite is actually true. Every plate, bowl, and side dish is filled to the brim with food. The crab rangoon side dish, for instance comes with five crispy wontons approximately half again as large as crab rangoon in the average Chinese restaurant.
In addition to high quality food, the atmosphere of the restaurant is light and pleasant. The lights are kept dim to encourage quiet conversation and highly amusing photographs of people playing with noodles adorn the walls. Even the rest room exteriors are decorated with the wall hanging of a traditional Chinese woman and male Sumo wrestler.
Finally, this low cost, high quality experience is also convenient. Located on South Craig Street, the restaurant is about a two block walk from the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC, and Carnegie Mellon University. In addition, most orders only take about 10-15 minutes to be ready, even during busy periods like the lunch rush.
Amongst all this perfection, it is difficult to find any flaws in Lulu’s Noodle Shop. In fact, the only drawback is that Lulu’s does not have a delivery service. But, the local delivery service Wheel Deliver will deliver Lulu’s food with the usual surcharge.
If you enjoy Asian food or simply are looking for a quick place to have a nice meal, Lulu’s is one of the best Asian restaurants in the entire city. The quality of food is high enough for a reasonably traditional sit down dinner while also being cheap and fast enough for a quick lunch on the go. Almost nothing else in Pittsburgh compares.
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Lulu’s Noodle Shop
400 S. Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA
Hours: Sun – Sat 11AM – 9:30 PM