Crystal On Penn Menu

  • Beverages
  • Appetizers and Side Dishes
  • Soups
  • Specialty Salads
  • Wrap Sandwiches
  • Specialty Sandwiches
  • Crystal's Build Your Own Burger
  • House Specialties
  • Desserts

Healthy Meal suggestions for Crystal On Penn

  • Beverages
  • Appetizers and Side Dishes
  • Soups
  • Specialty Salads
  • Wrap Sandwiches
  • Specialty Sandwiches
  • Crystal's Build Your Own Burger
  • House Specialties
  • Desserts

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  • Tran T.

    Came in 3/19 on a Wednesday around 5 for an extremely late lunch (dinner now). The place was pretty empty, had maybe one or two other tables and what seemed like a few regulars at the bar. We chose this place since it was on Triple D. The owner is so nice, very sweet lady. Appetizer Platter - We tried the appetizer platter which came with hummus, babba ganoush, tabouleh, stuffed grapes leaves, feta and olives, tzatziki, and pita bread. The hummus was really good - it had a cumin flavor to it. The babba ganoush was not the best I had but pretty good. The feta was a bit strong. Grape leaves was good too. It was good, I did feel the cumin in the hummus gave it some flair. Felafel platter - I ordered the vegetarian felafel platter with the rice and french fries. I absolutely loved the felafel, which came with a bit of tahini on top of each piece. It was so crispy on the outside, firm on the inside, not soggy/soft and not dry. I have to say it is the best felafel i've tried. The rice was pretty good, nothing special. This also came with the stuffed grape leaves which I felt were standard. The french fries were awesome! Very crisp and amazing flavor. I had to refrain from finishing it all. This plate can definitely be shared between two people, especially if you order the appetizer. The food is extremely cheap, the other two in my party ordered burgers and I think the total came out to be just around $40 with drinks and tax.

    (5)
  • Kia H.

    Crystals will never get my business again. First time I went everything was great, I ordered take out and got drinks, so I figured, ok cool..new hang out..boy was I wrong. I went in Crystals, the first Steelers home game, asked for two shots only to be told, wait a second I'm talking now..really? I left just as fast as I walked in. Crystals evidently has enough customers and don't need anymore. Thanks Crystals...greenbacks spend everywhere!

    (1)
  • Darae C.

    This place looks like it would be a fun place to drink with a good group of friends on the cheap. The service was also very very friendly and accommodating. Plus, no smoking which is always a great thing for me. That's where the good points stop. I swung in here to meet up with a few peeps before heading to dollar night at PNC Park. We saw there were dollar tacos being offered, and figured because it was Tuesday and the place was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives we couldn't go wrong. Oh, poor stupid me. One huge bite into the horribly stale taco shell and I discovered that the taco meat was covered in bbq sauce. Not the delicious tomato-y spiced sauce normal tacos come in, but freaking sweet as pie bbq sauce. ....the TACO meat was covered in flipping BBQ sauce! It was as horrible as one can imagine for someone who had their mouth set on a normal taco, even if it was just from the Old El Paso taco kit. I couldn't believe it. I literally think that the two bites of taco I had (the second was to confirm what my taste buds were red flagging in the first place) were the worst food I've had as a paying customer. The wilted iceberg and mushy tomatoes didn't sit right with me either. It was as if someone put sloppy Joes in a taco, only they forgot the tomato sauce and freaking added BBQ SAUCE OH MY GOODNESS WHY WHY WHY DID NO ONE ELSE ON YELP WARN US??!!! Apparently this place changed owners from the original folks who were churning out the good Mediterranean food. I will neeeeeeever eat here again, but if I'm ever down that way and want a cheap drink I may.

    (2)
  • Kevin G.

    I stopped here with a colleague from work as we were coming into town for a meeting and were looking for a local place where we could get something different. The staff was friendly and did a good job keeping up with everything and making sure we had whatever we needed. The food was good (we had roast beef and baba), not life changing good, but a decent local place sort of good. The music was a bit too loud for us to continue our conversation after eating (the speaker was right over our heads) so we did not stick around as long as we might have otherwise. Overall not too bad

    (3)
  • Joley B.

    AMAZING. The food here is simply delicious. From the sidewalk, you'd never know what kind of food was waiting for you inside. While on our road trip, my friend suggested a few places in the Pittsburgh area for lunch. I had heard of this place on trips to the Steel city before, and so I said we should try it. So glad we did! It was a Friday afternoon - about 1:30 and the place was empty. I almost thought that they weren't open. I noticed a few people come in and get take out, and a couple of guys came in and sat at the bar, but that's it. We ordered hummus (of course) and it was delicious. I love homemade hummus, and this was superb. I also got the chicken kabob plate. Let me tell you. It was to die for. The chicken was perfectly charred on the outside (but not too much) and the inside was juicy. The flavor was amazing. It came on a bed of rice which was tasty, and the garlic sauce on the side was heavenly. I don't know if it was yogurt based or sour cream based, but it was the best! My friend ordered the artichoke heart salad with lamb and enjoyed it too - I think she wished she had the garlic sauce though! Our waitress was friendly and helpful. The atmosphere was relaxed - I really would never have expected this kind of QUALITY food in a small little bar like this. My friend is lamenting that I live within 5 hours of Pittsburgh and we travel here regularly. She will not be able to come back for a long time, but I am sure to be back soon.

    (5)
  • Chip R.

    Stopped in on a Monday for lunch. I was made to feel very welcome by the warm greeting offered by the bartender as he handed me a menu. I looked over the menu and was tempted to get one of the Mediterranean dishes but for some reason I settled on a burger. The burgers are listed as "build your own"... you choose one cheese, two toppings ($1 more each for additional toppings) and a side. I went with provolone cheese, bacon and grilled onions on my burger (tomato and pickle are included) with a side of onion rings. Looking around I felt very comfortable here and could imagine stopping by for a beer after work or before a concert at the Alter Bar. There were 14 different craft beers listed on the large chalk board along with a variety of imports and domestics. Beings that it was lunch time though, I was going to be sipping raspberry iced tea as my beverage for now. I counted only six other people dining in for lunch on this particular day but there were about four or five other people coming in for takeout. About ten minutes after placing my order, a woman who I suppose is the cook, handed me my burger on my plate and with a smile said, "I hope you're hungry". Don't get me wrong, the burger was tasty and it was huge. Combined with the onion ring, it was much more food than I needed or would eat. But the grease factor was a total turn off. The bun started to get soggy after a few bites in and there was a pool of grease on my plate. I'm rooting for Crystals, really! The comfortable atmosphere, the pleasant service, the huge portions and the variety of beers are all a recipe for success. But the greasiness of the burger knocks my rating down to three stars. I really need to come back here and try one of the Mediterranean dishes and hopefully up the rating.

    (3)
  • Carrie W.

    I have been to Crystal's on Penn more than I can count, however my last visit there prior to this recent one was about a year and a half ago. Approximately right around when the business traded hands and though remained Crystals in name Crystal is no longer the proprietor, and the staff has since had a complete overhaul though I think they kept the cuisine similar... I won't talk of the food for that reason. It was decent when I used to go there. Hit and miss type. It was always so convenient to go here because it was so close to everything including where I used to work and downtown events. This particular trip was solely for the purposes of meeting old work friends and having a few brews at Happy Hour, something that I always did more at Crystals than eat anyhow... Well I arrived a little after 5pm and this very small bar was packed. No seats and people kind of just standing around. I went to the edge to order and got the happy hour special a pint of Miller Lite for $2.50. Meh not bad. My friends slowly rolled in from their own previous engagements and all was well with the old bunch. Now I had a great time with my pals as usual, but one thing they started to do at Crystals was have a DJ. Ah, did I mention this place was small, I mean like really small... Like my living room dining room small. The music was overkill. Way loud... The bartender though only one did a pretty good job keeping up with the demand of people. Can't figure out why there was only one bartender who not only waited on all the bar patrons but also waited tables. There are about 4-5 tables in the bar. So kudos to her, just wish they would have rethought that whole DJ thing the place is not a dance club...

    (3)
  • Nick J.

    I have a love/hate relationship with this place. I work really close to here and hit it up for convenience. I just want to be honest when I quote Forest Gump and say it's like a box of chocolates...you just don't know what your going to get. I have had 1 to 5 experiences in here. I've probably tried 10+ items on the menu and most are good. I recommend the specials. I went with the lent fish special for $7....fish sandwich, fries and a side of slaw. It was pretty good. A heads up that the bottled beer is reasonable for domestic drinkers - $2.75. Plus they have added 4 new taps for those who enjoy IPA's and such. About $5 a draft. These are reasonable costs just a short walk to the convention center and Consol Energy center.

    (3)
  • Jesse J.

    First time here and had a very warm welcome. After 5 minutes however the bartender didn't like what came on Touch tunes and skipped the song that someone had just played...hmmm...not cool. Simple, If you don't want touch tunes in your bar don't have it as an option for patrons. Luckily the other bartender had enough sense to reimburse the person that played the song. Not a great first impression but if I happen to be walking by and desperate I suppose I'll stop in again. Update: Owner introduced herself and was very friendly. Will be back to try the food and write another review. I guess how the saying goes "good help is hard to find".

    (3)
  • Brett S.

    Amazing customer service with top notch food!!! Small establishment that allows you to enjoy sporting events on nice tv's. Along with the great food, good beer selection. So all and all, wonderful place that doesn't hurt the pocket book. Leave full!!!! A++++

    (5)
  • Darren W.

    I'll admit to being miffed over some of CoP's recent reviews, so much so, that I made it a point to stop in (before catching The Dillinger Escape Plan at Altar Bar) after not having been there for 3 1/2 years, Crystal's cable television debut occurring over 5 years ago. After eating a lackluster lamb kebob wrap thingamajig that included unseasoned meat, flavorless tzatziki sauce (see also that pitiful hummus), and storebought pita bread, I sensed that something was amiss. A look at the website before going revealed a completely new design, one that did not feature pictures of the family that owned it when Food Network taped their famous segment. Also glaringly absent was their signature tweaked sour cream that came with everything. I reluctantly asked our fun server if Crystal had changed hands, and she told me that it had, several months ago in fact. Thus the dip in quality. I wouldn't say it was dirty, however. The tables were a bit worn, the floor was scuffed a little, and the entire establishment could have used some more light, but the place looked clean to me. And our meal was not a complete bust. The kibbee was actually meatier, more moist, and even better than I had remembered it to be, and the baklava, served warm, was delightfully akin to a pecan pie in a puff pastry. A scoop of ice cream might have gone really well with it. It saddens me when good restaurants are sold and run into brick walls by newer, half-assed, corner-cutting owners. P.S. We had no issues with the service. Nobody sang loudly or did anything inappropriate, and everyone was friendly.

    (3)
  • Mac O.

    No. No. A thousand times no. Guy Fieri owes me 30 bucks and the hour I completely wasted on one of the worst dining experiences I've had in years. (Yeah, yeah.) First of all, this place is a hole. I don't mind holes as a general rule, but Crystal on Penn takes it to a "hole" new level. It's Dante's circle of hell reserved for compulsive cleaners, fans of sanitation and neat freaks. It's dirrrrrrty, know'm'sayin'? Second, the service. It's bizarre. Servers who holler across the bar at each other and patrons and sing along to the radio at the top of their lungs. Friendly, but not professional in the slightest. Lastly, the food. It's awful, and about as "Mediterranean" as raggae. The sampler appetizer was described to us by the server as "a sampling of all our best appetizers, accompanied by fresh, warm pita." Dolmades were dry and bland, hummus was boring, tabbouleh was all parsley and the olives were canned California olives. "Fresh" and "warm" translated to "chewy" and "room temp" for the pita. Icing on the cake: the plastic, divided server like the pre-cut veggie platters at the grocery store. The falafel sandwich -- touted by our server as featured by Guy on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" -- had an extremely odd aftertaste and was served as crumbles instead of patties. Husband's gyro salad was completely uninspired, sprinkled with griddled flakes of lamb gyro. Griddling the gyro meat rendered it crunchy. Most of each meal was left behind on the plate. Just. No. [15 Minutes of Fame: "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: A Taste of Everywhere"]

    (1)
  • John S.

    Went to Crystal today after a visit to the Convention Center. Saw it on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives so we made a point of going there although we knew it was under new ownership. My wife had the falafel and wedding soup and I had the chicken kabob. She loved the falafel and soup! I thought mine was also very good. The fries were very good too. The service was extremely friendly. This place isn't much to look at. Definitely a dive but the food and service was great and the atmosphere was very comfortable. Sure to go back and try the lamb!

    (5)
  • Chris D.

    Everything was terrible. Myself and co-workers used to come here every few weeks for good food and service - but after today's visit we will not be returning. Being a place that was featured on the TV show "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives" one would think the new ownership of Crystal would want to uphold that reputation that allowed the place to make the show. The thing is they have not. I have a background of working in restaurants and the service industry realm, so I would think I have a pretty open mind in regards to the bumps in the road associated with ownership transition. However, when we receive terrible service, terrible food and terrible customer service after complaints I see that this new ownership really needs to fix many things. Just a quick list of complaints: - If a server is posed a question he or she does not know the answer to regarding the menu, they should not answer the customer "I don't know" and walk away never to return with an acceptable answer. - If new owners come in and hope to maintain what the previous owners had built with their service and food, they must not skimp on the previous precedents set. Such as: much smaller portions, cold food, dirty food & lower quality food products. - If the owners receive complaints at the end of the meal, they need to throw on that fake smile and inflect care for the customer in their tone of voice as they work through dealing with the problems specified by the complaining customer. Crystal On Penn failed with all of these things during our lunch today and lost our future support of what used to be a good lunch spot. Good luck to the owners and new staff - they need it.

    (1)
  • Rocky R.

    I have eaten at many Middle Eastern restaurants over the years and this one is at the top of my list. The place does not look like much from the street or even inside for that matter, the food is the star of this location, not its décor. I got the sampler platter and kibee and my wife got the lamb kabob. Our children got some more traditional American food. Everything was outstanding. The grape leaves were the best I had ever had in a restraint. The owner is a Syrian woman who makes everything from scratch, and you can tell. She even brought us a couple of sample dishes she had made to try and they were wonderful as well. I cannot wait for the next time I am in Pittsburgh to eat here again.

    (5)
  • Kay E.

    What happened to this place? I thought since it was on DDD (hate that show, Darren loves it) that it would be better than it was. Darren had been here before and suspected that it changed hands since it was on tv. Our waitress confirmed that it did have new owners. They did have some interesting things on their menu. I had a quail dish with rice that was decent. The kibbee was good. The service was ok. Nothing we had was special aside from the kibbee maybe. That hummus was missing something. The dining room needs new tables and more light. Our waitress was funny. That's about it.

    (3)
  • Craig H.

    Great food. Great service. Great price. I am so glad I found this place on Yelp. From the outside it looks like a "yet another bar" but it is an excellent place to eat. I had the Gyro salad. It was the best I have ever had. Worth checking out!

    (5)
  • Noa N.

    I was in the mood for something healthy after gorging at Primanti Brothers the other day. I got the Kibbeh as an appetizer and the falafel platter. The Kibbeh was worthy of 5 stars - the ground lamb on the inside was so delicious with hints of nutmeg and pine nuts, Only 1 is served as part of the appetizer - but it's large and a must have. The falafel platter comes with 3 falafel, rice or fries, salad, and 3 stuffed grape leaves. Definitely get the rice - it's basmati and includes toasted pine nuts - it was delicious! The falafel was not my favorite - it looked and tasted different from falafel I have had at lots of other places - it was the same color on the outside as the inside (brown) and it seems to be cooked differently than what I am used to - it wasn't overdone - it looks like it was cooked just right but I just didn't like the recipe. It tasted best when I mashed it into the rice and pine nuts. The grape leaves were also not my favorite - they were hot and the rice mixture in it seemed a bit cheesier than I am used to. I loved that wine was less than $6 a glass - if you are not a wine snob - it definitely makes sense to come here and enjoy a glass of cab sav or merlot. The only local beer they had on draft was Yuengling - they had other beers in bottles - but I wished they had more on draft - unless - is this a sign that local beer is not good in Pittsburgh? This seems more mop and pop than a dive bar but I came in the early evening - so maybe the atmoshphere changes as the night goes on.

    (3)
  • Kojo B.

    Sorry to give this review, but on my way to Pittsburgh, I decided to do a detour to the strip. I remembered this restaurant on DDD and read the reviews on yelp. I am not an amateur to middle eastern food so I ordered the kibbeh and their famous lamb on the rod, the kibbeh came in as a appetizer for $4 and just a kibbeh, I at least expected 2 pieces. It wasnt bad tasting, the highlight of what I anticipated was the lamb on the rod, major, major disappointment.. Small lamb cuts, barely seasoned. It was a failure to me. Well, all is well that ends well, but I doubt if I will be back there.

    (1)
  • DJ J.

    One of those places you walk by hundreds of times and finally the light goes on..always people going in and out...maybe I should try it. So I did. Wow! What a nice little place with a small bar in the front and tables in the back. The staff was very friendly and did not rush. Needed to ask for the check because they did not want to rush us out. Was talking with our server and found out it is family owned and most items are fresh and homemade. Homemade wedding soup is very good. The lamb sandwich comes on fresh pita with peppers and cheese, the lamb was tender and perfectly cooked...OH SO DELICIOUS! Also, had a salad with Athenian (I think) salad dressing that was wonderful...some nice spices and feta cheese. They menu has many mediterranian selections and a page of standard menu items including the roast beef sandwich daily special. Will have to stop back and have try the hummus, tabouli and kibbee, saw it on another table and it looked so good.

    (4)
  • Sal W.

    I'll be the first to admit, this was a little shocking. As you walk up to the place, you see the tattered cloth rain blocker hanging above. As your eyes adjust to the darker interior, you have second thoughts due to the bar-types sitting there and the not so fancy decor - oh crap, the bartender already welcomed me, I guess I am staying. The menu contains mostly standard bar fare - burgers, fries, fried stuff, but there is the Lebanese family favorites. I set the bar real low given what I had seen up to this point. I ordered the lamb sandwich ($8.56 with tax), and it was outstanding! It was shish-ka-bob styled lamb, cooked to perfection, mixed with melted cheese, onions, peppers and seasoning all wrapped in a pita. Delectable, yum. It came with fries (option of salad) which were pretty good too. It could have been more food, but that's the way of the world I guess (Most Americans mustn't actually eat out at regular restaurants that much or else we wouldn't have this obesity problem in this country). *all credit cards including Discover are accepted here* Food Quality/Taste = 5 Stars Portion Size Given Price = 3 Stars Relative Price = 3 Stars Service = 4 Stars Experience with Staff = 3 Stars Decor = 2 Stars Clean (yes/no) = yes

    (4)
  • John R.

    I'm going to update my review on one point: it's not a dive bar. This time we sat in the back and it was perfectly fine. But yes, it's a bar. But the food was still delicious, and I can't wait to go back!

    (4)
  • Lisa W.

    I was so excited to go to this place after it aired on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. Well, the setting is a dive and it was definitely a bar. The waitress was really nice but the service was a little irregular because of the many people at the bar because it was during Happy Hour on a Friday evening. The wedding soup was good. I ordered the lamb skewers and though the lamb was good, the meat portion was really small like less than 4 ounces. I also ordered the hummus and it was a little too lemony for my taste. The food is more mediterranian than middle eastern.

    (2)
  • Kendall A.

    Wow - we totally love this place! We walked over from our hotel after being in the car for several hours, it was about a mile, in the freezing cold - nice little walk. We walked in and there were no empty seats at the bar, but a few open tables. As we were there for dinner - no problem. The owner came over and took our drink orders right away and made sure we were settled and happy. The bartender brought our drinks and took our dinner order. The menu is mediterranean and then some typical bar sandwiches. We ordered a hummus plate, a tabouli plate, then I got a Mediterranean Quesadilla and he got the Chicken Cheesesteak. The appetizers come with this garlic sauce made of sour cream and cream cheese and it is RIDICULOUSLY yummy!!! Seriously addictive! We put it on everything we ate that night. We chowed down on the hummus and the tabouli and were enjoying it immensely. We had a couple of beers and sat back enjoying the general ambiance in the bar - it's a small place, but cozy and clearly very well-loved - plenty of obvious regulars at the bar, lots of family photos all over the walls. My quesadilla came, his sandwich did not. We eventually got it straightened out and they were falling all over themselves to make it up to us. We were fine with it, but they were VERY nice and even gave us a RIDICULOUSLY delicious baklava dessert because they felt bad - which they did not need to. The people could not have been nicer, the food was truly fantastic, and we had a great time. We absolutely recommend the Crystal - it is exactly the kind of place you want to go to eat, drink and be merry!

    (4)
  • Layne R.

    LAMB ON ROD! Went to Crystal's on a trip to Pittsburgh. Heard about it from a friend in town who heard about it on an episode of Man vs. Food. Specialize in Lebanese food. The building is nothing special and is just sort of tucked away in a quiet little area on the edge of downtown. We all ordered Lamb on the Rod and it was delicious. Lamb, onions & peppers, pita and garlic sour cream. Rather simple but it really hit the spot. Menu featured plenty of other options, including American staples. All at a good price. Not going to break the bank going here. Definitely worth your time

    (4)
  • Hazel J.

    Really surprising.... Definitely a dive. Got the hummus, lamb on a stick, and kibbis. All were very very good. Can't go wrong with those. Bonus points for TOASTED pita ( the way it should be). So good we ordered another lamb on the stick to go. Will be coming back next time we r in Pittsburgh.

    (4)
  • Eric L.

    Note: This is a divey bar that serves Mediterranean food. This isn't a fancy restaurant where you would bring a date. Easy 4 stars. We dropped by Crystal at 8 PM last Friday b/c we were on the search for Mediterranean food and I remember seeing Crystal on Diners Drive-ins & Dives. The menu is scattered with basic bar food: burgers, chicken tenders, etc. The star of the menu though is the bottom corner called "Family Favorites". I ordered the "Lamb on the Rod"; it was the dish featured on triple D and I knew I had to try it out. The lamb was tender with just a small amount of char on the outside. It came with wilted onions and peppers, banana peppers, 8 wedges of a pita bread and a dash of sauce that tasted like sour cream. I would have liked a bit more char for some added smokiness, but the fact that it was grilled perfectly and not dried out was good enough for me. I also munched on a lot of my friend's fries; they were greasy and super addicting. The greasiness was in a good way; the fries were crispy rather than wilted and soggy. Other pluses: The kitchen is open until 10 PM nightly and midnight on Fridays. Everything on the menu is below 9 bucks.

    (4)
  • Joey L.

    Food tasted off. Freezer burn maybe? Would not return.

    (2)
  • Terry R.

    Great little family-owned Lebanese restaurant. Bar? It seemed mostly bar, but the food was top notch. Started with fried zucchini w marinara. $6. It was better than average because of the great breading. And it seemed to have actually been homemade - not frozen. But the regional food - oh yum. I had a combo w kibbe, hummus and spicy ground beef wrapped in grape leaves. BF had pita with lamb. Both were outstanding. Around $9 each. About half of the menu is americanized with burgers, nachos etc. Stay away from that and order from the authentic menu. Also stay away from the house wine - it kinda tasted like feet. Owners/servers very friendly.

    (4)
  • Stacy M.

    Great Drink Specials during happy hour. Very good Lebanese food. Great atmosphere inside and its never too crowded or too empty. We used to go here before every Pens game when we had Season Tickets and then walk to the arena. We visit Crystal's now when we are downtown before an event or after for some dinner and drinks. There is some great menu items such as gyros, grape leaves, and some other regular bar food like Quesadillas and burgers. This is a great family run bar/lounge. There is a smoking room in the back for smokers so they can take their drinks back there away from the bar and eaters.

    (4)
  • Maria O.

    Wow. As DJ J. said, it is one of those places you can walk by over and over and half-notice without going in. Well, while it may not look like much from the outside, it is worth going in! Inside you'll find a cozy little well-kept bar with a few tables and booths. Nice and dim but clean & comfortable. The ladies working the place are very attentive and friendly. You could see that they had a few regulars at the bar but it seemed that every customer was given an equal amount of good service. Ok, now the best part... the food!!!! Truly, hands-down one of the best burgers I've had in years. Oooh, a tasty, huge, juicy patty on a hearty toasted sesame seed bun. I had a side salad instead of fries for no extra charge. Yum, yum... YUM! I can't wait to try some of the Mediterranean treats and sides on the menu. Also love the sound of the crab-stuffed portabella. But for now, I will indeed swear by these burgers. The best I've found downtown. For 2 HUGE burgers w sides & 2 two drinks the bill came out to $19. Can't beat that.

    (5)
  • Carol T.

    First discovered Crystal when visiting the city for a conference. Walked by the window and saw a picture of the guy from Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and I knew I had to have some of that. It took little convincing to get my co worker to walk back to the strip to try it out. Glad we did. Kitchy atmospher, wonderful service and a great Med. menu. Most recent visit was three days ago. Had the lamb screws and hummas. Wonderful and great chatting with the staff. Opens at 5 so plan to hit the Stip and wind down at Crystal

    (4)
  • David T.

    First off, to set things straight, this most certainly IS NOT a dive bar. Whoever says this is a dive bar has obviously never been to any midwestern dive bar. We'll leave it at that. Now that is set straight, I had a lovely experience. The two waitresses were chipper and happy to answer questions for two newcomers. My co-worker ordered the medittarean sampler and couldn't have been more pleased. This is from a guy that eats pita, tabouli, hummus and grape leaves on a regular basis so he knows it when he sees it. I had the lamb sandwich. It was absolutely delicious with grilled veggies, a bit of cheese and a good garlic yogurt type sauce. The salad was also good but next time they can leave off the cheese. My only gripe is that I ordered the lamb medium (grilled to order?!?!) and it came closer to medium well... but was still nice and juicy and not too chewy.

    (4)
  • Mike O.

    Really great place to eat with bar. The food is delicious and the service was very friendly. Next time I come back to Pittsburg I want to eat here again!

    (5)
  • William S.

    First to review? I guess I'm not surprised. I would have never even thought to step one foot in the place if I didn't see this establishment featured on the Food Network television show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. You may have seen the show, it's hosted by Guy Fieri, who looks exactly like an over-bleached obese porcupine and who's on-screen talent seems to be limited to the ability to simultaneously stuff enormous bites of bad food into his mouth and mutter "awesome" or "totally-off-the-hook" or "too-legit" or some other outdated, cliched, catch phrase. If the show has a quota of each of the three classes of restaurants in the title, then Crystal definitely adds a +1 to the Dives category. It's a dump. The "restaurant" is nothing more than a tiny (~15ft wide) rectangular space most of which is occupied by a dive bar. There are a few tables in the back of the space, which is windowless save for two small windows at the entrance. For ambiance, the back of the bar has a couple of televisions (which were blaring college football when I was there), a pile of old electronics junk stuffed into a corner niche, and a few videogames. The interior is painted flat black - or possibly just coated in decades of cigarette smoke and other grime, which seems likely given the stale cigarettes and beer smell the permeates the place. For an added special touch during my visit (which occurred around Halloween), one of the videogames had a pumpkin sitting atop it, with a carving in the pumpkin that depicted the silhouette of a man mounting a woman from the rear. The fact that several of the tables had children didn't seem to deter the restaurant from displaying this extra special decorative treat. I almost forgot - one wall is also covered with portraits of the owner's family throughout the 1950s and 60s. It's a very strange sight indeed. So the TV episode showed that the owner, Crystal, is of Middle-Eastern descent (Lebanese, I think), and her specialty is, of course, Middle-Eastern food. So we started with the hummus. It was your basic, chickpeas-out-of-a-can hummus with lemon and tahini. It was served on a plate with very thin, right-out-of-the-bag, cold slices of pita. They didn't even take the time to toast the pita. What was even more puzzling is that the pita was cut - not in wedges, or in some other uniform shape - but seemingly in random sizes and shapes. WTF?!? It looked like a 5 year old was allowed to cut the pita. Some pieces were huge, some tiny to the point of being impractical to use to scoop a bite of hummus. Strange. My entree was a lamb kabob which was served along with grilled peppers and onions. The lamb was good, properly grilled, and succulent. The grilled peppers and onions weren't seasoned at all - not even a hint of salt. The dish was served with those randomly-shaped cut pieces of cold pita. Most of the pieces weren't even large enough to wrap around a single cube of lamb. All in all, the ambiance stunk, the food was mediocre, and I was afraid to try a draft beer due to the generally unclean appearance of the place (I ordered a bottle). I cannot imagine why anyone would prefer this place over other Middle-Eastern restaurants in Pittsburgh (Aladdins, for example). I will not be back.

    (1)

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Opening Hours

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Specialities

  • Takes Reservations : No
    Delivery : No
    Take-out : Yes
    Accepts Credit Cards : Yes
    Good For : Lunch
    Parking : Street
    Bike Parking : No
    Wheelchair Accessible : Yes
    Good for Kids : No
    Good for Groups : Yes
    Attire : Casual
    Ambience : Divey
    Noise Level : Average
    Alcohol : Full Bar
    Outdoor Seating : No
    Wi-Fi : No
    Has TV : Yes
    Waiter Service : Yes
    Caters : No

Crystal On Penn

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