Four area restaurants retain AAA Diamond luster |
Food & Drink

Four area restaurants retain AAA Diamond luster

Jeff Himler
This November 2015 photo taken in New York City provided by Katie Workman shows napkins, forks and plates on a table in New York. Setting up as much as you can for a party the night before is key. Whatever you can take out and leave out — dishes, napkins, glasses, platters — means less frantic last minute activity the day of. (Laura Agra/Katie Workman via AP)

Four Southwestern Pennsylvania restaurants have retained coveted annual AAA Diamond awards in this year’s listing of elite eateries released this week by the motoring and travel organization.

Two of the high-rated restaurants are at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Fayette County.

Lautrec, which features French cuisine, holds AAA’s top Five Diamond Rating, a status it has maintained since 2007. That places it among just two-tenths of a percent of the nearly 32,000 restaurants that AAA inspects and ranks in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

“Attaining and maintaining a AAA Five Diamond Rating for more than a decade is an impressive feat for any restaurant,” said Jim Lehman, president of AAA East Central, which covers Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia and Kentucky.

The anonymous AAA inspector praised Lautrec’s “lush furnishings” and an “ever-evolving menu of creative flavors and quality ingredients.”

The association’s website explains that a AAA Five Diamond Rating signals diners to expect “an entire evening of wow moments,” while a Four Diamond Rating, awarded to 2.1 percent of inspected restaurants, suggests “a culinary experience to savor and enjoy.”

Nemacolin’s Aqueous has held on to the latter ranking since 2004. The AAA inspector’s report notes the seasonal restaurant offers a view of the resort’s championship golf course and a “wildly creative menu” of American dishes prepared with a farm-to-table approach.

Two Pittsburgh restaurants are repeat awardees of the Four Diamond Rating — Altius, on Grandview Avenue, Mt. Washington, since 2015, and Eleven, on Smallman Street, since 2005.

Altius combines a “breathtaking view of the city skyline” with a menu of American offerings created with “the freshest ingredients of the season,” while Eleven’s New American cuisine features “exciting new dishes to try” and “a variety of options to tempt vegetarian diners,” according to AAA inspectors.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.