I was in town for the weekend and decided to try out Riva's Restaurant - a Nicaraguan-run Mexican restaurant in Etna. I'll be brief ...
They have a limited menu listing the favorites (burritos, enchiladas, tacos) - as well as a list of sandwiches and a specials board.
What we sampled - the homemade lemonade was tart and perfectly sweetened, but there was a unique flavor among the normal lemon/sugar/water combo that I don't know if I quite liked. Nor did I dislike it - I ordered a second glass.
For food - we sampled the chicken taco, chicken tostada, chicken enchilada (all $1.99 a piece), as well as the churascos dinner special ($7.50).
The chicken taco featured perfectly spiced and moist chicken rolled in a soft tortilla, topped with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, and dusted with queso blanco.
The tostada was much the same, but on a flat, deep-fried tortilla with refried beans spread on top. Again, very good, but the beans tasted if they were from a can.
The enchilada, while I did not try, my fairly picky mother quite enjoyed, enough that I did not get a chance to try it. For these three options, you'll probably want to order at least two, if not three, but I suggest mixing and matching.
The churascos was a perfectly grilled piece of what appeared to be skirt steak. It was served with seared potatoes and a salad consisting of iceberg lettuce, peppers, and chunks of avocado with a slight lemon tinge. The steak was perfectly broiled and came with a oil, mixed with garlic, parsley, maybe a little cilantro, for dipping, which was also very good.
For dessert, we tried one each of their tamales - pineapple and guava. The pineapple one was very strongly flavored with the fruit, with strands of pineapple flesh throughout the tamale. Much better was the subtle guava tamale with slight hints of the fruit creating a very homey, farina-type flavor. I hope they start producing savoury tamales for take-out as these were perfectly prepared. They would really be on to something if they started stuffing their tamales with the seasoned chicken used in the tacos.
All in all, quite nice experience in a city (and area) not exactly bustling with ethnic eats. (I much prefer this over Mad Mex and other Pittsburgh chain Mexican joints.)
Now let's see some other postings of Pittsburgh ethnic gems! (How about a review of a Korean restaurant that doesn't lean towards sushi!)