Roland’s Seafood Grill

1904 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412.261.3401
website

One of dozens of businesses along the Strip District, Roland’s Seafood Grill & Iron Landing is another historic pillar of the town. Since 1959, the grill has served up bar food and seafood for Strip crawlers and night owls to come for a drink and a  sandwich. With its very inviting second-story balcony, Roland’s offers an attractive vista of the historic neighborhood as well. Unfortunately, service is a mixed bag and the food you’ll find here is simply unremarkable.

Fish Sandwich: $8.99

I should start with the service since it’s where I have the biggest gripe. The first time I walked in the hostess informed us there was no seating in the moderately-full restaurant and there would be a five-minute wait. Fifteen minutes later we told another hostess we would like to sit outside to enjoy the weather. We had to do so right outside the door. That’s right; Roland’s does not let waiters go on the balcony. Apparently you have to go to the bar for drinks, or order take-out in order to sit there. I would contend there’s really no point to this idea, and frankly it’s disappointing to find such a strange rule which definitely makes the experience at Roland’s less enjoyable.

Service since then has been good. I got a waitress who was very accommodating and another waitress who seemed to forget about us. I would cal service a mixed bag since the service was so good sometimes and so bad others.

The food was nothing special. I sampled a fish sandwich, one of the specialty items on the lunch menu. It was bland and salty. The fillets were so greasy they left the bun soggy, and even the fries were mediocre. I was thirsty most of the day as the mediocre sandwich sank in my gut. A grilled chicken sandwich on the menu suffered the same fault; it seemed like everything was wanting for flavor and needed something to be better. Maybe some seasoning or a new recipe would help, but to me the food was only okay.

The condiments weren’t that great either. Cole slaw sides have no flavor, and the tartar sauce wasn’t great. Ketchup saved the day, I suppose, but it doesn’t say very much when the everyday bottle on the table outshines the stuff served to you on the plate.

Eventually, I got to sit outside and enjoy the breeze on the downstairs patio, and that was very pleasant. A good number of people were here to drink before watching sporting events, and the age range was generally 21-50 so a wide variety of customers were present. I don’t know what they saw in the place, but to me it just wasn’t that special.

Recommendations

  • Don’t look at the balcony and expect to eat there. Inanely, it’s a no-service zone.
  • Lunch prices are far cheaper than dinner, and frankly you’ll want to sample the place to make sure it’s even worth the more expensive price.
  • Age group is generally 21-50. Kids and older folk wouldn’t like the atmosphere.

Roland's Seafood Grill on Urbanspoon

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Comments
3 Responses to “Roland’s Seafood Grill”
  1. Luke says:

    In fairness, Tristan, it’s not that there is never service on the Iron Landing, it is that there is not regular service on the Landing between Memorial and Labor Days. If a weekend day is sufficiently warm, 70 degrees plus, and we have the staff (very tricky in the winter months to suddenly add staff for one day), the Iron Landing does occasionally open for full service in the off months.

    Thanks for mentioning us in your blog.

    Luke Donatelli, Roland’s Asst. GM
    @RolandsSG on Twitter

  2. Luke says:

    I meant that the Iron Landing is not open regularly between Labor and Memorial Days, not vice versa.

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