Experiencing the “art” within the culinary arts, in Happy Valley

– by By Holly Riddle

Welcome to a delectable journey of experiencing the culinary arts in Happy Valley! Prepare your taste buds for a delightful adventure as we explore the vibrant and diverse restaurant scene that this enchanting region has to offer. From cozy cafes to upscale dining establishments, Happy Valley's culinary landscape is a canvas of creative, artistic masterpieces, each offering a unique blend of flavors to suit every palate. Elevate your dining experience to new heights as you savor culinary artworks that are both fresh and exciting, lovingly prepared by talented chefs. Join us as we embark on a mouthwatering exploration of the gastronomic treasures that await you in Happy Valley.

Carnegie House Grace Restaurant Courtesy of Carnegie House 1

Happy Valley’s restaurants serve up creative, artistic culinary masterpieces in a range of flavors (and at a range of price points!).

Elevated dining in a Scottish-inspired setting

At Carnegie House, Grace Restaurant lends an artistic touch to every element of the dining experience, from the menu to the artwork on the walls.

Historic photography depicts the area’s past and artifacts throughout the property can be traced to Scotland’s Skibo Castle, once owned by Andrew Carnegie and from which Carnegie House takes inspiration. As for the menu, operations manager Angad Lamba explained that diners can expect fine dining staples, but also unique, high-end touches that incorporate local and seasonal ingredients.

He added, “When you dine with us, everything, from the settings to the silverware to the service to the food on your plate is extremely high-end.” As examples of this, Lamba pointed to hand-blown water glasses imported from Italy, the attentive and elegant service, and carefully considered plating choices.

Particularly in the summertime, the French-inspired menu features a heavy helping of local, farm-to-table fare, with some ingredients sourced directly from the restaurant’s own garden.

Pine Grove Hall 1

A warm welcome into the unexpected and exciting

At Pine Grove Hall, executive chef Tory Glossner stressed the importance of making the restaurant’s culinary artwork both fresh and exciting for visitors, but also welcoming, saying, “From a culinary standpoint, we oftentimes want [customers] to feel like they've left town and, at the same time … feel at home. I know that can sound a little silly, but we want our guests to be comfortable and not feel out of place, at the same time that they made be eating something new or at least a little less common for the area.”

Unique and delightfully unexpected menu items are exactly what you should expect at Pine Grove Hall. The menu is ever-changing, but creativity is the name of the game at all times, with past menu items ranging from the quail egg toast (featuring locally sourced quail eggs on house-made Icelandic rye bread with house-made crème fraiche, dill, fish roe and pickled mustard), to the spring vegetable ragout (made with sweet peas, zucchini, asparagus, new potatoes, nettles, a mole sauce and a deep-fried duck egg).

“I think, as a whole team, we excel at bringing the art right to your table. We have such a diverse kitchen team, hailing from all different parts of the country and everyone has their own style of cooking. We, of course, pride ourselves on our plating and presentation, but also the ‘art’ of how we attempt to manipulate the flavors hitting your table,” said Glossner.

Pine grove hall 1

“Make it pretty”

But the “art” side of the culinary arts isn’t limited to higher-end eateries. You can find similar attention to detail and creativity in more casual spaces, too — like in a brewery.

At Blonde Bistro Brew Works, owner Ciara Semack said, “We always say you eat with your eyes first. We do our utmost best to make our dishes, whether they are our scratch-made pasta dishes, fresh salads or boutique pizzas, look pretty. You’ll always hear me say in the kitchen ‘Make it pretty!,’ she said .”

Semack takes pride in the restaurant’s unique rotating specials, as well as the scratch-made ingredients, from the tomato gravy to the bread. “We like it when people come and are not in a rush … When you get a dish with the love and attention we give, it tends to take a little bit longer, but [it’s] well worth the wait,” she said.

This summer, the restaurant is launching a new culinary offering — monthly, ticketed dinners with local farmers that include five courses highlighting the farms’ work.

The Blond Bistro Courtesy of The Blond Bistro 1

Need more?

For more restaurants that take an artistic approach to all things food and dining, be sure to add these eateries to your itinerary:

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at HappyValley.com/events