I don’t usually like to review restaurants that are outside the Pittsburgh area, but when two friends offer to take you downtown to have “the best subs you’ve ever had”, one doesn’t simply say no to such an offer. And I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious the subs were, a feat that is no doubt rooted in Dibella’s tradition: they began as a small Italian grocery store in Rochester, NY over a century ago and have stuck to the same age-old techniques that produce an outstanding submarine sandwich (sub). The girls were super-excited to go so naturally I was equally enthralled to try what can only be called the classic American sub. Here’s my experience:
Atmosphere and Service: The location in downtown Pittsburgh (Market Square) had relative ease of access and a relatively prominent location, which is important, for as anyone knows, finding a restaurant you haven’t been to is half the battle. The inside is quintessential “Americana” but from a few different ages, with smooth jazz pouring out of surround sound speakers and pictures of 1950’s American advertising. Everything was very clean and well-kept. There wasn’t table service but the hospitality we received at the counter was direct and genuine. We may have been some of the only patrons in the restaurant at the time, but no one looked bored, and the staff graciously took our orders and then hand delivered the subs to our table.
Food: I think I can say with relative certainty that my sub was probably one of the best, if not the best, I’ve ever had. I can’t say I’ve had too many gourmet subs (as Subway is the preferred and relatively only option in my hometown), but I can definitely concede that Dibella’s does everything right: their bread is baked in house, several times a day, and all of their ingredients had the tell-tale signs of quality, such as the distinct crunch in the vegetables or the well flavored meats. I ordered the “Godfather” sub (I guess it was an offer I couldn’t refuse), and I was surprised how much Genoa salami, capicola, and spicy ham they layered in between my very fresh italian roll. Overall, I would rank the sub very highly, but maybe not as high as Cassidy or Rachael would, who both gave their subs a collective “69 out of 10″…
Price: I paid about $8 for my meal with tax. This is definitely significantly more than your “$5 Foot-long” but it’s so worth it. I was actually rather full by the end. And Rachael even packed hers up to go. I can guarantee that you’ll be satisfied by the end, as I sure was.
The verdict: 8.2/10
Translation: This restaurant is probably one of the best places in the city for a quality, affordable lunch and the fact that Dibella’s is working on an online ordering platform might spell major trouble for my wallet while I’m at work. I wouldn’t say this is the best place for dates or any evening meals, but other than that the subs speak for themselves, and they’re saying, “Have us for lunch!”
Rachael and Cassidy’s take: We really love how great the food is, which is probably why you can usually find us here. From “all that meat” that they put on your sandwich, to how delicious the bread is, you really can’t go wrong with Dibella’s. If there is anything to critique, we would have to say that the drink selection is somewhat underwhelming and we would like Dibella’s to be open later! However, Dibella’s classic American vibe is what keeps bringing us back at the end of the day (and also those sandwiches).
Cassidy is a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in history and political science on the pre-law tract and Rachael is also a rising junior majoring in History and graduating a semester early in the fall of 2017. They are from New Holland and Oil City respectively and their Instagram’s are as follows: https://www.instagram.com/cass_martin02/?hl=en and https://www.instagram.com/rachaelstewart4/?hl=en
Dibella’s is a nearly century old submarine sandwich shop originating in Rochester, New York but now spanning over 3 dozen stores in several states along the east coast and Midwest. The central location in Pittsburgh is at 16 Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.