Restaurant Spotlight: KAYA

My husband and I went to an MMA fight in Pittsburgh last night and took the opportunity to try out a new restaurant while there. A family member had given us a generous gift certificate for any restaurant in the Big Burrito Group, and Kaya caught our eye. Kaya’s menu is a combination of Caribbean, South American, and Pacific cuisines, flavors neither one of us have tried much of. I ordered the Jerk Tofu Tacos and a Caipirinha (pronounced “kie-purr-REEN-yah”) to drink, while my husband had the Pork Quesadilla.

I’ve only briefly been exposed to Caribbean/jerk flavorings and wasn’t a huge fan, but these tacos were pretty amazing. They were soft tortillas with a layer of avocado on the bottom, jerk seasoned tofu squares, sweet and tangy garden slaw, and then dressed with a creamy cilantro sauce. While I was in love with these tacos, I was a little irked by the presentation: the tacos looked awesome, but were so overstuffed that it was impossible to eat them like a taco. I had to eat about half of the filling with my fork before I could even consider rolling up my little bundles of yummy-ness, and by that point I was already getting full.  This is a bit of a pet-peeve of mine. Obviously you want the plate to look stunning, but you shouldn’t sacrifice practicality in the process. If I order a taco, I would love to be able to eat it like one.

As for my drink (the Caipirinha), it was pretty amazing as well. I absolutely love citrus, and this was just that—citrusy (lime), tart, and almost smoky. Our server informed us that this is the national drink of Brazil, and that they use a Brazilian liquor that’s sort of a combination in flavor between tequila and rum called cachaça (pronounced “ka-SHA-sa”). According to, “The major difference between cachaça and rum is that rum is usually made from molasses…cachaça is made from fresh sugarcane juice that’s fermented and distilled.” I was really curious what cachaça tasted like on its own, so I asked our server if I could have just a small sampling, and she was very accommodating. It was clear and tasted very similar to a silver tequila to me. Here’s a recipe from for a Caipirinha:

                -2 oz cachaça

                -1 tsp sugar

                -1 lime (cut into chunks)

                -ice cubes


Muddle lime with sugar in a rocks glass. Fill the glass with ice. Pour cachaça and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.


My husband’s quesadilla was much smaller than my overall meal (of course, I had to have a little sampling of it as well). The pork was very tender and a little on the sweet side. There was also a little bit of the same slaw from my tacos in the quesadilla, and a side of creamy cucumber sauce for dipping. We were both introduced to a new product called Pickapeppa sauce (“Pickapeppa,” I believe, is the company name, but their traditional sauce is referred to as Pickapeppa sauce). The sauce contains tomatoes, onions, sugar, cane vinegar, mangoes, raisins, tamarinds, peppers, and spices, and tasted almost like a cross between a sweet soy sauce and A1. That amateurish description certainly doesn’t do the product justice, though.

Overall, we really enjoyed our meals and would certainly go back to Kaya again…even if only to order another Caipirinha!



Pork Quesadilla

Pork Quesadilla

(Unfortunately, something happened to the picture I took of my meal, so you’ll just have imagine what it was like)


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