If you’ve spent any time in Shadyside you’ve no doubt passed by Mercurio’s on the corner of Walnut and Filbert streets. My wife and I walked by countless times on our way to Prantls or Pamela’s before we finally decided to give it a try. This was AFTER we had been to Italy, so I guess we thought we had something to compare.
Family owned and operated, Mecurio’s touts itself as an authentic Italian eatery, specializing in “Neapolitan Style Pizza”. Indeed, Michael, one half of the brother/sister (Anna) partnership that launched the first location in Shadyside in 2012, is a certified Neapolitan pizza maker… by the Italian government – this according to Mercurio’s web site.
Lauren and I immediately loved the feel. It did remind us of some of the small bistros in Florence, Italy, we enjoyed. This review of Mercurio’s in Shadyside is solo, though. It was a cold rainy night in Pittsburgh, my beloved wife was having dinner with some of her close friends, so I decided to wander about and was drawn in by the welcoming facade and the memory of a few good meals there. So let’s get to it, shall we?
Burrata E Prosciutto
This dish consists of burratta, prosciutto, arugula, grape tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. It was light, fresh and tasty. The olive oil was not over done, as you sometimes find, and enhanced the flavor combinations of the arugula, prosciutto and tomatoes quite well. Soaking it up or putting a little fresh, almost creamy, mozzarella on the crisp crusted burrata completed the experience. Though it looks big in the picture, it was actually the perfect amount to leave me hungry for my pizza
Pizza Della Casa
I would consider this a “medium” sized pizza. It’s made Neapolitan style with tomato sauce, house made mozzarella, prosciutto, grape tomatoes, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.
The pizza crust was beautifully crafted with the right amount of crisp on the edges and soft and thin through the slice. The sauce was flavorful and rich, perfectly contrasted by the basil and mozzarella. The prosciutto was a little “lost” in the sauce, but good none the less. That was probably my fault when I think about it. After all, I did have a prosciutto appetizer.
The Best Gelato in Pittsburgh?
This gelato reminded me more of chocolate ice cream then gelato; but chocolate gelato does tend to be heavier than other flavors. Still, the flavor was fresh and the perfect end to my meal. Is it the best gelato in Pittsburgh? I’m admittedly not qualified to say, but it was delicious and the serving size was just right.
I don’t sweeten my espresso, as I enjoy the bitterness of coffees in general. This was perfectly bitter with a slightly sweet overtone. Remember, if you order a double, they serve truer to authentic Italian tradition so a double is smaller than a typical American shot of espresso
The atmosphere at Mercurio’s was talkative, but not too loud. I sat in the back close to the brick oven so the exhaust fan was fairly loud, but not disturbing. My wife and I have been seated near the front in the past, and it is quieter. The diners all seemed to be enjoying themselves over varuious dishes. There was a nice mix of families, couples and even some obvious business meetings.
The space itself is truer to an authentic Italian bistro you may find in Florence, with a coffee and gelato bar set nearer to the front. Good for a quick stop-in.
My meal was served lightning fast and my server was courteous and polite. She even offered me another espresso when I asked why my double was so small – my mistake.
My entire meal was $34 – a good value for this kind of quality.
The verdict? Mercurio’s is a casual, welcoming Neapolitan style pizza shop in Pittsburgh. Actually, they prefer to be known as an authentic Italian eatery. And that’s what Mercurio’s is… authentic. Good for a casual night out or a rustically romantic rendezvous. The food is delicious.
Mercurio’s has also recently opened a location in Fox Chapel.