Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene
Today’s post comes from Erin Hutton of Don’t Forget To Eat!, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see our post over on Sole For The Sole , where we describe a wonderful evening at the amazing Piccolo Forno in Lawernceville.
After I started reading D & T: in the burgh and learned that D and T are a husband and wife team who write the blog together, I knew I had to review a place with my fiance Kevin. We chose Mercurio’s, a pizza and gelato place on Walnut Street in Shadyside. After reading a little bit about Mercurio’s we were really excited to check it out.
Michael Mercurio, who owns the restaurant with his sister Anna, is a Neapolitan Pizza Certified Pizzaiolo by the Italian government. With this in mind, really excited that we were about to re-experience one of our favorite moments from our trip to Italy last year: checking out as many pizzerias as we could in Naples.
We arrived around five p.m. on a Friday and Mercurio’s was already busy, but not packed. Later in the evening, you’ll often have to wait for a table, especially on weekends. We were seated immediately by a man who spoke perfect English with a noticeable Italian accent. The restaurant is long and narrow with lots of tables crowded inside, though not nearly as many as we saw crowded into some of the restaurants in Napoli. We were seated at a table for two by the pizza oven where we could watch the pizzas being made.
Ordering was easy: a half carafe of the house white wine, a pizza margherita and a pizza con funghi (mushrooms). We sipped our wine, crisp, fruity, and perfect for the almost warm day and watched the assembly of our pizzas before they were lifted into the wood burning oven. The pizzas sizzled as they came out: oversized personal pizzas with black speckled crust from the intense heat of the oven, just like in Naples.
We tackled them with a knife and fork. The pizza was perfect, everything we remembered from our trip to Naples: crust that’s crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, a layer of fresh tomato sauce, one or two high-quality toppings, and tiny puddles of olive oil. We ate until we were stuffed and then got a box for leftovers. Our waiter was careful to give us reheating instructions: under the broiler for just a few minutes. We had the leftovers for lunch the next day and his advice was solid, the pizza was still incredible.
We decided that the only difference between pizza at Mercurio’s and pizza in Naples was the atmosphere of the restaurant. But how can you re-create the loud, crowded purely Italian chaos of a place like Sorbillo’s anywhere but Naples? I don’t think it’s possible.
Of course, we had to have gelato after pizza. We each tried two flavors. Kevin chose strawberry and vanilla custard. I chose hazelnut and tiramisu. Kevin’s vanilla custard was incredible, creamy and so vanilla. The strawberry was good, but milkier than the strawberry gelato we remembered from Italy, the taste was similar to strawberry ice cream, but the texture was all gelato. My tiramisu was exactly what I want from tiramisu ice cream: espresso, marsala, and bits of chocolate. The hazelnut tasted like it was nothing more than hazelnuts pureed with sugar and cream, awesome.
We will be back here again and again.
5523 Walnut Street
Pittsburgh, Pa 15232
Sun & Mon 1 pm – 9 pm
Tues – Thurs 11 am – 10 pm
Fri & Sat 11 am – 11 pm
Check out the other wonderful bloggers taking part in today’s event…