My friend Mandy and I dined at Mercatto on a busy Friday night just before we ventured to see Justin Timberlake in concert! Mercatto is an Italian restaurant located in the heart of the financial district in downtown Toronto. It is a popular spot and hosts some authentic and high-quality Italian cuisine.
Despite it being one of the busiest nights of the year for dinner reservations (think ooey gooey holiday of pink hearts and candy), I was able to secure a spot for two on the morning of the outing. I used the uber user-friendly Rezbook Reservations to make a booking. Within a couple of hours, the restaurant called me to confirm the reservation. It was a very seamless process that I really liked.
When I walked into the restaurant that 5 p.m. that night, there were already a flurry of diners here and there. The service that night was exceptional; our server was very accommodating to our table and oh, so friendly. I really enjoyed the experience. :)
After placing our orders, we were served with a small appetizer. I forget the name of what it is called, but it was basically a teeny tiny dish of a boiled beet with a dollop of garnishing and pistachio bits scattered around. It was a really nice start to get the stomach roaring.
I absolutely loved what I ordered! I got the Granchio which is risotto with king crab legs! It was also covered with smoked paprika and chives. When it arrived, I exclaimed loudly about how beautiful it looked (lol, really!). It was such a beautiful work of art. The crab legs were artfully placed in the middle of the plate and stood up like a triangle. The rest of the plate was wide and beautifully filled with risotto and chives.
Not only did it look beautiful, the taste was incredible! I can’t even describe to you how amazingly delicious this tasted. Each bite of risotto was soft and the sauce was PERFECT. I was blown away with the perfect consistency and texture of the dish.
On the other hand, I was a tad disappointed with the king crab legs. I loved the portion of crab legs; that didn’t underwhelm me. What was a bit sad was that the crab legs weren’t as easy to eat as they could have been. I found it difficult to pry apart the crab meat from the shell. Usually, when I eat crab legs, I’ve found it very easy to dig the meat out from the long leg of the shell using my fork. Also, there were a number of pieces that were not cracked at all. I asked the server about bringing one of those claw openers for me, but she didn’t have one. Instead, she brought the pieces that were sealed shut to the kitchen for me to pry them open instead. I appreciated that. It made the eating process a lot more enjoyable afterwards. :)
I tried a slice of the Agnello pizza that Mandy ordered. It was basically a lamb sausage pizza with roasted peppers, fior (cheese?), and san marzano. I liked it! One of our first comments was that the lamb tasted very gamey. Another comment I have now is that the lamb sausage could have been more spread out throughout the pizza. I found that the meat kind of gathered more towards the centre of the pizza so that the sides were kind of bare — that actually reminds me of the lobster pizza I had at Drake One Fifty which had the same issue. However, that’s only a minor detail. I still really enjoyed the pizza and Mandy did too.
Following the main course, I chose a dessert — a perfectly suitable chocolate dessert for this sugar sweet day — of Cioccolato, a dark chocolate ganache with raspberry vin brulé, and toasted almonds. Personally, I think they could have done a little better on the presentation side of this dessert. Lol, the pool of raspberry seeps out like a pool of blood at a murder scene. In any case, the dark chocolate ganache was to die for!! It was SO rich and so soft and smooth. I was so impressed. This was exactly the kind of dark chocolate dessert I wanted to finish off the meal with. Yummy! I didn’t really care for the toasted almonds though. This is also a dessert that is perfect to share. By the time I got to the last chunk, I was feeling very full. The richness and heaviness of the dark chocolate ganache filled me up.
So, I have to say that Mercatto was an amazing dining experience. I absolutely loved everything about it. I loved the way that the server was able to take care of my crab leg problem smoothly and efficiently. Even though the lamb sausage could have been more spread out in the pizza, it was still so delicious to not have been a problem. And who can forget that lovely dish of risotto that I had. It was so perfectly seasoned and prepared! Mad props to the chef. Mandy also commented that this is a restaurant that she will return to in the future. Yay for happy dining at terrific restaurants! :D