Admittedly, I do not frequent the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh very frequently. Admittedly, I maaaay even be a little judgy if you ask me about the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Sometimes its ratio of [bros and girls in mini skirts paired with Ugg boots :: yours truly] can be just a tad overwhelming. I plead guilty to avoidance. However, an aimless wander powered by a new brunch location, recently motivated my brunching companion and me to poke our heads into Mercurio’s.
I had passed this corner of Shadyside before, but Mercurio’s full offerings hadn’t registered (I blame the abundance of FroYo places and brightly lit, fat-free establishments- they have desensitized me to frozen dessert offerings). Our peek inside the restaurant revealed pizzas topped with fresh ingredients, large salads, a beautifully glowing pizza oven, an array of gelato, an espresso machine and happy people drinking wine with lunch. I officially fixed Mercurio’s on my radar!
Thus on a cold and quiet New Year’s Eve, I found myself cozied next to my Special One in his Shadyside apartment, and I had an idea for lunch. One conveniently quick stroll later, we found ourselves evaluating the many enticing menu options at Mercurio’s.
INSALATA CON PORTABELLA
Portabella mushrooms, arugula, lemon zest, parmigiano reggiano, extra virgin olive oil
The lemon zest! What a simple and rewarding trick. I resolved to eat more salads with lemon zest in the coming year.
PIZZA DELLA CASA
Tomatoes, house made mozzarella, grape tomatoes, arugula, Prosiutto di Parma, shaved parmigiano reggiano, extra virgin olive oil
PIZZA DEL RE
House made mozzarella, truffle spread, mushrooms, Prosiutto di Parma, extra virgin olive oil
Tiramisu + Amoretto + Nutella
As we walked home listing the many gaps Mercurio’s would fill, I realized we had found a new favorite. To recap our walking conclusions:
1. The food is really good! Fresh ingredients. Flavorful salads. Soft, warm pizza crust that puffs just at the end of the slice. The intense flavor of truffle oil!
2. The hours! Late night dining in Pittsburgh is tricky, so it’s worth noting that Mercurio’s is open until 10pm during the week and 11pm on weekends.
3. We once sought a place to go for dessert only. In the end we abandoned the pursuit because most of our restaurants of choice probably would have wanted us to order more food to earn our keep. Now we have a dessert outing option in the form of three scoops and two spoons!
4. Downers: Beer and wine!
5. Uppers: I finished my meal with a cappuccino, a really good cappuccino!
Pass me a mini skirt and some Ugg boots. It looks like I’m going to be spending a lot more time in Shadyside!