Location: 5000-873 85 St SW
An impromptu lunch with my parents found me sitting at this high end restaurant. I have always loved Italian food and was super excited to try this place out. The restaurant had a fresh modern look and the hostess and waitress were very friendly in welcoming us. A truly Italian restaurant, there wasn’t “coffee” or “soda,” instead the coffee they had was an Americano and the soda? Italian soda, naturally (although Italian sodas didn’t really originate in Italy, or so I’ve been told) . I ordered the sparkling lemon. The bottle told me that it was made from lemons grown on the Amalfi coast and the first thought I had was “I was there…well sort of.” It is nothing like lemon water, nor is it like the citrus sodas that we have in North America. It’s light and not too fizzy, which was refreshing.
For our mains, my dad had a prime rib dish, my mom had the Carbonara, and I had the Timballo. The prime rib was pretty ordinary, so I won’t delve too deep into that one. It was cut into strips and topped with fried green onions and a fried egg. The Carbonara was fusilli rather than fettuccine as it usually is. Though on the salty side, it was flavourful. I enjoyed the subtle hint of what I thought to be white wine on my palate as an aftertaste. My dish was the biggest surprise to me. I had never had a Timballo before and had no expectations. Actually, I thought, by the description that it’d be more like ravioli rather than a giant pie looking thing. The other thing I didn’t expect was the pile of prosciutto on the side. I couldn’t handle the rawness of prosciutto when I was in Italy and I didn’t think I could handle it on my plate again today. But I gave it a try and it turned out not to be too bad. It’s definitely less salty than what I had in Italy and I think that they cooked it slightly to give it a bit of a crunch. The presentation of my dish was quite rustic, serving it on a chopping board. However, if the utensils had been a little sharper, maybe it would have made it easier to cut and eat. I was a bit disappointed by my dish for the lack of seasoning and the dryness of the the ricotta and kale filling. It made it hard to swallow. The pasta exterior wasn’t much better. The bottom had been cooked to crispiness and almost looked as though it had been browned a little too much (like almost burnt, just like 5 seconds more and it would have).
Price wise, Mercato is not nice on your wallet. Not in any sense of that word. Lunch on average is about $15-$20 depending on which main you order, while dinner can be anywhere from $25-$200 for a main, which is a bit insane. That $200 one better have gold, caviar, truffles, and whatever else is so expensive to warrant that kind of price.
Unless Mercato steps up it’s game and serves up food true to its pricing, I won’t be coming back. I was thoroughly disappointed by the inconsistency in seasoning and feel that it’s ridiculous to expect that much from its patrons if it can’t even do that. I did not enjoy my lunch in the least. Unfortunately, first impressions are everything, so for today’s performance I will have to give Mercato a 2.5/5.