Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trattoria Mercatto: New Eaton Centre Location

The latest addition to the Mercatto family which already has three locations in Toronto, is the newly opened Trattoria Mercatto in the Eaton Centre, having taken over the old City Grill Restaurant location overlooking Trinity Square. The new space is unique compared to the other Mercatto trattorias, featuring an open warehouse-style aesthetic that feels more industrial-chic, like something one would expect to find in the Distillery District or the new revolution of post-industrial eateries in Vancouver's hip Gastown neighbourhood.

Mercatto's second storey loft with dramatic light fixtures, 
and floor to ceiling windows overlooking Trinity Square Park

Mercatto's emphasis on simplicity, authenticity and quality has served them well. Consistently relaible food and excellent well trained, knowledgeable and friendly staff ensures a satisfying dining experience each time. Coincidentally, Mercatto's Toronto Street location is our 'local Italian', so when the new Eaton Centre trattoria opened up the street, we had to give it a try. 

The long Mercatto Bar featuring a tapas-style menu

The menu, like the interior, is unique to the Mercatto branding, with a more tapas-rich bar menu, expanded Insalate e Antipasti offerings and new Panini section. Ever present are the delicious pizzas, pastas and extensive selection of Indigenous Italian wines by the glass, arguably one the of best values at this price range in the city.

Part of Mercatto's wine selection abutting the stairs up the loft space

Looking down on the Bar from the loft space, and overlooking the collection of 
Italian varietal in the 2-storey wine shelves

I started with a glass of Trebbiano d'Abbruzzo, a delicate and quiet white wine with a fresh youthful nose, as I perused the menu and nibbled on a crisp pencil-thin stick of Grissini, complimentary on each table. I decided on the Tagliatelle with almond pesto, semi dried tomatoes and fresh arugula, and my friend Chris, the Grilled Orata with guanciale, fingerling potaoes and swiss chard.

Tagliatelle with almond pesto, semi dried tomatoes and fresh arugula

Grilled Orata with guanciale, fingerling potaoes and swiss chard

Both the pasta and the grilled fish were wonderfully fresh and full of flavour, prepared using only a handful of quality ingredients that captured the essence and authenticity of each dish. Since the closest culinary competition, if you can it that, is Baton RougeMercatto's new Eaton Centre location is sure to be a booming success. But stay tuned...with the newly opened Joey around the corner, they'll have some new culinary competition, which is good news for everybody, especially for all of us looking for a little sustenance while doing a little 'retail therapy' during the upcoming holiday season.