A charming Annex institution, Bar Mercurio is a chic New York-style family run trattoria, centrally located at Bloor and Avenue Road and just steps from the ROM, Bata Shoe Museum, Varsity Stadium and the Royal Conservatory of Music, in downtown Toronto. Opened in 1997 by Giuseppe (Joe) Mercurio, this charming little bijou offers an extensive Italian-inspired menu featuring thin crust wood-fired pizzas, robust soups, sinfully delicious pastas as well as grilled veal chops, steak-frites, a small menu of daily specials and impressive wine list that features many regional Italian wines and also some quite wonderful wines by the glass. With a friendly and inviting ambiance, Bar Mercurio always seems to be buzzing, and was positively "hopping" when we arrived for dinner on a hot sultry Thursday evening.
The casually elegant interior of Bar Mercurio
A dry Hendricks Martini, straight up with a slice of cucumber
Warm focaccia and herbed pita crisps in a retro little red tin bucket
Bar Mercurio's dinner menu
'Capesante' - Scallops and Watercress Salad with anchovy dressing
Minestra: Wild mushroom soup with seasonal vegetables
and garnished with smoked cheddar cheese
'Fettuccine all'Anantra Tartufate' - Fresh fettuccine in a truffled duck ragu
served as shown in a sauté pan, straight from the open kitchen
'Polipo ai Ferri' - Octopus over chickpeas and capers with lotus chips
There's no dessert menu as such — our server Roberto rhymed off a list of delectable offerings such as Tiramisu, Creme Caramel and a trio of homemade Gelatos, including chocolate, strawberry and pistachio, which sounded too good to miss. Garnished with piped chocolate filigrees and topped with a sweet Ontario strawberry, the Pistachio Gelato had a light nutty texture and subtle sweetness, which made for a delicious end to a lovely evening.
Pistachio Gelato garnished with chocolate decoration and fresh Ontario strawberry