Authentic Italian at Mercurio’s Shadyside

Authentic Italian at Mercurio’s Shadyside

HI! I hope everyone enjoyed Chinese New Year! Things have really ramped up on my end- research, classes, projects, research…

However, there’s always time for friends and food! Today was one of those days. My friend invited me out for lunch at Mercurio’s. I’m not a big fan of pizza so I was skeptical at first, but I wasn’t going to give up this opportunity.

Mercurio’s Pizza

Mercurio’s Pizza is a local pizza chain that specializes in authentic Neapolitan pizza and artisan gelato. It was founded in 2012 by sibling duo Anna and Michael Mercurio. They have two locations: Shadyside (the one we went to) and Fox Chapel.

Mercurio’s goal is to spread authentic Italian cuisine to the Pittsburgh community, and they’re doing that one pizza, one gelato at a time.

In addition to the dining, they also have a thriving catering business and offer pizza making classes/kits.

Food

Mercurio’s specializes in Neapolitan pizza. Great, but why specify Neapolitan? What makes Neapolitan special?

Neapolitan (Naples style) pizza is a thin crust pizza topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella. Not just any tomato sauce and mozzarella- tomato sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes and Buffalo Mozzarella. While this seems oddly specific, Italians are VERY paticular about their pizza…. and this definition is protected by the Italian Standardization Body and received an EU Traditional Specialty Guarantee.

Mercurio’s follows tradition to the T with their classic Neapolitan topped with housemade mozzarella, secret San Marzano tomato sauce baked to perfection in their specialty wood fire oven. However, they’re also not afraid to branch out with their delectable selection of white pizzas (pizze bianche). We obviously couldn’t get everything, but we got a tasting of their best sellers

Burratta with Prosuitto- Pizza might not be my favourite, but there’s no way I’m passing up on their fresh cheese. This delicate dish of mozzarella cheese wrapped in procuitto served with arugula, tomatoes and bread did not disappoint. The fresh mozzarella has a brightness missing from the store bought varieties. It also had the perfect level of salt and acid such that the procuitto added depth without becoming overwhelming.

Margherita Con Bufala- This is their best seller…. for a VERY GOOD reason. It’s the classic with the fresh buffalo mozzarella, special sauce and a hint of basil. Each ingredient sings in harmony with the others in a symphony of flavour. It’s rich without being greasy and flavourful without being salt laden. This is a mean feat considering that there’s nothing to hid behind. Beyond the flavour, the crust is really something special- thin enough to allow the sauce and cheese to shine while being strong enough to eat cleanly.

Lasagna- For those wanting something with a bit more substance, try the lasagna pizza. This twist to the classic adds ricotta and sausage.

Note: We did not order too much. Each pizza is ~13 inches in diameter (about the size of a standard medium). 3 pizzas is more than enough for 4 people and my friend got enough leftovers for lunch!

…. and of course…. some Gelato….

If my glowing review above wasn’t convincing enough, there are other perks. Namely, these pizzas cost about the same as a Papa John’s! They even offer gluten free options (albeit for a small extra charge). I’m really not sure how they’re able to provide such quality at this price, especially under current economic circumstances. Large consumer surplus for sure.

Atmosphere and Service

Mercurio’s Shadyside is nestled among the quaint , upscale storefronts on Walnut Street. It’s the perfect stop after a morning of window shopping. It’s atmosphere and service fit its mission and location. The exposed brick, open kitchen and warm coloured decour create a homely feel. It would have been cool to see pizza tossing, but watching the oven in action is good enough. 

The service really added to the experience. It was prompt and the staff was courteous. Our drinks came out almost as soon as we ordered and our waiter waited for a lull in our conversation before taking our order. What really surprised me was the coordination between the staff. The waiter who took our order was occupied, but instead of making us wait, a waitress took the reins. I’d never seen that before. 

Overall experience 

Overall, I had an amazing time eating great food. I highly recommend stopping by for a pizza or scoop of gelato Pittsburgh weather isn’t usually cooperative, but it’s always sunny at Mercurios

Did any of you get to try something new with friends?

I hope everyone has a great week! Until next time, Bye!

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