Trattoria Mercatto – Restaurant Review

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If Rylee & I go to the Eaton Center, you know we is going in at Trattoria Mercatto right? Right! Haha. Jokes aside, it’s a great place to just sit down mid/post shopping and just chill out, grab some great food and drink, and chat with your buddies. & did I mention that it is conveniently located right in the mall?? Anyways, let’s get right into it shall we?

Frittelle Di Cavolfiore
sicilian fried cauliflower, truffle crema, pecorino

I was a bit apprehensive about trying this dish out, particularly because its main component is cauliflower. I mean, who the hell likes cauliflower? Apparently, I now do. I never thought I would have enjoyed cauliflower this much. The seasoning on these crunchy little morsels was just right. The buttery yet nutty flavour of the pecorino, along with the rich truffle crema really enhanced the flavours of the fried cauliflower. I wonder if this technique would do brussel sprouts any good…haha! That aside, highly recommend!

Frutti Di Mare
marinated shrimp, scallops, calamari, red onion, crostini

Let me just start off by saying that the presentation of this appetizer was so incredibly cute! I loved how the seafood was in a little jar served on a board alongside the crostini. However, I will really have to say that the flavour was seriously lacking from this dish. I was disappointed because for one, it looks incredible. And with all these flavourful components in the mix, I really expected more kick from this. I can’t even put my finger on what needs to be changed, it was just really bland. I would not recommend this.

Crochetta Di Granchio
dungeness crab fritter, zucchini, yoghurt, agrodolce

In case you were wondering, agrodolce is a traditional Italian “sweet & sour” sauce. I’ve actually never had it with anything but certain types of pasta…so this was quite an interesting venture for me. The crab fritter was flaky and tender, seasoned and cooked to perfection. Now I’m a big fan of seafood and this is definitely a great dish. BUT, as weird as it is to say, my favourite part was actually the greens. They tasted amazing with the agrodolce. I mean, the entire dish was very good, but the greens really brought it home for me. I’d recommend giving this a go!

Seared Scallops
fennel sausage, butternut squash purée, cipollini, fingerlings

I actually really liked this…a lot. I love the sear and the flavour on the scallops. They were done perfectly. I could have had a million more! The butternut squash purée, the peas, & the cipollini (a small, flat onion; great for roasting or caramelizing) were falling on the sweeter side. The fennel sausage worked as a contrasting flavour and offered a nice hint of savoury spice…twas a dope kick of pow pow to my palate. I usually opt out of potatoes…just because. But I must say, I quite liked the cook on these fingerling potatoes. Highly recommend!

Short Rib Crostini
sticky beef short ribs, fior di latte, grilled sourdough, basil

For those of you who are wondering, fior di latte literally translates into “milk’s flower” and is a type of mozzarella. It has a soft, spongy and very moist texture. It usually has a milky taste, that is…in my books, it lacks a kick. So I just want to give a quick shout-out to the genius who decided to pair this with a tender short rib. Brava! The cook on the meat was great, no complaints about that. What I will complain about is the flavour of the short rib: there just wasn’t enough bite to it, there was something missing for me. The sourdough bread was wicked (no other words for that, haha). I wouldn’t highly recommend this dish, but I wouldn’t stop you from trying it. So I guess this would be your call. I really would suggest stepping up the ante with some flavour in the meat component of this dish.

Carpaccio Di Manzo
beef tenderloin crudo, brandy crema, pickled onions, grana padano, arugula

Did I ever mention that I am a self-professed carpaccio connoisseur? Yeah, well…I am. Okay? Okay. Now that we have that cleared up, let’s get into this dish. First off, the meat was beautiful.The tang from the pickled onion and grana padano cheese went really well with the spice of the arugula. Obviously these flavours along with the savoury flavour of the meat were all very beautifully rounded out by the brandy crema. I would have never thought to use brandy crema in a beef carpaccio. So a round of applause for creativity here! I absolutely enjoyed this dish. Highly recommend.

air cured beef, sautéed spinach, grana padano, besciamella

Pizza base? Basic, but good. Sautéed spinach? Bland. Grana Padano? Have I ever complained about cheese? Besciamella? This is basically a béchamel sauce. I would have to say it was pretty bland as well. Air cured beef? Dope. Overall, the air cured beef and the grana padano were the saviours for this pizza, along with the fact that the base was not horrendous. Do I hate myself for eating this? Nah. Would I eat it again? Nah. What if it was the last thing on earth? Yeah, I guess. But it’s not, so I’ll pass. Wouldn’t recommend this.

Chitarra Alla Carbonara
pancetta, black pepper, egg, pecorino

Can we just take a moment to gawk at this thing of beauty? The noodles were cooked al dente, just how I like them. The pancetta was crisp, salty and full of flavour. The pecorino added to the salt factor as well as providing a cheesy goodness. Of course, where there is pancetta, spaghetti and cheese…there must be black pepper to even out the flavour profile. Then they threw in this egg. Oh, but this egg. Once all the components of this dish were brought together, I died a little. I could swear the pope was actually in the kitchen of Trattoria Mercatto to bless this dish as it was being brought to our table. Absolutely LOVED this! Highly recommend!

chocolate cake, raspberry vin brulé, toasted almonds, whipped cream

Chocolate, raspberry, almonds, whipped cream? Sold! I loved the rich flavour of chocolate that covered my palate with every bite of this dessert. I had to go back in for more. The raspberry vin brulée really cut through the richness of the cake itself whilst the toasted almonds brought a nutty flavour profile into the mix. Of course, whipped cream is essential with desserts like this. I think it would have been amazing of the cake was served a little warmer over a cool vin brulée. But hey, no big deal. I’d go back and get this again. I would definitely recommend this!

kahlua soaked Italian Cookies, espresso, mascarpone crema

This is basically a mocha flavoured whipped mascarpone crema. That is, it is extremely light. Here comes da juxtaposition y’all: although it was light, it was so rich. Twas dreamy, really. Of course, there were the lady fingers that were kissed with an amazing espresso coffee. Then came the bite of the kahlua, tantalizing me of course. I don’t know if you can tell by now or not, but I thoroughly enjoyed this tiramisu. Highly freaking recommend.

Overall Ratings

Food: 9.5/10
With the average for my food ratings coming really close to perfect, I’d have to say it sounds about right. Yes, there were a few things I wasn’t a fan of. But I am willing to look past all of that because of the quality of all the other dishes I had from Trattoria Mercatto. I loved everything from the flavours presented to the way in which they were presented.

Drinks: n/a
I can’t really comment on this…I’ve always been an H2O guzzler but I didn’t try a single drink from here as of yet. Maybe I’ll add that to my to-do list. Have any of you tried their drinks?

Service: 10/10
The service is always on point here. Every. Single. Time. No complaints whatsoever. All their staff is personable, quirky and knows the menu. Service is impeccable!

Ambience: 9/10
I liked the overall vibe of the place. The music is really lax and chillin’. Like I said earlier, it’s a great place to just kick it at. The only thing I have something to say is the seating. I wish they weren’t backless stools, it makes for an uncomfortable dining experience. However, further into the restaurant there are “normal” chairs and there I had a wonderful seating situation. Haha.

My overall experience at Trattoria Mercatto was very positive. The prices are pretty reasonable for the quality of the ingredients being used. It is probably one of my preferred grubbing spots at the Eaton Center. I would highly suggest checking this place out if you’re in the area.

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