There are some dishes and cuisines which cement my omnivore-nature forever,and pasta is definitely one of them! I don’t think I could ever do a ketogenic/low-carbohydrate diet or gluten-aware, or vegan because I love traditional pasta and cheese way too much. While I don’t often go to restaurants for my pasta fix, I was fortunate enough to be out with my mom for a lunch date in the Mission area of the #4thStBRZ to kill time, and we decided to splurge on lunch at Mercato! Mercato at Mission is the original location, and houses a deli and small goods market, a coffee bar, and the restaurant. While I am frequently here to buy bread and deli take-out, the eat-in restaurant is definitely a splurge – but it is so worth it.
Mercato (the restaurant side) does take reservations and gets quite busy especially at lunch, but as this lunch date was spontaneous, we sat at the kitchen bar. This is good/bad depending on your view – you have an amazing view of the chefs as they prepare your food, but seeing what the rest of the diners may make you order even more! My mom had the feature plate of the day which was a linguine with morels, arugula, prosciutto, and fresh Parmesan (seeing that much cheese shaved fresh onto a hot bowl of pasta is definitely one of my happy things). This was bright, fresh, and delicious – I wished we had ordered a full size rather than the lunch portion! I had the house cannelloni which were stuffed with veal and the house-made ricotta in a San Marzano tomato sauce – this dish was piping hot and came in its own cooking vessel. It’s also much more filling than it appears to be (I could only finish one cannelloni) and I was happy to take the other half home for my lunch the next day!
The service at Mercato was excellent – our server was attentive, clearly knew the menu well, and was very diligent about keeping our waters topped up, and providing lots of fresh bread to dip with the balsamic vinegar and house olive oil! He also gave us time to enjoy the food after making sure we were happy after the first few bites, which I really appreciated – I want to eat my food, not be asked constantly if I am enjoying my meal!
While lunch at Mercato is a very occasional indulgence as their menu prices tend to be higher than surrounding restaurants in the 4th St BRZ, it is always an enjoyable meal, and is something I hope to do again soon!