Over the weekend, my husband and I had dinner with another couple at Mercato in Philadelphia. We arrived ahead of our reservation; but since it was such a beautiful night, we decided to wait a little longer for a table outside.
The Italian restaurant offers traditional dishes as well as some unique items. Our friends also enjoy the experience of dining out, so we all decided to order the four-course tasting menu, which the entire table must participate in.
As the restaurant is a BYOB, we each brought wine. The waiter opened our wines and brought an ice bucket for the white wine as he discussed the night’s specials and how the tasting menu works. The four-course meal consists of a vegetarian antipasto plate for the table, then we each select our own appetizer and entrée, then dessert is a tasting selection for the table to share. He put in the order for the antipasto course while we perused the menu.
I ordered the grilled octopus and fingerling potato appetizer special and the Bolognese pasta as my entrée. Each person in our group ordered different items, so it was nice to try each other’s dishes. I was happy with both of my selections. The octopus was grilled to perfection and seasoned perfectly. While I enjoyed the Bolognese, the portion was much larger than I expected and I left most of it on my plate.
The dessert selection included three cannolis (which I thought was odd given our group of four), tiramisu and cheesecake. All were indulgent, but I found myself going back to the perfect graham cracker crust of the cheesecake.
Mercato is a great neighborhood spot in Philadelphia, particularly for outdoor dining.
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