4 Stars – Overall Experience
4.5 Stars – Price
4 Stars – on Service
4.5 Stars – on Enjoyment of Food
4 Stars – on Atmosphere
Kensington Market is known for its bohemian flare and unique collection of businesses. Typically a happening crowded place in the summer, the streets were all but deserted on a Saturday night in the winter. That being said, Pizzeria via Mercanti was a-buzz inside! The restaurant has a unique layout and while it is an open concept, it still feels divided due to pillars and the placement of stairs. I was here for a birthday and we were seated at a long table seating 15 of us. Unfortunately due to the space, it was a very tight fit and it was next to impossible for me to get out any time during dinner. Aside from that, the place is unassuming and friendly; nothing too fancy, which is great for a night out with friends.
The restaurant was busy, and our group was large, but the server(s) did a good job at taking our orders and getting us our food pretty quickly. Instead of having to constantly come back to refill our water glasses, they left large pitchers of ice cold water on the table which I appreciated. Through overhearing some conversations, I gathered that our waiter was actually from Milan himself, making it feel even more like the authentic Italian experience.
We ordered a few bottles of the Chianti wine for the table. I was thrilled to see on the menu an all Italian listing. items were reasonably priced with a good selection. When I go back, my husband and I will definitely order a bottle of the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo as this was a favourite of ours when we traveled in Europe.
Bocconcini di Pizzas, which are small pizza balls filled with cheese and meats, were served family style on the table on a bed of Arugula. Unfortunately I was unable to eat these since there was meat in them, but everyone around me really enjoyed.
When my husband and I travel through Europe, we often find ourselves ordering a pizza and pasta dish then splitting them so we get the best of both worlds. Originally I had told myself that I would just order the pizza since it was a pizza joint, but when I saw that their pasta was homemade, I knew I had to give that a shot as well.
Pizza – They had many unique and fun pizzas, but we decided to go with the good ol’ Margherita. It had that real authentic flavour which was clearly due to the choice of fresh and traditionally used ingredients like fior di latte instead of mozzarella and the incredible (I assume homemade) tomato sauce. I have found in my travels to Italy, that a good dough boasts a salty flavour and the dough by Pizzeria via Mercanti delivered on this very well. Clearly it was cooked in a wood burning oven which gave it a distinct Italian taste!
Pasta – Sometimes in a ravioli the cheese inside ends up being a bit gritty, but this ricotta was nice and smooth. The pasta itself was great and the asparagus cream sauce, while rich, was very delicious. I don’t think this is a regular on the menu, but if you see it as a special again, I would highly recommend it!
After I thought there was no way I could eat another bite, queue the entry of Nutella Pizza! Again I got another slice of that delicious dough, but this timed topped with a big dollop of Nutella chocolate. Nothing overly special aside from their dough, but well enjoyed all the same.
Like most pizza joints, there is usually plenty for me to eat. While many of the pizza’s had some type of meat, I am sure I could have asked for without. Lots of great options!
Since this was a large birthday group dinner, we ended up evenly dividing the bill among ourselves. I was a bit nervous as sometimes you can end up paying way more than what you actually ate (extra cocktails or apps ordered by others for instance). I was very pleasantly surprised as our bill worked out to only $52/pp. For me this included 2 glasses of wine, 1/2 a pizza and 1/2 a plate of pasta and a slice of Nutella pizza. I thought this was very reasonable. For the quality and quantity you get, this place is more than fair on pricing.
Food was fantastic and brought back great memories of times in Italy, so for that reason alone I would recommend this place! The only downfall I found was how tight our space was, but aside from that I felt this place delivered the authentic Italian taste.
Time of Dinner: 8:30pm
Date: Saturday February 20th, 2016
- Chianti Colli Senesi (red wine)
- House-made Pasta of the Day – Ravioli filled with Ricotta and Spinach in an Asparagus Cream Sauce
- Margherita Pizza
- Nutella Pizza