Weekly Lunch Pick: the rich, crispy pork belly at Trattoria Mercatto

Weekly Lunch Pick: the rich, crispy pork belly at Trattoria Mercatto

Crispy pork belly and marinated mushrooms on the patio at Mercatto’s new Eaton Centre location (Image: Renée Suen) 

Lunch around the Eaton Centre usually means waiting in long lineups for food court fare, but the recent launch of Trattoria Mercatto—the fourth location of the Italian chain run by Top Chef Canada contestant Robert Rossi—provides a nice alternative. With ample seating at the bar, dining room and breezy Trinity Square patio, you’re not likely to need a reservation. Our al fresco meal brings the ciccioli frolli ($11), a creamy and sweet slab of caramelized pork belly with shards of crisp, lacquered skin. A small salad of sliced apples and chicory along with a drizzle of aged balsamic brighten up the plate and balance the fattiness of the belly. A side order of funghi sott’olio ($7), wild mushrooms marinated in a herb vinaigrette that come with a trio of fluffy fried pizza dough sticks, tops off our lunchtime indulgence.

The cost: $24 with tax and tip. $9 mojito not included.

The time: 72 unhurried minutes under a patio canopy.

Trattoria Mercatto, 220 Yonge St. (inside the Eaton Centre facing Sears), 647-352-3390, trattoriamercatto.ca.