What’s on the menu at Cantina Mercatto, the newest addition to the Mercatto restaurant family
Name: Cantina Mercatto
Contact: 20 Wellington St. E., 416-304-0781, cantinamercatto.ca, @mercatto.to
Neighbourhood: St. Lawrence
Owners: Jack and Domenic Scarangella and Steve Christian (La Palma, Constantine)
Chefs: Executive chef Doug Neigel and Kevin Mark (Hudson Kitchen, O&B)
“We’re not about sous-vide cooking or gadgets,” says Neigel, of his dishes at the newest member to the Mercatto family. “We’re into fire-and-pan, straightforward cooking.” A handful of the core dishes are shared among all five Mercatto locations (pasta carbonara, diavola and Margherita pizzas), but the majority of each menu is particular to its location. Cantina differentiates itself from the bunch by focusing on cinq-a-sept snacks and an impressive selection of vegetarian plates. On weekends, they serve an Italian-inspired brunch (alongside the more traditional, always popular eggs Benny).
The wine list of more than 100 bottles stocks everything from big California reds to lesser-known Lebanese blends and a few natural wines, too. The focus though, is on classic Italian regions, such as Sicily, Tuscany and Piedmont. Beers, however, are a Canadian affair: local craft brews dominates the list of bottles and cans (Burdock, Collective Arts, Godspeed).
The 200-seat room takes up the ground floor of a newly completed 58-storey condo. Alessandro Munge (Studio Munge) designed the first Mercatto on Toronto Street 20 years ago (it closed this past May in preparation for Cantina’s opening). Since then, Studio Munge has designed all of the Mercatto restaurants, including this one. The cavernous, industrial look space is balanced out by stunning hand-painted wallpaper created by textile designer Candice Kaye.