Last Updated on February 12, 2020 by Jeremy
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It is hard to beat a good Italian pizza made in a wood fired oven. For the longest time we had heard Mercurio's is the place to be to try out this particular pizza style, but never quite made it out to Shadyside or Fox Chapel to give them a try.
If this intro sounds familiar, you can imagine what comes next. We regret waiting this long.
Mercurio's checked a lot of boxes for us for a good wood fired pizza, namely being well cooked, well priced, and focusing on classic Italian toppings (over some of the more unique counterparts you see at other pizza shops in the city). If these are things you seek out when enjoying a pizza, you really need to check this one out.
Just be sure to save room when you do visit, as the gelato bar is also a must-try as well!
Mercurio's Offers Reasonably Priced Wood Fired Pizza
The pizza menu at Mercurio's reads a lot like the menus at any great wood fired pizza shops in Italy. White pizza options like Quattro Formaggi and Porchetta can be found, and classic red pizzas like Margherita, Salsiccia, and Funghi are available as well.
During my visit, I opted for the house special, aptly named the Pizza Della Casa, which was a red pizza with house-made mozzarella, prosciutto, grape tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. I put my order in and the pie was at my table just about five minutes later (I did not time it exactly, but noted that the turnaround was fast- a mark of a wood fired pizza shop that knows how to sling pies).
The two things that jumped out at me on this one were the perfectly distributed char marks on the crust and the generous amount of toppings. The char on the crust speaks for itself- it was cooked perfectly in the oven. Likewise, you can see what I mean about the toppings in the photo above as this one was fairly loaded up!
But going further, it is worth pointing out that the pizza was cut into four slices and had four rather large slices of prosciutto on it (overlapping a bit when served). Having a good portion of meat along with the rest of the toppings in every bite made for quite the memorable slice all around, and is the kind of attention to detail we love to see when getting a pizza at a restaurant.
Nothing is worse than missing out on those premium ingredients on every slice!
In addition to pizzas, Mercurio's also offers a selection of antipasti, salads, and paninis to name a few. During my visit, I opted to go for a panini in addition to my pizza and went with the Prosciutto Pomodoro.
Much like the pizzas, these were very appropriately priced with my selection being the most expensive and running just over $10. It was topped with prosciutto, house-made mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, a surprisingly abundant amount of balsamic reduction, and olive oil, and served with a side salad. I only later realized that I had essentially ordered my pizza in sandwich form, and I am quite okay with that.
While I'll definitely say that this one was fairly heavy on the bread, it had some pretty nice flavor all the same. The prosciutto was a bit masked in flavor by the other toppings and the balsamic, but overall I thought it was a pretty decent panini for the price. Would I order it again? I think the answer is no, if only because I would order more pizza instead. This is a testament to how much I enjoyed my pizza over any potential negatives of the panini- they're just that good.
After eating your meal, you need to save room for dessert as Mercurio's is home to one of the most impressive gelato selections in Pittsburgh as well!
Finish Out a Meal With Gelato
While this spot is quite popular for pizzas, you'll do well saving a bit of room for their homemade gelato as well. This ice cream style is horribly underrepresented in the Pittsburgh region, and as far as Mercurio's is concerned, they do Italian gelato right.
The hardest part about determining what gelato to get at Mercurio's is deciding between their spread of flavors, which run from conventional fruit and chocolates to more unusual options on par with many unique flavor combinations we saw in Italy. During my visit I opted to go for the latter route and picked a small cup with a spiced hazelnut chocolate and cherry ricotta.
This one offered a beautiful combination between the fruit flavors and the intense chocolate/nut combination, and had a texture that would stand up with many of our favorite gelato shops in Florence. My only minor complaint would be that this one is priced on a per ounce basis, and is generally rather expensive for the size you get (relative to other ice cream shops in Pittsburgh, at least).
The pictures do not give a good scale in this review, but my cup was equivalent to a small handful and ran about $3.50- a respectable price as far as high-quality gelato is concerned, but if you are looking for large portions just be prepared for a price to match. I only mention this as it may catch some visitors off guard due to the lesser-used pricing system.
Overall, Mercurio's knows how to make some pretty impressive Italian wood fired pizzas and gelato. Whether you're looking to indulge in one of the two, or both as I did (and recommend), this one should be on your radar to visit sooner rather than later.
Mercurio's has two locations- one in Shadyside at 5523 Walnut Street and one in Fox Chapel at 1335 Freeport Road. I visited the Shadyside location for this review.
Looking for more great Pittsburgh pizza shops? Click the previous link to check out some of our favorites!