Sienna Mercato is a restaurant with three distinct offerings for its guests: a meatball and Italian-inspired restaurant on the ground floor called Emporio, a wine and charcuterie restaurant on the second floor entitled Mezzo, and a roof top beer garden on the third floor aptly named Il Tetto (“roof” in Italian). For Pittsburgh, the concept of three distinct restaurants under one name is unique and really fascinating; these restaurants operate as separate entities, yet they synergize in a way that shares costs and increases interest for patrons interested in different flavors. One weekend you could be having a meatball sandwich on the ground floor, and the next weekend you could enjoy a cold one on the roof. I’ll definitely be returning to sample the other two restaurants at some point, but my first experience was at Emporio, and I was invited along by a very special guest visiting all the way from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Jill Sylvester!
Atmosphere: The atmosphere of Emporio is much more casual than the other restaurants in Sienna Mercato. The brick walls, metal furniture, and simple lighting give the impression of a tap room, while all the flat screen TV’s and the general buzz of the establishment spoke more to a sports bar atmosphere. Either way, I liked what was going on, and felt at ease with the casual nature of Emporio.
Service: The service is friendly and lighthearted, working well with the casual atmosphere but inviting an even deeper level of comfort and ambience. We were seated promptly, served our food expediently, and checked up on frequently, so there’s really nothing else to critique: the service was genuine and hospitable.
Quality: For “Italian with a twist”, this place nails it on the head. The meatball sandwich that I ordered, topped with gouda cheese and served with a marinara dipping sauce, was very tasty. One of the prime aspects of this place is how much customization there is; you can order different quantities of meatballs, with different toppings, sides, and sauces, so you will definitely have options no matter your preference. There’s even a vegetarian option! We also enjoyed a delicious poutine (with tater tots, un-be-lievable) and a plate of cheesy bread (a carbohydrate and cheese concoction of real perfection) so although I did feel bloated by the end, I was satisfied.
Price: Nothing is radically overpriced, especially considering the quality of our meal and the fact that we were downtown. You can easily get a filling meal, with a drink, for $20, and that’s something not a lot of downtown Pittsburgh restaurants can offer.
Translation: This is an outstanding casual restaurant with a welcoming environment and a lot to offer in terms of food and service. Extra points for customization of menu options and service. Any improvement would be in some of the food offerings and the décor.
Jill’s Take: The best part of Emporio’s has to be the service: we were seated earlier than we had anticipated and everyone, from the bartender to our server, was easy to converse with and extremely nice. The poutine was also spot on. The aspects that needed the most improvement included a lot of the food options: the pork Bolognese was too sweet, there were not enough cheese options available, and there was way too much parmesan cheese on many of the dishes. This is definitely either a more sophisticated sports bar or a dressed down Italian restaurant, great for either starting your “night out on the town”, or a casual evening with friends. Either way, the loose environment means you definitely won’t lose no matter when you go.
Jill is a Senior at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst studying Political Science, Spanish, Modern European Studies, and International Education. We both studied abroad together in London, England, and her passions for international higher education and study abroad has led her to intern for CAPA The Global Education Network for the Office of the President. Way to go Jill!
Sienna Mercato is a dining concept with three distinct restaurants all under one roof! This is “Italian with a twist” and a scratch kitchen to match, so visit their website for reservation information or to see the entire, extravagant menu: http://www.siennamercato.com/