10. Mercato

Taking home tenth place in the Best Tried and True category in the 13th Annual Best Restaurants Awards, Mercato know how to make simplicity sublime.

Executive chef Spencer Wheaton grilling a double-cut Fiorentina-style rib steak.
Photograph by Jared Sych. Executive chef Spencer Wheaton grilling a double-cut Fiorentina-style rib steak.

When Dominic Caracciolo moved his parents’ Italian market from Bridgeland to 4th Street S.W. in 2005, it was still primarily a market with a restaurant counter wrapping around an open kitchen. Now, more than 10 years on, it is the restaurant that fills the room, wrapped by an ever-shrinking market. Executive chef Spencer Wheaton has anchored this success – known to patrons for his signature ear-to-ear grin. Mercato’s grilled Bistecca alla Fiorentina topped with arugula and lemons is one of the tastiest steaks in town. The house-made pasta is second to none.

The wine list pours forth with Italy’s best. Mamma Cathy Caracciolo and friends still gather with Wheaton every three weeks on a Monday evening to roll – by hand – the gnocchi served here, often making as much as 500 pounds before all sitting to eat, family-style. And that’s how it feels, dining at Mercato. It’s like you’re part of one big, boisterous family that loves big, boisterous flavours and putting the least ingredients together for the most flavour. Simplicity can be so sublime.

2224 4 St. S.W., 403-263-5535, mercatogourmet.com

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