Mercato Trattoria : Breaking the Rules on Eating Out in NYC


Best Italian Food Times Square is part of the TPOL in NYC ongoing Trip Report.

Going out for Italian food in the US is a risky proposition. Most of the time I leave disappointed because I know I can cook better Italian food at home. Before moving to New York in 2015 (see Start Spreading the News…TPOL Moved to NY Today), I assumed that the best Italian restaurants were in Little Italy. I went to two of them and was not pleased. While there may be great restaurants there, I definitely did not go to the right ones.

As a seasoned New Yorker, I began to find my way around. I discovered that the Olive Garden in Times Square made my Round the Atlantic Tour which included stops in Italy superfluous (see Olive Garden Times Square: Real Italian Food).

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Nothing says New York like Times Square. And nothing says Italian food like the internationally acclaimed Olive Garden.

On a serious note, there are certain rules I follow when it comes to eating out in NYC. They include the following:

Don’t Go Out to Eat Near Times Square

In 2016, I left NY but still return for the occasional Bachuwa Law work function. While staying at the Four Points Midtown – Times Square, I had a craving for Italian food. I came across Mercato. Admittedly, I was skeptical as to the quality of the place since it was located near to the biggest tourist trap in the world, Times Square. To my delight, the place was anything but.

Don’t Order Simple Appetizers

At Mercato, ordering for two means ordering for four. The salsiccia e patate was fantastic and greatly portioned.

Don’t Order Two Bottles of Wine

I have a rule: Only order one bottle of wine at dinner. Here I stuck to that rule but places like this make me break it as great meat and cheese should not be unaccompanied.

Don’t Order ‘Basic Pasta’

The traditional rule is never to order a pasta dish that you can make at home. Sometimes I break that rule when I believe that a place will make a dish like grandma does. I was correct.

Don’t Order Dessert

Who orders dessert when they go out to eat? Usually, I do not. Here, I did and I have no regrets.

Don’t Order After Dinner Coffee

That’s where they get you. Here, espresso was only $3.50 and the Gran Marnier accompaniment was $5. What more can I want?


Mercato. Go there. Break the rules. You’re welcome.

TPOL’s TIP: Mercato is located at 352 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018

Best Italian Food Times Square is part of the TPOL in NYC ongoing Trip Report.


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