Sienna Mercato (Emporio) [PGH]

942 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

I’ll be in Pittsburgh until February, so I’ve decided to expand the blog to the ‘burgh! Today, Elizabeth and I ventured downtown to Sienna Mercato, an insanely cool Italian restaurant with three floors of food and drink. The first floor, called Emporio, features a meatball-filled menu, while the second floor, Mezzo, serves charcuterie, pizza, and pasta. The third floor, Il Tetto, is the eatery’s self-proclaimed “rooftop beer garden.”

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We decided to stick with the first floor and its balls, and spent a while looking through its extensive meatball menu. First, you choose the type of meatball (classic beef, spicy pork, vegetarian, and turkey), the sauce (so many choices), and then the serving option (plain, slider, panini, or grinder). Since we wanted to sample as many meatballs as possible, we decided to order three sliders, each with one ball.

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First up was the adorable beef meatball slider with the pork bolognese sauce. The well-seasoned beef, combined with the toasted bun and the savory bolognese sauce, made the slider taste like a classic meatball sandwich.

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Next, we had the spicy pork slider with the creamy parmesan sauce, which was my favorite dish of the meal. The pork wasn’t crazy spicy, but it had just enough of a kick to make it memorable.

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The last slider of the meal was the vegetarian meatball (mushroom, white bean, and cauliflower) with the spinach-almond pesto sauce. Even without meat, the soft and flavorful vegetarian meatball was just as good as the other meatballs, and the pesto sauce was the perfect complement.

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We had an amazing side of tomato risotto, which was creamy and cheesy, and a delicious accompaniment to the rest of our meal.

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We also tried out the bruschetta appetizer, which came topped with tomatoes, shaved parmesan, arugula, and a balsamic dressing. It was crispy and tangy, but not as good as the other dishes.

Overall, Emporio was fantastic, and I’d love to try out the other floors of Sienna Mercato sometime. Elizabeth agreed, explaining, “The ingredients were obviously fresh and local, and all of the plates complimented each other so well.” A huge shoutout to our awesome waiter, Keaton, for being so cool and giving us great menu suggestions!