In the old times, markets were the center of social life, and aluminum was more precious than gold. Today's deal is more valuable than Charles Martin Hall's electrolytic process for refining aluminum. Stop by the cozy Italian market il Mercato to use your $5 Groupon toward $10 worth of fresh and premium bites and sips. You can purchase as many as you want, but are limited to one use per visit.
This transplanted market is in the heart of the Strip District and prides itself on an accurate interpretation of similar shops in the boot-shaped country across the Atlantic (or the Pacific depending on which way the Earth is rotating each year). Pick up a specialty sandwich ($6–$8) stuffed to bready rafters with premium meats and cheeses. The prosciutto sandwich comes equipped with fresh mozzarella, fire-roasted tomatoes, and peppers topped with balsamic vinaigrette on a crisp baguette ($8). If you're feeling American in a sea of Italian, snag a turkey club topped with applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, and herb mayo on rustic farm bread ($7.25).
Il Mercato also offers a variety of salads made fresh daily to appease the unmeated crowd, or vampires trying to keep it a secret until the second date. A daily soup selection tides over frosty snowmen and sip-and-dip lovers, while a bevy of coffees from espresso ($2.25 for a double) to lattes ($3.75 for a double) give you something to accompany deep thoughts and Sunday funnies. Il Mercato offers more than deli selections, with prepackaged Italian cookies, baked goods, chips, and more filling the shelves and cases in this closed-air but spacious Italian market.
- We each enjoyed a creamy cup of the crab, lobster and corn chowder ($2.75), which left little room for dessert. That was unfortunate, given the fresh pastries and cookies baked daily and excellent gelato from the Mulberry Street Creamery in Shadyside that are available. – Munch von Munchausen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette