Credit: Aisha Han/Visual Editor Credit: Aisha Han/Visual Editor Credit: Aisha Han/Visual Editor Credit: Aisha Han/Visual Editor

It’s about that time in the semester, where the only things on people’s minds are midterms and projects. Most of us are probably spending our days in our dorms or in the library, hunched over textbooks while munching on Pop-tarts or chips. It’s important that we use the weekends (or really any free time we have), to relax, treat ourselves, and take our minds off of all the work. I mean, that is what weekends are for — to have fun with others and eat real food. A great place to do just that is Mercurio’s in Shadyside.

Mercurio’s is a small family-owned Italian restaurant that is known for its wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and gelatos. On Friday nights, the place is usually packed, with people even waiting outside to be called in for a seat. My friend and I were amongst those people, where we had to wait about 45 minutes, but it was all fine thanks to the many comfy cafes to sit in and little stores to look at around Walnut Street. The area itself is cute and very nice to walk around, with benches scattered throughout the strip for those who’d want to sit outside and enjoy the view.

Once my friend and I were at our seats, we both noticed how lively the social environment was in the restaurant. There were many young customers and families, chatting and enjoying themselves over wine and pizza. The setting was very comfortable and friendly, with a bit of a classy vibe as well. The tables were all neatly set, with a fresh rose decoration on the side. The walls were painted a nice yellow that complemented the wooden floors, and portraits were hung up throughout the place. The most important aspect of the restaurant, however, one that added to its classiness, was the food.

Mercurio’s has a variety of items on its menu, from paninis, to salads, to pizza. My friend and I decided to order their Bianco and Oliva pizzas. The Bianco had fresh mozzarella, parmesan, basil, and olive oil on it, while the Oliva was essentially a margherita pizza with parmesan and olives. At Mercurio’s, a whole pizza is about the size of a large plate, so it satisfies just one person. Our food was served to us about ten minutes after we ordered, and both our pizzas were presented very nicely. The colors of the tomatoes and basil on top of the warm and freshly-made crust looked too good to eat. Amazingly enough, the pizza tasted just as good as it looked. The ingredients were all fresh, not very greasy, and everything was easy to eat. When my friend and I were finished, we certainly did not feel any bit of guilt for eating pizza.

Since Mercurio’s is also known for their gelato, my friend and I decided to order some for ourselves. They make batches of their homemade gelato every day, and there are so many flavors to choose from. In the end, my friend and I ordered their mocha chip and pistachio gelato. The gelato was creamy and delectable and were definitely nice finishing touches to our meals that night.

Overall, I had a very satisfying experience at Mercurio’s. The prices are reasonable, the service is great, and the food is delicious! It’s a very comfortable place where you can spend time with friends and really feel at home. The restaurant is even far enough from campus where you and a couple of people can get away and focus on relaxing and having fun. So the next time you feel like treating yourself, head over to Shadyside and stop by Mercurio’s.