Nov 1, 2009


Mercatto is located in the MaRs building downtown and is a family owned restaurant that specializes in Italian food. Mercatto recently revamped their menu and are likely still trying to gauge the reception of their new dishes. They have good service and took the initiative to explain in detail any menu items. When I opened the menu, the first thing that caught my eye was the Gnocchi with Rabbit. I was instantly intrigued because I’ve always wondered what those furry things would taste like.

After I ordered the Gnocchi with rabbit ($17), the person across from me commented on how he could never eat rabbit because “I always see them in my backyard and they are so cute”. I thought “man up…meat is meat. Chinese people eat anything and everything” (I’m jk, in case he does somehow come across this entry). After the second bite, my guilty conscience was kicking in. I kept imaging this cute itty bitty little thing while I was chewing shreds of rabbit meat. The rabbit I imagined looked something like this:

Doesn't it remind you of Pancakes from the O.C.?

This is how I should have imagined the rabbit. This is way more suitable for dinner. It's less cute and fattened up nicely. Okay, let’s be realistic here, there’s no way a rabbit can grow that to that size. The only explanation is that the farmer put this baby on some serious ‘roids.

Speaking of rabbits, this big ball of mess is an Angora rabbit. It’s mainly bred for its soft and silky wool. Is it weird that I find it cute? It looks like it's rocking a full on fro or just a gigantic fur ball.

The verdict: rabbit tastes like chicken. I know that sounds a bit cliché (even the word cliché is a bit cliché) because everyone compares the taste of unconventional meats to chicken, but it’s true. It also leaves a distinctive aftertaste that I don’t quite like.

My Gnocchi wasn’t that great, I felt it was a bit too dry. The rabbit was heavily seasoned and salty, which prevented me from fully tasting the natural flavors of the meat.

The other dish I tried is the “Maialina pizza” with tomato, mozzarella, Italian sausages, pancetta and soppressata ($14). It was a delicious thin crust pizza, but very oily. I guess that’s a given since I am eating pizza after all.

I also tried a slice of the Prosciutto pizza with arugula, mozzarella and grana padano cheese. They covered the pizza with an abundance of prosciutto and arugula. I really like this pizza because the saltiness and flavors of the prosciutto was balanced out by the zesty bitterness of the arugula.

Overall, Mercatto’s dishes are reasonably priced and the pizzas are good, but I was disappointed with my Gnocchi dish. I wouldn’t mind coming back, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again.


  1. Rabbit does not taste like chicken! The only meat that tastes like chicken is frog haha. I had frog legs once and they could honestly pass as chicken wings...shaped as frog legs. That pizza looks very authentic but very ghetto. Like something you would make in high school home ec class.

  2. Rabbit from what I have heard is a delicious, if gamy type of meat (which you mentioned on the aftertaste). Very underutilized nowadays. I want to see if I can make a rabbit stew and I'll let the curious know what is the verdict.

  3. Rabbit stew sounds good! I would love to try to cook that, but I think it's too advanced for my non-existent culinary skills haha. Rabbit is actually not bad, but it was slightly gamey. My experience was ruined because I kept imagining pancakes from the O.C.! I think rabbit is underutilized because not every one is open to the idea of trying it since it's a domestic pet.