The name Mercato di Vetro is Italian for ‘market of glass’. The cuisine, ambiance, and seamless customer service is unparalleled beyond compare. The elegantly sassy vibe with trendy contemporary ambiance that is sure to be around for a long time to come tugs at the romantic side of one’s heart. Two floors of intimate seating with two full bars situated center stage, two open preview kitchens on the first level complete with a wood burning oven and pasta maker, and a striking mix of dark-toned woods and a sleek modern motif combine to offer eye catching hues throughout the eatery with bursts of reds and greens to enhance the Italian-inspired theme.
A comfortable energy fills the air as patrons are warmly greeted upon entering the front door. Once inside, dual preview kitchens provide a feast for the eyes and a celebration for the senses where the magic of handcrafted pasta and pizza dough is artfully crafted and on display leaving an observant audience wondering what they will soon become before being baked and delivered to awaiting tables of hungry diners. Chef Danny Elmaleh’s Italian-inspired shared plates and tapas selections with vibrantly enhanced Mediterranean touches turn up the “wow” factor for the palate and visually stimulate the senses of anyone who is fortunate enough to be present inside this haven of delicious satisfaction.
Well-versed servers are readily available to explain the well-constructed menu selection for the evening, or suggest items you’re sure to enjoy. Our server was Jay the evening we visited, and his expertise regarding the menu guided us in a direction of pure delight. General Manager, Sandro Coppola, made a point to check in with us often to ensure our utmost satisfaction. We dined on the second level of the establishment at a tandem booth overlooking the second level bar, candlelit for two.
Blood Orange Martini, Peartini, & A Glass Of Pinot Noir
We started with two of Mercato di Vetro’s signature hand-shaken cocktails. The Blood Orange Martini, created with Absolut Mandarin Vodka, fresh lime juice, and Serrano chiles for an amped up kick was surprisingly subtle in sweetness and heat, which was a delightful revelation. We’ve enjoyed several fiery martini spins on the traditional cocktail, but this by far has to be one of our favorites, if not the best we’ve had yet. The flavor is every bit memorable, but we weren’t left with the requirement for a fire extinguisher after finishing this libation. A top drawer concoction done right. My husband chose the Peartini, which showcased the flavors of fresh pear, Grey Goose Vodka, and a splash of cranberry. Refreshing, not too sweet, and satisfying throughout the entire experience. Both available for $15 each, we were content with those selections.
Hen Of The Woods & Artichoke Starters
Two absolutely sensational starters we shared were the Hen Of The Woods, and the Artichoke offerings. The Hen Of The Woods ($9) is a mushroom dish, which in its natural habitat grows in clusters at the base of trees…particularly oaks. Accompanied by a flavorsome creamy aioli, fresh Parmesan cheese, and colorful chives, this earthy flavor-filled menu selection will leave you taking about it for days. The Artichoke starter ($9) encompassed the flavors of tahini, mild olives, and lemon with tender love and care from the kitchen making these vegetables a perfect item to share or enjoy solo.
For our main courses, we chose the Branzino ($19), which was delicately prepared with a cauliflower couscous, lebaneh, and a flavorful curry addition that rounded off this dish excellently. The creaminess of the cauliflower couscous beneath the flaky, perfectly-grilled, mild-flavored pesce was topped with micro greens for an appealing garnish, while each bite of this delectable presentation offered a superb balance in flavors.
Wagyu Flat Iron Steak
The Wagyu Flat-Iron Steak offering ($25), was marinated in a Madeira-soy jus with porcini mushrooms and tender grilled fingerling potatoes. I enjoyed a couple of full-bodied glasses of 2011 Italian Hofstatter Pinot Noir for $13, which complimented the savory beef altogether.We gave into temptation at the mention of the restaurant’s unwritten dessert menu. Jay recited the items with a personal excitement, as if he was making himself hungry just speaking about the items available! We decided on the chef’s traditional Tiramisu ($10), which was creamy, just sweet enough without being overpowering, and rich enough without making us regret ordering it. Fluffy and delicious, this was a pleasant Italian dessert ample enough to share adequately between the two of us.
We look forward to returning to Mercato di Vetro again soon. In fact, I’ve already got my eyes on a few items to try on our next visit such as the Kale Prosciutto starter, the Duck Meatballs, the Bacon & Blackberry Pizza, the Beef-Cheek Ravioli, and the Doughnut Holes for dessert!.
- ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Mercato di Vetro will astound your visual perception with its multi-colored glass bottle displays, its two-story dining space with expansive bars, two impressive preview kitchens, and a romantic, candlelit ambiance throughout.
- FOOD / DRINK: We could have enjoyed the entire evening just indulging in tapas, however delving into the main courses is well worth the experience. We didn’t have to be convinced to try the restaurant’s Tiramisu for a sweet temptation after dinner either! Cocktails were refreshing, uniquely-designed, and hand-shaken by proficient mixologists, and Mercato di Vetro’s wine list offers succulent tasting wines to accompany any item on the menu.
- LOCATION: Mercato di Vetro is located at 9077 Santa Monica Boulevard (next door to The Troubadour) in West Hollywood, CA 90069.
- HOURS: Open for business Monday through Wednesday, and Sunday for dinner from 6 PM to 10 PM. Thursday through Saturday, the restaurant serves from 6 PM to 11 PM.
- SERVICE / STAFF: We had the immeasurable pleasure of being taken care of by General Manager, Sandro Coppola and our server, Jay, who both expelled superior knowledge about the establishment, the menu, and the history of the building. Sandro’s expert management of the staff and overall flow of the business is meticulously executed, and his customer service is seamless and admirable.
- PRICE / VALUE: Well-priced selections from tapas-style cured meats and cheeses to gourmet vegetable presentations to delectable seafood and meat items to house made pizzas and pasta dishes. Artisan cocktails and wines will add to the final bill quickly, but are worth experiencing.
- CORKAGE FEE: $25 per 750mL bottle.
- CONTACT INFO: Phone: (310) 859-8369, Website: www.sbe.com/mercatodivetro
- PARKING: If you’re fortunate enough to locate a metered parking space near the restaurant, do so without hesitation. Valet parking is available for the eatery, which is shared with valet parking for The Troubadour next door for $8 per vehicle.
- PRICING: The Peartini and Blood Orange Martinis were $15 each, while the Hen Of The Woods and the Artichoke starters were $9 each. The Branzino dish came in at a reasonable $19, while the Wagyu Flat Iron Steak was a solid $25, and the Tiramisu dessert was and easy $10. We also enjoyed the 2011 Italian Hofstatter Pinot Noir at $13 per glass.
* SPECIAL THANKS: General Manager Sandro Coppola deserves special acknowledgement for his extremely well-articulated communication with his staff, his pleasant demeanor with his patrons, and his sincere hospitality and generosity offered to us during our visit.
* Menu and prices subject to change without notice.