Best New Restaurant in Pittsburgh: Morcilla

Morcilla’s menu of Spanish cuisine is divided into small plates — which diners can enjoy at the front-room standing bar or in the 50-seat dining room — and platters, which are served only in the dining room.


Justin Severino (left) and Nate Hobart/photos by laura petrilla
 

Given the bumper crop of outstanding restaurants that opened in Pittsburgh last year — eight of them now are among our “Best Restaurants” list — it was challenging for our independent Restaurant Review Panel to choose Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best New Restaurant for 2016. Panel members believe Morcilla stands above the rest, however, because of its blend of excellent cuisine, a terrific drinks program, stylish design and strong front-of-house service. 

Morcilla is the second restaurant from Executive Chef Justin Severino (one of our 2016 Outstanding Chefs) and Hilary Prescott Severino; the pair also operates Cure in Upper Lawrenceville. Chef de Cuisine Nate Hobart, who oversees the day-to-day operations of Morcilla’s kitchen, also is Pittsburgh Magazine’s Rising Star Chef for 2016.
 

 
(l-R) Pigs feet & cheeks croqueta , bacalo croqueta

 

“Everything we do goes back to the basics. Just being a good cook, being clean and organized. And then you build from there. You build ideas and concepts and dishes,” says Hobart.

Morcilla’s menu of Spanish cuisine is divided into small plates — which diners can enjoy at the front-room standing bar or in the 50-seat dining room — and platters, which are served only in the dining room.

The small plates are a mix of meats cured in-house by Hobart (plus a few imported treats, such as the decadent Jamon Iberico de Bellota), fried items such as the luscious, unctuous “pig’s feet and cheeks” croquetta, and montaditos (small sandwiches) such as beef tartare with cured egg yolk and vegetable escabeche. 
 

 
(l-R) JAMON IBERICO DE BELLOT, OYSTERS ON THE HALF-SHELL 

 

Severino and Hobart change their larger-format plates and platters menu with the seasons, so we suggest coming to Morcilla with an open mind — although if the whole suckling pig is on the menu, we also recommend ordering that. 

Morcilla’s drinks menu features a thoughtful and curated mix of elegant cocktails, house-made tonics and a deep selection of sherry, vermouth and gin. There also is a small but intriguing offering of funky Spanish ciders and an outstanding collection of Spanish wines to pair with your meal.

Diners should make reservations if they hope to eat inside the taverna-style dining room framed by a steeply angled wood-plank ceiling; Morcilla’s popularity means tables often are booked days or weeks in advance.  

Morcilla
Lawrenceville: 3519 Butler St.
412/652-9924, morcillapittsburgh.com
Executive Chef/Co-owner Justin Severino

 

Categories: Best Restaurants 2016, Buzzworthy – Eat + Drink