Mercato Stellina offers a taste of Tuscany with one distinct twist: grasshopper pizza.

"Once you can get past the fact that they're bugs, I think they're delicious,” said Executive Chef Emran Chowdhury.

He thinks insects are having a culinary moment right now. They have health benefits Americans are just beginning to explore, and can be pretty tasty.

"When I was in Thailand, I had a worm salad. It was delicious,” he said.

Chowdhury created a wood-fired pizza topped with cilantro pesto, burrata cheese, pickled local squash and seasoned grasshoppers.

“It's a little spicy, a little sort of savory, a little salty on the pizza,” he said. "It takes a little getting used to but I like having it on the menu because it's something different."

If you're not convinced, there are plenty of other mouth-watering and more traditional Italian options on the menu.

The pasta is handmade and hand-filled by Joe Obaya, whose resume includes The Herbfarm, Cantinetta, and several months in Italy.

"I worked at a pasta shop in Northern Italy on Lake Como,” Obaya said. “I also toured around the country and went to different pasta shops and ate a bunch of pasta."

People passing by can watch him work through a large window along Western Avenue.

Mercato Stellina is tucked in the northwest end of Pike Place Market and is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. There’s also a location in Bellevue.

Mercato Stellina

10000 Main St, Bellevue, WA 98004

(425) 732-6611

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