When the new Mercato di Testaccio opened in July 2012, vendors and shoppers did not universally rejoice. Higher rents, a less convenient location, a sterile atmosphere and a competing weekend farmers’ market nearby were among the complaints. But in the two and a half years since the structure’s inauguration, the market has proven to be a success on many counts, especially for the new opportunities it has created for vendors: Da Aretnio (Box 90) sells biodynamic wines selected by Jonathan Nossiter and wood fired baked goods from Lariano; Dess’art (Box 66) sells Sicilian sweets and savory snacks, including cannoli filled to order and panelle, generously salted. But the single most important innovation can be found at Mordi e Vai (Box 15), where Sergio Esposito, a retired butcher, serves sandwiches and side dishes made from family recipes.
The formula is simple: choose from an assortment of classic Roman main dishes (tripe, oxtail, coratella, braised beef, meatballs, to name a few) and Sergio will slice open a roll and fill it with the selected item. If you go for the panino all’allesso (and you should), the bread will get a generous dunk in a viscous, lardy oil before being filled with tender beef slices. If you are after something with a splash of acidity, the panino con l’allesso alla picchiapò features beef simmered in a carrot-rich tomato sauce. There is also an assortment of fried snacks, like polpette fritte, deep fried patties of seasoned shredded beef.
Visit Sergio in the Testaccio Market from Monday through Friday from 8:00am until 2:30pm. Get all the meaty things and whatever you do, don’t wear white.
Mordi e Vai
Mercato di Testaccio Box 15
Via Beniamino Franklin 12E
Tel: +39 3391343344
Open: Mon-Sat 8:00am-2:30pm