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Sergio Esposito preparing a panino all’allesso.

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.

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Panino alle polpette di Nonna.

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.

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Panino con l’allesso alla picchiapò

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