Mercato Centrale - Rome


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If you're arriving from or leaving via Termini Station, grab some food there. It's very good.

More appealing visuals:

Likewise, if you're driving around, stop at the autogrills. The food quality is absolutely nothing like highway food in other places, particularly in the U.S. and the British Isles.

From Saveur magazine:

"Last month, I found myself strapped into the passenger seat of a Alfa Romeo Giulia next to chef Gabrielle Hamilton, zooming from Venice to Bologna in search of the ultimate bowl of tortellini en brodo. We were gunning it but there was no way we’d arrive in time for lunch, which in Italy ends at 2:30 p.m. sharp. I was getting nervous."

"Don't worry," Gabrielle said, "We can eat at the autogrill."I pictured a dreary conventional gas station and a lunch made up of Pringles, pizza-flavored combos, gummy bears, and Kit Kats—a far cry from the pasta we were aiming for. Gabrielle!
"Noooooo," she explained. "Autogrills are the most miraculous and dependable. They are the noble workhorses across all of Italy."'

That prompted him to go to many and do a review. Of course, there are some that are good, some great, and some mediocre.

"At my next stop I found a parking lot where Porsches were nestled between modest, tiny cars. The building held two vast rooms: one for dining, one for shopping. Chic Italians buzzed around clutching plates of exquisite-looking food. I was starving. I ordered roast beef carpaccio, a glass of wine, and a buffalo mozzarella sandwich, all of it perfectly fresh. A family on a road trip from Rome explained that this particular stop is so popular, it can be hard to find a parking spot."

You can also stack up on food to eat at your next destination: They're like Italian supermarkets combined with a coffee shop combined with a restaurant.

These "work horses" have saved me on many occasions, particularly because Italian dining hours are so rigid. Sometimes you just can't make it to the restaurants at the times they're open. When you have children also, when they're hungry, they're hungry. Once, I was desperate enough to go back on the autostrada to feed them. That was before the welcome opening of places like the Mercato Centrale in a lot of Italian cities. They're making fast food work for them in a still Italian way: no compromise on food quality.

A collection of great photos:


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