I’m excited that this is my first post with a video ! I really think the video captures the entire experience, which is waiting for the slightly Soup Nazi guy behind the counter to slice super tender bollito – boiled beef – or lampredotto – tripe/the fourth stomach of the cow – before piling it on to crusty roll along with a fresh green salsa and fiery red sauce.
The place is mobbed with hungry locals and tourists. No-one tells the tourists that there is no queue system here. You order and pay at a separate counter, then it’s like being in a bar – shuffle your way (using elbows if you must) and try to make eye contact with the man who will give you what you want. You can see how soft the meat is as he slices and chops it, and before he adds the meat to the crusty roll, he dips the roll into the beef’s own juices. It adds just the right amount of juiciness to the roll, which is probably why they have been around since the market opened in 1874.
My topped up panini being assembled
D and I ordered one roll of each. I love tripe, but even for me, an entire roll full of tripe was a bit much, so I went back and ordered a half portion more of the bollito and “topped up” my roll.
Both beef and lampredotto were meltingly tender and so full of flavour. We stuffed our faces while watching him make roll after roll for other hungry customers.
If you are in Florence and love simple food, you absolutely must go to the Mercato Centrale (which is awesome in itself for the produce you can get there) and visit Nerbone.
You can also get roast meat sandwiches, which also looked awesome, but you need to prioritise your precious stomach space because they are only open from 7am – 2pm.
Inside Mercato Centrale, entrance on Via dell’Ariento, stand no. 292 (ground floor)
Near San Lorenzo & the Mercato Centrale