Review Of Mercato Centrale, Florence
Mercato Centrale is one of our go-to spots in Florence, especially when we have visitors. This fun market offers diners numerous options in a very casual environment. And bonus, if you are traveling with kids, you don't need to worry about the strict mealtimes as Mercato Centrale serves food all day long!
Outside and First Floor
Surrounding Mercato Centrale, you'll need to weave through stalls of scarves, leather bags, and neck ties while dogging tourists and locals trying to reach the mercato. Don't let the overly touristy outdoor stalls turn you off though. Once you make your way indoors, you find the first floor packed with the typical market fare: cheese, meat, dry goods, and produce stalls.
The second floor is where things get exciting. As far as food goes, Mercato Centrale does my favorite thing--it offers numerous vendors selling a variety of food. As we've gone to Mercato Centrale several times already, we've tried out the pizza vendor, Sicilian food cart, gelato stand, the new Chinese dumpling stall, and pasta from one of the bars.
Though not all of the food is worth writing home about, the pizza, pasta, and Sicilian cart are all really great. I love that the pizza (pictured below) has a slightly blackened crust, plenty of mozzarella cheese, and dripping olive oil. The pasta that we tried--orecchiette al pesto--was flavorful and made from fresh pasta. The serving size was also massive and great for sharing. The Sicilian cart is easy to overlook, but don't miss it because their arancini make a perfect snack to accompany a glass of wine and come stuffed with different ingredients. I also found the prices pretty reasonable.
Though I wanted to love it, the new Chinese dumpling stall isn't great (remember that I'm picky about Chinese food from my years living in China) because the dough composing the exterior of the dumpling is just way, way too thick. I tried both the pork and vegetarian options and the fillings were fine, but the dough really messed up the overall taste and texture.
The gelato stand was also a pass for us. If you are craving gelato, I think you are better off choosing Gelateria Neri or Il Procopio (see my reviews and suggestions here).
You can read more about Mercato Centrale on their website. Mercato Centrale is located on Via dell'Ariento, 50123 Firenze FI. Mercato Centrale Firenze is open from 8 am until 12 am daily and is a great spot for families looking for an easy lunch or dinner spot during off dining hours (restaurants typically don't serve food between 3 and 7 pm).