Mercato Delle Erbe, from Local Market to Gourmet Food in Bologna
Aromatic cheeses, fresh produce, to-die-for pasta, gorgeous bread & pastries, wine, authentic eateries, and cozy ambiance – welcome to Mercato Delle Erbe, a slice of heaven for gourmet foods and the ultimate local market experience in Bologna.
Mercato Delle Erbe – the What, Where, and When
Mercato Delle Erbe is the largest covered market in Bologna, and is nestled in the historical nerve center of the city. Located at Via Ugo Bassi 23 near the statue of the hominy, it was originally designed in 1910 as a herb market by renowned Italian engineer duo, Luigi Melucci & Arturo Carpi. In 1949, it was revamped and reopened following the tragic bombing of WWII. It’s opened 8 am to midnight, daily except on Sunday.
As soon as you get into the market, you’ll be greeted by a raft of produce stalls teeming with super-fresh veggies and fruits. If you happen to run a cookery class in or around Bologna, this is your one-stop shop to get all your ingredients – tomatoes, spices, berries, shallots, onions, meats ……. the whole shebang!
Deep inside, you’ll find stalls that sell olives, all types of cheeses, wine shops, bread, and pastries. Perhaps the highlight of Mercato Delle Erbe is the magnificent butchery. It’s a fully stocked meat shop with a boatload of myriads of meats, poultry, fish (oh, fresh & delicate fish!), chicken, seafood, and lots more. And that isn’t all.
Besides traditional food & produce stalls, you’ll find cool & retro wine bars, pastry shops, gourmet food (don’t miss out on mouthwatering pasta), sandwich delis, pizzeria, homey coffee shops, finesse cafes, and other eateries that serve the very best of Bologna & Italian dishes, like lasagna, mortadella, tortellini, meatballs, and Gemelli, just to mention a few.
Mercato Delle Erbe is also a fantastic place to meet and hang out with friends, family, colleagues, and other tourists. More specifically, there are dedicated seating areas with 70s style chairs, tables, tableware, and other bells & whistles. You’ll love that retro & cool design style is replicated by nearly all eateries in the market, but southern-style is also featured.
Besides, you can meet, mingle, chat, and whatnot over aperitifs, wine, tea or coffee. With great wines sold in some shops, don’t be afraid to break out the bubbly – drink, eat, talk, mingle, and live like an authentic Italian!
Gourmet Shops at Mercato Delle Erbe
A visit to Mercato Delle Erbe is never complete without sampling its amazing gourmet shops and authentic foods. After all, Bologna is the undisputed superstar of Italian cuisine. Let’s delve right in, shall we?
If your taste buds are hungering for some Bologna-style pizza, MozzaBella is the food shop to check out at Mercato Delle Erbe. It’s a classic Italian pizzeria with a touch of Via del Pratello and an atmosphere that’s cozy and welcoming. The eatery is operated as an eat-in, take-out, and delivery pizzeria, all wrapped into one.
There’s a reason locals and tourists love MozzaBella, and that’s because they are inexpensive and extremely good at what they do: make mouth-watering pizzas. They are authentic, served sizzling hot, and made with only the finest ingredients.
If you are anticipating for an unforgettable experience, try their square pizzas. They are whipped up with sourdough that is well-hydrated and baked lightly. It’s airy and fluffy with bubbles and a crisp, thin crust to boot! What’s even better is that all the toppings for the pizzas are locally sourced, seasonal, and come in a great variety. Whether you fancy cremini mushrooms, intricately sliced shallots or chicken, there’s something for everyone.
Like most stalls in the market, MozzaBella does more than pizza. They also offer a series of Mediterranean-style and Italian dishes, as well as several different vegan and vegetarian-friendly options. They also have a reasonably long wine list, a selection of drinks, and entries. MozzaBella staff comes highly recommended, and friendly.
b) Vineria Alle Erbe
Vineria alle Erbe is small yet cozy bar-cum-bistro where you can enjoy a glass of delicious wines, beers, cocktails, and indulge your palate with plenty of hearty meals. Right from the minute you enter, you’ll get quality service, gourmet food & drinks served with a smile. The modern lighting in the wine bar creates a fantastic ambiance and atmosphere where you can socialize, eat, drink, and feel at ease.
Vineria alle Erbe is indeed a hidden gem in Mercato Delle Erbe. It is often open until late, and they have a selection of meats, cheese, and snacky treats for your indulgence. The wine is sold by the glass or bottle, and overall the place is inexpensive so expect to get great value for your money.
c) Polpette e Crescentine
“Polpette” is Italian for meatballs, and “crescentine” is a type of bread that’s ubiquitous in the Bologna region. As you might guess from the name, Polpette e Crescentine is an excellent restaurant that serves cold cuts, amazing lunch meals, cheeses from the area, meatballs, and baskets of fabulous pastries and bread.
Of course, you want to indulge in a meatball dish here. It is the pivotal dish of home-cooking in Bologna, and no other place does it better than Polpette e Crescentine. Their dishes are so tasty that it’s a favorite lunch spot for market workers and locals. Their meat cuts prosciutto are superb, but they also offer vegetarian-friendly and vegan options. Their wine and drinks selection isn’t shabby too.
d) Vini e Sapuri
Vini e Sapuri is a nicely located wine bar, wine shop, and eatery in the Mercato Delle Erbe. It’s a cozy, nifty place that offers local eats, morsels, and drinks from the region, and well as a variety of delicacies from the north and south of Italy.
You’ll fall in love with its beautiful atmosphere, affordable prices, and comfy chairs. In Vini e Sapuri, you can indulge in taste-tingling meat cuts, local cheeses, savory bread, and wine by the glass (or bottle). Or sip your drink and immerse yourself in the world that’s passing by. And the staff is a godsend – absolutely lovely and friendly.
Mercato Delle Erbe is tucked smack right in the heart of historic Bologna center. It’s easy to get to, and around the market. Whether you’re just touring, looking to buy produce/grocery or want to indulge in gourmet food or drinks, Mercato Delle Erbe is no place to miss in Bologna!