Thursday, September 15, 2016

Bologna, Italy: Vegetarian Lunch at ‘Ex Macelleria Equina a.mazza’ in Altro?

Did you know that the delicious Bella Italia is a great country for vegetarians? Grilled paprika, aubergine and courgette doused in olive oil are one of my all-time forever favourites.


Presenting... my vegetarian lunch!

In Bologna, I visited Mercato delle Erbe which has a food market hall called ‘Altro?’ annexed to it – yes complete with the question mark! Here I had my vegetarian lunch at ‘Ex Macelleria Equina a.mazza’. It must have been a parody for a name because macelleria means ‘butcher’ and ‘equina’ is horse? So I did a google translation and voila: FORMER HORSE BUTCHER HOUSE! That is one cool name for a vegetarian place. Brilliant, haha!

In the Altro? you will find a number of food and booze vendors to choose from. Tables are free for all, so you can choose to sit anywhere you want. When I entered the food market hall I quickly noticed the long queue at the left hand side corner. Businessmen, office workers and your usual Bologna locals stood patiently in line to buy their lunch. In Italy they take their social lunches seriously and they enjoy this outside the office, whereas here in the Netherlands people spend half an hour munching on a cheese and deli wheat bread sandwich in front of their computer screen.

Intrigued, I checked out the food joint in question. The signboard reminds me of an occasional cafeteria in Asia and the name was just too long to even read, much less pronounce! But hey, they have a long queue! And this queue means everything. But yes, I later found out the meaning of the name of the joint which was brilliant and funny as well.

I already knew that I will be buying my lunch at this place but before lining up I quickly studied their sales formula. They offer local cafeteria-style Italian food, mostly vegetarian. You can choose from a small, medium or large plate. For each plate you will be served some carbohydrates + vegetables of your choice. I chose the medium plate where I was allowed to pick 1 carbo and 3 vegetable dishes.

So I chose the rice with mix vegetables + 3 vegetables: grilled aubergine, grilled chickory and green peas. On top of this they gave me 2 pieces of brown bread which I did not really eat. Because I just cannot have too much carbo with my ever expanding waistline!? *cry* So I left it untouched. I bought my wine at the booze vendor around the corner.

The verdict: Simple, hearty, down-to-earth and delicious affordable Italian soul food! I honestly could eat here everyday if I live and work in the centre of Bologna.

You know, there is always a reason when a shop has a long queue of patrons, especially when you see many locals in between =)


Altro? food market hall at Mercato delle Erbe along Ugo Bassi (main road not too far from Piazza Maggiore).


The cafeteria-style food offering at Ex Mecelleria Equina a.mazza.


One of my very best lunches. But then again I am a vegie lover. I am not vegetarian though but I could pass as a vegetarian if you check my diet and weigh the vegetables I eat!


Travel Period: May 2016
Destination: Bologna (Emilia-Romagna), Italy

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