Primo Mercato Short Hills, New Jersey: Restaurant Review and Visit

Saturday, January 25, 2020
Chances are, if you were looking for Primo Mercato Short Hills reviews online, you might have ended up here. And I assure you, you've come to the right place! I love trying out new restaurants and I'm always on the lookout for date night ideas and great family restaurants here in New Jersey. Primo Mercato has a little something for everyone! Come along with me and learn all about it. It's like a taste of Italy right here in The Garden State.

*Please note, Primo Mercato is permanently closed.

Disclosure: Primo Mercato provided us with a tour and a meal in exchange for this review, but all opinions are my own. And what do I always say? I would NOT recommend something to you if I didn't totally love it myself. 

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Where is Primo Mercato?

*Please note that Primo Mercato is no longer open. They are permanently closed as of 2024. 
Primo Mercato is located in The Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, New Jersey. It is situated near Bloomingdale's lower level, and there is plenty of free parking available outside.

What is Primo Mercato?

Here's a little blurb right from their website that helps explain the concept of Primo Mercato:

"Primo Mercato is designed as a fluid concept that allows guests to enjoy their own culinary experience by facilitating seamless movement between the market which consists of 5 artisan food stations, the Café where you can relax and enjoy freshly baked pastries and cakes, a pizza laboratory where you can choose your own handmade pizza, a wine bar and a full service restaurant. Produced by hand and freshly cooked in front of you."

So when you enter Primo Mercato you are greeted by an open floor plan. You can walk to each area to explore what you want to eat and order your food. There is plenty of seating throughout to choose from. If you prefer to sit down for full-service dining, there is a full service restaurant at the back of Primo Mercato (just walk through to the back and you'll find it).

So, essentially, you will order in one central location in the mercato and then pick up your food at each location when it's ready. Don't worry about cleaning up when you are done, staff helps with that. Here's a bit about each area in Primo Mercato...


Here in the Mercato, you'll find handmade pasta, fresh meats and Italian cured meats, premium seafood, gourmet cheeses, and fresh baked deli products.

What You Should Try Here: ANY pasta - it's all made fresh, so pick one and go for it!! You can even watch them prepare your dish right in front of you. We tried the pasta bolognese. It was amazing.

What Else You Should Try Here: their traditional burger might not be an Italian specialty but the meat is fresh and top-notch. Lobster Roll in the seafood section was soooo good! That was a house suggestion and we were more than happy to oblige. It's not something I normally would have ordered and it was outstanding.

What Else You Should Try Here: Order your wine from the bar and then go enjoy your cheese and meats on an authentic Taglieri board. You can actually BYOB here, too, but keep in mind that there is a corking fee.

Osteria Restaurant

Believe it or not, there is actually a one-hundred seat restaurant with a refined and seasonal gourmet menu in the back of Primo Mercato. It's great for date night or for special celebrations and business lunches and dinners.

What You Should Try Here: I highly recommend the Chicken Milanese. Mr. Jersey Momma had the Wild Salmon Filet and he raved about it.

Primo Cafè

Primo Mercato's Bakery is one of their most popular areas! All breads and pastries are baked fresh on location. You can also find quick service items here: pizza al Taglio (rectangular pizza by the slice), gourmet hot and cold sandwiches, etc.

Their Caffeteria has all the typical products of the Italian Caffè- Cappuccino, Espresso and other specialties.

For Sweets, check out their freshly baked Italian pastries, crepes, and gelato. All of these are prepared on-site (except for their gluten-free pastries which are safely baked off-premises).

What You Should Try Here: It goes without saying that you need to try the gelato, right? You can't go wrong with house made gelato!! I also enjoyed the Italian cookies - very fresh and authentic. I wish I had a better photo of the cookie I tried, but I wound up eating it in the car during a traffic jam on the way home (can you say 'lack of self control?'). Come on, cookies make everything better, even traffic.

Pizza Laboratory

If you're craving an authentic Italian pizza, you can find it here! Choose from Neapolitan-style personal pizzas and Roman-style 'alla pala' (crispy base, soft interior) pizzas. They are all freshly made in two exposed ovens.

What You Should Try Here: Free Kids' Pizza was being offered to any children under 10 with the purchase of an adult entree when we visited. This was valid at the pizzeria restaurant, one adult per child. I don't know how long that deal will last, but if it's available when you visit, go for it!

some photos here from Primo Mercato Facebook page

Primo Bar

The Primo Bar offers a wide selection of cocktails, or you can have an 'aperitivo' with friends. We visited on a Thursday night and the bar was jumping! Happy Hour is every night from 3pm-7pm.  They also have Ladies Nights, live music, comedy nights and more. Check their social media channels for exact offerings.

What You Should Try Here: There are tons of classic Italian wine choices. We went with the Aperol Spritz, which was as pretty as it was delicious.

Catering Options

Primo Mercato also offers customizable catering options. This is great for corporate, personal or holiday events. You can pre-order an assortment of desserts, pastries and fresh baked goods, too. I'd be pretty happy with a platter of those cookies, let me tell you.

Stay Tuned for Cooking Classes

Primo Mercato has plans to incorporate cooking classes into their line-up! They have such a great space for it and I would love to see them follow through with this. Stay tuned to Primo Mercato's social channels for more details.

Jersey Momma Thoughts

-I love the whole concept of Primo Mercato. I really appreciate a restaurant that opts to be unique and different, especially for a Date Night or a family outing.

-It's not easy to find a restaurant where everything is house made or freshly made, especially pasta. If you're going to try anything at all here, DEFINITELY try the pasta. You won't be sorry you did!

-Some of the food is a bit pricey but keep in mind that everything is house-made. Portions in the restaurant were large (I had enough to take home, for sure) and that pasta was about the freshest I have ever had.

-Primo Mercato recognizes that some of their guests may have food allergies. There are signs up to remind anyone dining there that they cannot guarantee their food to be allergen free. In some cases (such as the bakery section) there are specialty gluten-free items, but the majority of the restaurant is not a gluten-free experience. It's 'Italy,' people, and it's pasta!

-Many thanks to Lorenzo and Chef Gigi 😘, who really went above and beyond with their hospitality towards us. Primo Mercato should be grateful for a team like this, who spend long long hours in this restaurant and are always striving to make it better.

*Please note that Primo Mercato is no longer open. They are permanently closed as of 2024. 

Stay Connected!

Primo Mercato
The Mall at Short Hills (located near Bloomingdale's)
1200 Morris Turnpike
Short Hills, NJ 07078
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