More than an indoor food market but not exactly a restaurant, Eataly is an Italian gastronomic mecca.
The name “Eataly” evokes the sensation of foodie bliss for lovers of Italian cuisine, even for those that have never been there. This New York City mecca that spans 50,000 sq. feet,follows in the long line of Eataly tradition, created in partnership between master chefs Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich.
While Eataly originated in Torino Italy, this foodie haven has spread across the world with ten locations in Eataly, New York, Chicago, Dubai, Turkey and thirteen outposts in Japan. You can even experience a taste of Eataly while cruising on MSC Preziosa in Europe or the MSC Divina in the Caribbean.
For those that have never heard of Eataly, Eataly is what most would call a high-end food market and restaurant. Except that Eataly is so much more than just a market or just a restaurant- it is an experience… an experience that is nothing short of epic and verges on inducing complete over stimulation of the senses.
Eataly is a market.
While you may not shop at Eataly NYC for your everyday dining needs, shopping at Eataly is like taking the many neighborhood shops in an Italian piazza and putting them into one.
Cheese, prosciutto, fish, pasta, olive oil…you name it, and you can probably find it at Eataly whether it is freshly made in house or is an artisanal product made in Italy.
Granted, you will not find the staples that you can find in a supermercato in Italy, but you will find every possible size and shape of pasta- not to mention more types of extra virgin olive oil than you could ever imagine.
Eataly is an eatery.
With bar stools and tables, nine eateries ranging from Il Pesce to Le Verdure to the rooftop Birreria, it is impossible to sample the many options at Eataly in just one visit.
We chose to eat at La Pizza & La Pasta- where the menu consists mainly of, you guessed it- pizza and pasta. Although I have been eating a mostly gluten-free diet, I decided that if I was going to enjoy a plate of pasta, it might as well be in a place like Eataly NYC, where everything is made from scratch.
Eataly is a school.
La Scuola di Eataly is a cooking school, inspired by Chef Lidia Bastianich designed for food and wine lovers. From wine to food to Italian language,while we did not have the chance to experience a class at La Scuola di Eataly, I imagine that if I lived in New York City, I would be a frequent visitor for a date night or girls night out. If you are traveling to NYC without kids, a class at Eataly’s Scuola would be a perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening for a more personalized Eataly experience.
Classes at La Scuola di Eataly range from Chef’s Kitchen sessions to how to stock an Italian pantry to spotlights on artisanal products to guided walking tours through Eataly itself.
Eataly is inspiring.
Nuggets of wisdom that reside in the kitchen but can be generalized for life hang from the ceilings as you wander through the aisles and spaces in Eataly.
Even Eataly’s Manifesto is inspiring with beliefs like:
“Our passion has become our job.”
“Our target audience is everyone.”
“We are in this together.”
“Your trust is earned everyday.”
Visit Eataly Tips
While we visited Eataly on a Sunday evening (granted it was a holiday weekend), it was crowded- very crowded.
Be prepared to wait for a table and if you are visiting with children, consider buying a piece of bread or foccaccia for children to nibble on as you walk the aisles of the market before sitting down to dinner.
Eataly is not a quick stop that you can make during your day. Eataly NYC located on 23rd and 5th Avenue, near the Flatiron building. We planned our time in New York City to allow for an evening at Eataly, both to window shop (or buy) and eat dinner after having toured the Metropolitan Museum of Art during the day.
The choices of eateries make it hard to pick just one. Instead of trying to negotiate or compromise, pick an eatery and enjoy it with plans to return in the future. If you know you will not be returning to New City often, do some shopping to take the taste of Eataly home with you (we bought cheese, bread and prosciutto to have as lunch during our train ride back to Washington DC). There are a few to go eateries if you are in the mood for panini, Rotisserie chicken, Foccaccia or pastries.
So? Have I convinced you? Who wants to take a field trip to New York or Chicago (or ahem, Italy?) to experience Eataly?