Eataly, New York

You know when you have Mario Batali proclaiming it as “a temple, where food is more sacred than commerce,” that it’s going to be EPIC. And it is.

Eataly, a 50,000-square foot Italian gourmet superstore in the Flatiron district in New York, represents a stimulating pocket of hectic, food-loving, gastronomic Italy.

Eataly claims “we sell what we cook and we cook what we sell,” and that about sums up the concept of this giant culinary mecca with grocery items and tasting rooms and restaurants. You can shop, you can eat (there are a dozen “eateries” or restaurants inside), you can learn (there are group classes available), you can buy food to go, and you can eat some more. With pizza, pasta, salumi, cheese, seafood, vegetables, meat, sandwiches, gelato, pastries, it seems like an Italian extravaganza.

I was in New York a couple of weekends ago and Eataly was the first stop in our itinerary.

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted with an array of Italian cookies for sale.

then there are rows of fresh produce

all bright and shiny

or brown and earthy

This picture of mushrooms really remind me of food shopping in Tuscany. Anyway my friends and I went around for a few minutes before deciding where to eat. There is so much going on in Eataly! It’s a little overstimulating, if you’re not prepared for the buzzing crowds. The food offerings though, are mesmerizing.

there were a lot of fish options...

and fresh pasta

Italian soda and other grocery items

different meats...

lots of salumi

and cheese, glorious cheese

We decided to grab a bite at the marble countertops at La Piazza, the standing-table area in the middle of Eataly. We actually would’ve preferred to sit elsewhere, but every restaurant was so busy and packed, and in general didn’t seem like the place where we can linger and enjoy our meal (it’s very anti-Italy in this sense), so eat-while-standing became our fate.

of course we ordered the meat and cheese special for the day

That plate of deliciousness had prosciutto, parma ham, speck, mortadella, ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, cacio marzolino (a cheese made with half sheep and half cow’s milk), taleggio, and gorgonzola. It was excellent. And so were the other dishes:

peppery arugula salad

soft shell crab in garlicky pesto sauce

jumbo shrimps with a subtle Asian flavor that I couldn't place

and lush tuna meatballs that tasted incredibly meaty

The tuna meatballs were my favorite, and I will try to recreate it soon. At the end of our meal, I unfortunately did not get to order any dessert, but that’s because I filled up on free samples of this:

as much as I really like dark chocolate, it's milk chocolate I truly adore

Eataly was a fun experience, and I recommend it to people looking for a little slice of Italy in New York. Just keep in mind that it’s not the beautiful, calming, rolling hills type of Italy it represents, but rather the pulsing, gastronomic hub. If anything, it reminds me of a lot of things I loved about Italy- the food!

I also especially liked the Sophia Loren quote peppered all over Eataly: “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” If I can look that legendary by eating spaghetti, I’m all in.

Have you been to Eataly or anything like it?

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