We took a recent trip down to New York City to see the tree in Rockefeller Center. After seeing the tree, taking the mandatory photos, and visiting the Nintendo Store, we took a trip down to Eataly. We had never been and I had heard so much about it.
According to their website, Eataly is “an original “marketplace” model inviting consumers to be active participants in an innovative food and beverage experience where they shop, taste and savor high quality traditional Italian food products and beverages along with local produce and artisanal products; a multifunctional marketplace that includes a premier retail center for Italian delicacies and wine, a culinary educational center, and a diverse slate of seven boutique eateries.” The 50,000 square foot entity opened in 2010 and is owned by Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich.
It is an Italian food lover’s dream. As soon as you walk through the doors your senses are bombarded with various sights, sounds and smells. And yes, there are plenty of crowds in Eataly…especially over the holiday break. From our understanding, if you were interested in eating fish, you would go to the fish area and try to get a table at Il Pesce. If you wanted, you could stand and nibble on wine and cheese in La Piazza. They cook with fresh ingredients that they sell in the marketplace. You can also purchase most of the food products to take home with you, including one of the 200 different types of cheese and over 30 types of baked bread. We saw cooked lobster pieces in a plastic take-out container that were going for $70/lb.
As I mentioned, the place was super crowded. We didn’t get to see them making homemade mozzarella, or hand-made pasta. We didn’t get to see them rolling out the dough at the bakery. These are things that the kids would have enjoyed seeing. We found the demarcations of one eating area from another weren’t very clear, and there were people everywhere. We weren’t going to be able to get a table at any of the seven restaurants without a huge wait time. With two young children and no clear waiting areas we decided to skip eating lunch there. Unfortunately, because it was so crowded, you couldn’t really stop and just take it all in. The below pastry shots were taken on the fly as we were pushed along with the crowds. But you can’t leave Eataly without some type of treat!
We passed bakery cases showcasing all kinds of delectable looking treats but decided on gelato. My husband and I honeymooned in Italy and have fond memories of gelato.
The chalk drawn menu listed several gelato flavors including chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, and some fruit sorbets, including raspberry. We ended up getting a large cup to share, with up to three different gelato selections, for $6.90. I chose Salted Caramel, my daughter chose Stracciatella (sweet cream with chocolate chips), and my son chose Coconut. My husband is not picky and was happy enough with our choices. The gelato was cold, creamy, and delicious and we all voted the Salted Caramel as our favorite. The Coconut gelato, which we were originally trying to dissuade our son from choosing, was actually really tasty, with shreds of real coconut.
Overall, the crowds of the place really detracted from our enjoyment. I felt rushed and was more worried about losing my kids in the crowd than really enjoying the place. While Eataly has restaurants that serve food very kid-friendly food, like pizza and pasta, the long waits were not child-friendly. We would prefer to go again when the crowds aren’t so heavy. Unfortunately, since we make family trips into the city so infrequently, it is highly unlikely that we will be returning to Eataly anytime soon.
Have any of you been to Eataly? Please share your experiences in the comments section.