Take a Bite

Eataly: Now that's Italian!

May 31st, 2012

eataly2Nadine Kam photos
Cheese and Parma ham are among the ingredients that lure diners to Eataly, a wonderland of Italian drink and edibles.

The last time I was in Madison Square Park, last summer, my husband Chris and I were focused on getting to Shake Shack. "Oh look," he said, "Eataly's right there."

It was one of those situations where you don't even think of veering from track, while thinking there's always time to return. But in New York there are so many distractions that other destinations keep popping into your head and before you know it, trip's over and we totally missed this Italian phenomenon.

One of the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplaces in the world, Eataly is the work of Oscar Farinetti, Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. The 50,000 square foot space in the Flatiron District is a wonderland of cured meats and cheeses, fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, fresh fish, handmade pastas prepared on the spot, or packaged to take home with you to create your own Italian meal, without much fuss on your part. Most of the heavy labor has already be done!

In Hawaii terms, it's the equivalent of having a daily Italian festival of food and wine.

There was so much to see on the ground floor that I didn't venture upstairs. There, private dining awaits at the rooftop restaurant and brewery Birreria, offering unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated cask ales and an Italian menu influenced by Austria and Germany.

Eataly is at 200 5th Ave. Call (212) 229-2560 ‎ or visit eatalyny.com. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sundays. Here's a quick tour of the marketplace:

eataly1At the Salumi i Formaggi bar, a platter of prosciutto di Parma and salumi with assorted cheeses, fig mustard and almonds in honey. The Grande Piatto Misto di Salumi i Formaggi is $22.

eataly crudoAt the crudo bar, I had this trio, a special of the day featuring sockeye salmon with its own crackling, diver scallop topped with Sorrento lemon oil and ume frost salt, and black bass with radish and what we know as sea asparagus (which they call sea beans). This was $18 and the fish wasn't as good as I've had at home in Hawaii which just reaffirms my philosophy of not eating raw fish anywhere else but at home or Japan. Though the scallop was delicious.

eataly wineCentral to Eataly is La Piazza, a place to meet friends in a standing table enoteca, with marble cornered facades reminiscent of Rome. Order a glass of wine and venture around to the various boutique food stations to pick up edibles here and there. It's pretty pricey, though.

eataly icecream lineThe longest line was for gelato.

eataly pistachioThe prize, a small cup of pistachio gelato, the equivalent of two scoops for $4.50.

eataly olivesPerfect olives, $9.

eataly produceAt the marketplace, you can pick up fresh fruit and vegetables.

eataly prosIf you like the prosciutto served at the Salumi i Formaggi counter, you can take home packaged meat as well.

eataly pastaGet an assist from Mario Batali if you're cooking an Italian dinner to impress friends.

eataly condimentsFig mustard and almond honey to enjoy with bread, cheese and cured meats.

eataly jamsProvenance is important, and shelves of fruit preserves, jams, syrups and honeys show where the jars come from.

eataly honey2Plants chosen by bees give their honey a distinct flavor.

eataly sausagesYou can also go home with sausages.

eataly mushroomsMushroom selection in the marketplace.

eataly pizza lineThe second longest line was at La Pizza & La Pasta, home to pasta meals and classic Neapolitan pizzas with their charred crusts, sweet San Marzano tomaotes and creamy mozzarella.

eataly verdureFewer people were interested in vegetable selections offered in Le Verdure. Here, you can order bagna cauda and vegetable-centric entrées.

eataly ravioliRaviolis ready to be brought home.

eataly breadBread selection.

eataly shellfishFresh shellfish.

eataly dessertsA few of the desserts on display.

eataly chocoSome of the chocolate available.

5 Responses to “Eataly: Now that's Italian!”

  1. Arlene:

    I would really like to find a great Italian dressing.

  2. Ron:

    I actually vitised Eataly on Saturday 9/4 and it was quite the place to be. There were crowds that you'd only see in Walmart on Black Friday, and a line that wrapped around the building just to get in,(luckily we made it inside before the line formed).Every POS station had long lines and people were buzzing everywhere about Eataly and Mario Batali. Crowds of people speaking primarily Italian swarmed the fresh fish station and pasta station, and every occupied restaurant table (which was pretty much every table in the building) seemed to be accompanied by a glass of wine and good company. I must say, it definitely lives up to all of the hype I've seen on Twitter and across the blogosphere, and I look forward to making another trip there soon!

  3. Nadine Kam:

    It is really something to see. So comprehensive!

  4. rowena:

    "....not eating raw fish anywhere else but at home or Japan"

    I totally agree. Nuff said. The only people that can really do raw fish are those that call "home" one of the fishing villages along the coast. I still haven't visited any of the Eataly addresses here in Italy, but with the round of blog posts and articles that I've been coming across, maybe I should change that and head out there subito!

  5. David:

    Nice, thank you.

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