Eataly is the kind of place in New York City that everyone has to experience at least once. Whether you're a tourist or a local New Yorker, you have to go. You just have to. Why?
Well, is authentic, delectable Italian food not enough for you?
Do you need a place to bring back the finest imported Italian delicacies, from cheese to espresso to pasta shapes, you didn't even know existed? Do you like enjoying fresh, cream filled Italian pastries or gelato with a shot of espresso?
That's why you should go to Eataly.
Don't get it twisted, however. Eataly is a behemoth of a place on 5th Avenue and 23rd Street, and it can be downright intimidating when you roll up and have no clue where to go or what to do first.
Luckily, we took care of that for you.
So without further adieu, there's this: a comprehensive guide to that huge slice of Italy, right smack in the Flatiron District, Eataly NYC.
You probably thought that Eataly was made up of just one or two places to eat, right? You are wrong about that, but we'll give you the knowledge you need to navigate Eataly, don't worry.
Eataly is made up of nine different restaurants that each tackle one specialty within Italian food.
For example, the seafood restaurant only serves fish dishes, and the vegetarian restaurant only serves vegetarian meals-- which means no meat, but you'll find plenty of Italian meats elsewhere.
Luckily, you can get a sheet of paper with a description of each place and a map to help you get around. (It sure helps!)
With marble top counters all around you, La Piazza is Eataly's standing room only restaurant where you can grab a countertop to eat on a first-come, first-serve basis.
La Piazza is perfect if you and some friends want to sample some of Eataly's many meats and cheeses, such as Prosciutto di Parma or fresh mozzarella, and sip glasses of wine from Eataly's extensive lists of imported wines.
La Pizza and La Pasta
Technically, La Pizza and La Pasta are two different restaurants, but they serve food together, so when you check it out, bring a friend or two and treat yourselves to a dish from each!
At La Pasta, you'll have the choice between dried pasta or fresh homemade pasta, like in the pasta al forno (think lasagna). The lasagna is stacked several noodles high, dressed in meaty red sauce, and finished off with fresh cheeses and Bechamel sauce.
We loved it, and you will too.
At La Pizza, the pizzas are made Napoletana style: thin-crusted, but soft and gooey in the middle. Toppings include anything from prosciutto cotta to broccoli rabe, sausage, fresh mozzarella, and crushed red pepper for a little extra spice.
Eataly's steakhouse is the only place you'll need for elegant dining.
With "manzo" literally meaning beef in Italian, you're not going to want to skip the steak dinner here!
You can get great pasta and antipasti at the other parts of Eataly.
But you came here for the meat. Grilled ribeye and New York strip steaks to be exact, plus the fixings that make these plates gorgeous to your eye and your stomach.
A place as neat as Eataly would have its own beer garden, but get this: the beer garden and restaurant is located on the roof.
Yes, that's right, Eataly went there. A rooftop restaurant with impeccable views of Madison Square Park and the Flatiron District will compliment your meal.
Come here to enjoy a fine list of craft brews, including a few choice Italian beers, while you enjoy meats, cheese, antipasti, and entrees underneath the sun or stars.
An all-around magical experience is to be had here.
If you live for seafood, then you have to try Eataly's Il Pesce, where the fish is fresh and the dishes have flavor and variety.
You can have pretty much any speciality of the sea, from whole baked or grilled branzino to grilled octopus and salmon dishes to shellfish delights like littleneck clams and oysters.
But keep in mind: fish only!
If you like your dishes green, full of vegetables, and lacking meats, then vegetarians I am talking to you!
Le Verdure specializes in dishes that are colorful and meat-free. Vegetable lasagna, a few farro dishes with winter and spring vegetables (whatever you're feelin'), and polenta with bean ragu and broccoli rabe are amongst Le Verdure's highlights.
Did you know Eataly also has a culinary school...
That also has a restaurant that serves lunch five days a week from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m?
Keep your eyes out for Pranzo's ever-changing menu, as it updates on a monthly basis, with each month specializing in a different region of Italy's culinary specialties?
Check it out-- it might inspire you to become an Eataly student yourself!
If you're looking for a meal on the lighter side or a quick lunch, then I Panini, Eataly's panini counter, is the spot for you.
Everyone will be pleased here by hot and cold sandwiches that are meaty and cheesy or filled with roasted or fresh vegetables.
Fun fact: I Panini becomes Sputvino NYC, an enoteca that serves wine and paninis on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
Did someone say Italian happy hour?
Meat-lovers, gather here.
This butcher counter not only serves meat by the pound, but also offers the specialty meats served up on hot paninis.
Each day, the Rosticceria serves up a different meat, so you'll just have to stop in every day... obviously.
Have you finished your meal, but you're not quite ready to end your trip to Eataly?
Eataly has two cafes, Caffe Lavazza and Caffe Vergnano, that serve drinks made from the finest Italian espresso and an array of gorgeous Italian pastries.
These cafes are perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a mid-day pick me up.
At Eataly, the gelato is house made and fresh, the perfect frozen meal to top off all of those Italian meats and pastas you just polished off.
The ingredients are part local, part fine Italian imports, and there's nothing like it in the entire city.
Eataly's not just all restaurants, you know. It's also a huge market, and there's really no limit on what you can buy in them.
From butcher cuts of meat to limited edition pastas from Italy and fresh homemade pastas made at Eataly, there will always be something for you to bring home and make your own.
You can also buy imported Italian coffee and espresso and treats to enjoy them with like little cookies and other treats.
The bakery offers freshly baked breads, like the savory bread with prosciutto and provolone baked inside. The produce is fresh, and the glassware will be a colorful, refreshing update to your kitchen.
So what are you waiting for? Isn't it about time you got a lil' lost inside Eataly?
[Featured Image Courtesy: Mgstanton/Flickr]