From the outside, Eataly looks like the entrance to a gelato cafe, at 200 W. 5th in the Flat Iron district. I didn't even bother to take a photo of the outside, not expecting what we would soon realize was going to be a delightful food adventure.
Once inside, Eataly is a vast food emporium (42,500 square feet) dedicated to all things Italian, and has seven restaurants mingled within. It is the third Eataly. The other two are in Turin, Italy and Tokyo, Japan.
It opened in August, and is backed by Mario Batali, restauranteur Joe Bastianich and his mother, TV's Lydia Bastianich, in conjunction with Oscar Farinetti, founder of the original Eataly in Turin. Other participants are David Pasternack of Esca, Dogfish Head Brewery's Sam Calagione, and Luca Montersino, the Italian pastry chef.
You eat right alongside the food stalls, while shoppers push chic shopping carts and fill baskets with great food to take home.
Yes, I know it sounds like a food court in a mall, but it all works somehow. We had a delicious meal in the pasta and pizza restaurant. I zoomed in on our neighbors' antipasto they were sharing. Mostly because the food is good and the atmosphere is warm and inviting, the smells are wonderful and visually, it is exciting.
There is a big pasta department. Around the corner there is an olive oil department, too, where we bought some. Lydia's cooking school is beyond that.
They are making bread on the premises.
We bought some to take back to our room.
And there is lots of produce.
And harder to find ingredients.
Cheese stacked in a corner.
And beautiful desserts.
We highly recommend you visit when you are in the city. It is a huge, chaotic place, but it is lot of fun to visit, and the food was good. We ate in the late afternoon, after our day of sightseeing. Glad we decided to check it out.