There’s just something so delicious about Italian food.
I’ll admit that I’ve been spoiled very much when it comes to food, especially Italian food. A lot — most — of the Italian restaurants in the Dallas suburbs aren’t really that great. They’re not authentic. Italian food is so easy to mess up, and these “imperfect attempts” ruined Italian food for me.
That was until Eataly.
I was 11 years old when I went to Italy. It was the summer of 2009, and Italy was the second destination in our trip — the first being Paris, France. My Italian “home away from home” was Sorrento, a small town in Southern Italy. I was young and picky, and food was of no interest to me. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t enjoy Sorrento much. It’s hard to enjoy Italy when you only want the most basic pastas and pizzas.
Sometime during the last 3 years, I’ve learned that to be happy, you can’t be picky. Food is an adventure, and you have to be open to different tastes and flavors. I don’t consider myself the most venturesome eater, but I can definitely say that I’m doing much better. At the very least though, I could tell that there was something different about Italian food made in Italy. It just tasted… better. I missed that comforting taste of an authentic Italian dish.
I found that same authenticity at Eataly.
Eataly in New York is a vibrant, high-end, Italian marketplace co-owned by Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich (from MasterChef), and Lidia Bastianich (Joe Bastianich’s mother).
Eataly is a very difficult place to describe. On your right, you may see a colorful stand filled with vibrant, fresh fruits ready to be sold. On your left, you may see a chef preparing vegetables to be sampled by hungry customers. Continue walking and you’ll see people sitting down at bars that serve prosciuttos or cheeses. Then there are others ordering these items and walking to the standing restaurant near the center of Eataly.
Eataly’s healthy mix of restaurant and market causes it to become a truly unparalleled experience that you can find nowhere else.
The cool thing about Eataly is that there are many different restaurants each with their own specialties. Il Pesce serves fish, I Panini serves sandwiches, and La Rosticceria serves roasted meats. There is also a gelateria, as well as a pasticceria (pastries). Not only that, but everything served is made with ingredients available in the marketplace.
I visited one of Eataly’s sit-down restaurants: La Pizza & Pasta. In case it wasn’t obvious, they serve pizza and pasta. My mom and I ordered one pizza and one pasta dish to share between us.
For our pizza, we ordered the Capricciosa.
The pizza capricciosa was made with mozarella, mushrooms, ham, artichokes, tomato sauce, parmigiano reggiano, black olives, and fresh basil. The richness of the black olives harmonized with the other ingredients, pulling out their flavors as well. The crust was also very thin and overall very, very tasty.
For our pasta, we ordered the Pappardelle con Pancetta e Funghi.
The pasta pappardelle was house-made with local pancetta, mushroom ragù, and parmigiano-reggiano. The pasta was al dente and delicious. It was an authentic taste for sure.
Personally, I preferred the pizza. The beautiful flavors of the black olives definitely made the pizza much more memorable. The good thing was that my mom preferred the pasta, so I guess it all worked out in the end.
After eating the best Italian food I’ve had in years, we went to the gelateria and had some amazing pistachio gelato. The cool gelato was definitely great for the muggy New York streets!
Overall, I’d probably say Eataly was one of my favorite destinations in New York. It’s definitely a place I’d want to revisit in the future, and hopefully that chance will come soon enough. If you’re looking for a great Italian place in New York, definitely take Eataly for a spin. You won’t experience anything like it.