I spent this weekend in New York City visiting some of my oldest and dearest friends. After an incredible, home cooked meal on a friend's roof deck Friday night, I was afraid I would wake up too full for my lunch date on Saturday.
I had planned to meet one of my best college girls for an early lunch at Eataly, right off Madison Square Park. She had been many times before and the first time I heard about it, I knew I wanted to go.
The concept, which reminds me of the restaurant that used to be in the Prudential Center called Marche, is to have multiple types of food under one roof. All of Eataly's specialties are Italian, but they are sectioned off into different departments.
We entered the building through the gelato door. How appropriate for a dessert lover!
When we came back down we decided to eat in the section called La Pizza & La Pasta. There was a 20 minute wait, but we had no problem exploring some more.
When our named was called we were seated a table amidst all the shelves of pasta!
I chose the La Stella pizza which had arugula, cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan. It actually came on pizza chips instead of round, traditional crust. It didn't have any sauce, which I didn't realize, but it was still wonderful.
Our third dish was from the pasta menu called the Spaghettone Cacio e Pepe which was al dente spaghetti with Lazio cheese and black pepper. It was amazing! I have immense respect for restaurants that can make dishes from just a few, simple ingredients that taste superb.
Post-lunch we decided to walk around a bit before seeking out dessert. We walked through the specialty meat and cheese section where people were enjoying antipasto at high top tables. I thought this looked like a total blast.
We selected three small pieces - a dark chocolate bar with hazelnuts, a milk chocolate dipped hazelnut and a dark chocolate bite filled with gooey caramel and rolled in small, crispy chocolate pieces. Holy yum!
My friend said "it tastes like they took fresh fruit and just blended it up right into this bowl." Rather than stay in Eataly, which was quite crowded at this point, we took our gelato and sat on a bench across the street in Madison Square Park. It was the perfect ending to our Italian feast!
Eataly is a place that is entertaining for people of all ages and the food selection is unparalleled. I would love to go back and try additional restaurants, enjoy the sun at the beer garden and even just shop for ingredients to make Italian dishes at home.
Have you been to Eataly? What's your one must-have item?