This place is awesome. It is the brainchild of Mario Batali, celebrity chef extraordinare who prides himself on his authentic Italian cooking. Now, Eataly is not just a restaurant. Eataly is an Italian marketplace that carries any Italian foodstuff you can imagine (canned goods, honey, coffees, pasta, chocolate, wine, etc). They also have multiple "counters" like in a grocery store that specialize in different things, such as a butcher, seafood guy, fresh pasta counter, bakery, and even a vegetable butcher! They also have 4 different restaurants on premise from which to choose from (fine dining, all vegetarian, pizza/pasta, and fish). In addition to that they also have a Piazza, which is in the middle of the store and is standing only with high boy tables where you can order meats, cheeses, and wines by the glass. Thy also have a coffee bar and a gelato counter.
Now, obviously Eataly is NOT a vegan or vegetarian haven. They definitely have vegan/veggie options in regards to dining, and definitely in regards to foodstuffs, but if someone loves meat, they would have a field day as well. I feel like this place is a haven for people who LOVE food. Not just like it, but love it. The people who have love affairs on the side, the people who are torn between their loved one and this "other". I confess, I am currently having a love affair with Italian food. I can't get enough of it. I'm not talking about chain restaurants, or jarred pasta sauce, or frozen Italian dinners. I'm talking about simple, fresh Italian meals made in the old-fashioned rustic way. A big pot of homemade marinara, fresh ricotta (I know, I know), freshly baked crusty bread, a great quality olive oil, truffle honey. Those are the things I love.
I dined with a friend last night and had a splendid (and vegan!) meal. I had the napoli pizza, which was a fresh baked crust with homemade pizza sauce, and fresh herbs. I started with a winter salad of cauliflower, fennel, asian pear, and cabbage. It was lightly dressed with EVOO and salt and pepper. YUMMY! I also enjoyed a glass of prosecco rose. Molto bene!
All in all I love Eataly. I love walking by the truffle counter (yes, they have a truffle counter), I love the fresh espresso smell, and I just love watching people love fresh and rustic ingredients. There is nothing complicated or fussy at Eataly. It is just good food for just about every diet/appetite. I have been here twice, and I would go there again.
*I have pics, but I am on the Internet in a hotel in NYC and my connection is slow as molasses and will not accept downloads. BOO!