When I heard the news of Eataly’s opening (located at 200 Fifth Avenue), I decided to wait out the excitement of the crowds that I knew would surely follow. And follow it did, with people waiting on long lines for the many authentic Italian goods, as well as a chance to eat at one of their many restaurants. There’s great cause for it too as this 50,000 square – foot space, adoringly called an Italian food theme park -by my husband- has pretty much everything your little Italian food craving heart could desire.
Before we walked completely into the space we sat and enjoyed an espresso and a mini cannoli. A woman sitting in front of me admired the quaint size of my treat, while asking for confirmation of what it was. “Yes, it’s a cannoli,” I responded, “an expensive, but delicious cannoli”. “Well,” she responded,”most good things in life are (expensive).”
I don’t agree with that statement at all, especially as a New Yorker, but I do agree that more often than not, paying for the convenience of finding something good is certainly worth it. It is not rare to find much of what one would in Eataly in parts of Brooklyn and even lower Manhattan, however, the fact that it can all be conveniently accessed in one huge market is definitely a treat if you don’t mind paying a little more for it.
I was fortunate to have gone early on a week day, just before the lunch crowd arrived. This was great because I avoided the notoriously long lines and was able to enjoy a leisurely walk through the market and even chat it up with some of the vendors while being treated to some tastings. If you want to visit the market with kids, this is the time to go.
Walking through the market is a definite must, even if you are not planning on shopping for anything- though chances are you will. There is nothing more tempting than buying fresh kneaded pasta or cut mozzarella. The glimpse of truffles made my mouth water, and the cheese and meat selections inspire entertaining and feasting.
I didn’t take the time to sit and eat at any of their restaurants, but people were slowing lining up for them, and those already eating seemed to be enjoying their meal.
I did however like perusing through all the Italian brands, from sauces to olive oils, dried pasta to sea salts. I also think it very exciting that they offer culinary courses on site offered by Chef Lidia Bastianich at La Scuola, the prices of many of the courses I did find to be reasonable.
This isn’t the only place in New York City where you can find fresh, authentic Italian goods, but it has quickly grown to be a favorite among many people I have spoken to and it does deliver the Italian flavors we love so much. I left with a great big bag of groceries and a wonderful inspiration to create some magic in my kitchen, which in the end is worth every single penny.