Sitting back and reflecting on the amazing tour of Eataly that I took with my lifestyle blogger friend, Alyssa of Runway Chef for our NYC Summer Weekend Guide, I have come to see that Eataly is far more than an Italian grocery store, it’s a world of high-quality flavors and exciting dining experiences catered by the hands of experts.
Our tour began the second we walked through the front doors. There awaiting us was Brianna. She, much like I'm about to do with you, seamlessly guided us on an eye-opening tour of Eataly.
Located in the hustle and bustle of the heart of the Flatiron District, Eataly is a shop used by so many people for so many reasons. It’s the incredibly fresh shop to easily stop by to grab high-quality lunch fare.
It's that building that filled with lots of different kinds of Italian restaurants.
It’s that grocery store with the incredible open-air rooftop restaurant.
BREAKING NEWS! It's that shop with the Nutella Bar that opened up last week! I know! As Liz Lemon would say, "what the what?"!
Oh yes, that means you can sip a, wait for it, Nutella Iced Coffee while nibbling, well who are we kidding, demolishing a Bombolone—which FYI they make exclusively on Tuesdays so plan your visit wisely, friends! Because, like it's namesake, it is so bomb!
PS. What a fun place for a to pause life for a moment, catch up with a friend and get a pre-shopping caffeinated kick in a super fun and creative way! It’s the experience.
The beauty of the restaurants inside of Eataly is that they are integrated into the grocery shopping experience. I'd say close your eyes and picture it with me, but then you couldn't read, so let's find that happy medium where you can envision this right along with me.
Together, we walk into Eataly and pick up some fruit and veggies when we look to our left and hungrily gaze upon Le Verdure, a vegetarian restaurant outfitted with it’s very own vegetable butcher that will happily give you a demo on how to break down any of those daunting fruit and vegetables you have already plucked and put in your basket—some of them are super exciting, though exotic and tricky looking to crack into.
Loving all of this, but wanting to explore a little more before sitting down to a post Nutella bar savory lunch, we continue on strolling when we come to a screaming halt at the cheese counters where we sample out-of-this-world delicious, creamy and perfectly salted mozzarella that but minutes before we were watching Patrick Molinari transform from a watery basin into a perfect ball of cheese.
That was sincerely some of the most delicious mozzarella I have encountered to date—since we are only visualizing together here, you must make your way over and taste this mozzarella for yourself—must, must, must!
From cheese to beyond, our leisurely stroll continues right smack into the wet pasta bar where expert Alyssa Dattoli explains with great passion and detail the inner workings of what makes both pasta and the pasta at Eataly so fresh and unique.
Then there are the pairings and combinations of Italian classic dishes I had never heard of—and no, I’m not talking traditional spaghetti with meatballs here—ask her! When you are drooling over the walnut sauce she describes and pairs with the perfect pasta think back to reading this and hear my voice sing “see, I told you!”
Then we round the corner to the focaccia. Oh, yes!
Behold! Another restaurant lays ahead. Not off yonder, no, directly in front of you! Rossopomodoro Pizzeria Napoletana. Oh, yes, brick oven pizza. Sometimes, they even use the mozzarella made in house that we sampled earlier on this vision quest tour of Eataly. Mmmmmm, drooling over that cheese again!
INSIDER'S TIP: go in the morning and try their sweet focaccia. They are too good to miss! Even the simplest sugar coated buttery one is outrageous. You’ll love it!
Once you have had your fill of pizza, continue on with the task at hand, groceries. There are some incredible dry pasta aisles and a selection of oils and vinegar like you have never seen!
Then, there are the meat and seafood sections which are run by Peter Molinari.
I would happily live in that seafood section! The colors are so vibrant. So vibrant that it makes you question ninety percent of the other shops where you grab your dinner fillet.
Right alongside these two sections is Manzo Ristorante. It is a more cumulative experience using ingredients from multiple sections of the store.
Goodness, I want to get to the part about the rooftop, but, before I do, I can’t possibly skip out on the out-of-this-bleeping-world gelato counter. I’ve been to Italy, and that is still the best scoop of pistachio I have ever had. Hands down. I honestly look forward to meeting the company who tops that one (should they exist—challenge accepted? Anyone?!)
Ok. Ok. Moving on from a brief stop where we scarfed down gelato like a five-year-olds who haven't seen ice cream in a month, and off to the rooftop!
Birreria, on Eataly's rooftop, is a restaurant and a brewery with an incredible open air city looming overhead kind of ambiance. Chef Preston Williams has created an exciting menu that pulls in Italian flavors with both Austrian and German influences.
A huge fan of mushrooms I fell in love with the Funghi Misti antipasti. I highly recommend it! The firm yet tender mushrooms combined with the crisp and flavorful polenta cake is not to be missed.
Then, the chef surprised us with the Vitello Tonnato—aka sweetbreads. They were beautiful, to that I can attest. But that is as far as I can speak to them because, oy, well, I don't eat red meat or pork.
Eeek, which was also a problem when the Orecchie di Maiale—oh, yes, pig's ear—approached us. Both of these dishes were presented so beautifully, I felt horrible for not sampling them. When you go, you must tell me about all of the awesomeness I missed out on!
Don't feel too sad for me, I mean I was super full after sampling all of the deliciousness in the grocery store. After scarfing down that Funghi Misti, there wasn't an ounce of space for more yumminess left!
Go explore it all for yourself! Make an afternoon of it all!