NYC's Eataly: Come with an open mind, empty stomach

Aug

13

category: Travel
tag: -

Eataly New York is not only one of the world's largest artisanal Italian wine and food marketplaces, but it also has a wide selection of outlets that serve Italian foods created from the many products on hand. Famous TV chefs Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich are among the partners behind the operation, and other top New York City chefs and suppliers contribute to the various offerings.

The approach at Eataly is to make high-quality, well-sourced artisan foods available to the masses, and here they do it with great passion, enthusiasm and fun. The cavernous 50,000-square-foot space includes market sections such as a full butcher shop, fish market, bakery, pasta shop, olive oils, cheeses, cured meats, fresh produce, wines, books, kitchen accessories and more.

Cooking classes are also offered at the “La Scoula di Eataly,” led by Dean Bastianich. Classes range from casual tastings and demonstrations to more in-depth study of Italian food regions and ingredients. (Reservations are a must for any of the classes, so check the restaurant’s website.)

The food service at Eataly includes several very casual outlets that offer seating on a first come, first served basis, or you can simply graze your way through the market. "La Piazza" serves wines and small plates with items like imported cheeses, salami and fresh oysters. "Il Pesce" serves fresh fish, and "Le Verdure" serves market fresh vegetarian dishes.

"La Pizza & Pasta" serves a range of pizzas made with ingredients from all over the market and pastas made fresh at the adjacent shop. On the rooftop deck of the building is the popular "Birreria," serving a range of craft beers which are brewed on site. Besides the dining outlets, there are also a number of counter service spots offering items like sandwiches, pastries, gelato and coffees.

You can even buy kitchen equipment here! The atmosphere throughout the marketplace is casual and friendly, and the staff is eager to share their knowledge and passion for food with guests. This is a great place to stop for a glass of wine and a light bite to eat or maybe for a coffee and an interesting gift.

In addition to these casual café style outlets, there is "Manzo," a more formal dining experience focused on meats from the adjacent butcher shop. The setting is somewhat modest in a dining room that sits in the center of the market, but the real attraction here is the excellent food.

Manzo, which means beef in Italian, has an obviously "meat-centric" menu and serves all types of cuts, but there are a few seafood selections and even one or two vegetable dishes. Meat entrees might include things like slow-roasted beef rib, grilled calf’s liver or blood sausage with crispy pig’s ear.

Any of the nightly specials make a good choice, and the service here is both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. A AAA Four Diamond restaurant, Manzo is the only outlet at Eataly that accepts reservations.

Eataly is located in midtown Manhattan on 5th Avenue at 24th Street, next to Madison Square Park. One of the lines of the Eataly Manifesto says, “our target audience is everyone,” and it really is true — you don’t have to be a “foodie” or especially knowledgeable of Italian cuisine to enjoy this place. All you need is an open mind and an empty stomach!

More New York City help from AAA

  • New York City is covered in detail in the 2012 New York state TourBook. Request your copy online or pick it up at your local AAA.
  • Download TourBook information about New York City for the iPad, Kindle, Nook or smartphone with ereader at AAA.com/ebooks.
  • Join us on one of our upcoming motorcoach trips to NYC! Trips include roundtrip transportation and free time in the City for you to do (and eat!) whatever you want.
  • More questions about New York City? Find a AAA Travel Consultant.
  • This story was originally posted on the AAA TravelViews blog, sharing AAA insider perspectives on travel around the world.

What's your favorite place to eat in New York City? Favorite thing to do? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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