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“Bringing Italy to NYC”
Review of Eataly

Eataly
Ranked #248 of 14,582 Restaurants in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
Neighborhood: Flatiron District
Reviewed September 4, 2013 via mobile

Mario Battali and his partners have found a way to bring an authentic Italian experience to the US. If you can't afford the flight or don't have sufficient vacation time to hop across the Atlantic take a trip to 5th Ave between 23rd and 24th and you will get a taste of the real thing. They have everything for many budgets ranging from pasta and pizzas to Manzo a more expensive sit down experience. Save room for the gelato or pastry bar and do stop for a caffe vergnano expresso. While crowded on the weekends and at night it's least busy on a Monday or Tuesday evening after 7:30.

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Thank ALP1309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,257 - 5,261 of 11,068 reviews

Reviewed September 3, 2013

We wanted to grab something quick before the theater and ended up having an amazing meal at Eataly. It was just down the street from our hotel. A great place.

Thank lisa k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

I am definitely a foodie and appreciate a great grocery. I am also from Seattle, where Mario Batali is from, and have traveled fairly extensively. In May we were in Manhattan for a long weekend. We planned to stop in at Eataly which I noted was near our hotel and was recommended by a friend who is a chef in a notable Seattle restaurant. However after a couple visits there I was disappointed in the experience.

The small coffee bar in the complex was a Cafe Lavazza. We typically go for indie multi-roaster cafes or places that feature a local roaster and places that have top barista talent if possible. We did review Sprudge and other sites before our visit but after a red-eye flight we wanted to just the ball rolling and again Eataly was reasonably close to our hotel and I am sure at Eataly they wanted to feature an Italian company. Neither the coffee nor the pastries blew me away. I didn't think the pull, roast or foam were exceptional. Overall it was enjoyable enough. The pastry was good but again not memorable. It certainly wasn't competitive with any of the regarded patisseries I have visited. The shop has a corporate feel (pendent and track lighting, glossy photo collage, brown/tan color scheme, wall sized map of Italy) perhaps in part because it is Lavazza branded. It feels all about marketing instead of real design. But really it is hardly worse than most coffee chains and perhaps this was exacerbated by the massive numbers of customers and somewhat nondescript corner space. Still it being Manhattan we shared a crowded high top table with other customers, generally enjoying our experience enough to make a plan to return for a lunch or dinner later in the trip. I would give the coffee, pastry and space each 3*.

Later on our last day in the city we braved even larger crowds in main body of the Eataly complex (which is not nearly as large as it appears it will be and although they have a rooftop restaurant space visitors should understand that most of the market and most of the restaurant spaces are on one floor (the ground floor)). The merchandise is packed into tight/narrow and irregular spaces where it is difficult to browse with the large number of shoppers. The cured meats, cheeses, and wine shop were of course impressive but I have been to many excellent markets around the country and overseas and Eataly did not offer a selection that immediately seemed to my wife and I to be a destination or that was was head and shoulders above others I have visited. I would cut the kitchenware, green market, butcher and fish monger (which don't really have an Italian focus and where you can do as well if not better elsewhere around the city) and add more wine, oil, Italian specialty food products, cured meat and cheese (or seating ... more on that below). I would give the current market selection 4*.

The real disappointment however was in trying to dine in. Even though we read the website in advance we didn't realize that the restaurants within the complex all have their own exclusive seating. You cannot order food or drink outside of any of the autonomous or quasi-autonomous restaurants and then sit in the seating area for any of the restaurants. This policy of course would be expected if you were in a piazza in Italy with separately owned restaurants all having their own seating. However in Eataly the seating areas feel more like a food court where you order from any and then sit in communal seating. But that is not how it works. Confusing the matter is that there was no signage (that my wife or I could find) and the main restaurants are co-located with parts of the store selling groceries that correspond with their specialty which reinforces the idea that the seating areas could be communal for market customers. I did see that a couple of the finer dining restaurants required reservations and in those cases it seemed clear that the restaurant seating was only for the customers of the restaurant. Other places, like around the wine bar there were a substantial number of stand up high top bar areas extending well into what seemed to be a common area but those stand up tables were exclusive to the wine bar. We had made the mistake of buying panini from one of the to-go eating options in the complex and intended to bring those the stand up tables by the wine bar counter (which as I recall had a sign that said La Piazza or something like that) to have a glass of wine but were told by the counter staff at the wine bar this was not permitted. We tried a few different seating areas to no avail. Seemingly the only seating for the take away counters is out in the coffee shop (we were told this by more than one employee but were skeptical as that seating seems specifically to be reserved for Lavazza customers and in any event was full) and in this side hallway sort of between Manzo, the fish monger and the rosticceria counter as I recall that had two or three tables. We ended up eating half a panini with a soda at one of those plastic tables (it didn't appear we could take wine from the wine area to the area with the tables) and reserving the other half for our flight back to Seattle.

The panini counter and le verdure employees we talked were friendly and generally empathetic but the wine bar employees were stand off-ish and frankly a little gruff. The Eataly complex has signs throughout that says "1. The Customer Is Not Always Right. 2. Eataly Is Not Always Right. 3. Through Our Differences, We Make Harmony." That sounds good in principle. However there was no central management or customer service that I could find. So we could never get a definitive statement of the rules or provide any feedback. In essence there was no way to make harmony. My experience with trying to eat at Eataly was poor or 2* (the panini were good 3.5* but the bread had too hard and chewy of a crust for my personal preference). Value was average to above average for NYC. I would say 3.5*.

If I lived near Eataly I would certainly shop there and even as a visitor with my experience I am certain I would have a better experience next time. However with so many great places to eat in the city I think I would not go out of my way to eat there on a short visit.

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1  Thank klsalas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Amazing large Italian warehouse with 5 stations for seated dining. We ate at the pizza/pasta station, and it was unbelievable. Homemade gnocchi, a calzone & a bottle of wine. Perfect NYC Friday afternoon lunch. I'd fly back to the city just to go to Eataly!

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Thank Smaceira13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Visited about 8 pm on a weeknight, the place was packed. The 45 minute wait for a table for two was worth it. Sat in the pizza/pasta section and had a great meal. Food came out as ordered and hot. After dinner we walked over to the dessert area for a cannoli. With one person in line ahead of us, we waited 10 minutes as the indecisive women ahead of us ordered 15 items for take out. The poor server was alone and had to listen to her as she kept changing her mind about her choices. After she had chosen and paid, he had to individually wrap and box each item. Just as he was finishing, someone else came over to help. That person had no clue that help was even needed. The cannoli was good. There is no cannoli worth a tortuous wait of 10 minutes.

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Thank mac2205
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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