Being home for winter break means I can’t go out, I miss my friends and my parents annoy me about how I’ve “had a few too many beers this semester, eh?”
So what do I do? Take a trip to Eataly NYC to drown my sorrows in focaccia, cheese and pasta. I walked into the building today and was overwhelmed by the conflict between my unlimited food options and the limited funds in my bank account.
Eataly is a combination of restaurants, counters, cafes, a market and even a cooking school (aka an Italian girl’s heaven). So let me break this down for you: you walk into the store and there are signs everywhere that read, “We cook what we sell and we sell what we cook.” All of the food they serve is made from the products they carry in the grocery store portion of Eataly (brilliant).
Overwhelmed like I was? Here’s a little insider info on all of the restaurants within the Eataly haven in the shape of a definitive ranking to help you make a more informed decision. Or just go to all of them. We won’t tell. If you’re a broke college kid trying to navigate Eataly, we’ve got you covered.
6. La Piazza
This was my little brother’s favorite part of the Eataly experience. At La Piazza, there are both standing tables and a seated bar where you can order up your favorite combinations of antipasto and wine. My brother and I ordered the sampler where we got all different types of meats, cheeses and jams. I’m not the biggest antipasto person, so this wasn’t my favorite thing in the world. I would’ve rather saved room in my belly for a nice dish of pasta, but hey if meat and cheese
I’m not the biggest antipasto person, so this wasn’t my favorite thing in the world. I would’ve rather saved room in my belly for a nice dish of pasta, but hey, if meat and cheese is your thing, La Piazza’s got your back.
This one only falls so low on the list because I’m cheap, otherwise for the fancier and more willing to drop some cash, this is the place for you. Manzo is the “fine dining” restaurant within Eataly where you can sink your teeth into a three-course meal and enjoy some fine Italian wines (only if you’re of age of course).
#SpoonTip: If you’re planning to go, I’d definitely make a reservation ahead of time because the line is absurdly long and hungry people tend to get aggressive, especially in New York.
4. Il Pesce
If you’re looking for authentic Italian fish dishes, you’ve come to the right place. These people serve you your fish just the way Nonna likes it, head still attached and the eyes staring up at you. This might freak a lot of people out, but once you take a bite, I’m sure the fish head will be the last thing on your mind.
If fish heads aren’t your thing, they also do a great job with shellfish, fish sauces on pasta and pretty much anything else seafood-related you can think of.
3. Le Verdure
For our veggie-loving friends, there’s a whole restaurant for you guys. Eataly takes veggies to a whole new level by cooking up some of their fresh greens and turning them into unique and filling meals that aren’t just salads (don’t worry, they have those too). Sit down at the countertop, order up your daily dose of healthy and actually enjoy it.
Pranzo falls as a very close number two on this list. Pranzo is a combination of a lunch restaurant and cooking school. During the day, you can pop in for a nice sit-down lunch from the lunch menu, or sign up for classes later in the day to figure out just how they make their food so damn delicious.
I can tell you first hand that this pizza in un-freakin’-believable. The “charred yeast” crust is soft and crunchy all at once, the mozzarella cheese melts in your mouth and the tomatoes tastes so fresh, it’s as if they just came off the vine. I’ve eaten pizza in all parts of Italy and Eataly’s pizza is the closest thing I’ve found in New York to authentic Italian pizza. The pizza is so fresh, you can tell these guys know what the hell they’re doing.
I haven’t had the pleasure of trying any of their pasta, but I was eyeing up the spaghetti of the lady sitting next to me and she looked like she was having a good ass time eating it, so this ranks as number one.