As an avid lover of the Eataly franchise, you know I flipped when I found out one was opening in the Prudential Center. Living in Michigan, the closest Eataly was a long five hours away in Chicago. But now? Only a 25 -inute T-Ride, serving as further affirmation that I had made the right choice in moving to Boston.

For those of you who have been deprived of the Eataly experience before, let me give you a quick run down. Basically, it is a 45,000 square foot Italian food mecca sent straight from heaven itself. From the moment you step inside, smells of freshly baked bread, hundred-year-old wheels of parmesan, and fresh Italian coffee invade your nose. While 45,000 sq. feet seems like a pretty big space, you'd be surprise at how much stuff has been squeezed into here. For that reason, let me provide you a detailed itinerary on how to handle Eataly Boston like a champ.

Disclaimer: Commit to the carbs-life and Eataly will be more fun this way.

coffee, beer
Simran Brar

Shopping First, Eating Later

Assuming that you enter from the Boylston Street entrance, the first thing you'll see is the crêpe station and the coffee bar. Resist the urge and walk straight to the escalator. Remember, patience is a virtue. 

Now coming off the escalator, you'll finally get to see what the hype is all about. Around you will be counters filled with fresh produce while aisles will be filled with products straight from Italy itself. As it is your first trip to Eataly, it's best to stick to the essentials and not go too overboard. The first item and the most important on anyone's shopping list: olive oil. Very few things in this world can beat a really good bottle of olive oil and now some of the best you can find are within five feet of you.

Also, depending on your cooking skills, Eataly also has an awesome fresh fish, meat, and pasta section, so if you're looking for something to make for dinner tomorrow night, THIS would be the place to pick it up. If you're stuck on what to get, I highly suggest gravitating towards the pasta section as it has been known to never disappoint. Maybe even grab some fresh guanciale to add a little something extra to your bucatini. Definitely check out the cheese counter; lots and lots of cheese to choose from. And don't even think about skimping on a visit to the bakery. Just follow the scent of freshly baked carbs (or the signs) and allow yourself the guilty pleasure of bread.

Keep in mind that Eataly is also a great place to pick up various culinary tools if you are in need of some. Wine glasses and cook books are available for your purchase.

sausage, pepperoni, basil, mozzarella, pizza
Simran Brar

Moving on to the Better Part of the Experience...

...the FOOD!!! Ok so here's what's up, there are three restaurants to choose from: La Piazza, La Pizza & La Pasta, and Il Pesce. La Piazza is set-up as a standing restaurant to mimic the experience of hanging out an Italian square. If you're looking to maybe share a cheese or charcuterie board, La Piazza would be your go to.

In contrast, both La Pizza & La Pasta and Il Pesce are sit down restaurants. Those acquainted with the Boston food scene may be familiar with chef Barbara Lynch as she owns a couple restaurants in town (Menton and B&G oysters are big favorites of mine). Back to the topic at hand, Barbara Lynch is currently running Il Pesce, so you know it will be good. The menu features lots of crudo, squid ink alla chitarra, and of course daily fish options. If you're in the mood for seafood, this menu is bound to satisfy any craving.

In my opinion, La Pizza & La Pasta is the epitome of Italian food: pizza and pasta. The restaurant also has quite a big variety of meats and cheeses to start off your meal. I also don't recall seeing a single pizza on the menu that I wouldn't like. The pizzas are all cooked in a wood-fired oven and feature Italian ingredients such as in-house made buffalo mozzarella and imported meats. However, what steals my heart every time is the pasta. Now, I have eaten a lot of pasta in my life so trust me that my praise does not come half-heartedly. The pastas that have made it into my top three include the amatriciana, the butternut squash ravioli, and the tagliatelle con ragù di manzo. Even better would be to go with a bunch of friends and order a couple of the dishes, so you can try a little of everything.

And now after you have been properly fed and your shopping has concluded, you are free to make your way back down the escalator to the crêpe station. The cannoli cart or gelato stand are other options that should be given consideration as well. Take what you will from this and off you go to Eataly in Boston.