Mario Batali might have gained recognition due to his presence on Iron Chef America, but he's long since been an expert on the history and culture of Italian cuisine.
As a testament to this, Batali owns and operates Eataly – the largest Italian marketplace in the world.
Located at 200 Fifth Avenue near Madison Square Park, Eataly spans over 50,000 square feet. Practically every inch offers visitors a bountiful selection of produce, wine, confectionaries and restaurants.
This isn't a typical grocery store though. Small shops and stands break up the large space with each stand representing a different region of Italy. That means you can enjoy a taste of Venice and Tuscany at the same time.
Eataly prides itself on the quality and freshness of their ingredients. Most of their dried and canned foods come directly from Italian producers while the fresh ingredients, like meat and produce, are locally sourced when possible. And while you might expect a regular butcher for the meats even the produce section has their own vegetable butcher.
You can go to the butcher counter to get your vegetables cut and cleaned for FREE! The butcher is also a wealth of information if you have questions on cooking or preparation.
If you don't plan on grocery shopping, you can try one of the many little food stands. There's a little pastry shop where you can splurge on some delectable sweets. You don't even need to feel guilty about grabbing one because these sweets are actually good for you! Plus, most of the pastries are also allergen-friendly so almost everyone can partake in the decadence.
Of course, if you're in the mood for something a bit heartier you can try one of the seven restaurants in Eataly. There's something for everyone here. If you're in the mood for some seafood try out Il Pesce.
While you can always get oysters there, their main dish is a catch of the day served crudo, pan-seared, roasted and more. Since it's a catch of the day, you can be sure you'll get to try some fish you've never heard of before. And if you like it you can go to the seafood counter and get some for your home.
If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you can still partake in some amazing food at Le Verdure. While not all of their dishes are vegan, there are still plenty of options to choose. And since the restaurant focuses on seasonal and local ingredients, the menu doesn't stay the same for very long. Unfortunately, most of the restaurants are on a first come first serve basis.
With the throngs of people who come to Eataly on a daily basis, there might be a long line for the food.
One of the few places that do take reservations is Baita. Located on the 14th floor, this restaurant is only open from December to March. Why? Baita is the Piemontese word for a small ski lodge in the Alps. To honor that idea, the enclosed roof restaurant is only open during the traditional ski season. Of course, it's not just the dates that make you feel like you're on the Alps. It's the wooden walls, rustic food and warm vibe that bring everything and one together.
Here's the list of restaurants you should keep track of:
This is the spot for pizza and fresh al dente pasta. Try the Cacio e pepe, an great simple dish that will tingle your taste buds. There can be some waiting around Sunday lunches.
Even though Manzo is focusing on meats they also serves fresh pastas such as the tomato sauce gnocchi with fresh ricotta. The Fusili with duck ragu and foie gras is also a must try.
With a focus on seafood you should give the razor clams and the fritto misto a try.
Eataly's, counter serving, go to spot for farm-fresh vegetables based on season. The Farro Salad comes highly recommended by regulars.
This is a weekday-only lunch spot (Pranzo is lunch in Italian) that's focusing on a straightforward combination of Italian food, beer and wine.
Here you will find a rotating sandwich menu and fresh mozzarella offered over the counter.
If you are hungry for prime ribs then just head to Rosticceria. Here you can have daily rosted meat by the pound or as a sandwich as well.
Not in the mood for food? That's fine, you can grab yourself a latte or, if you're in the mood for something a bit stronger, a glass of wine or Prosecco. You can leisurely sip on your glass as you watch the crowds or navigate your way through the marketplace.
Eataly has more than just food as well. You can buy some beauty products, books and even cookware. Or if you're hoping to up your Italian knowledge you can take one of the many classes or events they offer like Pasta 101, a Walking Tour of the location or a delicious four-course dinner.
There's something for everyone at Eataly, making it one of the few spots that everyone in your family can enjoy. If you are interested in other restaurants that Mario Batali operates check this out!