Yesterday I had the rare opportunity to meet up with my husband John mid-day for a quick bite to eat and suggested Eataly, the recently opened speciality food market and restaurant. I've been seeing the facebook status pop up everywhere and had to admit my curiosity was peaked when I heard Mario Batali was behind things.

Espresso Bar / photo by Big Apple, Little Wallet

John explained it to me kind of like Harrods Food Hall's, but everything is Italian and much more modern inside.

I was sold from the moment I entered.

So the deal is this, it's a really huge emporium selling food, beverages (plus a wine store), cooking tool (books and accessories), a total showcase of what Italian's do best. From the breads to fresh pasta, beautifully displayed vegetables, local fruits (these puppies look so fresh and just-picked, you'd think they were growing on the rooftop), everything is beautifully displayed and extremely fresh!

La Panetteria, (The Bakery) / photo by Big Apple, Little Wallet

The Entrance, it's located just off 5th Avenue and 23rd Streets
(across from the Flatiron Building) / photo by Big Apple, Little Wallet

The entire place is buzzing with people eating at one of the their many mini-restaurants, one devoted to whatever you're craving including; meat, fish, vegetables (where we ate), pasta & pizza, panini, espresso, gelato, salami & cheese, plus a soon-to-open rooftop brew pub. Each has it's own little vibe - some have tables and chairs, others you stand at a bar height table and still others there are counter stools to watch the cooks preparing your meal.

photos by Wordsmithing Pantagruel

It was a little crowded, but with it being lunch time, I actually expected it to be more jammed. The only downside I thought was trying to figure out how to actually get a table. There's lots of seating, but you have to go to particular seating points to put down your name and be seated.

photo from Flickr

For anyone planning to visit Eataly, be sure to give yourself some time. John was on a short lunch break so after we ate, he ran back to the office and I spent about an hour exploring and checking out each area. There's so much to see and it's really fun to check out all the amazing possibilities.

Posted on September 9, 2010 and filed under Food + Drinks.