Eataly in Downtown New York City

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Eataly is the mecca for Italian food lovers. The first U.S. store opened in the Flatiron District in New York in 2010 as a marketplace for Italian food and cooking and now has over 40 locations throughout the world. I’ve been wanting to visit for years and on a recent trip to New York celebrate a family member’s milestone birthday, I decided to incorporate a visit to Eataly Downtown, located inside the Westfield World Trade Center Mall, on the third floor of Tower 4.

My family knew we wanted to eat a full meal at one of the three restaurants inside the complex, and booked a reservation at La Pizza and La Pasta, which offers many varieties of pizza and pasta and is very family friendly. You can also eat a full service meal at Vino E Grano, which has a broader menu, or Osteria Della Pace, Eataly’s more formal, upscale restaurant, as well as eight “counters” or “pop up” shops throughout the complex. La Pizza and La Pasta and Vino E Grano accept reservations; Osteria Della Pace requires reservations. In addition, there is over 40,000 square feet for shopping for every cooking tool imaginable, cookbooks, and non perishable food. If you don’t want to stay for a full service meal, here are my top six spots to have a quick snack or a meal to grab and go. Make sure you come hungry:

  1. Fresh pasta from Ravioli & Co: It’s made by hand every day.

  2. Focaccia flatbread from La Focacceria: There are four savory and three sweet options made fresh every day.

  3. Rossopomodoro, located in each of the American stores, where the Neapolitan style pizza is made to go.

  4. Cannoils, with your choice of six fillings from the Cannoli truck.

  5. Gelato, Italian ice cream made with milk, hazelnuts, pistachios,and chocolates, from Il Gelato. There were 18 flavors of gelato offered the night we visited. You can take home quarts if a cup isn’t enough.

  6. Chocolates from La Venchi, imported chocolates from Italy. I counted at least eight varieties.

I knew my family would want a special memory of our time at Eataly, so I booked a private, one hour cooking class at their “ Foodiversita.”  Eataly is in the process of revamping their cooking school, so they currently have limited menu options. However, for our crew (which included younger children, ranging in age from 2 to 10 years old), Pasta Making 101 was the perfect class. There were two culinary instructors who were wonderful to work with: patient, friendly, and quick on their feet. They were also very accommodating with my niece, who has a nut allergy, making sure everything from the cooking stations to the ingredients and tools were nut free and clean.

They prepared five stations, so everyone had the chance to get his or her hands “dirty” with eggs and flour. The instructors shared a brief history of pasta making and the various types of pasta, and many anecdotal stories about pasta. They demonstrated each step of pasta making and then gave us a chance to model their actions. My children loved rolling the dough through the pasta maker and using the cutting tools (child safe!) to make various shapes. The best part? At the end of the class, they brought out generously sized (cooked) samples for everyone to taste.

Eataly also offers classes and events frequently at many of their stores. Check here for the list and make a visit to your local store a must-do activity!