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To Eat at Eataly or Not

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Hi all, looking for some opinions and suggestions -
My friend and I are going in May to check out Eataly - I do not get into the city often so I want to make the most of my short day trip - should we eat at Eataly or go somewhere else nearby? My friend is an extremely picky eater so our best bet is italian - is there a place we should not miss? I am hearing the food at Eataly is overpriced and just ok. Or if you did have something delicious there, what was it? How is the pizza?
We do not mind taking a subway to another place to eat but we will only have about 5 hours in the city so we have to cram a lot in. I also love to try cupcakes - I have had all the ones in Grand Central, Crumbs and Melissa's (minis) - I am constantly on the search for "the best." Also, anyone have the gelato at Eataly?

Thanks in advance!

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Eataly
200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

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  1. Le Verdure at Eataly is great. I went last Sunday at 11:30 am and I pretty much had the place to myself. I also picked up a hazelnut cake and raspberry tart to go, which were excellent. I haven't tried Manzo or the other food outlets yet but I'll definitely return soon.

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    Eataly
    200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

    Manzo
    200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

    1. For a more relaxed experience where you get a better taste of the city, I'd recommend:

      ITINERARY #1:
      - Take the F/M from Bryant Park down to West 4th
      - A leisurely lunch at 'ino, Keste, or Po [open for lunch Wed-Sun 11:30-3pm, on OpenTable]
      - Stop at Cones, Grom, or L'Arte de Gelato for gelato
      - Grab a cupcake from Sweet Revenge, Amy's Bread, or (if you must) Magnolia Bakery

      ITINERARY #2:
      - Take the 6 train down from Grand Central to Union Square
      - A long leisurely lunch at Motorino
      - Grab a cupcake from Butter Lane, Spot, or Chikalicious Dessert Bar
      - Stroll over to Otto and grab a seat at the bar and order the olive oil gelato coppetta

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      Cones
      272 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

      L'Arte del Gelato
      75 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

      Po
      31 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

      Magnolia Bakery
      401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

      Otto
      1 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003

      'ino
      21 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014

      Amy's Bread
      250 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

      ChikaLicious
      203 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

      Grom
      233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

      Sweet Revenge
      62 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

      Butter Lane
      123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

      Keste Pizza & Vino
      271 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

      Spot Dessert Bar
      13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

      Motorino
      349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

      1 Reply
      1. re: kathryn

        yes, this will make your trip so much more enjoyable than a trip to eataly. i'd add only a stop to murray's cheese in itinerary #1--taste lots, get lots of helpful tips, and enjoy shopping and browsing without the eataly hordes.

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        Murray's Cheese
        254 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

      2. Manzo is the only eatery in Eataly that takes reservations. It's a full-fledged restaurant (white tableclotss), and also has bar dining (no reservations there). Because of its location, it's out of the way of the crowds. We've eaten both in the dining room at at the bar, and the food was excellent. However, the menu might not appeal to a picky eater.

        Manzo photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        The waits for being seated in the Pizza/Pasta area can be very long. The pizza is good but, imo, not worth an excessive wait. I'd say 10-15 minutes tops.

        La Pizza photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        Eataly's gelato is excellent. However, the flavor selection is very limited.

        The pastries as seriously delicious.

        Caution: On the weekends, Eataly is a total zoo!

        Eataly photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        My recommendations for Italian food would be Maialino and Ciano

        Ciano photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        Maialino photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        For cupcakes, I like Sugar Sweet Sugar Sweet Sunshine and Dessert Club ChikaLicious

        SSS: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        DCC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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        Sugar Sweet Sunshine
        126 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

        Dessert Club, ChikaLicious
        204 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

        Ciano
        45 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010

        Maialino
        2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

        1. Going to NYC in February and trying to please the SO. His favorite parts about our vacations have been Pike place market in Seattle and Reading terminal market in Philadelphia. What is the vibe at Eataly? Is it something you can eat your way around?

          4 Replies
          1. re: melpy

            Eataly is a bit more upscale than Pike Place or Reading Terminal and more closely resembles the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco with a focus on simply prepared Italian food. I think your husband would enjoy it.

            1. re: melpy

              I've been to Pike Place and Eataly is nothing like it. Eataly is enclosed and doesn't really lend itself to wandering around because it's always crowded. Could you eat your way around? Sure, glass of wine here, grab a panini there, have dessert in another spot, a coffee there, but it wouldn't have the feel you are going for (at least I don't think if I understand what you are looking for).

              1. re: melpy

                I haven't been to Pike Place nor Reading, but I have visited public markets elsewhere and can appreciate this kind of atmosphere.
                Eataly is somewhat different - it did not begin life as an old world public market, but rather as a planned-out market-meets-showcase kind of place. Nothing necessarily wrong with this, but it is a different vibe.
                Its also sharp and clean and tidy. Again nothing wrong with this, Eataly IS a great place.
                Note that I was there only once about 7 months ago. With that said,
                You can certainly eat your way around the place, sampling charcuterie and pasta and pesce and rotisserie and desserts and coffee and wine and beer, but the biggest problem as pointed out by RGR, is the crowds. Many areas are first come first serve, creating a shark-like trolling of counter or table space.
                If your SO is like me, he will certainly enjoy Eataly, but will likely say "It ain't Pike Place".

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                Eataly
                200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                1. re: porker

                  The crowd situation at Eataly really depends on when you go. As I said above, weekends? Zoo city! However, mid-week and especially early when they first open, not terrible. It can actually be comparatively empty, at least at the start.

                  While counter seating is first come, first served, to sit at a table, you need to sign in with a staff member for that venue.

                  Since I wrote my post above, Birreria has opened. It should certainly be included in any food crawl there. Like Manzo, they take reservations for table service. However, there is a capacious bar with lots of seats where one can just belly up....

                  Birreria at Eataly photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

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                  Manzo
                  200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

                  Birreria
                  200 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010