Eataly - What to eat and do??!!
hi Charles...given that you've been to many a fine food emporium 'round the world, i doubt that Eataly will thrill you too much...but sure, check it out if you feel so inclined...though know that weekend times are a special level of Dante's Inferno, the Bridge&Tunnel Level...
About a month ago, i broke my boycott-of-all-Batali and decided to try the Eataly seafood place...the crudo was delicious and the side of beets was massive and decent...but they served me a whole porgy that was a) pre-cooked (there is no way they could have cooked the whole thing in the time i ordered it), and b) not-fresh at all, clearly fish that was at least a couple days old, and c) mushy...i told the (very nice, competent) server this, he winced in a way that seemed like he wasn't surprised...they took back the fish and i had another crudo...ok...but i'd never eat cooked food there again...
Just relax and wander around. Your eyes and stomach will tell you what to do. It's only a marketplace and should be enjoyed as one. As for breakfast, as others said it's just cafe and pastry, but that's what the Italians do for breakfast, so when in Rome...
Buon gusto e buon appetito!
I like to go around 3 - 5 PM on a weekday. I shop a little for packaged goods then have some salumi and wine at La Piazza (standing up at marble table). Read the packaging on my purchases, fiddle around on iphone, then get another glass of wine 'to go' and continue shopping for more perishable items. Perfectly fine to shop, stroll with glass of wine, which is quite civilized.
Breakfast is pastries and espresso, none of the other stations are available for breakfast.
I like looking at all the cheeses and meats, and then trying some. Make sure you look for the specials board at any counter you sit at; it's often posted out of the way. I have a friend who adores their prime rib sandwich, not sure what days they sell it. The seafood dept is nice but not huge. I like the seafood restaurant a lot though. The butcher counter is a little bigger. You may want to check out the rooftop beer garden.
Since you're traveling I assume you're interested only in dry goods for sale? They have a lot of interesting shapes of pasta.
PS No need for the excess punctuation (??!!), really, my friend. If you show up at 10am, you'll basically have the place to yourself. It's pretty quiet then.