Agata & Valentina/University Place
I just saw in the NYT that a downtown branch of this uptown store opened recently. I had heard of Agata & Valentina but never been in it. To those who have shopped there, is it worth it? How does it compare to smaller, mom & pop types of salumeria and markets? Should I even ask how it compares to Eataly? Thanks.
Never been to the downtown one, but I like the uptown one a lot. Salumi is solid, but the prepared foods are really good, and I find everything to be reasonably priced relative to the quality. Going for a very different thing than Eataly, but I will say that I'd rather bring home dinner from Agata than from there.
At this point, the University Place location is a work-in-progress. Staff is mixed, with some clearly capable, others clueless. Fruits/Vegetables are nothing special (Garden of Eden has better quality) and the bread selection is basic but good. Fish is mixed: tuna is $29/lb: is it blue fin? Who knows? They don't indicate. Other seafood and fish items look pretty good but Citarella's cleans their clock at this point in visual display. Cheese appears to be high quality and the smoked fish is reasonably priced compared to Citarella. Can't comment on prepared food apart from the looks, and it reminds me of Jefferson Market-style. The uptown Agata is better appointed, I'd say, at this time, but one could expect that University Place will catch up. Still, it's a whole lot better than Gristedes...
So far I have been very happy there. Have bought produce, cheese, salamis and excellent crab soup and dumplings. Overall, like it better than Citarella. Much wider selection, and i always found Citarella prepared foods to be mediocre. Husband has been raving about the fresh OJ at Agata.