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Who's been to Eataly?

What's good, what's not?

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  1. Sausages are good, nice cheeses, coffees. We've eaten there a couple of times and it was not great. It's very festive at this time of year with live demos, etc. and you might bump into BF or Lidia while you're there. Very fun place.

    8 Replies
          1. re: freshmanjs

            I was about to ask the same question. Is he involved in the CHI one?

            1. re: c oliver

              Are you referring to Batali's Eataly in NY? Didn't know there was one in Chicago.

              Don't know why BF was at the NY location, but there he was. Maybe he was shopping?

              1. re: sandiasingh

                This is on the Chicago board and they just opened there.

                1. re: sandiasingh

                  It's actually Oscar Farinetti's Eataly but since that would meet with a "who??" reaction from customers, he wisely brought Batalia and the Bastianich clan in as American partners.

                  1. re: sandiasingh

                    He would have been shopping (he lives in the area) as he has no association with Eataly.

        1. They have an extraordinary selection of Italian olive oils and a very impressive selection of balsamic vinegars. Big variety of charcuterie, also.

          Prices are high, and the place can be a zoo. I took Italian visitors there about a month ago because they'd heard a lot about it and were eager to check it out. They couldn't get out of there fast enough. Declared it a tourist trap.

          ETA: Sorry. Didn't realize this was on the Chicago board. I was talking about the one in NYC.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JoanN

            If locals (and a lot of them) buy ingredients there, how is it a tourist trap? I went Saturday and bought an aged prime rib eye to cook, mushrooms to cook, prosciutto, etc. Tourist trap?

            Funny your Italian friends couldn't get out of there (in NYC) fast enough calling that one a tourist trip. The original Eataly is in Italy and Eataly stores are in several cities in Italy. The owner (Batali and Bastanich are just partner investors but not the main owners of Eataly itself) is in Italy.

            1. re: DutchOenophile

              Ha! Reminded me of "The Best of New York" awards from a 2011 issue of New York Magazine. They declared Eataly "Best Tourist Trap That Locals Love Too."

              1. re: JoanN

                I always get my cues from New York Magazine lol

          2. Yes, sorry, talking about the one in Chicago, which recently opened, and is even grander than the NY one. As far as I know, Flay has no involvement, it's Batali and partners.
            http://www.eataly.com/eataly-chicago/

            1 Reply
            1. re: cajungwailo

              I see cajungwallo, did not know they opened in Chicago. I don't know that BF has any business relationship but it's def a foodie magnet. It is a tourist trap but it's really fun.

            2. I visited the NYC one a few times, but just had coffee with friends. Interesting, clean, fun, nice atmosphere... but way overpriced for imported Italian items that you can get online for much cheaper and sandwiches, coffee, food items - you can get better elsewhere.
              It's like a museum... I like to walk around, browse, enjoy, but I wouldn't want to buy :-)

              1. The good...try the gelato. the cheese selection is wonderful. as is the dried pasta selection.
                The bad...It's very busy! And the staff needs a lot more training. They are like deer in headlights.

                1. Thanks to everyone for their courage to check it out early. I'll be there, but I've been waiting until the crazy slows down.

                  1. Husband and co-worker went for lunch Wednesday taking a break from a conference. Had the cheese and salumi assortment and the bread and tomato soup. Both enjoyed it (the co-worker is visiting from Shanghai). Hubby thought the quality was very good. I believe he said it was about 42 dollars total.

                    1. I'm looking forward to going in Chicago but concerned about parking and carrying all those bottled heavy items like olive oil, balsamic, etc.

                      I do wonder what they were thinking deciding to place a retail store in the middle of River North

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MarySteveChicago

                        Parking is not a large issue. They validate for the garage across the street -- free <1 hour; up to 3 hrs for $10 with a minimum $20 purchase at Eataly.
                        https://www.eataly.com/resources/eata...

                        1. re: MarySteveChicago

                          River North is full of retail stores. And I'm pretty sure they were thinking that they'd get a lot of customers there, both locals and tourists (and so far they appear to be right).

                        2. I was just visiting Chicago over the weekend, so we decided to stop in and check it out. Here's my take:
                          There were a lot of really good options and we enjoyed the food we got. It was a little pricey for what we got, but not too bad. Also, pretty crowded, but I imagine that will die down as the hype goes down.

                          However, and maybe this is just my pet peeve: it's all for show. The vast majority of the shops had "for display only" posted over everything. When I go to a bake shop, I expect the baskets of bread to be for sale, not decoration. There were several areas that had this (cheese, meat, etc). It made me feel like I was being sold an image, not a product. Just my take, and I went there with a friend. Probably wouldn't have gone alone.

                          1. Finally got there today (they've been open now about a month). Mid-day, middle of the week, jammed with people, at least a 30-minute wait everywhere, noisy, a total circus. Also not a fan of eating standing up no matter how trendy. My guests and I took a look around and went across the street for a much quieter lunch at reliable Big Bowl. We'll go back to Eataly after the crowd thins. Maybe.

                            1. I'm working my way through their house made pastas and a few of their condimenti and sauces. I really like the ravioli quadrutti (pork, veal, prosciutto & mortadella I think) and the ravioli cacio e pepe (Romano cheese and pepper stuffed). I liked but didn't love the agnolotti del plin (brassato beef and something else) but my SO thought it delicious when I served in homemade brodo (Lynn Rosetto Kaspers recipe from "The Splendid Table"). I wasn't thrilled with the pasta to stuffing ratio but he said he would happily eat a bowl every night for the rest of his life. The tajarin is also excellent. Of the condimenti/ sauces I tried and loved were the Roi brand "pomodori secchi tritati" Or sun dried tomato paste. This stuff is great and will not be limited to pasta dishes. I just moistened it with pasta cooking water and it made a great sauce. I almost never purchase bottled pesto but had a hankering for some and bought a bottle of the Niasca Portofino "pesto ligure" and this stuff is great! A very little goes a long way.

                              1. Just like the NY outpost it is horribly crowded. As Yogi Berra said, "Nobody goes there anymore, its too crowded". Great products and assortments and I'll certainly go again but it is a madhouse is sort of a good way.

                                1. I think this place is fantastic! By myself, with guests from out of town, with friends. What's not to love? They have any kind of dried pasta you can think of. Many, many hand-made fresh pastas too. Fantastic meat and fish department. Many Italian tomato products. Where can you get canned cherry tomatoes or tomato paste with fried onions in it? Just fun. I could go on and on. Every olive oil has origin farm and region info. Nice wine and beer selection. Get there early to eat lunch. Best lasagne. Fantastic agnoletti with butter/lemon sauce. Fun to sit at the salami/cheese counter. Incredible selection of cured meats and cheeses. Go at an off time and enjoy!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mousse

                                    While visiting Chicago at the end of last week, I took a friend for lunch and to browse around with a friend who has never been to an Eataly. I have been to the one in NY several times. Of course, the layout in both was dependent on their reconfiguring existing spaces. I found the Chicago branch to be much more organized and navigable. Maybe we were lucky (it was Thursday afternoon), but it was positively serene compared to my visits in NY, which also include midweek visits. We had lunch in the Pizza/Pasta ristorante and food, wine and service were all excellent. One minor disappointment was in the highly-publicized Nutella bar. They sell and use for dishes they make up there the Canadian version of Nutella for the American market, which probably represents the vast majority of Nutella sold in the US, as compared to the original Italian version which is hard to find (I usually buy it at BuonItalia in Chelsea Market in NYC), which is more expensive. There are threads on this site and elsewhere about comparisons, but I believe the general consensus is that the Italian original is superior in terms of taste, quality of ingredients, etc. No surprise. The disappointment is that Eataly portrays itself as being the purveyor of the best there is in terms of Italian products, but then settles for a lesser product, probably for economic reasons, possibly predicated on the usual customer not knowing/caring/wanting the original. Even the two people working the bar didn't know about the original or that there was a difference. Where did they think it came from? Otherwise- great store, nice visit. Will certainly return on future trips to Chicago and recommend it to my Chicago friends.

                                  2. Just got back from a visit on a Thursday around 11:30 am and it wasn't crowded at all. I thought it was Disneyland for Italian food lovers. Great selection of cheeses, salumis and other meats, pastas, etc. Dining choices looked outrageously good. Unfortunately I could only pick 1 thing to eat and it was bucatini amitriciana at the pasta/pizza bar. It was amazing-as good as any I've had in Italy. The bread was also fantastic. Pizzas out of the wood burning oven looked terrfic.By the time I left it had gotten crowded. Wish I had time for a return visit.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: RevrendAndy

                                      Thanks for posting, I too was there last week to pick up a focaccia for lunch on the way home (its really good stuff) and grab a bottle of olive oil. I sought out some help and Michael (I think I am getting his name right) walked me through an oil tasting that was quite informative and had me taking home something I wouldn't have purchased. A spicy olive oil that went nicely over some grilled chicken and pasta last night as it so happens. Yes its busy and yes it seems like a tourist trap, but I've had a few excellent experiences.