Very recently, I was walking through the very calm streets around Madison Square Park. I made my way over to Fifth Avenue from the East Side and entered a black door. I felt a little like I had stumbled to the other side of the wardrobe. In fact, I was hit head-on by the bustle of the indoor mega marketplace known as Eataly. After taking several minutes to orient myself, I began to scope it out. I was meeting my friend for a coffee and was looking around for the best place to sip and chat. Distractions, however, met my gaze at every turn. Unique products, fresh groceries, cheese galore, amazing looking produce, a vegetable butcher (!), crusty bread, coffee, gelato, a piazza with a restaurant and much, much more.
As I walked around, my stomach began to growl and when my friend finally arrived, we both realized that neither of us had yet eaten lunch: how serendipitous! We headed for the aptly named restaurant, La Pizza and Pasta. BELIEVE THE HYPE! The pasta was brilliant. It was exactly what you would get in Italy: simple, fresh, al dente pasta bursting with subtle flavors. Perfection. I had the spaghetti al pomodoro while my friend had the penne Napoli (with tomato, mozzarella and basil). Both were incredible. I can’t wait to go back. And it doesn’t hurt that the gelato and sorbetto were spot on either. I had the vanilla pear sorbetto…yum! (Of course I got a photo of dessert but not the pasta).
La Pizza & Pasta – Eataly
200 Fifth Avenue (near 23rd)