It seems the Los Angeles food world has been waiting for Eataly to open for, well, forever. If you’ve visited the locations in New York City, Chicago, Boston or Italy, you’ll understand why. The large-scale Italian marketplaces, which include restaurants, cafes and markets, are like Disneyland for Italian food lovers. Imagine giant rooms full of fresh pasta, bubbly pizzas, rounds and rounds of cheese, baskets full of fresh bread and walls lined with bottles of wine stacked to the ceiling.
The Los Angeles Eataly, in the revamped northeast corner of the Westfield Century City mall, will open — finally — on Nov. 3.
It seems like a fitting time to open a giant space devoted to all things Italian, as the city experiences its own Italian food renaissance, with the opening of Felix, Rossoblu, Cosa Buona, Pizzana and Urban Oven, to name a few of the Italian newcomers.
Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti says he’s been thinking about an L.A. location since opening the first Eataly in Turin, Italy, in 2007. Lidia Bastianich and her son Joe, as well as chef Mario Batali (Joe and Batali are partners in the L.A. Mozza restaurants along with Nancy Silverton), are all partners and collaborators. There are now 13 locations in Italy, four U.S. Eatalys, and multiple iterations around the world for a total of 39. The next U.S. location will be in Las Vegas.
Now that the doors to the 67,000-square-foot, three-level Italian food destination are about to open, here’s what you need to know:
- Eataly is not a food hall. The company has partnerships with different vendors and chefs, but it is responsible for most of the products in the marketplace. Baker Fulvio Marino makes about 10 different kinds of bread using flour he grinds himself (working with Community Grains in California) and a mother yeast for the different restaurants and take-away counters in Eataly. An early walk-through revealed a bakery case full of boules, baguettes, ciabatta and squid ink loaves.
- There are separate counters devoted to butchery, mozzarella cheese (made by Di Stefano Cheese), pizza, fresh pasta and local produce. Eataly will work with restaurants on a rotating basis for one of its counters, and is starting with chef Jason Neroni of the Rose Cafe in Venice to collaborate on L’Orto dello Chef, a counter with salads, grain bowls and juices.
- There are four restaurants, including La Pizza & La Pasta, La PIazza, an as-yet unnamed rooftop restaurant and Il Pesce Cucina, a seafood restaurant by Providence chef Michael Cimarusti and partner Donato Poto. The restaurant is working with the Dock to Dish program that Cimarusti helped set up that promotes the exclusive use of sustainably sourced fish. There are also two cafes and nine take-away counters.
- The Farinettis are particularly excited about panigacci, a flatbread they are importing from Wow Panigacci di Podenza, a bakery in Tuscany. The bread cooks as it sits in a hot terracotta bowl. It ends up looking like a taco, and it’s stuffed with different charcuterie and cheese, or sweets. The flatbread is located at La Piazza, in the main restaurant area, at the back of the market, where you’ll also find a mozzarella station, lasagna station, polpette (meatballs) station, fritto station (fried items) and salumi and cheese.
- There is a Lidia Bastianich cooking school where you can take Italian cooking classes overlooking a view of Santa Monica Boulevard
- This is the first time you’ll be able to eat outside at a U.S. Eataly. As Bastianich put it on a recent visit to the L.A. location: “You have the weather here. We have to take advantage of it.”
- The rooftop restaurant will open “soon” according to Nicola. He promises the 6,000-square-foot space will have both indoor and outdoor seating, a restaurant and bar.
- There is a dairy room downstairs where Homa Dashtaki of White Moustache Yogurt is making yogurt. She makes 288, 8-ounce glass jars a day, which she fills by hand. And she’s experimenting with flavors like carrot; and eggplant garlic.
- For the first time, Eataly will sell American wine. There are 143 American bottles in the market.
- There’s a chocolate counter by the Piemonte company called Venchi, where you can find 50 single-wrapped varieties of chocolate.
Eataly by the numbers
When the market opens, there will be 2,000 imported Italian products, more than 15,000 bottles and cans of Italian soda, more than 100,000 kilos of dry pasta and grain, almost 200 types of Italian olive oil, 30,000-plus bottles of wine, more than 15,000 pounds of salumi and over 30,000 pounds of local and Italian cheeses. The marketplace employs more than 400 people.
Eataly will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the second floor (cafes, gelato, cooking school) and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the third floor (main marketplace). The market will close Nov. 6 for a "reboot" for the staff, then will be open again daily.
10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 310-8000, www.eataly.com/us_en/stores/los-angeles.