Eataly in Century City is open, worth the wait

| November 30, 2017 | 0 Comments

MAYOR GARCETTI helped officiate at the Eataly opening and brought home some groceries for dinner at Getty House in Windsor Square.
Photos by Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for Eataly

There are a lot of lines at Eataly, the newly opened, hotly anticipated Italian food hall and marketplace in the Westfield Century City Mall. Once inside, there are more lines: lines to buy freshly made burrata at the cheesemonger’s; lines for Italian street food at La Piazza, one of three restaurants contained in the two-story, 67,000 square-foot hall. (Terra, a fine dining restaurant, will open soon as the fourth.)

My husband and I arrived at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, hoping to beat the post-work rush, only to join a 100-person queue. Amazingly, it only took 15 minutes before it was our turn to enter the emporium. To help with planning, Eataly offers a Line-O-Meter on its Twitter account (@eatalyla), where a perky pepper, ranging from mild green (walk right in!) to the daunting chili (come back tomorrow!) provides a helpful real-time guide.

Fifth Eataly in U.S.

Oscar Farinetti opened the first Eataly in Torino, Italy in 2007, wanting to establish the essence of Italy, with all her regional bounty, under one roof. The concept took hold and rapidly expanded worldwide to 39 stores. Eataly L.A. is the fifth to open in the U.S.; all U.S. stores are partnerships with Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Bastianich (the first two, along with Nancy Silverton, are the team behind the Mozza restaurants). Eataly is a brand with a pedigree.

Food cred aside, in a city rife with farmers’ markets, food halls such as Grand Central Market and the soon-to-be-completed Edin Park on Beverly, and food truck kingdoms such as Sunday stalwart Smorgasburg, is there a need to drive all the way to Century City to battle the lines at Eataly? Yes, actually, there is.

No place else in the city concentrates on all things Italian: imported and homemade pastas, giant wheels of crumbly Parmigiano Reggiano, luscious salumi, fresh produce, whole fish, slabs of heavily marbled meats, cans of San Marzano tomatoes, Italian wines (and a respectable sampling from California), olive oils, stylish kitchen appliances (such as a SMEG pastel green juicer), Italian restaurants and food stands, and cooking classes.

Star chefs

Unless one works in Century City, this is not a place to grab a loaf of bread and hunk of stracchino. Come to spend an evening sampling wines and olive oils, sharing lasagna and Sicilian pizza. Or try one of the made-to-order salads fashioned by a revolving array of L.A.’s star chefs, including Rose Café’s Jason Neroni and Redbird’s Neal Fraser. Or one can indulge in a plate of crudo and a glass of Verdicchio at Michelin two-star Chef Michael Cimarusti’s Il Pesce Cucina, followed by an espresso and a lemon curd bombolini from Caffe Vergnano. Of course, one shouldn’t go home empty-handed, and a stop at the various market stalls to select pork loin, gorgonzola and handmade ravioli is almost impossible to resist.

LOCAL CHEF Michael Cimarusti, of Providence, has an outlet in the new Eataly emporium.

For the complete Italian experience, all that’s missing is a showing of Fellini films and a travel agent to book your trip to Emilia-Romagna. Eataly is just plain fun. And delicious, to boot. Just check the Line-O-Meter before you go!

Besides, this may be the only food emporium in town with a commitment to a greywater system to recycle water, which reduces the amount of drinkable water used to flush toilets by up to 33 percent. And one has to love the fact that they have a nine-item manifesto, including, “We’re in love with food!” and “Food unites us all!” Now that’s amore!

Eataly L.A., 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., 213-310-8000,

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By Helene Seifer

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Category: Entertainment

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