On Friday, Nov. 3, Eataly Los Angeles celebrated its much anticipated grand opening in Westfield Century City. This location is the first Eataly branch on the West Coast, with other American locations in New York City, Boston and Chicago.
Upon arrival, visitors were handed maps to navigate the massive three-story Italian food emporium. Food stalls with a variety of olive oils, cheeses, breads, gelato and wines surrounded the 67,000-square foot space.
Eataly, a global chain with locations from Istanbul to Seoul, is known as the largest Italian food hall, cooking school and restaurant in the world. The New York Times describes Eataly, created by Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti, as a “megastore” that “combines elements of a bustling European open market, a Whole Foods-style supermarket, a high-end food court and a New Age learning center.” It offers local products from farmers across California as well as high-end Italian products.
Eataly Los Angeles boasts nine food stalls, four restaurants, two cafes and two bars. The four restaurants are La Pizza & La Pasta, La Piazza, Il Pesce Cucina and a yet-to-be-opened rooftop restaurant. Il Pesce Cucina is a seafood restaurant run by chefs Michael Cimarusti and Donato Poto.
While the second-floor marketplace contains over 10,000 items for sale, the first floor holds a coffee shop, a gelato area. a yogurt-making station and a cooking school by Lidia Bastianich,
Eataly Los Angeles is also the first location that offers outdoor seating.
At the mozzarella lab, chefs intricately prepare the cheese by hand in front of all the guests to try. Made every day with whole milk from local dairies, the tenderness of Eataly’s mozzarella is unparalleled. The butchers cut the cheese with enthusiasm, shouting out phrases in Italian to excite patrons.
The cooking school offers classes on how to recreate beloved Italian dishes. Some upcoming events include “Back to Basics: Gnocchi alla Sorrentina,” “Hands-On Egg Pasta” and “Back to Basics: Lasagna alla Bolognese.”
The main attraction of the marketplace is the pizza alla pala, also known as a traditional Roman-style pizza. It is made with a long-fermented dough that is hand-shaped and hand-stretched and baked directly on the stone floor of an oven heated to 580 degrees Fahrenheit.
It might have taken three years for Eataly Los Angeles to finally open, but the wait was well worth it.
Originally published in Daily Trojan.