I was recently given a tour of Eataly LA, the 67,000-square-foot, three-level Italian culinary destination that opened last November in the Westfield Century City indoor-outdoor shopping mall. Things had quieted down since the hectic opening weekend, when more than 10,000 hungry visitors showed up, some waiting over four hours to get in.
Now, on a weekday afternoon, Eataly was lively, but easy to navigate. As is true of the other four Eataly locations in the U.S. and 39 worldwide, Eataly LA has a lot going on under its very large roof. There’s a marketplace where thousands of Italian imports are sold alongside local produce and artisanal California products. Separate stalls are devoted to fresh pasta made daily in a rotating variety of lengths and shapes; seafood; butchery, and cheese (mozzarella and burrata are made by hand several times a day).
At the olive oil bar, you can pour yourself tastes of several different types of EVOO from copper vats and bottle your favorite to take home. Nearby, bakers pull nearly a dozen different types of bread from a wood-fired oven, some made with a decades-old sourdough “mother.” And around the bend, Il Vino, Eataly’s wine shop, carries more than 1,400 different wines and offers complimentary pours at the tasting bar.
These vendors supply the ingredients, from coffee beans to salami and more, for Eataly’s two cafes, nine take-away counters and three restaurants. A fourth restaurant will be opening soon; a 6,000-square-foot rooftop space with both indoor and outdoor seating that will likely be the best option for group gatherings.
For now, small groups can take part in cooking classes on pasta and pizza making at
La Scuola di Eataly and customized Eatalian Walking Tours can be arranged. Whether you come here solo or with a group, no visit to Eataly would be complete without a stop at Il Gelato, where more than 30 flavors of gelato and sorbet can be enjoyed in a cannoli cone or piped into a bombolone, a freshly fried donut.