The celebrity Chef Mario Batali who graces the limelight with his ABC daytime cooking talk show The Chew has found a permanent spot as a household name. The chef who once thought that his destiny lay in the banking world has curved quite an empire for himself. With a net worth that would leave most people’s heads reeling and most women shopping till they dropped, Mario Batali is the kind of chef most chefs wish they could become. His empire that revolves around food, spans from Food Network shows, numerous restaurants and very popular cookbooks.
Mario Batali is a food connoisseur and he makes no secret of the fact that for him, quality product is what sways his decision when it comes to a place to eat. This is the same mantra that he practices in all his restaurants where he elects to give value for money to all his clients. Batali confesses that what he likes is great cooking, but he is not opposed to a fried grouper sandwich whenever he is in Florida. His favorite mantra is that food is best served simply and it is no wonder that this same concept is seen in his restaurants.
Batali’s fans rave about this pizzeria that is a very friendly, which literary means eight (otto) and is situated on 8th Street and, 5th Avenue and is fashioned to resemble an Italian train station. The ambience in this pizzeria is serene and family friendly making it the go-to joint for all the locals. For those who want to know good food in at a restaurant, nothing beats the nod from the locals as they are the ones who are there in good times and bad. Otto has a big space, which means there is always room for more people and the chances of not getting a table are low, even for drop-bys.
When it comes to the menu, the meals are scrumptious, well made and unpretentious. The recommended starter is the housemade charcuterie, which can be paired with any cheese selection and topped with some wine as you go through the menu to see the pizza choices. With their wide selection of pizzas and toppings, you are spoiled for choice. Everyone loves pepperoni and Mario has an amazing pepperoni pie that will make you forget the two months no-wheat diet you are on. Otto is perfect for people in a rush who require a quick snack or a relaxed time as you enjoy the bustle of a crowded train station.
For those who are religious, Rome is the place to be and every person who identifies with the Catholic faith aspires to one day visit this city. Mario Batali has a soft spot for this city and he makes no secret of his love for a city he visits quite often and even has favorite joints where he can enjoy meals or just have a good time. It is no wonder that the food connoisseur chose this incredible city as a theme to open a Roman Trattoria of his own. Lupa, which is just a stone’s throw away from Washington Square Park. The unpretentious, casual eatery whose décor is dimly lit spaces with walls decorated with maps of Rome gives one the feeling of being in a spiritual environment without being too stuffy.
With this sort of ambiance, the full menu of Roman classic foods leaves one spoiled for choice. Does one go for the bavette cacio e Pepe and bucatini all ‘amatriciana or just try everything in the menu until you hit the jackpot? Whatever one settles for, the meals are something else and the experience, especially for travelers, will leave quite an impression. One should not be surprised if they suddenly start making plans for a visit to Rome just to taste the food.
8. Eataly NYC Flatiron
Whenever one is in New York City and is hit by the cravings for Italian food, what better place to pop into than the Eataly? The joint that is a few steps from the Flatiron Building is a divine one stop shop for all things Italian. In here, one gets freshly made pasta and fresh from the sea seafood. After the meal, you can leave with all your grocery with the full length grocery shop housed within the eatery. To whet your appetite, you can stroll through the in-house galleria and several food counters before deciding on the choice of restaurant to eat in as there are not one and not two, but five restaurants to choose from.
For the perfect ambiance, choose the one that sits on the 14th floor and that comes in many shades according to the seasons. It is Baita in winter with enclosed spaces to keep the chill-out. The meals served at this time come from the Italian Alps. In the summer the restaurant changes to Birreria and at this time, the tents are pulled down to allow a more relaxed atmosphere as one sips on some tap wine and enjoys the irresistible view.
7. Del Posto
It is the only Italian restaurant in New York City that has ever been awarded four-stars by the New York Times, which says a lot about Del Posto. Here, style meets comfort and elegance to give you the kind of class that is featured in Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. The hotel that offers a grand two-level dining space, impeccable service with dining areas covered by spotless white tablecloths, Del Posto leaves no doubt that it is one of the most luxurious high-end joints in the Batali empire.
Those with impeccable tastes in wine will be thrilled to witness the wine pairings that are combined with sumptuous menu options giving a truly divine dining experience with no detail left untouched. Their signature dinner meals require prior booking in a place frequented by the who’s who in society and it is the perfect place to bump into your favorite celebrity icon. For those who would like to have a taste of the other side of life, Del Posto has a prix–fixe lunch option that is a three-course meal for only $49. Del Posto is a perfect place to experience class and is the kind of place one takes someone they want to impress because the establishment leaves a lasting impression.
This restaurant is filled with tradition and almost zero change since the day it was first opened. The eatery where food is infused with love and camaraderie is one of Batali’s most beloved restaurants. The cozy little place in the heart of Greenwich Village is full of life and is never short of patrons who come to enjoy the rich ambiance coupled with good Italian food. The best-selling point is the familiarity this place offers with the same maître-d’ overseeing the restaurant since the first day it opened its doors, making the restaurant seem like home.
The number of eager walk-ins who are hoping to find a seat far outnumber the reservations. This is touted as the go-to place whenever one visits Greenwich Village, with great reviews online whenever one makes a cursory inquiry on where to eat while there. Babbo’s impressive wine list will never disappoint and it will be a great way to accompany the scrumptious meals on their elaborate menu from branzino, goose liver ravioli, pork chop, bucatini all’amatriciana, to any of their well-made steaks and special dishes. There is a meal for everyone and not just any meal, but one made to impress.
5. Eatly NYC Downtown
Taking a trip down Lower Manhattan and one is met by the beautiful NYC Eataly joint. The restaurant gives class to the ever-expanding and developing lower Manhattan area and is located in the World Trade Center building. The Eataly is nestled in a superb space that offers unbridled views of the 9/11 memorial and reflecting pool, making it the ideal location for reflection and relaxation or just a place to while the afternoon away as one is caressed by the great aromas that waft from the multiple eateries in the establishment.
The establishment offers a fresh food market, meat, cheese, pasta, and fish counters and even a wine bar if one wants to meet someone in a serene and cool environment. The best place is, of course, the Osteria Della Pace, which will make even the greatest critic bow to Batali’s way of making food seem like a love affair. Osteria offers Italian cuisine that includes ziti alla Genovese with veal ragù and slowly braised onions that just leave one yearning for more and watching their waistline expand without a care in the world. The ambience and style this Eataly brings to lower Manhattan is unrivaled.
4. Babbo Pizzeria
It may have taken longer to get there but after a long time planning it and working out the glitches, finally Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca was opened in April of 2015, effectively bringing the Batali world of class to Boston. Like everything Batali, this restaurant did not disappoint and gave the locals a taste of Italian class coupled with good pizza. The restaurant has classic features like the wood-burning brick oven that is used to make Neapolitan-style pizza, which is a favorite of the locals, as well as gelati, and pasta. These sumptuous meals can all be enjoyed with a prior booking, but there is always space for walk-ins.
The open spaces that are well lit offer a great ambience with a community proximity in the dining area that makes it a friendly place for family dinners or pizza runs. The menu that includes Neapolitan-style pizzas, Spaghetti Alla Chitarra served with crab, lemon and breadcrumbs, and Crispy Duck Agrodolce served with Favetta leaves. One spoiled for choice as they are all scrumptious and affordable. The joint has three bars. One for dining, another one for pizza and another one for antipasti and cocktails. And the best part, all these bars come in Carrara marble countertops.
For those formal dinners, nothing says formal like Manzo. This Eataly offers one a formal dining experience and is perfect for those business dinners and a perfect way to land a deal. The Eataly that celebrates meat sourced all over the US by Pat Lafrieda, the celebrated NY purveyor. This is a guys-guy kind of restaurant and works more like a power-play ring. The place is located near the marble-countered butcher or Macelleria and offers traditional Piemontese beef dishes and modern Italian dishes.
The chefs cook every part of the animals, from the tongue to the cheek with no wastage, which gives one the impression that this is a small Italy in the heart of the US. As is the Batali signature, Manzo provides quality food with a complete dining experience. Like all of Batali’s restaurants, Manzo also provides the signature Batali mantra of quality service and quality food. Plus you get an amazing dining experience that does not dwell on the meat alone but rather embraces pasta, antipasto, and main courses that are topped by mouth-watering desserts to make it a wholesome eating experience that is as unforgettable as the atmosphere within.
2. La Sirena
The name itself betrays the ambience and serenity of this joint. The Eataly is nestled on the Plaza Level of the storied Maritime Hotel and is considered one of the best Batali restaurants of all times, having been opened after almost a decade of no new openings of the Batali restaurants. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful space that comes with curvilinear pavers inspired by the 1960’s, as well as walls curved that are clad in quartz made by Caesarstone. There is a 38-foot marble bar that bisects the grand patio, thus connecting the intimate south and north dining rooms.
The formal dining room offers Michelin starred menus that represent the Italian Peninsula. Like everything Batali, this restaurant is all Italian and follows the traditional Italian dining style, starting with antipasti, then the past that includes lasagna al pesto, layered with fresh pasta, golden potato with béchamel and followed by secondi. The unique dining experience is never complete without a healthy topping of seasonal desserts courtesy of the Pastry Chef Thea Habjanic. This unique Eately offers two great dining experiences. The tapas bar housed in the barroom has meals served on small plates and are paired with cocktails and wine, making the place ideal for both families and couples who just want a day out.
1. Eataly Chicago
No dining experience is complete without a trip down to Chicago. The Eataly that is located in Macerich’s, which are the popular shops situated at the North Bridge on Michigan Avenue. The Chicago Eataly is a perfect go-to place for the foodies and the pizza lovers of Chicago and out of towners who want to experience a bit of Italy, and let’s face it, perfectly made pizza.
The Eataly is around 63,000 square feet and offers visitors an unforgettable experience with seven boutique eateries and retail counters that include fish, meat, fresh pasta, chocolate and pastry, cured meats and cheese, Lavazza and Vergnano; two coffee bars. Also a Nutella corner and a bakery that includes sweets, jams, and spreads; over 100 olive oils that are nestled under an olive tree, condiments and dry pasta, a bookstore, a housewares section, vino libero, a wine bar and store. Not to mention a microbrewery, assorted private event spaces, a cooking school, and so much more. The Chicago Eataly is the kind of walk-in shop for all spaces that most people dream of but only experience once and with the sort of service and scrumptious meals offered, it is definitely a must visit the location.