I feel like I'm giving away all my Manhattan secrets this year. Although, in all fairness I'm not sharing anything that isn't public knowledge for those who call the city home. For example, everyone from here to Timbuktu knows that the Magnolia Bakery is legendary. They know the Doughnut Plant is the place to go for the best late night fix for baked goods. They also know the Peninsula rooftop bar is a good location for falling in love with the city all over again on a beautiful summer's night.
But when it comes to pasta in Manhattan, it seems everyone has their own personal favourite and I've had at least three dozen places recommended to me over the years from people that swear this place or that will change my life and perception of Italian food.
Now it should be said that I went to University in Florence, Italy and travelled the country from top to bottom while there. So when it comes to Italian food, I know a thing or two. Just ask my love handles - they're filled with spaghetti, linguini, penne and lasagne. Oh yes, I nearly gained a whole new person after moving to Italy. I'm a fan of pasta and all the beautiful shapes it's sold in.
Now down to business. People, Eataly is where it's at in Manhattan. Yes, it's sort of like a chain Italian restaurant. They have a location in New York, one in Chicago and there are talks of future Eataly sites opening in the United States (sadly no talk of London yet). I can feel daggers being thrown my way at even suggesting a chain of stores as a location where pasta is worth travelling for. I'm not telling you it's everyone's cup of tea, but for me it's the best ravioli I've had this side of Tuscany.
I sat down for lunch with one of my besties in the city and we devoured our Four cheese ravioli faster than a speeding bullet. It was placed down in front of us and moments later even our waiter looked surprised, as he came back to refill our wine, to find we had nearly licked the bowl upon completion. Yes, it is that good. The pasta is certainly filling and the portion size generous, so we did have a bit of a tummy ache from scarfing it all down too quickly. I found myself wishing I had worn Joey's Thanksgiving pants so I could have eaten a few more bowls. Damn those skinny J Brand jeans (but bless them for that little bit of stretch that saved the day in the end).
If you're in Manhattan, give Eataly a go. It's great for the food on offer, the food for sale and the fantastic atmosphere found within. Think Italian market meets fine dining and lots of good looking men shoved here, there and everywhere for eye candy. Enjoy!
200 Fifth Avenue
Tel: 212 229 2560