It’s been a long time coming, but Eataly Boston finally opened for business in the city’s Prudential Center in late November. The debut of the three-story, 45,000-square-foot extravaganza of Italian foods, beverages and goods is a perfectly timed and delicious present that foodies around the Hub have been waiting three-plus years for.
The Eataly concept (there are more than 20 others around the world) belongs to founder Oscar Farinetti, but many people probably associate the brand with one of his famous partners, renowned celebrity chef Mario Batali, who was in Boston to open the new space.
“Boston is a real foodie town,” Batali says. “I love the products up here. I think the seafood is remarkable. I think the meat is remarkable. I think the dairy is remarkable. So, it’s an opportunity to really showcase both the Italian ideology of really good food and the local products in a way that we’ve not been able to do before.”
Here’s a small taste of what we love at Eataly Boston, which is home to sit-down restaurants, food counters, bars, fresh production counters, cooking classes, Italian products galore, global wines and much more.
Grab and go
Eataly is located in the Prudential Center’s former food court, but anyone worried about losing a spot for a quick bite to eat has no cause for concern. There are so many counters and stations to pick up something on the fly that the main problem may lie with making a decision.
There’s a rotisserie where you can get a panino made with prime rib or roasted chicken, a creperie with sweet and savory options, and a panetteria (bakery) with fresh-baked breads and pizza. Did we forget to mention the juice bar, cannoli cart and gelato counter?
With seven different retail departments offering more than 10,000 artisanal products, this is nothing short of an upscale food shopper’s paradise. Not only are there cured meats and cheeses from both Italian and local purveyors, but there are also fruit, vegetables, a butcher’s counter, a bakery and dairy products, plus more than 100 varieties of extra virgin olive oil, every imaginable shape of dried pasta (made onsite) and much, much more.
Every Eataly has a theme, and Boston’s is dedicated to the sea. Expect the freshest catches from Island Creek Oysters, Red’s Best, Wulf’s Fish and other New England standouts. Eataly Boston supports sustainable fishing and rewards customers who are willing to try lesser-known, in-season species.
Throughout the marketplace, seafood is highlighted in dishes in the restaurants, tastings in the market, cooking classes and special events throughout the year.
One of Boston’s most acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs, Barbara Lynch (No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, Stir and The Butcher Shop) had a hand in helping to establish the Italian market’s foodie credentials. Early on, Eataly Boston collaborated with the James Beard Award-winning toque to open Il Pesce and its connected raw bar, Il Crudo, in the space. The superstar chef will also teach a selection of classes at La Scuola di Valcucine, the onsite cooking school.
Another famous Eataly partner is noted chef Lidia Bastianich, the mastermind behind the roster of courses and events at La Scuola di Eataly by Valcucine. Learn to shape gnocchi and other tricky pastas, cook regional staples from areas throughout Italy, sample wine for potential pairings and tackle other cooking skills.
In addition to the sessions, a variety of free live demonstrations will be regularly conducted at the school.