Eataly NYC Cheese

Solo Dining NYC: La Pizza La Pasta at Eataly NYC

Posted on Posted in Dessert, New York, Restaurants

Solo dining is either embraced or feared.  I decided a long time ago to embrace it and look at it for what it is – I’m hungry and am allowed to eat, by myself, alone at a table and enjoy my meal just like the couples and groups around me.  I really don’t care what other people think about me alone – they can feel sad, pity or jealousy, that’s their emotion not mine.  Rather than hide in the hotel with room service (not that I haven’t before), I try to explore the new city and food is part of the exploration.  So ditch the book (I play a game or two on my phone sometimes) and immerse yourself in the restaurant experience – watch the people, the servers, the action – make up stories of people at tables, interact with the staff or the table/person next to you – have fun, enjoy the food and make it part of your story – the story of your travels.  Just don’t eat and run to hide – you have every right to eat at the restaurant and “Table for One” should not be a bad thing.

New York City – Eataly NYC

My friend Mindi of 2FoodTrippers mentioned the Italian Market, Eataly NYC, a mecca of fresh foods with seven restaurants.  The concept is that the various departments of the entire market are there for you to enjoy on the spot or to go.  Their motto is “eat better, live better”. The restaurants are next to their speciality area – fish, meat, pasta & bread, produce, cheese, panini, rotisserie with takeaway, counter seats and tables. There are also cafes too – gelato, coffee, desserts and a rooftop bar!  It sounded solo friendly with many options so I figured I’d give it a try.

Eataly NYC Cheese
Pick a cheese, any cheese – too much choice at Eataly NYC

So, I’m in New York, it’s a Saturday night at 7:30 and normally this would be a trifecta of “no table available until 10pm” or a great reason to do room service. However, my hotel, 70 Park, did not have room service or a restaurant on site so I had to forage and jumped into a cab to Eataly NYC, located at 200 Fifth Avenue between 23rd & 24th streets.  The sidewalk was abuzz with people going in/out of the market.  I entered on the wrong side of the market for a hungry person – gelato and pastries.  Tempted to just eat cake and sorbet for dinner, I quickly walked through the crowds to the heart of the market and it was packed with people all enjoying themselves in conversations, laughter and wine – just as it should be on a Saturday night.

Eataly NYC La Pizza La Pasta
Inside La Pizza La Pasta at Eataly NYC

With pasta and pizza in mind, I approached the hostess stand  of La Pizza La Pasta with a bit of apprehension as the couple ahead was told “an hour or so wait”.  So with my “do you have space for one?” query, I was happy to hear “sure, about ten minutes” so I milled about the area waiting and watching.  My beeper went off and I was shown to the last seat at the counter with a view of the open kitchen.  On my right was the kitchen pickup area for the servers, I was overwhelmed with amazing pasta choices coming from the kitchen and didn’t even have my menu yet.

Eataly NYC Pasta
Eataly NYC Pasta on my right – I had to stop looking right!

When I sat down, the woman on my left (also solo) offered me pizza.  The woman on her left (also solo) as well as the waiter all chided me to have some pizza.  So while you shouldn’t take candy from strangers, it’s ok to have pizza!  This offer actually solved two dilemmas – one I wasn’t sure if I should order pizza or pasta, and two, would I have anyone to talk to during dinner.  My dinner friend was a local having dinner after shopping while waiting for her husband. As I was visiting for the travel show, the topic, of course, turned to travel.  Everyone loves to talk travel -where they’ve been, what they’ve seen and where they are going (or dreaming of next).

Eataly NYC La Pizza La Pasta Kitchen
Eataly NYC La Pizza La Pasta Kitchen view from counter seat

My free slice of margherita pizza was tasty – fresh mozzarella with the right amount of sauce and a doughy crust.  That one slice satisfied my pizza craving.  Having looked at the special board during my wait, I already knew that I wanted the truffle gnocchi but I let the waiter give me the menu to further confuse me as all different pastas kept showing up on my right side that I wanted to identify.  As I love gnocchi (really who doesn’t?), I ordered the special with a glass of Italian red wine.

Eataly NYC pizza and bread
Eataly NYC – pizza and bread

A fresh chunk of bread was delivered to me wrapped in the Eataly paper with fresh olive oil to dip.  I wasn’t quite done the bread when my gnocchi showed up and it looked fantastic!  One bite and I was smiling in the land of carbs. Service was friendly and quick and despite the people waiting, I never felt rushed to leave.

Eataly NYC Truffle Gnocchi
Eataly NYC Truffle Gnocchi – just sublime (that’s a foodie word, right?)

 

Eataly NYC pasta, bread, wine
Eataly NYC – a fabulous meal

After dinner was finished, my new friend and I said “goodbye” as I wandered (beelined it) for the desserts (I know it’s really a problem).  With so many choices (thankfully, no calories were posted), I settled on two items (they were small)- a panna cotta (my new favorite dessert) shot and a small gluten free sponge cake with fruit (somehow, convincing myself that this was a healthy choice).

Eataly NYC desserts
Eataly NYC desserts – I picked pretty with fruit (pretty should never trump chocolate!)
Eataly NYC Panna Cotta
Eataly NYC Panna Cotta – yummy!

 

Eataly NYC dessert
Eataly NYC dessert – it was the pretty one, sadly it wasn’t tasty and I had to throw it out! No dessert deserves to be trashed!

 

With my takeaway boxes, I joined the buzz of people on the sidewalk and with the cool night, walked back uptown to my hotel.   It was a great meal with good conversation and a food/travel memory that was much better than room service.

Empire State building at night
Walking back to the hotel, I had a great view of the Empire State building

Do you have any favorite solo dining memories in New York City? Any wonderful restaurants to recommend to others visiting New York City?

 

2 thoughts on “Solo Dining NYC: La Pizza La Pasta at Eataly NYC

  1. Hi thanks for the great pics and info on La Pizza La Pasta. We are heading to NYC in October and will have to check this place out. Happily my husband will be with me, but even if he wasn’t, I wouldn’t be “afraid” to go and eat alone. I gave up feeling weird about that a long time ago. I live to travel with and without my husband, thus I have learned not to think abut what people think. Like you said, that’s their issue. I go and have fun even by myself. Thanks for the great post and pics.

    1. Samantha – So many great places in NYC and October is a great time to visit the city. Have fun! A few of my favorites – Baked By Melissa cupcakes, Bouchon Bakery at Rockefeller Center, Davio’s Manhattan, Friedman’s Lunch and Pennsylvania 6. New finds include The Smith and Rare

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