My family’s summer bucket list would not be complete without food destinations. That’s how my girls and I found ourselves in the Back Bay one early evening as the city was just beginning to cool off and the commuters were beginning to head home. I’d forgotten how lazy Boston feels in these hours after shopping hours and before the nighttime crowd takes over. We started the night by strolling on Newbury Street and people watching, checking out all the eye candy in the windows and enjoying our time until hunger set in. That’s when we went to Eataly, located in the Prudential Center. Their motto is: Eat. Shop. Learn. And they offer it all in spades.
If you haven’t been, prepare to be overwhelmed, in a good way. My kids’ eyes popped out of their heads upon entering the vast marketplace. We passed counters (a la carte style, take-out or eat-in) selling baked goods, gelato, pizza, and pasta. Between the counters with prepared foods there were deli counters with fresh fish, meat and cheese, shelves of groceries containing both “exotic” and typical items. Fun cooking tools I might not need but want. Eataly is like a Food Fun House. Luckily, it’s fun for the whole family and is very kid-friendly.
Despite wanting to stop and sample something from Eataly’s coffee bar, I focused on focusing the kids. We opted to sit down at the restaurant located directly in the middle of Eataly that serves mainly pizza and pasta.
Luckily, despite the fact that Eataly was bustling at 6pm, we were seated right away. The girls took no time to decide that we would split a margarita pizza and fresh fettuccine with a meat ragu. The waitress brought bread and olive oil and we continued to browse the aisles around us with only our eyes. The creators of this place are brilliant because, as you sit there, temptation lies ten feet away in every direction. Chocolates? Fresh fruit? Loaves of warm bread? It’s nearly impossible to escape without an impulse buy.
Thankfully, our food came in no time and there were smiles all around. The pizza was flavorful and the crust had the right amount of softness with crunch at the edges. The bolognese was also decidedly yummy and the portion was generous.
We were stuffed. But that didn’t stop us from wandering back over to where the dessert counters were. My oldest daughter went for a cheesecake-mousse dessert, and my younger daughter didn’t waste time debating because she is an ice-cream-aholic. Both she and I went for gelato.
As we sat there eating, utterly filled to the brim, we continued to stare at food. It was like we were in a trance. Directly in front of us was the most beautiful, colorful display of fresh fruit that was calling to us. We answered that call by filling a basket with everything from mini-watermelon to peaches and apricots and plums.
Eataly was such a huge hit, we went back the next week. It’s more of an “experience” than your standard restaurant and the offerings are not lost on kids (though for context, mine are 7 and 10yo). I discovered that Eataly also lives up to the “Learn” in their motto; they offer cooking classes, tastings and do wine pairing seminars every week. So grab your husband and kids or a friend and head over to enjoy this fun new venue in Boston! But don’t blame me if you eat / buy too much on your visit.