restaurants
Eataly
200 Fifth Avenue
212 229 2560

The irony of Mario Batali's Eataly is that it's really a feast for your eyes. And not so much your stomach. Fans will tell you that it's five (really six) restaurants, but don't let the rave reviews confuse you. Do you really want to go to a restaurant that serves only fish, or only vegetables, or only meat, and oh by the way, you have to go back to the entrance for your coffee and get in another line for your dessert. That unbalanced diet proposition is Eataly. To make matters worse, five of the spots, Le Verdure, Il Pesce, La Pasta and La Pizza, La Piazza, Manzo carry staggering waits. (On a Tuesday night, 1.5 hours for the pasta spot.) And if heaven forbid, your hostess seats you in fish instead of vegetable (yes they're all cafeteria style), you get yelled at. Now fans of the other Batali experiences will rave about the roast meats and we had a pesto lasagna our dining neighbours had apparently three nights in a row. But once you're over not having to pre-book Babbo, and paying $19 for a plate of salad bar- like grilled vegetables, and you've walked the Fairway- like maze of cookbooks, aprons, cheese, pasta and deli counters, you've seen it. Best bets are the wine bar (several delicious proseccos are just $9) where you can also get a charcuterie plate, and the tiny espresso bar midway, which is not as crowded with tourists as the Lavazza area upfront.

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