Want an authentic Italian experience? There’s no need to book a flight to Italy—you can go right here in Los Angeles.
Eataly is the largest Italian retail and dining experience in the world, and luckily for Angelenos, there’s one right in our backyard. The purpose of Eataly is to spread culture through food from Italy’s 20 various regions. Since Italian businessman and founder Oscar Farinetti first opened Eataly Torino in 2007, Eataly has grown to dozens of stores across the world. They include two locations in New York City (the U.S. flagship in Flatiron and another in Downtown), Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Dallas (opening in 2020).
Eataly Los Angeles has been at Westfield Century City since 2017, and the 67,000-square-foot, four-level space boasts seven unique food counters, three restaurants and bars, two cafes, and a large market space that offer authentic Italian food. At the coffee shops, you can find fresh pastries, cannoli and bomboloni filled with cream or jam made every morning. There’s also a cooking school and a gelateria, as well as a supermarket and a warehouse.
“We are a storytelling business,” says Chef Denis Dello Stritto, head of culinary for North America at Eataly. “We get to know every farmer, every producer of the products we sell. We even bring flour all the way from Italy to keep the overall flavor and technique, so we can be part of the message.”
There are many unique concepts at Eataly Los Angeles that constantly change up their menu offerings. There’s an Italian panini counter, a build-your-own salad bar, and a Roman-style pizza alla pala counter. La Pasta Fresca is the newest addition to Eataly’s range of unique eateries. The concept, which made its debut in September, is a fast, casual house-made pasta bar. It offers authentic pasta dishes with wine pairings that are cooked to order in just a few minutes.
La Pasta Fresca’s menu has six authentic pasta dishes—five classics and one daily rotating special. You can find Italian classics like Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, long egg pasta ribbons with a classic meat ragù sauce typical of Bologna; Chitarra con Pomodorini Freschi from Abruzzo, pasta with tomatoes, garlic and pepper or chiles; and Casarecce alla Trapanese from Sicily, a scroll-pasta typically made with pesto. Eataly also has lesser known offerings like the Mafaldine al Pesto made with basil sauce from Liguria.
La Pasta Fresca may be all about fast and casual meals, but that doesn’t mean that they skimp on their pasta. All of the pasta used at La Pasta Fresca comes from Eataly’s own fresh pasta counter. Diners can watch as the pastai (a.k.a. pasta makers) mix, knead, cut and form each pasta shape.
The pastai use locally sourced eggs and imported flour straight from Italy for their pasta. The “grano duro” semolina flour is certified organic and is produced by Molino Grassi, an Italian mill founded in Emilia-Romagna in 1934. The dishes are then carefully garnished, filled and sauced with authentic ingredients from Eataly’s marketplace, including but not limited to Parmigiano Reggiano DOP and Grana Padano DOP, Mutti cherry tomato sauce, Italian prosciutto and house-made mozzarella.
Since Eataly also believes in working with local farmers, La Pasta Fresca also uses bits of California touches that can also be seen throughout the menu. There’s freshly caught shrimp, as well as locally grown zucchini and eggplant. All pastas are under $20 and served with freshly made rustic bread.
Chef Dello Stritto, who is originally from Caiazzo, Italy, says, “Our goal at any Eataly is to use the highest quality of ingredients and to respect the ingredients, so we change the menu four, five times a year just to keep up with the seasonality, since Italian food is all about using the freshest ingredients. Luckily, we don’t have any challenge to that, as California has a very similar weather to Italy that allows us to easily source produce and seasonal items most of the year.”
Eataly carries brands from purveyors big and small. Just in tomatoes, they have 40 different varieties of preserved tomatoes that they use in their dishes.
“Each brand, I see the face of the guy behind it. I know their family. Today what started as a group of a few producers from Italy is now an international affair. These small producers are all over the world because Eataly grows with these brands. Many of these purveyors in Italy only work with us, so Eataly is the only place you can find some of these brands,” Dello Stritto says proudly.
Eataly Los Angeles is located in Century City at 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067.