When you go to Eataly in Toronto, a luxury Italian food hall newly situated in the upscale Yorkville ‘hood, knowing how to navigate crowds and having a flexible plan is essential. Especially if you go hungry (which I always am).
A veritable foodie amusement park, Eataly is 50,000 square feet and 3-storeys of restaurants, cafés and bars serving everything from creamy gelato and fresh pasta to massive wheels of cheese and gooey slices of pizza.
Sounds amazeballs, right? The problem is that there is only so much real estate available in your stomach. How do you choose what to eat? Where do you even start?! These decisions become increasingly impossible as time passes and your hanger mounts.
Don’t worry. I have all the solutions to this particular problem. Read on…
Having decided to go to Eataly in Toronto for our annual holiday dinner, Cherry we trekked to this paradise of Italian delights on a Tuesday night at 7pm. It was packed! On a Tuesday! Who goes out on a Tuesday?! It takes a lot of
pasta mental preparation to drag me away from my cozy spot on the couch in front of Netflix on a Tuesday.
Ready and raring to dig into fresh pasta, we beelined to La Pizza & La Pasta, a laid-back space in Eataly in Toronto with a pizzeria on one side and a pasta kitchen on the other. We were informed that the wait for a table would be 1 hour and 40 minutes 😫 How the heck were we going to survive that excessive wait time??
After putting our names on the list, we realized that the key lay in adjusting our eating schedule to that of a hobbit – Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner and Supper.
That may seem
masochistic ambitious to some but we like a good challenge.
Mo’ meals, mo’ problems…fitting into pants.
If you knew how Cherry and I ate our way through Montreal, you won’t be surprised that our solution was to eat multiple meals.
If you’re dying to eat at Eataly in Toronto but shudder at the prospect of long lines and wait times, here’s how we survived it despite being ravenously hungry:
Dinner To-Go, to stay
I was so hungry that I was afraid that my stomach was going to eat itself and I’d be reduced to all boobs and butt (as if that wasn’t the case already🤫😆).
We high-tailed it to Trattoria To-Go, a grab-and-go counter dishing out traditional Italian specialties, for first dinner.
From a spread of contorni, salads and roasted meats we both opted for the classic meatballs swimming in tomato sauce, a hearty Tuscan bean stew and garlic rapini (because you have to get your greens in somewhere).
Browse the market
Now that we were at least partially satiated, we could think straight. We wandered the market at Eataly in Toronto, perusing imported bottles of extra virgin olive oils and ancient balsamic vinegars, man-handled fresh produce and eased around boxes of panettone (Italian sweet bread loaf) that were piled precariously high.
Curate a charcuterie board
Evidently browsing shelves upon shelves of sliced meats and cheese in the a formaggi e salumi section of Eataly in Toronto, we worked up an appetite (again). It was time for second dinner.
Snagging a package of the fattiest prosciutto we could find, a container of firm and flavourful Cerignola olives and a tub of rich knots (nodini) of cheese, we set up camp at one of the marble high top tables with bottles of Alchemy kombucha.
Not going to lie – this was probably my favourite “meal” of the night. Considering how delicious everything else was, that’s really speaking to the quality of food to be found at Eataly inToronto.
take a caffeine break
At this point, your stomach may be pleading “uncle.” Fair. If you’re not accustomed to eating as frequently (or abundantly) as we are, then give your belly a break at Il Gran Caffe. It’s a coffee shop on the ground floor of Eataly in Toronto where you can nibble on pastries or nurse a piping hot espresso with vintage travel posters as an atmospheric backdrop.
eat all the pasta
It was time. Our table was finally ready at La Pizza & La Pasta. We didn’t even bother with a cursory glance at the appetizers menu.
We had a one-track mind: Pasta. Fresh, dry, tomato sauce, pesto, twirly noodles, stabby pasta… JUST GET IN MY BELLY!
While the server tempted us with the house favourites – the Spaghetti al Pomodoro and the pork and veal stuffed agniolotti with truffle – we knew what we wanted. We had ample preparation time – exactly 1 hour and 40 minutes of it.
From the dry pasta menu, we ordered the Bucatini all’Amatriciana while selecting the crowd-pleasing Tagliatelle all Bolognese from the fresh pastas.
After we ordered, we decided to take a Lady and the Tramp style photo to post to our joint IG account (@teriandcherry) that we started for shits and giggles. Arranging my iPhone on a makeshift tripod of the cheese and olives containers, I used a bluetooth remote to take some test shots of us looking relatively respectable.
When the pasta arrived we grabbed either ends of a noodle, preparing for what was supposed to be an adorable photo. Right at that moment, a herd of servers suddenly converged at a station inconveniently located next to our table. Wanting as few witnesses to our IG shame, we attempted to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Or at the least as inconspicuous as you can be while casually holding a length of noodle like you’re about to play some deliciously saucy game of jump rope.
As you can see, we ended up with some hilarious(ly ugly) gems:
You could say that we failed to get a single good shot while also arguing that they are all fantastic photos of us. Or at the very least, accurate depictions.
Towards the end of our meal, a women that had been dining at a nearby table approached us as she was leaving and said “I really enjoyed your Lady and the Tramp moment.” Busted! I guess cackling like maniacs didn’t help us be fade into the background.
indulge your sweet tooth
You thought we were done, huh? But I never forget dessert.
If you subscribe to the philosophy that there’s always room for dessert, head over to the gelato counter at Eataly in Toronto. Angst between a variety of traditional Italian flavours such as bacio (a mix of hazelnut and chocolate), dulce de leche and tiramisu.
Right next door is Il Cannolo Siciliano, a build-your-own cannoli bar (!). Crunchy shells are filled with your choice of ricotta, jam then rolled in your choice of toppings.
As much as I love eating, I hate long lines and crowds that stand in between me and a full belly. Obviously I don’t expect everyone to be able to consume as gluttonously as Cherry and I can but if you plan on going to Eataly in Toronto, these are some delicious ways to while away the excessive wait times.
If you’ve been following my IG stories, you’ll know that I spent New Year’s Eve in Montreal. While you wait for a post on the culinary adventures I had on my last visit there, check out how Cherry and I ate through the city the last time.
Keep your stalking game strong and follow me @teriaki if you aren’t already!