Have a soft spot for Italian food? Well if you’re a Chicagoan, time to rejoice. With Eataly’s newest location planted in the Windy City, Chicagoans now get a taste of Italia without traveling halfway around the world to do so. With its original locations in New York City, Japan, Turkey, Dubai, and of course its mother country, Italy, Eataly has chosen Chicago as its newest target. Eataly is literally its name; a food heaven to eat the best Italy has to offer. Half marketplace, half restaurant, this double floored Italian emporium is guaranteed to fill both your stomachs and grocery baskets. Stepping through the doors, you’ll instantly have a feeling of beautiful Italia with the smell of sweet wine, the whiff of freshly baked bread, and the rich aroma of cheese all fighting to win your attention, this must be the wonderful feeling of happy confusion. As your eyes and most importantly your mouth, are being pulled in opposite directions, you’ll be hit with the oh so difficult decision of what to do first, eat, drink, or shop. Or even more important, what to eat first? Weighing your options, the first floor has the widely assorted grocery store, but then again, upstairs has 23 restaurants and food counters. Talk about literally taking wine and dine to the next level! Only one appetite but a million temptations, oh why must Eataly make life so difficult? Let me help you out, although the upper level food court is equally tasty, the lines are also equally long. I strongly direct you to the coffee and dessert section, whoever said that starting out with dessert was a crime right? You won’t be disappointed, I know I sure wasn’t. First stop, Nutella, a popular dessert stop for sweet lovers. For other popular goodies, check out our post on all time favorite sweet treats. It’s amazing how Nutella somehow magically makes everything taste better. Cookies, crepes, croissants, muffins, you name it and they will fill it with a thick smooth layer of hazelnut goodness, making ordinary become extraordinary. My personal favorite’s the crepe. The crepe’s just thick and moist enough, but not so thick that it overwhelms the taste of the filling, not something that every place can offer. If Nutella already got you hyper, you’re going to fall in love with La Pasticceria. They’re the definition of why Italians know their desserts. Lining La Pasticceria’s dessert counter is a colorful assortment of cakes, tarts, and other breathtaking goodies, everything that would make a sweets lover jump with excitement. Feeling that sugar high yet? Out of the all the desserts I’ve tasted (And that’s quite a long list), I’ve got to say, La Pasticceria was truly impressive. The intricate designs and glimmering frosting make the cakes look almost a little too pretty to even eat, but of course, only almost. I would be crazy to resist. The two pieces that particularly caught my eye: the Limoncello Cake and the Berry Sponge Cake. Devouring this moist cake goblet, is a layer of sticky and sweet Limoncello glaze. Love at first bite? I believe it was. The moist cake mixed with the zesty sweetness of the glaze, ah, a combination with no complaints. By the last bite, the only complaint you’ll have is why the proportion’s so small. However, one good thing about the small portions, is that you’ll definitely have room for seconds (and no surprise, maybe even thirds). In that case, the Berry Sponge Cake is another must try. Look at that pretty little thing, thin layers of tangy fruit jam mixed with scrumptious layers of berry jelly, all laid perfectly on top of a crumbly cake base. Delizioso! The best part is that La Pasticceria’s pastries aren’t only outer beauty, but the inside is even more beautiful, with the bakery offering gluten, dairy, and sugar free dessert options just in case you’re feeling guilty. Just when all those sweets start pulling at your thirst, hop over to Café Vergnano around the corner, sit down, and enjoy a cup of coffee. Or in this case, stand, which I found was pretty popular around this hot spot. Replicating authentic coffee bars in Italy, Vergnano has high counter tops purposely designed for guests to stand around and immediately consume their coffee after ordering. This way, the coffee can be enjoyed at its best, piping hot and freshly brewed. As a caffeine addict myself, this place surely kept me smiling, with their large menu of espresso shots, Macchiato mixes, and Mocha Lattes, just to name a few. And this is the Café Macchiato, rich in taste, and creamy in texture. The Eataly motto is family tradition, Italian heritage, and the hearty belief that “Food unites us all”. Well, I’m pretty sure they have at least successfully united Chicagoans, seeing the place was still packed during our brutal snowstorms. Most importantly, their belief and attitude reminds us that life was meant to be lived and enjoyed, so sit back, relax, and buon appetito. Grade: A 43 E. Ohio St. Chicago, Illinois 312-521-8700 Nutella: 10am-11pm La Pasticceria: 10am-11pm Café Vergnano: 10am-10pm The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts Wenna Pang A writer and photographer who's in love with new experiences, visual art, and the written word. Born and raised in Chicago, I've also spent time living in New York City, Hong Kong, and traveled throughout various places. A travel enthusiast by heart, I love roaming new places and exploring the people & food that comes with it. As an avid story teller, I love sharing my discoveries, whether it be my latest travel experience or newest food adventure. I truly believe that food is the universal factor that connects all of us, no matter how different we may be in other ways, we cannot deny that there’s at least one thing that we love to eat and that one favorite food magically and unconditionally gives us comfort and pleasure. That feeling is one of the purest forms of happiness and I’d love to share that feeling through my work Latest posts by Wenna Pang (see all) Corn Milk Recipe : How to Milk Corn on the Cob - February 11, 2015 Beef Barley Stew : See what’s Brewing - February 10, 2015 ShuMai Recipe : Have Some Dim-Sum - February 6, 2015 Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Name* Email* Website Comment Current [email protected]* Leave this field empty Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.