I love food. I mean, who doesn't? But, I would definitely consider myself a bit of a foodie as I love to try new foods everywhere I go. Even though going different places and trying things I've never tried before is one of my great loves, I will always be loyal to one of my hometown favorites - Eataly in Chicago, IL. Eataly is one of my favorite restaurants in the city because there are so many fresh and authentic Italian options that they have to offer. It's an amazing place for lunch if you order a charcuterie board and some wine or if you visit for dinner and order some braised beef or fresh fish of the day. This restaurant also has a special place in my heart because during my years of college, I would meet my mom once a week here to catch up and eat some great food. In this post, I'll be sharing my favorites on the Eataly menu (even though most of it is pasta).
To start off your meal, my favorite drink to order is some type of Italian soda. My newest favorite is San Pellegrino's Aranciata as it is refreshing and light but is a little bit more unique than a lemonade or iced tea. The San Pellegrino Lemonata is similar but has a light lemon flavor instead of blood orange. In terms of alcoholic beverages, ask your server what wine might be good with the dish you are ordering (they know all about the right pairings). I'm more of a rosé and white wine girl myself, but they have tons selections for every type of wine drinker.
For appetizers, my absolute favorite to order is the burrata. The burrata is a ball of mozarella cheese with a creamier and sweeter mozarella inside (I mean, what's not to love!). Eataly makes their own mozzarella in house, so the burrata is always fresh and incredibly delicious. I also ask to order roasted tomatoes or roasted red peppers with the burrata for a more well-rounded app. Sometimes I also ask for pesto with it, as the nutty flavor of the pesto works so well with the sweet taste of the burrata. You can then eat the burrata by itself or with the bread that was already brought to the table. Another Eataly appetizer that I love is a charcuterie board with prosciutto, sopressata, and cheeses of the day. It's a saltier and less filling appetizer than the burrata, so maybe take your entrée into account for a more balanced meal.
Main Course + Dessert
Now for my favorite part - the main course. Eataly has so many amazing entrées that are all made fresh with traditional Italian ingredients. Eataly has several different areas to sit down and eat at that all offer different types of entrées and specials, so I recommend walking around and looking at the menu boards to see what is available that day. My favorite place to sit down at is the section that serves mostly pizza and pasta, as those are my favorite variety of entrées to order at Eataly. My go-to pasta orders are the Cacio e pepe, Spaghetti with Braised Pork, or the Rigatoni with Spicy Marinara. What they have available varies, but you really can't go wrong with any of their pasta dishes.
For dessert, I usually order a small cappuccino at the coffee bar or a freshly made piece of tiramisu from the dessert bar. Overall, if you visit Chicago and want Italian food with lots of options and fresh ingredients, make a stop at Eataly for a memorable meal.