With a name that fuses the words EAT and ITALY, you can expect only the best of Italy's food culture offered at this haven of good food in Harajuku, a venue that includes a restaurant, cafe, gelateria, and shop. Italian food is touted as one of the world's tastiest cuisines, well-loved for its simplicity, high quality ingredients, affordability, health benefits, and variety.
The Eataly concept was born in 2002, sketched on a piece of paper by Oscar Farinetti. He wanted an informal, natural, simple place to eat, shop, and learn about high-quality Italian food.
Five years later in 2007, the very first Eataly opened in Torino in a converted vermouth factory. This multifunctional marketplace dedicated to Italian food excellence realized Farinetti's vision of a putting together a school, market, and table to gather around: a place to learn about food, and through food, about life.
Today, Eataly has 40 locations all over the world, including Dubai, Seoul, Stockholm, New York, Istanbul, and Munich. In Japan, Eataly has five branches. I visited the Harajuku branch which boasts of floor to ceiling glass windows and a terrace with cozy sofa seating.
You first walk through shelves of Italian pantry basics, through a deli corner where you can order sandwiches and gelato, catch a glimpse of the bottles of wines on offer, and into the main restaurant area, at the corner of which is a striking silver-tiled oven necessary for making authentic Italian pizzas.
All the stores adhere to Farinetti's original philosophy but have their own unique atmosphere.
Trust a restaurant that declares, We cook what we sell and we sell what we cook. Eataly sources food that is good, clean and fair, a philosophy shared by the Slow Food movement. Eataly's buyers find the best local producers. While almost all the cheeses used in the dishes are imported, the tomato based pasta dish that I enjoyed was topped with cheese sourced from Gunma Prefecture.
On your table, your silverware is placed in a paper holder with this inscribed: Life is too short not to eat and drink well. Certainly a good line to live by.