“Entering Eataly, a mélange of Italian cookery aromas delight the senses.”
With the arrival of gourmet Italian food hall Eataly and its French counterpart, Le District, locals in the neighborhood now have access to some of the best dining and marketplace shopping in the city.
Eataly's outpost on the third floor at 4 World Trade Center, the company's second New York City location, boasts 40,000 square feet of Italian delights. Much like its highly popular original emporium in the Flatiron District, which was opened just over five years ago by Oscar Farinetti, Mario Batali, and Lidia and Joe Bastianich, it includes to-go options and fine dining restaurants, as well as fresh and dry products. Entering Eataly, a mélange of Italian cookery aromas delight the senses with hints of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, fresh truffles, and Napoli-style pizza just out of the oven. The market is bustling with shoppers hunting for their favorite fusilli pasta or white sturgeon caviar, and others are lounging by the gelato bar or sipping espresso. A few steps away, guests are busy buying panini and pizzas to go for lunch.
“We want Le District to first and foremost be a place for the neighborhood residents, and they're going to sometimes need certain products for which there is no readily available French substitute. Our goal is always to be inclusive rather than exclusive.”
The epicurean options at Eataly are not only high in quality but incredibly diverse. In addition to the huge assortment of Italian kitchen staples on offer, from panettone to arrabbiata sauce to pastas (gluten-free and kosher options included), Eataly houses an excellent collection of cookbooks, housewares, and gifts.
Alternatively, Brookfield Place houses a new Parisian-style, 30,000-square-foot market known as Le District. Like Eataly, Le District has a fresh grocery and market, restaurants, and food-specific stands.
"The division of the marketplace into different districts was influenced by the streets of Paris, where the neighborhoods are often broken down and referred to by the type of good you go there to buy [Le District is a translation of 'arrondissement']," says Peter Poulakakos, Paul Lamas, and Laurent Vasseur of HPH restaurant group, the team behind Le District.
"We also looked to famous markets in France and around the world. With Le District, we wanted to create the feel of an open-air market in an indoor space."
Inside the market, the heart of Le District, there's la boucherie, la charcuterie, la rôtisserie, la poissonnerie, la fromagerie, la boulangerie, and la fleuriste.
The nearby Garden District has hyper-local fresh produce, daily essentials, and seasonal French fare, where visitors can pick up salads and prepared foods to go. The steak, cooked on the spot for take-out, has proved to be one of the most popular offerings. Coffee, chocolates, and sweet French treats are available at the Café District.
"Not all products are from France," according to the HPH team. "We have a very nice mixture of imports, U.S. products, and items from the NYC metro area. We didn't want to be too dogmatic:
“With Le District, we wanted to create the feel of an open-air market in an indoor space.”
We want Le District to first and foremost be a place for the neighborhood residents, and they're going to sometimes need certain products for which there is no readily available French substitute. Our goal is always to be inclusive rather than exclusive. With chefs and influences from all over the world, including European and Francophone countries, we would be amiss to not have the best of the best products, wherever they're from, on our shelves."
For guests looking for a full dining experience, there is Beaubourg and L'Appart in the Restaurant District. Beaubourg features French classics like steak frites by chefs Fabrice Renaudin and Nicolas Abello. The more intimate, 28-seat L'Appart offers a seasonal tasting menu by chef Jordi Vallès, who also serves as the culinary director for all of Le District and previously worked at the acclaimed El Bulli in Spain.
"French cuisine has had such an enormous culinary influence on the world, and we really wanted to showcase not only cuisine from France itself, but from other Francophone nations that each have their own unique culinary identities. Our inspirations include the cities and vast countryside of France, but also countries and regions that have interacted with its culture, from New Orleans to Senegal, Quebec to Martinique and Belgium," says HPH.