Exploring Eataly Los Angeles with Autism

 

Imagine having the luxuries of an Italian market, dining venues, and cooking school all under one single roof. A place where patrons can enjoy Roman pizza, sip a glass of wine as they grocery shop and learn how to make homemade gelato. When I heard that Eataly opened a Los Angeles location, I knew my son, and I would have fun exploring it.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism entrance

Initially started back in  2007, in Turin Italy  Eataly was launched out of a closed down liquor factory. In the last decade, the company expanded to include over thirty marketplaces, cruise ship restaurants, and even a  mini theme park. Currently, Eataly has branches in NYC, Chicago, Boston, and a brand new one in L.A.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism where to go with autism

Eataly Los Angeles

Eataly officially opened its doors in Century City’s  posh Westfield Mall last November.  The brainchild of  Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti, and chef Mario Batali the mega 67,000 square foot space venue is the largest in the chain. While the venue’s markets open by 9 AM; the restaurants open by 11 AM and stay open to 11 PM daily.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism direction to go to eataly

Getting there

Parking in the Mall is a bit tricky particularly for those who have never been there. We went on a busy Friday afternoon and discovered that the best spot to enter the parking structure was from the Avenue of the Stars entrance. As the place was packed, we ended up on the second floor which was a bit confusing at first. However, my son noticed the but the arrows pointing to the Eataly entrance, so we didn’t get lost.

 

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism coffee maker pin

 

Tip: Make sure to photograph the parking spot where you left the car so you can find it fast in the endless ocean of vehicles.

 

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism where to park

Exploring the compound

The megastore is a multi-sensory experience spread on two levels – the first has a Lavazza cafe, gelato place, and the cooking school while the top one is the main event with the food stalls, grocery store, and two sit down restaurants.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism dry cakes on display
We decided to focus on the main floor so my son could enjoy all the sensory aspects of the visit. We are talking sampling foods, seeing the displays and watching how some of the products were created.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism eataly sit down spots

Watch  the food is made

As the adage goes seeing is believing.
Watching the food being made fresh is part of the essential fun at Eataly. This place can get many interested in learning about food. My son and I  worked quite the appetite gawking at the pasta making in progress. And then we stopped at the place where they make fresh mozzarella too  (yes, they have samples.)


Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism watch pasta made

Right after passing mouth-watering desserts, we entered the actual market packed with imported housewares, chocolates, breadsticks, pasta and jams. Two displays caught our attention. The first was the shiny red Fiat with T-shirts in the hood.And the second less conspicuous but equally attractive was the mountain of cheese wheels.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism red car display

As we continued our walk, we passed by carefully manicured displays of specialty meat, various cheeses, vegetables, and seafood.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism red fish frozen on display

The most impressive we discovered was the seafood stall that had everything organized and cleaned up! My son was fascinated to see the fresh octopus and fish as opposed to the fried patties that land on his plate.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism frozen octopus

Smell the freshness

The marketplace is sensory heaven!
Fresh fruit, vegetables, roasted coffee, grilled chicken and baked bread all make it smell divine.

 

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism smell the coffee

Visitors should stop by the pizza place, gawk at the baking procedure and spend the time educating themselves about dry cheeses.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism dry cheese wheels

We got to stop by the Olive Oil Bar and sample some of the liquid gold offerings. A far fetch from supermarket bottles, the olive oil here is treated like the holy grail. Patrons can come with their containers and have them filled with the caveated oil of their choice.

 

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism olive oil

Taste the food

Roman Pizza

We briefly passed by the bread bakery ‘La Panetteria’ before our nostrils took us straight to the ‘Pizza Alla Palla.’  Their Roman-style pizza is served on a wooden paddle and comes with vegetables and meat toppings. I ended up standing in line twice since our son ended eating my slice.He later declared this to be the best pizza he’s ever had!

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism roman pizza

Bomboloni

 On the bottom floor, the quaint Lavazza Cafe sells an assortment of espresso, affogato, and macchiato specialty beverages. The next door gelateria has 30 flavors of gelato and sorbets. Those can be enjoyed inside a  cannoli cone or freshly fried bomboloni which are sugar-coated donuts.

 

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism stuffed donuts

Skip the  panigacci

True, the L.A. location is the only Eataly where you can try the flatbread. The bread imported from Panigacci di Potenza is a version of crispy pita bread. Following the hype, we got to taste it with cold cuts and in its sweet version with Nutella spread. Honestly, it wasn’t different from a dried naan bread. So we decided it wasn’t worth our while.

Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism cakes to eat

Other spots to try the fare are Il Panini e la Cibatti for  Italian-style cold sandwiches, L’Orto Dello Chef for salads, soups, and fresh juices and la Rosticerria that serves meats, paninis, and antipasto. 

Autism Travel Tips

  • Since Eataly LA is popular, it is best explored on non-holiday weekdays when the crowds are small.
  • When bringing your kids here, make sure to ask any questions you may have about their allergies.
  • The cost of food can add up quickly here. I would set a budget before going inside, so you do not overspend.
  • .Considering Eataly is multiple floors; comfortable shoes are a must-have for little ones.Exploring Eataly in Los Angeles with Autism grocery stall

 

Overall, my trip to Eataly was not only fun but also educational. We learned about new foods and new recipes and even new cultures. We cannot wait to go back again.

Have you been to Eataly? What was your favorite part?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I love your blog. Thanks for sharing it. Its quite informative.

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