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After dinner at Manzo the other night, we wandered around Eataly for a little while.

The crowds have been ridiculous. The space is the size of an airplane hangar; yet, it is not big enough. On Sunday, security closed Eataly to new customers, due to over-crowding. The line to get in at the 23rd Street entrance was wrapped around the block, onto Fifth Avenue.

Eataly is half supermarket, half restaurant. It is divided into half-a-dozen or more themed departments, where you can buy food of a particular kind (e.g., vegetables) or order food of that same kind. The layout is surprisingly slapdash, with poor wayfinding and cardboard signs that look like they were thrown together.

There are several sit-down restaurants, though only Manzo takes reservations. Seating is demarcated with crude stanchions, as would be used in an airport. Other parts of the enterprise have counters where you stand and eat, while both shoppers and servers try to dodge one another, hoping to avoid collisions that could range from the disastrous to the merely embarrassing.

Many of the prices are ridiculous, like Pat LaFreida chickens for $23, and white truffles for $3,300 a pound (that’s three thousand, three hundred). Squid ink pasta was the rare bargain, just six dollars for a dinner-sized portion that serves two—a terrific deal, bearing in mind that very few places in town even sell the stuff. But for the most part, the food sold at Eataly is at an outrageous premium to what you could easily obtain elsewhere.

Photos are available after the jump.

Above left: the meat department; Above right: the Tagliata that we ordered at Manzo.

Above left and right: the meat department.

Above left and right: the pizza and pasta stations.

Above left and right: pre-packaged foods.

Above left and right: the bread and pasta counters, looking a bit forlorn.

Above left: Le Verdure; Above right: the vegetable stand.

Above left: the wine bar; Above right: the panini bar.

Above left: the coffee bar; Above right: the gelato bar.

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