First Impressions: La Pizza & La Pasta at Eataly

La Pizza and La Pasta dining area at Eataly Downtown NYCBack story:  The new downtown outpost of Eataly, on the third floor of 4 World Trade Center, includes five restaurants: Osteria della Pace, the relatively fancy option, and the only restaurant that takes reservations; the self-explanatory La Pizza & La Pasta; a wine bar called La Piazza; Orto e Mare, serving “vegetable-forward small plates”; and Il Pesce, a seafood restaurant (previously reviewed here).

Rossopomodoro pizza counter at La Pizza and La Pasta at Eataly DowntownThe vibe: La Pizza & La Pasta is on the east side of 4 World Trade Center, overlooking the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Compared to Il Pesce and Orto e Mare, it’s huge, with two dining counters and a wide spread of tables. I was dining alone, but the host offered me my choice of table or counter seating, which was nice. (I’ve sensed lately that more restaurants are insisting solo diners eat at the counter/bar.) The music seemed to be coming solely from one speaker above my left ear, but since it was music I’m fond of—Terence Trent D’Arby, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Bananarama (“Cruel Summer,” indeed)—I just pretended that I had one earbud in.

La Pizza and La Pasta at Eataly DowntownMenu: The appetizers tend to be simple, the kind of food that’s made ahead of time or sliced and plated—cheese, charcuterie, carpaccio, crudo, etc. Then there are 10 pizzas and 10 pastas. I ordered the insalata mista (without salumi, to see if the kitchen could handle the request) and the Verace pizza, the restaurant’s premium margherita.

Eataly La Pizza and La pasta menu1 Eataly La Pizza and La pasta menu2Gold star: The pizzeria is affiliated with Rossopomodoro, and the pizza at Eataly reminded me of the one I had At Rossopomodoro’s restaurant in the West Village: It was good, better than other pizza in Lower Manhattan, but not at the level of Franny’s or Roberta’s, or even Motorino. The center arrived soggy, and the cheese was overly chewy and bland. I’d happily eat the pizza every week, but I’d wish every time that it was slightly better. The salad had the potential to be very good—I happen to like escarole—but it was overdressed, to the point that there was a puddle in the bottom of the bowl.

Pizza at La Pizza and La Pasta at Eataly DowntownRoom for improvement: It would be ludicrous to assume that the service might have improved within a matter of days. Indeed, it was still amateurish, but friendlier. “All by yourself?” asked the waiter by way of introduction. Then he awkwardly tried to upsell me wine after I had ordered sparkling water; he couldn’t answer my questions about the menu, including what “TSG” meant and why one pizza is listed among the appetizers. My pizza arrived five minutes after I ordered, and the salad showed up five minutes after that. Only halfway through the meal did someone remove the second table setting; my unused wine glass stayed with me the whole time. Unprovoked, the waiter went on about how unprepared Eataly was for the crowds of patrons—running out of items, needing to hire more people, and so on. It was interesting, and I found his company amusing, but I once again left with the impression that the staff at Eataly has little restaurant experience. I don’t just mean working at restaurants; I mean eating at them. When it came time to hand me the check, that’s exactly what he did: He held out the piece of paper and waited for me to grab it. That’s not a big deal, and it’s an improvement over the waiter at Il Pesce who flung the check down on the table, but can we agree that it’s not something that happens at most restaurants? And, to me, this kind of thing matters even more at someplace like Eataly. The restaurants there feel like a bit of a factory, which is what it is, but factory dining really needs to be smooth. It can’t coast on charm. (Will time be enough to help? We’ll see. I don’t plan on trying another restaurant for a few weeks.)

Insalata mista at La Pizza and La Pasta at Eataly DowntownAnything else? I’m against televisions in restaurants as a rule, but televisions showing promotional video about the restaurant—like the one in La Pizza & La Pasta—are beyond the pale.

Pasta counter and olive tree at Eataly DowntownContact: La Pizza & La Pasta is inside Eataly, which is on the third floor of 4 World Trade Center, most easily accessible from the entrance at Church and Liberty;

Recent New Kid on the Block / First Impressions articles:
Il Pesce at Eataly
Galerie de Café
City Vineyard
Ethan Rose Salon
Shake Shack Fulton Center
Hank’s Juicy Beef
Aahar Indian Cuisine
Pure Barre
Kung Fu Tea



  1. Funny. Will they deliver pizza?

  2. We tried the pizza as well. It is authentic Neapolitan, very good, but there are better out there. We found it soggy in the middle too and the ingredients seemed of high quality, but were not that flavorful. We would put it on par with Da Mikele in Tribeca which does deliver. It is not as good as the East Village Luzzo’s, Motorino or Keste, but better than Neapolitan Express or Luzzo’s in Brooklyn Heights.

  3. Anyone found good vegan pizza in the area?

    East Village has a few good spots (00&Co, John’s, etc).

  4. Saluggi’s will make vegan pizza.

  5. lulu, thank you for the tip about Saluggi’s…Have you (or anyone else here) tried their vegan version?
    I will try it out…

  6. Neapolitan pizza is typically soggy in the center, especially a pizza like Verace since it’s made with bufalo mozzarella, which has a higher water content. Roman pizza, the inspiration for New York pizza, has a crispier crust. Marta is my favorite Roman pizzeria. Eataly is among the best Neopoltian. Great to have it in the neighborhood.

  7. Hi TC – just ate at LP&LP (as I’m calling it) and from my experience it sounds like they have improved since your visit. The service was great and very friendly and nothing jumped out at me as not restaurant-experienced. That said, food came out in uneven order, as you noted, and, oddly, they were “out” of sparkling water (“but doesn’t the market sell sparkling water not 50 paces away?” you may wonder, as I did). But our food was delicious (including my Verdure) and we had a lovely experience so I still count it as a great addition to the neighborhood!