Michael Cimarusti and Jason Neroni join Mario Batali in Century City.
cheese in eataly opening in Los Angeles
Credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth Daniels for Eataly

Eataly is a global empire that thinks locally.

So when the 60,000-plus-square-foot Los Angeles outpost of Eataly at the Westfield Century City shopping center opens Friday evening, there will be California wines, California produce, California meat, California seafood and breads made from California flour.

There will be a seafood restaurant, Il Pesce Cucina, from Michael Cimarusti and Donato Poto of L.A.’s Providence. Rose Cafe’s Jason Neroni, part of a rotating cast of L.A. chefs who will make food at Eataly, will have a salad bar. Redbird’s Neal Fraser and Republique’s Walter Manzke will also be cooking at Eataly during its first year.

eataly opening in la
Credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth Daniels for Eataly

“This is why we started doing this in the first place,” Eataly CEO Nicola Farinetti says. “We do this because we like to collaborate with chefs. We like to discover things. For us, it’s always an excuse to discover something more. When we think about Eataly, we think about a place that is able to carry the right amount of tradition, but also able to reinvent itself all the time.”

So Eataly L.A.’s meat counter will showcase California suppliers like Emmer & Co, Belcampo and Marin Sun Farms. White Moustache, known for its small-batch yogurt, will have its own on-site production facility, where it will make yogurt without machines every single day.

But it wouldn’t be Eataly, which was founded in Turin a decade ago and whose partners include Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lidia Bastianich, without some distinctly Italian features.

Eataly L.A.’s quick-service food stations will include an area for panigacci, which are Ligurian flatbreads that are prepared in heated terracotta plates. The handheld snacks can be filled with cured meats and cheeses, or sweet options like chocolate or honey.

Eataly L.A. will also have a station for Roman-style pizza alla pala. These are individual slices of pizza named after the wooden paddle on which they’re served. Farinetti says this is something he’s thinking about adding in New York, as well.

seafood station in eataly
Credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth Daniels for Eataly

Farinetti is also excited about Eataly L.A.’s olive oil station, a new-to-Eataly setup that allows visitors to taste a variety of extra-virgin olive oils and purchase small portions. Once you find a favorite, you can buy olive oil in bulk.

That’s the point of Eataly: It’s about exploration and trying a little bit of a lot of different things, but it’s also where you can go big.

This is a place where you can pop by for a quick coffee and some housemade gelato. (“We’re doing gelato flavors we’ve never done before, like celery and cucumber, but they’re still following the very simple idea of Italian food,” Farinetti says.) Or you can have a leisurely pasta tasting on the sprawling wrap-around deck. Between the three sit-down restaurants (Il Pesce Cucina, La Piazza and La Pizza & La Pasta) that will open Friday and a forthcoming terrace restaurant known as Terra, Eataly will have 597 seats.

Eataly, of course, will serve both imported pasta and fresh pasta made on-site.

“We’re just doing what Italians did 400 years ago,” Farinetti says. “We’re taking our own expertise and applying it to the raw materials we find in the region.”

Eataly L.A. opens at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Eataly L.A., 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., 213-310-8000