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All We Can Eat
Posted at 08:34 PM ET, 12/14/2011

Dreaming of Eataly in D.C.

Are Batali and co. solidifying plans to bring Eataly to the District? (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)
The mere mention of Mario Batali’s Eataly is enough for visions of fresh manicotti and prosciutto to dance in Italian food lovers’ heads for weeks.

As anyone who has been to the New York location can tell you, the sprawling warehouse-restaurant-market looks like something Willy Wonka would have brought to life if his family had hailed from Naples.

So, as we wait to hear the final verdict on whether the gastronomic concept will find a permanent home in Washington (which Jonathan O’Connell of Capitol Business says seems promising), our thoughts race ahead about what to order when opening day is at hand.

A classic Neapolitan-style pizza may be the obvious choice. The margarita pizza at La Pizza & La Pasta, one of the seven restaurants in the New York outlet, is a major draw for Food staff writer Tim Carman, thanks to its beautifully charred cornicione and a wet center.

The mountainous piles of freshly baked bread are also impossible to pass up. The foccacia — which Martha Stewart calls “mouth-watering” on her blog — is high on the checklist.

Another necessary purchase is the mozzarella, made onsite in the Fifth Avenue location, which we’re hoping would happen in a Washington store as well. But some off-beat varieties are a highlight for Time Out New York’s Jay Cheshes, who recommends wheels of cheese infused with fresh truffles or wrapped in chestnut tree leaves in his Eataly “user’s manual.”

The sheer variety of olive oils is a weak spot for deputy Food editor Bonnie Benwick. The list includes extra-virgins from Roi, La Mozza of Tuscany and blends from Olearia San Giorgio.

And then there are the cases of desserts: chocolates, gelati, cookies, tiramisu...

What are your favorite Eataly offerings? Tell us in the comments below.

By Cara Kelly  |  08:34 PM ET, 12/14/2011

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