Like the rest of New York City, indoor dining at Eataly’s Flatiron location remained dark during the height of the pandemic as shoppers cruised the store’s aisles for creamy burrata, plush loaves of panettone, and heirloom tomatoes. But on November 5, the Italian marketplace — which already has seafood, pasta, pizza, and seafood counters on its first floor, plus a rooftop hangout — is hoping to convince its customers to take a seat with the opening of its first indoor restaurant since 2018.
The 70-seat Bar Milano, which is sandwiched between a seafood counter on one side and a butcher counter on the other, takes over the former space of Manzo, a well-reviewed restaurant known for its meat-centric menu. Executive chef Michael Nogera says the Italian fare here will instead pay homage to dishes typically served at restaurants in Milan, “the New York of Italy.”
There’s risotto al salto, a traditional Milanese recipe that often uses leftover saffron risotto that’s formed into a crispy pancake with shavings of taleggio fonduta on top. Another Milanese classic is the bone-in veal chop; it’s simply prepared with a thin bread crumb coating, is easily the size of a plate, and feeds two people. The mondeghili is a popular fried meatball with braised beef, pork, and mortadella often served as a drinking snack or as a small plate to kick off dinner.
Bar Milano actually opened briefly in November 2020 but shuttered once the city banned indoor dining just days afterward, according to an Eataly spokesperson. The forced closing allowed the team to polish up the restaurant, which feels like a hidden mid-century modern room with aged leather banquettes, emerald green lighting fixtures, plants, and flashes of orange accents, from vases and books to reproductions of Italian artwork.
It’s a spot where Eataly customers can have a casual sit-down dinner with wine — all the bottles come within 100 miles of Milan — or sit at the bar for an aperitivo. The Negroni also takes center stage, as there’s a roving wooden cart dedicated to the popular Campari-based cocktail. Diners can order one of six variations, which are prepared tableside. There’s another cart featuring a growing amaro collection, which beverage director Randall Restiano curated, for an after-dinner drink.
“It’s this idea that you’re not in a market when you’re here,” says Restiano.
Bar Milano is open 5 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekends.