Italian Comfort Food At Galli Restaurant in NYC

Springtime in Manhattan means New Yorkers flock to restaurants with outdoor seating at every chance they get. Luckily, Galli restaurant in the Lower East Side has floor-to-ceiling French bay windows that open up to create an outdoor space, as diners enjoy Italian recipes from Sicily that have been passed down for generations.

Galli has two locations in Manhattan, both of which are owned by husband and wife, Steven and Karen Gallo, and business partner Michael Forrest. The Lower East Side restaurant opened in October and has a casual, airy dining room with lots of light shining through the windows – perfect for a sunny day. Toward the back of the restaurant, black and white Gallo and Forrest family portraits are hung on the wall to create a homey, authentic space.

The restaurant feels like a spot where regulars go to for consistently good food and friendly service. One dish even has a code word on the menu inspired by a group of regulars from the Public School clothing brand who always asked Steven what to order. Steven would recommend the funghi pasta (spaghetti with wild mushrooms), and eventually he associated the dish with what regulars order; so, he named the funghi pasta “ps45” – “ps” for Public School and “45” for 45 Mercer Street, the location of the second Galli restaurant.

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Galli’s menu defines Italian comfort food. Many recipes were passed down from the owners’ family in Sicily, and you can find the classic Italian dishes such as chicken marsala, pasta Bolognese, veal Milanese and chicken parmesan. On Saturdays and Sundays, Galli has a special brunch menu that includes some of these dishes, as well as eggs, waffles, paninis, wraps and more.

Before you decide what to eat for brunch, try one of the two cocktails pictured below – Snap Hook (left) and Bloody Mary (right). Galli’s Bloody Mary is one of most flavorful I’ve had, and you can smell all of the seasoning before you even take a sip. It’s made with old bay seasoning, lemon pepper, lemon juice, tomato juice and Sriracha sauce to add a spicy kick.

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If Bloody Mary’s aren’t for you, try the Snap Hook. It’s made with snap pea, infused gin, lemon, egg white, blank vermouth, and mint, and it’s a refreshing drink that tastes similar to lemonade.

Try the frittata for brunch, which Galli makes with eggs, chicken apple sausage, grape tomato and fresh mozzarella melted evenly throughout the dish. Served with a side of potatoes, the frittata is delicious, light and very fluffy.

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The skirt steak and eggs is another great option. The steak alone is flavorful and juicy, but what I like about this dish is that the grilled asparagus and quail egg are placed on top of the steak so you get all three foods in each bite. Plus, the quail egg is cooked over easy so the runny yolk spreads throughout the dish.

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To end your brunch, try the crespella – a crepe with Nutella, coated with powdered sugar. The server recommended this for dessert and it was the perfect end to Sunday brunch. Served warm, the dessert is light and sweet, with the right amount of Nutella filling inside.

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Galli Restaurant
98 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002
(212) 466-1888

Veena Bissram

Veena's two biggest passions are writing and traveling, but after living in Strasbourg, France, she acquired a third passion – food.Veena combined her three passions to create, her own food website where she now writes about the meals that make an impression on her. She is also a freelance writer who previously wrote for Mashable. Follow Veena @FoodAvecFlair.