Fabulous Food with Gluten-Free Alternatives: Village Pizzeria in East Galway
On an empty stretch of Rt. 29, 12 miles west of Saratoga, stands a cheerful structure that could quite possibly be mistaken for a white clapboard green-trimmed house, except for the large sign that says Village Pizzeria and Ristorante. Surrounded and bedecked by what is probably hundreds of plants, this East Galway eatery offers up a warm, comfortable atmosphere and unique Italian dishes. Family owned and operated since 1988 by a family with a passion for Northern Italian food, the owners work alongside their staff, assisting and greeting customers.
Village Pizzeria’s large swinging wooden door admits you to the main eating area, a long, narrow room, that extends through to the back of the restaurant with both booths and tables available by preference. If you’re looking for privacy and quiet, this is not the place to go. There are often many large groups in the small space and most of the tables are usually filled at dinnertime, although the space rarely feels overly crowded. The home-like atmosphere of Village Pizzeria is perhaps due to this fullness and dinner-table-like closeness, all enhanced by the warm glow of polished wood and low light. To the right of the main dining room is a bar, separated for the most part from the eating areas.
If you prefer extra space and fresh air, there is also a large patio with booths, tables, and raised table seating. A unique bar constructed of wooden wine boxes and bottle corks stretches across the back wall of the patio, in front of a wall painted with Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Adjacent to the bar sits a large garden with flowers, lawn ornaments, and a small pond with a fountain. Brightly hued Koi fish swim in the pond, and gigantic sunflowers grow throughout the garden, reappearing in vases on many of the tables.
Despite its homey beauty and amenities, the real highlight is the food. Any East Galway residents you talk to will say they have the best pizza around. Along with stromboli, calzones, and mozzarella pizza with traditional toppings, there are gourmet pizza options with specialty toppings, such as artichokes, vodka sauce, goat cheese, portabello mushrooms and prosciutto. Gourmet pizza options include shrimp scampi, lobster tail, pesto, philly steak, and my personal favorite: margherita pizza with fresh basil and mozzarella in a tangy tomato sauce (4 cut: $8.50).
Village Pizzeria also offers numerous choices for those with vegetarian, gluten-free, or health conscious diets. The pear gorgonzola salad ($10.99) is a great option, with fresh, crisp greens covered in crumbled gorgonzola, sweet red peppers, and rich walnuts, with the tangy surprise of dried cranberries and sugary pear slices. The mixture of flavors is truly unique, and is great with or without the creamy, homemade gorgonzola dressing.
Many moderately priced entree choices including pasta, seafood, veal, chicken, beef, and large salads are also available. The appetizers can be priced high, but are large and just as unique as the main dishes. For example, the stuffed squash flowers ($10) are particularly interesting, and as the owner explained, this traditional Italian dish is not usually something a large restaurant will bother with. Stuffed with ricotta cheese and spices and lightly fried, these crispy concoctions are extremely filling, and best ordered with a light dinner.
Food aside, there is also a 750 square foot wine cellar on the premises, with an inventory of more than 4,000 bottles. Their collection focuses primarily on Italian wine, yet features selections from California, France, as well as many other countries. The family themselves travel to Italy to inspire and expand their wine list. Over 200 bottles are available, and 60 by the glass.
The Village Pizzeria is located at 2727 Route 29 in East Galway, NY. Hours: open Mondays 4-9pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays 11:30am-9pm, Friday-Saturdays 11:30am-9:30pm, and Sundays. It is closed on Tuesdays from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Call 518-882-9431 or visit www.villagepizzeria.com for more information.
–Jessica Nicosia is an Assistant Editor of The Free George.
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