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Italian Restaurants for Galentine’s Day in New York City

Move over Valentine’s Day. Here are options for NYC restaurants to celebrate female friendship amid the Cupid-themed festivities.

9:00 AM EST on February 8, 2024

heart shaped pizza

The heart-shaped pizza from Rubirosa.

Valentine’s Day is lovely, but one of the biggest highlights of February for me is celebrating female friendship. Galentine’s Day, commonly thought of as landing on February 13, is a chance to highlight your girlfriends.

Valentine’s Day requires a good reservation and Galentine’s Day deserves the same treatment. With that in mind, here are a few restaurants to consider booking to spend an evening or afternoon raising a glass to the beauty of friendship. And while we think of celebrating friendship in February, I think appreciating this kind of relationship is worthwhile on any day, so feel free to keep these spots in mind for general group dinners, too.

Roey’s

Inside Roey's
Roey's Pizza is a West Village hotspot known for creative pies.

Located in the West Village, Roey’s is a pizza hotspot and is well-known for a lively happy hour. But it has plenty more to offer than well-priced spritzes and pies. Roey’s has been a go-to for group get-togethers for years for my friends, and it never disappoints. The pizzas are delicious (gluten-free is among my favorites in New York City), the drinks are good, and the energy is perfect for a fun, friendship-forward evening. Roey’s also offers a dessert pizza around Valentine’s Day that looks drool-worthy.

Cafe Spaghetti

Cafe Spaghetti dishes
Cafe Spaghetti offers a range of pastas, salads, mains, and items to share.

Brooklyn’s Café Spaghetti is the perfect option for a group dinner or lunch. The homey hotspot serves up solid classic dishes such as Spaghetti Pomodoro, Spaghetti Alla Vongole, and eggplant parm. There are also a range of sharable dishes, salads, and mains such as branzino and chicken Milanese. Don’t skip dessert — I highly recommend the Spumoni Bomba. It’s so, so good. Also worth noting for the Galentine's Day crowd: Café Spaghetti's wine list highlights acclaimed women winemakers from Italy including Chiara Boschis, Arianna Occhipinti, and Maria Ernesta Berucci.

Rubirosa

Rubirosa Pizza exterior
Rubirosa offers heart-shaped pizza amid its menu of famed pizzas, which includes a "tie-dyed" pie.

Rubirosa is a regular in my rotation. But it’s extra special around Valentine’s Day, when the restaurant offers heart-shaped pizza — and who will appreciate that more than the girlies? Additional menu offerings are equally as delicious but pizza is always my first pick here. Rubirosa also features a fully gluten-free menu upon request. Pro tip: don’t miss the house wine. Reservations for Rubirosa open 7 days in advance, and it’s worth it to act fast, as the restaurant books up quickly.

Parla

The menu at Parla
Parla, on the Upper East Side, is a great Italian spot for groups.

On the Upper West Side, Parla is the latest brainchild of the team behind The Smith. The vibes are, well, vibey. The space is trendy, upbeat, and modern — and the food and drinks don’t disappoint. Parla, which translates as to “to talk” from Italian, lives up to its name: It’s a good spot for dining as a group and socializing. After my first visit on New Year’s Eve, I had a feeling that Parla would rank solidly as an “always good” choice, similarly to The Smith. The cocktails were stellar, apps were good, the pasta was delicious, the pizza looked great, and the dessert is still on my to-try list, but it looked amazing. 

Mr Capri 

Located in the West Village, Mr Capri offers an escape from the hubbub of New York City. The restaurant, run by brothers Alessandro and Mario Passante, is an ode to the Italian island of Capri. The brothers, two of four, grew up helping in their family’s restaurant and café back home. Dining at Mr Capri, one can practically taste the Mediterranean isle and all of its fresh and delicious flavors paired with wonderful cocktails and wines, with most from the Campania region. And the space is chic and adorable, too, bright and open, giving an island-feel.

Dante 

With two New York City locations, Dante West Village and Caffe Dante, Dante is a constant among my recommendations. And for Galentine’s Day, I can’t imagine a better option. Dante is adorable, aesthetically pleasing, and serves unique and classic cocktails in a setting that is luxe and filled with character. The space gives a very let’s-raise-a-glass-to-our-friendship feel and for Valentine’s Day, the restaurant is offering two special cocktails including the “Heart of Gold,” made with Rémy Martin VSOP, Cocchi Torino, Oloroso, and chocolate bitters; and "Cocoa and The Rose," made with Lillet Rosé, raspberry Eau de Vie, raspberry, and Whispering Angel.

La Pecora Bianca

With a number of locations throughout New York City, La Pecora Bianca, “the white sheep,” is a great option, and it’s usually possible to grab a table fairly last minute. The food is great, the atmosphere is lovely and relaxed — it’s a good spot for a group get-together. We love the rigatoni here, but haven’t found a pasta dish we’ve not loved — and the salads are great, too. 

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