East Village Italian: Great Food, Great Service & Great Atmosphere at Gnocco

Date August 28, 2008

Everyone always asks me for my Italian restaurant recommendation and surprisingly, I didn’t have one until I ate at Gnocco, on 10th Street between Avenues A & B. The food is delicious and affordable, the service is attentive and helpful, and the atmosphere, thanks to the backyard garden, is great for a date or dinner with the family. Read on to find out more about some of the tastiest gnocchi I’ve ever had.

What makes Gnocco different

If you’re like NYC Food Guy, you don’t even want to eat pizza from a shop that doesn’t have at least one Italian person working inside. You’ll be relieved to hear then, that Gnocco employs Italians where it counts: in the kitchen. Every few months, young chefs are literally imported from Italy’s culinary schools right to this East Village restaurant. It doesn’t get more authentic than that, and it shows. Everything was excellent from top to bottom, starting with the salads.


Neither photo does justice to the size of the salads, but both were well worth their price tags.

Insalata Veronica ($8.45)

Mesclun salad with Apple, Pine Nuts, fresh Corn and Lemon vinaigrette

  • All the ingredients were fresh and flavorful

Insalata Contadina ($8.45)

Arugula salad with fresh Tomatoes and flaked Parmesan cheese and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • This usually comes with the flaked Parmesan on top, resulting in more cheese.
  • I added some balsamic vinegar to balance out the extra virgin olive oil and earthy arugula.


These two pies were both delicious but their thin crusts resulted in flimsy slices which couldn’t support the weight of the toppings. Fortunately, the flavor of the sauce and crisp, airy outer crust made up for this shortcoming. As an entree, a full pie is good for only one person.

Parmigiana ($12.95)

Fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, eggplant, shaved Parmesan cheese and basil
  • The eggplant was ordinary; I would look elsewhere (dinner pizza menu) to satisfy a taste for toppings.

Marinara ($9.45)

Tomato sauce with garlic and oregano X virgin olive oil infusion
  • This was a simple, tasty pie with brightly flavored sauce and grated mozzarella.
  • Ask for some shaved parmesan on here, it can’t hurt.

House Made Pasta

With the exception of the rigatoni, all of Gnocco’s standard menu pastas are house made and it’s reflected in the taste and texture of the gnocchi. Served in Primi (first course i.e. smaller) sized portions, you may want to split a pizza with a dining mate for a truly filling meal.

Gnocchi al Pomodoro e Mozzarella di Bufala ($14.45)

Homemade potato Gnocchi with Tomato sauce, Buffalo Mozzarella and basil

  • The delicate process of making gnocchi has been mastered. It was light, cooked perfectly and not even slightly gummy.
  • The brightly flavored tomato sauce was hearty without being chunky. This left some sauce to be mopped up with pizza crust or bread after all the delicious potato dumplings were gone.
  • The creamy buffalo mozzarella was delicious and melted along with each bite of gnocchi.

The Gnocco

The restaurant is actually named after an Italian dish. “Gnocco” are airy pockets of flash-fried dough which puff up like little baloons and look delicious. They’re served with a plate of cured Italian meats which are meant to be folded and eaten by hand with the fried dough. I’m looking forward to trying them next time I’m at Gnocco.

Backyard Garden

Everyone loves dining al fresco and Gnocco offers it in the truest sense. The leaves, the lights and the vines come together to make you feel like you’re dining in the country not a booming city. In fall and winter, a roof (not pictured) unfurls above the leaves while the metal vents provide heat (Though not enough to keep this area open on brutally cold days).


What’s better than a simple, authentic meal done right? How about meeting an owner who is ecstatic that you’ve realized his goal. In Gnocco owner and Italian native Gian Luca Giovanetti, NYC Food Guy has found just that. I’ve never met anyone as excited about Gnocchi as him. It’s authenticity like this, in food and in a person, which makes you trust a restaurant. I haven’t been jazzed about Italian food in a long time but thanks to my experience at Gnocco, I’m now looking forward to trying two more of Giovanetti’s ventures:

  • Italian tapas at Perbacco where the Italian chef import system is also in effect. 234 East 4th Street near Avenue B
  • The tramezzini at Caffe Emilia, which is sort of an Italian club sandwich, which according to Giovanetti via NYMag.com is “three layers of white bread, and we stuff it with original ingredients: caramelized onion with balsamic vinegar, tuna, shrimp, ham, artichokes, Fontina cheese.” Wow. 139 1st Avenue near 9th Street


337 East 10 Street b/t Avenue A & B
New York, NY 10009

21 Responses to “East Village Italian: Great Food, Great Service & Great Atmosphere at Gnocco”



  2. girl1 said:

    gnocco sounds great. For more modest, traditional italian cuisine, another spot you may want to try is l’ulivo on spring street. They have delicious apps, homemade pastas, and outrageous pizzas. They even start you off with a big basket of bread from grandaisy bakery (right around the corner). love that place for a quiet, delicious dinner

  3. intellectualeater said:

    Well, I’ve never been there, so I can’t make any judgements, although the salads look pretty sad and boring. My fave Italian is a northern italian joint in the wet village called Palma. AMAZING pasta. freshly made, great ingredients, authentic, delicious. mid-priced.

    You should check it out: http://www.palmanyc.com

  4. garlicandgaelic said:

    This is typical of Manhattan types sometime. Their hold world is a little island that is only a few square miles. I have eaten at Gnocco and I know Gianluca well, the restaurant it very good. But for anyone who wants a REAL Italian meal, without trekking to the old country, needs only to get on a subway and head to the Bronx.

    Thats right, there is a world outside Manhattan, and the Italians are there too! Roberto’s restaurant is the best Italian restuarant in the city and argueabley the best in the coutry. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t eaten in all the maajor Italian areas of our nation, but Robertos is as real as it gets.

    This food is ACTUALLY WHAT PEPOPLE IN ITALY WOULD EAT. Far too many restaurants in AMerica make what Italian Americans eat. There is a difference. I love Gnocco. It is great! But anyone who wants a great Italian meal should make the journey up to the Bronx.

  5. FOOD FOR THOUGHT?? said:


  6. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Thanks for the kind words. What should I review next?


    Duly noted. I definitely don’t do enough SoHo dining. What makes the pizza so good? NYC Food Guy likes free bread, you’re speaking my language. You still on for our well overdue west village food tour?


    The salads were pretty plain and boring but for the price, the size and the freshness they were worth it. Those also happened to be the plainest two salads on the menu. Check out the rest of the salad options here. What’s your go to dishes at Palma? Always good to hear new recs.


    So what are the go to meals at Roberto’s?


    Get a grip.

  7. briancur said:

    What, something wrong with kitchen full of nothing but Spanish Guys cooking Italian? Or African guys cooking Irish? I’m just messing around – I agree, when I eat Italian, I want to see some Italians in the kitchen. It does not have to be full of Italians, but a couple would suffice – it lends authenticity.
    I am an out-of towner (I live in DC) but I make a trip up to NYC at least once or twice a month. I appreciate this website (I only became aware of this website last month) because eating in NYC can be intimidating (that is, trying to nail down a decent spot) – so hearing the reviews of someone who has actually frequented a bunch of restaurants in NYC in different cuisines is a huge help. Plus, the pix are great too.

  8. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Thanks man appreciate the kind words. I look forward to hearing YOUR reviews on some of my spots. Glad you like the pics, they’re what it’s all about.

  9. briancur said:

    I haven’t frequented that many that are on your site because before I was aware of this site, when I was in NYC, I would probably just stop off and eat wherever I felt like it – however, now whenever I go up there, my dining experience has a purpose. I had done the Nathan’s thing in Coney Island and Dinosaur Bones (I have been going there for BBQ for awhile), a couple Little Italy restaurants and some Chinatown joints, none particularly memorable. Did Grimaldi’s a couple times but seemed more like hype to me. It’s funny seeing the line of people standing outside waiting to get in there for hours when you can just call your order in, go inside and get your pizza, and walk down to that park under the Brooklyn Bridge (I forget the name) and eat your pizza under the bridge with a great panorama of lower Manhattan (plus there is a great cookie spot on the street back there on the way to the park).

  10. briancur said:

    Also, I didn’t notice any Indian restaurants on your site – I have recently started experimenting with that down here in DC and I like the cuisine…have you reviewed any Indian restaurants in NYC, or are they not worth mention, or prohibitively expensive?

  11. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Actually none of the above, I went out for an Indian feast a few months back and while I was stuffed and pleasantly surprised by the approachability of the flavors, it didn’t really floor me. In the end it just comes down to the fact that I’d rather go out for other food than Indian. That being said, Kati & Roti rolls are damn good and I’ll definitely try to get some of those on here.

  12. update said:

    update the goddamn site already!!

  13. Bill said:


    Gnocco lookd pretty tasty! My gf and I stumbled upon Perbacco one night after getting lost trying to find a local theater where a friend was performing. We didn’t catch his hsow, but we were totally impressed by the style, portions and flavors at Perbacco. Not huge portions, but just right and I really felt a lot of care went into putting the menu together and the preparation of the ingredients.

  14. The NYC Food Guy said:


    Glad to hear a good Perbacco review from someone whose opinion I trust.

    You definitely nailed it on the head, preparation and ingredients are taken very seriously when it comes to Gnocco or Perbacco.

    It’s all a result of the Italian chefs imported to work each of Gian Luca Giovanetti’s kitchens.

    What did you get at Perbacco?

  15. East Village Italian: Porchetta Pork Sandwich Is Pricey but Tasty « NYC Food Guy said:

    […] As week one draws to an end for Porchetta, I look forward to eating chef-owner Sara Jenkins’ other pork creations.  The East Village could really use a go to Italian sandwich spot, I hope the black and white tiled storefront on 7th street fills that void.  In the meantime, my next stop on the sandwich trail is at Caffe Emilia, an Italian sandwich shop owned by the Gnocci master at Gnocco. […]

  16. Before Sunrise said:

    I took a friend of mine who was visiting me to Gnocco, back in January so didn’t enjoy the garden, but the food was fantastic!

  17. The NYC Food Guy said:

    Before Sunrise,

    That’s the only unfortunate thing about Gnocco’s garden, when its really cold, they’ll just shut it down. The good thing is that when its fall and cool outside, they can close the roof and still let people sit outside. What did you eat when you went there?

  18. Before Sunrise said:


    I had the Gnocchi. That’s usually how I measure how good the food is at an italian place. If the gnocchi is good, the food should be good in general, if it’s doughy and heavy, I probably won’t go back again. I was very happy with my gnocchi 🙂

  19. Best Bite of the Week: Tartufata Pizza at Gnocco, the Best Pie No One Talks About | NYC Food Guy said:

    […] Related: Gnocco Full Review […]

  20. Henry said:

    Thanks for the info.…..I have been to Umbertos Clam House on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, the food and hospitality are amazing ……..it is no wonder It’s my regular place for Italian food!!!

  21. Alberto said:

    I’m italian and that food looks very good. I think i would try that restaurant!

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