CHIReview

photo credit: Susie Lacocque

Galit image
8.9

Galit

Middle Eastern

Lincoln Park

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightDinner with the ParentsDrinking Good CocktailsFirst/Early in the Game DatesSmall PlatesVegetarians

Included In

Certain meals are so memorable, they’ll inspire you to drop everything, turn to the person beside you, and suddenly say, without context, “Remember those roasted carrots?” That person will then immediately stop what they’re doing, put down their scalpel, and reply, “I was just thinking about those.” This is the kind of one-time-I-scored-four-goals-in-a-single-game nostalgia you’ll have after eating at Galit in Lincoln Park. Their Middle Eastern food raises the bar, and after going here, it’ll be a while before you’re talking about anything else.

The dishes at Galit aren’t memorable because they’re gimmicky - there’s no bee pollen falafel or frozen hummus sorbet. Instead, they’re just so good that they become the standard by which all future versions of that dish will be judged. From perfectly roasted carrots topped with feta and a sweet hazelnut dukkah (a blend of nuts and spices) to airy falafel served with a bit of preserved mango, everything has an extra touch that sets it apart, and nothing on the plate feels unnecessary. The fluffy pita is so good that, days later, you’ll find yourself shouting “Objection - pita!” at the TV while sitting on the couch watching reruns of Judge Joe Brown.

The larger plates are also great, and despite the menu’s recommendations to the contrary, you won’t want to share. There’s a rich and spicy shakshukah that will make you retroactively angry at the last perfectly-fine-at-the-time version you ate somewhere else. And the Tunisian-style fried fish comes with three dipping sauces (avocado hummus, tahini, and harissa) that are each delicious enough to warrant ordering the whole dish just for them. Because along with everything else on the menu, even the condiments and sauces are standouts at Galit, and the best thing that showcases this is the salatim, a shareable assortment of spreads and dips (like labneh and ezme) served alongside some of the fantastic pita.

Galit image

photo credit: Susie Lacocque

Like most restaurants in Lincoln Park, Galit’s large, bright space can get very, very busy, and reserving a table might take planning ahead. But don’t let that deter you from walking in and trying to get seated that way. There’s a large bar that’s clearly designed for eating, a communal table for walk-ins, and a long chef’s counter where you can watch people cook food you’ll be thinking about for weeks after eating here.

After a meal at Galit, there’s a good chance you won’t want to stop talking about it. In fact, you’ll probably bring up the carrots at the next (and last) wedding where you’re asked to give a toast. Because the best restaurants don’t need gimmicks to be memorable - they just need to have really f*cking good food.

Food Rundown

Galit image

photo credit: Susie Lacocque

Bubbe’s Brisket Hummus

If you’re going to get only one hummus (which is a mistake - you should order at least two) make it this one. The brisket is very tender, cooked with roasted carrots and smoky cinnamon that add some sweetness to the dish.

Trumpet Mushroom Hummus

There’s a lot happening in this hummus and it’s all good. Along with the mushroom, you get collard greens, gribiche sauce, and a lot of spice from a little harissa. And it’s topped with pieces of fried chicken skin, which is something we never knew went well with hummus until now.
Galit image

photo credit: Susie Lacocque

Salatim

We at The Infatuation appreciate what we call “moving parts,” i.e., dishes that have a lot of elements you can mix and match - and if you like these too, then you’ll love the salatim. It’s five small dishes served with pita, and each one is complex and very flavorful: labneh with hyssop and sesame, ezme, roasted turnips with date molasses and tahini, and cipollini onion with feta.
Galit image

photo credit: Susie Lacocque

Roasted Carrots

You need to order the roasted carrots at Galit. For an often boring vegetable, these carrots are disproportionately flavorful, perfectly roasted and topped with slightly sweet hazelnut dukkah, cuminy orange sauce, and just the right amount of feta cheese. It all mixes together in each bite and tastes wonderful.
Galit image

photo credit: Susie Lacocque

Shakshukah

We love this. The addition of coal-roasted sweet potatoes gives it some sweetness and balances out the very spicy tomato sauce. It’s served with some delicious laffa (flatbread) on the side that’s the size of a bedsheet.
Galit image

photo credit: Susie Lacocque

Falafel

The falafel at Galit is fluffy and moist inside, and comes with a little bit of mango and tangy labneh. There are no bells and whistles happening here - it’s just the best falafel in Chicago.
Galit image

photo credit: Susie Lacocque

Balkan Stuffed Cabbage

This is hearty and delicious. It’s a small casserole dish of cabbage, lamb, and a thick and rich tomato harissa sauce, all topped with labneh. And it’s not included, but trust us, you’re going to want to order some pita on the side so you don’t waste any extra sauce.
Galit image

photo credit: Susie Lacocque

Fried Fish Tunisian Style

We’re not sure how Galit manages to serve fried fish this light, but here we are. The bass is delicately battered, fried, and served with avocado hummus, tahini, and harissa sauce that are each standouts on their own.

Kibbeh Nayah

This is beef tartare, and the spicy meat is prepared with toasted wheat that gives it texture. It’s tasty, but just comes with sliced cucumber on the side that really should be challah. So, if you get this, order some challah, too.

Chicken Thigh

The chicken thigh preparation changes and it’s consistently memorable. So if you or someone you know is a chronic chicken orderer, the crispy skin and juicy meat will make them happy.

Dessert

The desserts at Galit are on the smaller side and not very sweet, so they might not satisfy, say, a Cheesecake Factory connoisseur. But these are a nice, light way to end the meal. Particularly the eat-it-in-two-bites krembo (sesame shortbread and marshmallow covered in chocolate) or the basbousa, a semolina cake topped with almonds, rhubarb, and whipped cream.

Included In

FOOD RUNDOWN

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