Gazala’s is once again open on the Upper West Side. The popular Druze restaurant with its signature thin, springy pitas closed in the neighborhood in 2015, and is now back at 447 Amsterdam Ave. between 81st and 82nd streets.
Chef-owner Gazala Halabi has an expanded menu and a full liquor license here. New dishes in addition to her classic spreads, salads, fish, and kebabs include shrimp hummus, a cauliflower tahini salad, and shawarma. The bar in the 100-seat space focuses on Israeli wine and cocktails with arak, an anise liquor.
The UWS location was busy before it closed. Halabi has been looking to return to the neighborhood since, but two leases prior to this fell through. She was 27 when she opened the original location of Gazala’s in Hell’s Kitchen. Now 39, she says the differences in this new location come with that age.
“Every restaurant is me, but now maybe I’m more grown up,” she says. “So it’s still like me, but it’s a different experience.”
The first location is still open in its slim Hell’s Kitchen space, receiving critical acclaim since 2007. Halabi cooks Druze fare, the cuisine of her hometown, known for its spreads like goat’s cheese labneh, baba ganoush, and hummus; salads with tomatoes, cucumbers, and and lots of herbs; and meatier fare like kebabs and spiced, skinless sausages.
This new location is now open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.