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Galletto Ristorante
An unsurpassed Valentine’s Day dinnerBy RICHARD PALOMA

For a truly unique and special Valentine’s Day evening in the 209, Galletto Ristorante Executive Chef Michael Goularte has put together a signature menu, featuring local ingredients and using his farming and culinary background.

The fixed menu, priced at $70 per person, features four courses, starting with either a house-made clam chowder, Brussel leaf salad or beet salad followed by a second course of a rock shrimp risotto, sun-dried tomato and pesto pasta or a filet mignon ravioli with creamed leeks, gorgonzola cheese and a porcini mushroom sauce.

The entree for the evening features a choice of a Superior Farms of Dixon lamb T-bone, a Certified Angus Beef 12 oz. bone-in steak, a Mary’s Organic of Pitman Farms of Sanger boneless chicken thigh cacciatore, or wild Creative King salmon.

Dessert is a pick of a very popular chocolate Gelato sandwich, mile high carrot cake or a crunchy vanilla meringue.

“Local is very key to us,” said Chef Goularte, who in addition to the above farms, works closely with Ratto Brothers for vegetables and Nicolau Farms for cheeses, both of Modesto. “Everything is made in-house – soups, bread, pizza dough, gelato – it’s all fresh.”

For the Valentine’s Day menu, the chef recommends that couples each choose something different in order to share and experience what the restaurant has to offer.

An extensive wine list (and impressive cellar in the basement) is available at Galletto Ristorante. A wine lover himself, Chef Goularte proposed his suggestions for pairing of wines by the glass with his dishes.

For the Brussel leaf salad, Goularte suggested their William Hill Sauvignon blanc. He suggested tasting the 2008 Gallo Chardonnay with the risotto and with the entree selections, the chef recommended their 2011 MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir and their 2012 Buena Vista “The Count” red for those having the New York Steak.

The restaurant will be open from noon to 10 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, which falls on a Saturday.

The Galletto’s regular menu changes several times a week based on what’s available and what is fresh, according to Chef Goularte.

“I’m constantly on the phone with vendors to see when particular seasons start,” Goularte said.

Originally from Gustine, growing up on his family’s farm, Goularte went to Fresno State University to study agriculture. After a year at Fresno State, he enrolled in the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

“I decided I wanted to be on the other side of the direction and cook it,” said Goularte.

After graduating, Goularte did an internship at La Maisonette in Cincinnati, boasting the longest running streak of five-star awards. Other fine restaurants he’s worked at include Café Boulud where he studied under well-known Chef Daniel Boulud, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, and Club XIX in Pebble Beach before coming to Galletto Ristorante in 2010 and working his way to Executive Chef.

Galletto Ristorante resides in a 1930s-era art deco former Wells Fargo Bank located in the heart of Modesto’s renovated downtown. Offering a rustic Northern Italian menu specializing in inspired cuisine, they provide a variety of private dining settings, and an unparalleled wine selection.

Galletto Ristorante is a truly unique experience.


Everyday from11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., 1101 J St., Modesto.


(209) 523-4500.