Having previously enjoyed what I recall to be good pizza in a comfortable environment at the downtown Italian restaurant Galileo, I had certain expectations arriving there on a Friday afternoon. A friendly waitress greeted us and gave us a window table in the cosy restaurant. I ordered the chef’s recommended combo of a carpaccio starter followed by a pesto-covered grilled fillet of lamb, while my companion opted for an entrée of cured ham with melon and chicken tagliatelle with chilli, mushrooms, garlic, cream and parmesan for the main course. The cured ham and melon course was delicious and inventively presented; however, we were greatly disappointment by the huge plate of rucola-covered carpaccio. The dish looked great, and the meat tasted fine – that was, until we reached the middle of the plate and discovered most of the carpaccio to be still frozen. Paying nearly 2,000 ISK for a plate of improperly defrosted beef, however attractive, is simply unacceptable. It should be noted that our waitress offered to replace our plate when we pointed this out to her, and went on to provide us with a genuinely friendly service throughout the course of our meal.
The tagliatelle was a rather bland affair, losing points for featuring dry bits of chicken but redeeming itself with the perfectly timed pasta. The grilled fillet of lamb was an altogether more impressive course, combining fresh ingredients with the never-disappointing Icelandic meat. Again, though, when we pointed out to a passing waitress that the meat rather leaned towards the ‘rare’ side of my requested ‘medium-rare’ grilling, she refuted the observation, stating that it was indeed medium-rare while offering to take it back to the kitchen for more cooking.
The high point of our Galileo dining experience was surely the delicious and rich chocolate cake we had for dessert. We could not help but wish that the rest of our meal had been to the same standard.
Galileo is a bit on the pricey side, with main courses going for around 2-4,000 ISK. While not suitable for the budget traveller, its comfortable surroundings, pleasant music and friendly service could provide for a fine night out – were their cuisine not tainted by some obvious though, one would hope, easily fixed culinary flaws. HM