We felt good about Madonna as soon as we entered. The place offers a cosy Italian atmosphere, as interpreted by Icelanders, with some genuinely nice, down to Earth service that makes one feel at home.
After pondering the surprisingly modestly priced menu (with most of the pasta dishes under 2.000 ISK, the meat dishes going for around 3.000 and the pizzas evening out at circa 1.500 ISK for a small one, which is enough) we decided to go for plates of lamb carpaccio and Parma ham for starters, followed by a C4 pizza (pepperoni, pineapple, fresh chillies, jalapenos and cayenne pepper) and some lobster pasta.
The starters were good. The Parma ham (1.690 ISK) was sprinkled with melon, mango, Parmesan and Maldon, attractively laid out on a plate and doused with balsamico. The dish was rather salty, but the melon and mango came to the rescue (as well as the beer).
Lamb carpaccio (1.590 ISK) was somewhat of a novelty for my companion. She claimed not to have eaten raw lamb, ever, and was nicely surprised by the dish’s taste and tenderness. The Parmesan and rucola complimented it nicely. Win.
We did not have to wait long for our main courses, but waiting a while in the setting of Madonna wouldn’t have been all that bad. The pizza (1.190), when it came, was hot and spicy, a damn fine pizza even though it wasn’t groundbreaking in any way. Just a down to Earth, honest Icelandic pizza. I plan on enjoying it again some day.
Truth be told, we didn’t expect much of the lobster pasta (2.690). Generally, lobster pastas in Iceland tend to be bland, creamy concoctions, sprinkled with a few langoustine tails. This was something else. The sauce was fresh and thin, the spaghetti fresh and the lobster (er… langoustine) plentiful. A very satisfying course, especially considering the price.
For dessert, we had ‘Créme brulée Italiano’ (990 ISK) and a ‘dessert pizza’ (990 ISK), which is basically a small pizza topped with almond flakes, bananas, syrup and chocolate chips. The créme brulée was runny and unimpressive, if alright tasting, and the dessert pizza was a novelty that wore thin way too soon. We decided that Madonna wasn’t the sort of place you needed to get dessert at, but if you did you should stick with something basic, like ice cream.
Look. Madonna is by no means the best restaurant in Reykjavík. But the food we enjoyed that night was certainly of real quality and goof value for money, and the prices make you imagine you could well frequent the place regularly. In fact, I plan on going there again, soon, as finding a nice, cheap sit-down restaurant in Reykjavík is no mean feat. I’ll keep you posted if they start messing up.
- Madonna Rauðarárstígur 27-29
- What we think: Just really nice
- Flavour: Consistently nice
- Ambiance: Italian-Icelandic
- Service: Homey and welcoming
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