This has been the year of the Italian. Big hotel restaurants Garum and Santini opened to acclaim and Post was re-imagined as a posh Italian. The Italian takeover has also happened in the quality middle-tier segment of the market. And in spite of all these moves, Galileo, an immutable force on the Italian cuisine landscape, has continued to deliver without a sideways look to food fashion, culinary trends or, heaven forbid, a sous vide machine.
Galileo is old school, conservative and the standard-bearer for classic Tuscan/Roman Italian cuisine. All the dishes on the short menu are simple, rustic and unchanged for years. They are also brilliantly prepped and executed.
Roast chicken is an example of where the kitchen’s head is at. Generously plated with an immaculate and simple pan sauce, the chicken pieces are roasted golden and crisp on the outside, with sweet, moist meat. Rigatoni with pork and tomato sauce is, similarly, a knockout.
The pasta is house made and extruded through a bronze die. One can’t dine at Galileo and not eat the meatballs. It would be a signature dish, if they had one. They are the best polpette in town. Business grandees, judges, legal eagles and magnates flock to Galileo for the meatballs and, if chef Vincenzo has it on, the rotisserie roast duck.
The wine list is large. You might need to be helped through the extensive list of Italian titles, but the wine waiters know their stuff and usually select well.
This is old school at its very best. The food and service are top notch. Galileo is an increasingly rare restaurant these days: generous, rock-solid and yet somehow modern … in a very classical way.