June 28, 2005
It is housed in an extended Reykjavik dwelling on Klapparstigur, just off the main shopping street. Although it was not full of activity, this Italian bistro had a "busy feel" to it and loads of ambience. We were guided through the pub/diner area up a small set of stairs into the restaurant’s additional feature (a conservatory). Having chosen our table, we were able to watch the rain bouncing off the windows and could only speculate how pleasant it would be to watch the sun over a clear Icelandic sky. Remnants of the restaurant’s old personae could be seen through the side of the veranda in the form of the signage "La Dolce Vita." Perhaps "Pasta Basta" was seen to be more upbeat and trendy! Outside, a small fountain was working overtime in an attempt to compete with the downpour.
A compact menu was shown to us by the waiter, and I chose sesame-fried salmon, and my wife opted for a chicken dish, but within moments was told that this was no longer available. She opted for scampi taglietteli and was not to be disappointed, as when it arrived there was loads of it and any of her hunger pangs were soon satiated. The rich, creamy sauce beautifully complemented the fresh taste of the scampi – she was very happy. My salmon was equally well prepared – we’ve never thought of frying salmon in sesame seeds, and I have to say we’ll now give it a whirl. The salmon was succulent and there was plenty of it – the only downside was that it was served with a jacket potato (not a problem, but I would have preferred a choice of potato). The dish was accompanied by crispy, flavoursome fried vegetables, and the fresh parsley, sprinkled around the plate as a garnish, was aesthetically pleasing. We had intended to have a dessert, but the main course was sufficient.
Throughout the meal, our water glasses were regularly topped off, and the waiter was, unobtrusively, always aware of our needs.
Comfortable, padded chairs were contrasted against the starkness of the faux-marble, cast-iron pedestal tables with their gaudy beaded tea-light shades standing on a black-tiled floor. Silk pot plants adorned the window ledges, but somehow the restaurant "got away" with this degree of naffness. We were overlooked from the first floor by another dining area, and beyond the conservatory area was a fourth dining area – effectively an enclosed outdoor area covered by a blue-and-white awning and, I guess, not the warmest of rooms on a cold winter’s day.
A good enough meal in pleasant surrounds, it is worth a try for a cheaper Icelandic meal.
From journal Eating, sleeping and praying in Reykjavik