Galileo Enoteca

Thanks to Alicia, a regular Market Manila reader and consummate foodie, eno3who recently suggested I check out Galileo Enoteca, a wonderful small Italian wine merchant and deli tucked away on a small side street in Mandaluyong. Without the tip, there is little chance of my dropping in on them out of the blue. Galileo Enoteca sells Italian wine and deli items as well as pasta, flour, canned tomatoes and other goods. On our first visit, I was thrilled to find Italian “00” flour for pasta, anchovies, Grana Padano (that hard cheese that is much less costly than Parmigiano Reggiano), gorgonzola, pancetta, prosciutto San Daniele, canned Plum tomatoes, etc. I also noticed that there were tables set up for lunch and dinner…

Owned by Gaetano Vitrano, an Italian whose daughter Vanessa manages the shop, eno4the Enoteca is best described as having a “soul.” Opened just weeks ago (though they moved from a much smaller location near the Mandaluyong City Hall), the owners are on the premises and you see and feel the difference. There is a genuine interest in the wine, and Gaetano, if there, can discuss the pros and cons of a particular bottle, and he is familiar with a number of the producers or vineyards. The deli counter and shelves, though modestly stocked, have the stuff I would want at an Italian deli… though nice mozzarellas, more types of risotto rice, etc. are always hoped for. We sampled a superb Castelmagno cheese, which is an artisanal cheese made from cows, sheep or goats milk (or a mixture of all three) made high in the mountains between the towns of Castelmagno, Pradleves e Monterosso Grana in the Cuneo Province of Italy. The cheese is made by hand then aged for months in natural grottos found in the mountains. It is one of Italy’s rarest cheeses because so little is made. It was superb and I am thrilled to have tried it. And what might best go with the dry hard cheese if you were feeling extravagant? Perhaps a bottle of Brunello, which the Enoteca carries as well. We tried it with this more modest bottle of wine that was an interesting pairing as well.

Intrigued by the place, we returned the very next day to try their eno2food (sorry, I forgot my camera). Warning: this is not fine dining with an ambitious menu. It is a very simple but wonderful value proposition that I will return to often. The concept is simple… start with a platter of wonderful cold cuts and cheese, have a modest but appropriate portion of pasta, perhaps a glass of wine or a softdrink, all for a fixed price of PHP350 a head!!! Fantastic. Our platter had Italian ham, salami, prosciutto san daniele, possibly a mortadella (not sure) and chunks of Grana Padano that got more aromatic and more delicious as it warmed up. There were three choices of pasta for the day (they change often) and we ordered all three on our table to taste everything… a delicious penne with gorgonzola cheese that was just the right sharpness yet had some creaminess to it at well. A second pasta was an eggplant and tomato sauce on spaghetti cooked just right (firm not hard). And finally, a Bolognese served with rigatoni that was good but I found the noodles a bit too al dente. A nice salad would have made this the perfect meal. This is my kind of restaurant, nothing pretentious, just good value on solid basic food.

Dining is done on long communal tables eno1(unless you are six in which case you can take whole tables) in several wine chambers as though you are in a cellar. Long benches can be tough on the the butt but you will survive. This is a great place for a family get together or a tucked away date that won’t break the bank. If you like Italian food, recognize terrific value and want a little place with soul…head over to Galileo Enoteca soon before the chi-chi crowd figures this out and packs it to the gills. If this place were around the corner from where I lived I could eat there 2-3 times a month! Galileo Enoteca is located at 80 Calbayog Street corner Malinao Street in Mandaluyong. Telephone 534-4633 and ask for directions.


42 Responses

  1. I heard about this restaurant from another friend as well! Reading your write-up I definitely feel the urge to try this place out. There’s nothing like the power of referrals to get one interested in other places.

    In the resto-info dry landscape that is Metro Manila, I really mostly on recommendations from friends and blogs for dining ideas. =)

  2. Hi! I just called the deli. While a complete meal (cold cuts to coffee) is P350 per head, you can also order a la carte, e.g. pasta at P150 per order, if you have kids with you. I will definitely be there one of these days.

  3. avatar, yup, you are right. I forgot to mention the extra pasta at PHP150. I ordered one of them to taste and I thought they were just being nice charging me less for the additional order… If that is normal practice, the volume of antipasto given is really quite good… if you go, say you saw it on marketmanila…maybe that will help me get a table when it becomes more of a hot spot…heehee.

  4. I was there with friends last Friday night, we all loved it, ate too much, and the risotto was my favorite. Want to go back to try their fresh mozarella.
    Definitely need to make reservations, so call ahead. And according to a friend who goes there religiously, go on a Saturday afternoon to eat among the “Italian crowd”, says the soundtrack is fantastic.

  5. it is very good that people suggest a very good and reasonable place. With our economy cringe this is a sigh of relief.
    I hope you will recomend more and paste the good and reasonable places to eat.
    more power!!

  6. Am so glad it was worth your trip and now we all benifit from your review! If its up to Marketman standards then it must be good. My husband is dialing for reservations as I type..

  7. this is the kind of restaurant we need as you say with a soul.Gaetano is a widower whose departed wife is a Kapangpangan. A great gastronomical combination an Italian and a Pampanguena. He is help out by his wife’s family, from the cooking to serving. You can order a cheese platter for your private dinners at home from P250 for 6-8 persons and that’s really a value for your money,just bring your platter and they will arrange it for you. I’ve also heard there’s a lot of great chefs who has already discovered this small secret in Mandaluyong.
    I hope more family restaurants of this kind will propagate.

  8. yes! down with the prefabricated, precooked chains of restaurants (if you can even call them that) that serve too bland, too salty or too sweet (or what they call ‘adjusted to the local taste’) food that is overpriced pa! booooo!

  9. at long last, a review of a dining establishment from you, market man! at least two foodie friends of mine have already mentioned this place and you’re right, one must go and sample the restaurant’s value-for-money delectables posthaste before it gets swamped by a horde of people.

    i’d like to see your review notes on other restaurants like antonio’s in barrio neogan in tagaytay, humphrey navarro’s P45 near enoteca (its in samat, mandaluyong), jose sotto’s cuisine at la vigne (in yakal, makati, paul huang’s firelake grill along the ridge in tagaytay; verdana in discovery suites in tagaytay, etc….

    best regards!

  10. teddy, I actually eat out relatively rarely and I find that I can be quite demanding on restaurants, particularly those with some pretense… I could write scathing reviews but that would serve only to amuse myself… also, since I cook, the value for quality trade-off is generally a poor one.

  11. I forgot to add that the tartuffo was wonderful, dark chocolate gelato with a creamy center. Maybe the marketman groupies should do a dinner there? Eyeball one another over platters of appetizers, while Marketman in the form of a cellphone call (you could be like Charlie) tells us a story about a topic of his choice.

  12. Had a chitty chat with foodies — Fern Aracama, Gaita Fores, Claude Tayag and Cely Kalaw and Galileo Enoteca cropped up! Good source of cold cuts. Yum.

    Hello, Teddy M — do check out my friend’s blog that reviewed Firehouse Grill! :) MM included it in his links “The Blair Mitch Chronicles Food and the next best taste…”

  13. i’m so lucky because this place is only 3 blocks away from my house! ;) My hubby and I go there really often to buy salami and cheese and ingredients for risotto. I’m so happy they’re so close by, but I’m already starting to feel the consequences (a.k.a. getting plumper). Thanks to them, I was able to taste parmigiano reggiano and fresh mozerella for the very first time and swooned with pleasure with every bite.

  14. i love love your blog! i just stumbled upon this when i googled dangwa flowers, and it opened a door for me. i will definitely try this place soon, even if it’s so far away from my place. have you heard of c’est si bon here in alabang? i heard billy king runs the place. i do hope he finds a great pastry chef–it’s all that’s missing in his restaurant.

  15. Mandy, glad you like the site, thanks for visiting. I haven’t been out to alabang in ages… funny how we all become so local meaning within 2 kilometers of where we live… even more reason there should be more neighborhood markets in the city… Haven’t had a chance to try c’est si bon… karen, you ARE lucky… if it were walking distance from my house I would weigh a few pounds more!

  16. Dear Marketman,

    Thank you very much for the post on Galileo Enoteca.

    I’ve only been reading your posts the last 2 months or so and I must say that I find them very informative and mouth watering so to speak.

    I went to GE last Sunday with two friends. (I called up Saturday and reserved a table.)

    I loved the ambience of the place and the very homey and personal quality of it.

    The experience was indeed everything as you described it. And I was scared that I would leave the place unsatisfied. The food was simple, but excellent. I couldn’t get enough of this slightly sweet crumbly cheese that just explodes in your mouth while sipping a sweet sparkling wine. (I don’t know their names but the cheese must have been one of those you mentioned being served during your visit.)

    Lots of value added to the set P350 we each paid: the bread with balsamic-olive oil-parmesan dip, the wine glass refills, the good service, and for myself, smelling the herbs through their plastic.

    My friend even bought some coffee before we left. And I saw a bottle of Lemoncello that I plan to return for when I have extra dinero.

    The owners and staff thanked us for coming which really made a good impression.

    And I was scared that I wouldn’t get full. I think I must have overdone it with the bread. The tastes of the cheese and meats didn’t leave my mouth the whole day till I cleared my palate in the evening with some plain soda crackers.

    I must leave room for their dessert next time as they mentioned panna cotta and gelato that my stomach had no more room to accomodate.

    Keep blogging.

    Thanks again.

  17. I am married to a gal from Mandaluyong and its our home in the Philippines now. Would definitely go there on our next repat as we always run out of ideas where to eat out.

    Thanks Marketman.

    Regards from Dhahran

  18. Well, can anybody comment on, or describe, the wine list?

    The blog’s reviewer mentioned about having a Brunello. Was it good/decent/interesting?
    Any other worthwhile offerings? Barolos, Super Tuscans or some hard-to-find Southern Italian wines (reds or whites)?


  19. Amalfi Boy I can’s help much other than to say they had a modest selection of Italian wines and they are slightly cheaper than some other wine shops in Manila for some of the same bottles…

  20. brilliant concept. who needs pantry when you can use your stocks for display? flaunt your wide selection of wine inventory! who needs a chef when one can just serve the entre’ by getting from their display? pasta=sauce in can + choice of pasta, voila!!! risotto=sauce in can + risotto box eureka!!! everyday new menu, why not? to get rid of the products nearings its “expiration” date.

    have nothing against Galileo …. believe it or not I admire the concept … you just need to be observant why an italian cuisine like this cost LESS!!!


  21. bryan, you’re a snob.

    I wonder when the time will come when our world is can be rid of people with crab mentality!

  22. i saw this resto featured at the lifestyle network over the weekend and i immediately looked for it on the net. this writeup is by far the most informative. i can’t wait to check out the place. for a wine and cheese lover like me, this should be heaven on earth ;)

  23. melissa babe,you misunderstood moi! read again, girl! i’m just stating a fact here. italian canned goods + boxed pastas –> you called that gourmet already?!? hello??? haven’t eaten in other italian resto madame? again, the interior is a-ok, wines -> wide selection, carpaccio & cheeses – great deal … for a price of 400 php! not a bargain, i believe! please dine-in again and pay attention

    “i came, i ate, i observed!”

  24. bryan, relax. I doubt if Galileo has EVER made a risotto from a can and box as you so confidently suggest. Nobody is saying this place was fine dining but they definitely provided value for their PHP400 a person. The fact that they use the products they sell is actually brilliant, since the quality of their products is generally a touch above what most restaurants use. And they are a wholesaler that provides food to several other Manila restaurants… Their cold cuts and cheeses are authentic and are flown in. Many brillianbt pastas can, and are made from canned goods such as canned tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies, etc. Their dry pastas are also of good quality. They are owned by an Italian who does pay attention to the food and the wine. If you are so expert at identifying great Italian value, I am curious what restaurants you think can provide similar fare at about the same price all in… Even better, what Italian restaurants in Manila make their pasta sauce from scratch, meaning fresh roma tomatoes, or their pasta from scratch for that matter. They had no carpaccio as far as I can tell. Suggesting that they are using food products on the cusp of expiration is speculation at best and presumably not something you know as a fact… I wouldn’t be so loose with your accusations when it could impact someone else negatively…as for the affected use of foreign words, one wonders if you can speak French with any fluency at all…take your snide comments to another blog where they may be more amused…

  25. ouch. a little bit too harsh marketman. i believe that you know the definition of “trolling.” anyhows, i had dinner last night with some of my friends there and i must say, they still live my expectations.

  26. Cupcake diva, I am not sure if he is or not…but I just ran a check on his email address and it is a fake. he didn’t even have the balls to leave a real address but I am leaving the comments up instead of deleting them (which is SOP when folks leave fake or bogus emails) because their utter stupidity is more indicative than any of the jabs he takes…

  27. Dear Marketman,

    This may be a bit outdated but i happen to pass by your site and i cant stop myself from dropping a note. The first time i went to Galileo was when my boss took the team for dinner early last year and id say that 500/pax for the set meal (excludes the bill for dessert and the generous glasses of various wine we all consumed) was well worth it. The ambiance was definite superb, the staff were courteous, the food was fresh and hot and their pistachio ice cream is the best i ever tried! This comes without saying that the first time was followed by more visits, the most recent was weeks ago, And, i definitely dont mind the reasonable price increase coz everything from food to service remained CONSISTENT.

    Simply remarkable.

  28. been checking on them lately coz i’ve been seriously craving good italian food. the website is down. hopefully not for too long. seems they forgot to pay for their website domain. you can still get the cached site though.

  29. We are eating there tonight. Been looking for their number in phone directory but could not find. Thank you for your write up with the phone number. My reservation has been confirmed. :)

  30. We’ve had a flat in Wack Wack – within walking distance for years and are so sad it took until last night to discover this gem. We will be back often! Excellently prepared food, served by a professional staff and the deli counter is a treasure trove.

  31. I am the type of person who craves for an extraordinary food without extra cost.

    Galileo Enoteca was mentioned in one of the luncheon meeting I attended in south last February 2007. I kept this to myself to surprise my husband on his forth-coming birthday (July 2, 2007).

    The long waiting has arrived, 2nd of July falls on a Monday. My husband and I was driving along Pasong Tamo, and we were looking left and right, not to miss the place.

    At last! We found it without feeling lost. Anybody will not fail to notice it because it is located strategically.

    So far Galileo Enoteca is the finest Italian restaurant in existence. I found solace, extravagance, food authenticity and taste satisfaction.

    So to summarize our journey, we got what is SUPERB for the price of P400.00 per meal:
    bestwine+best soup+best cold cuts+best pasta+best chocolate eh+best SERVICE!!! PERFECT!!!

  32. Jen R-R and Mickey Mouse (deleted second comment), I am glad you liked Galileo, I certainly did. I only allowed one comment on as the second comment used the same email address.

  33. Will certainly try the place if not with my family with my lunch amigas. We are always looking for someplace new, superb, and reasonably priced. Galileo E sounds very promising. Ty

  34. hello
    can i have the address of the restaurant…. i want to eat here… plsss send me the address..


  35. arlyn, if you are a regular on this blog, which you are probably not, you would know I have a fairly low tolerance for laziness, and worse, duhhhness. Did you bother to read the post above? Can you comprehend words and sentences? At what point did you miss the address of the place? Are you so attention deficited that you couldn’t read the entire post before pleading for information that was right in front of your eyes??? Good grief. Not only is the address in the post, so is the telephone number in case you want to call them and ask for blow by blow directions!

  36. Arlyn is so numb!..Read first the entire blog before you comment.Hehehehe..No photographic Memory..Sorry Arlyn.

  37. Ground Floor, Reyes Gym
    Calbayog corner Malinao Streets
    Mandaluyong City Philippines
    Tel. No.: 532-0482

    Ground Floor, La Fuerza Plaza
    2241 Don Chino Roces Street
    Makati City Philippines
    Tel. No.: 893-7046

  38. MM,
    What the? -:)

    A good friend loaned me ten tagalog movies and she want them back in 10 days. “10 days?!?!” I protested.
    “Yes, I must return them to Jet.” says she.
    Where to find time?
    But, I want to see scenes of the Philippines. Decisions, decisions… what to watch first.
    Ene mene miny mo
    catch a xxxxxx by the toe
    if he holla let him go
    ene mene miny mo

    Aha!!!! “FOR THE FIRST TIME”. Who’s KC and Richard? Never mind that, they’re handsome couple.

    Greece? I want to see the Philippine Islands not Santorini Island!

    Then, a scene: A table, brick walls, bottle of wines, dimly lit, cozy space!

    Rewind! Galileo… Nice. Wait! Oh yeah… we’re in the Philippines now.
    Just Googled, “Galileo Restaurant, Manila” and lo and behold! MM it’s you! :)

    Yap, I’m so far behind, it sickens me.



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