Restaurant review: Galicia tapas bar and restaurant


By - Friday 7th November, 2014

Joy Akwue-Butler dines at a Croydon stalwart, but leaves a tad underwhelmed


269-275 High Street, Croydon, CR0 1QH
Time from East Croydon: 15 minutes / 5 minutes by 119, 466 or 312

Photo author’s own.

As it has been some years since I last ate at Galicia, I thought it was about time that I revisited this Spanish restaurant, so I invited my sister Doreen to come with me. I had called earlier in the week to make a booking, but was told that unless it was a booking for a group of ten or more, that we should just turn up! Which is what we did on Thursday 23rd October.

Galicia advertises itself as a family-run restaurant. It has been part of the South Croydon restaurant scene for many years. The décor is traditional and although it is large – ideal for catering for big parties – it still feels warm and welcoming.

The raxo was pretty much lukewarm

We were not sure what to select from the menu but decided that as we were in a Spanish restaurant we should opt for the tapas. We were served by our friendly waiter, Antonio, who gave us some helpful advice with regards to ordering dishes. He told us that five should be more than sufficient. (As we had considered ordering six!)

So we ordered the following: pinchos de pollo (chicken kebab, £5.70), tortillia espanola (Spanish omelette, £4.50), patatas bravas (fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce, £4.50), pinchos de pescado (monkfish kebab, £6.50) and raxo (marinated pork fillet with chips).

While we waited we ordered some drinks: I had a small glass of pinot grigio (£3.10) and Doreen had a glass of apple juice (£2.20). Our dishes arrived all together. We started by sharing the chicken kebab, which came with rice.

Our omelette had a nice flavour

The chicken pieces were well-cooked but the peppers were burnt around the edges and the rice was cold. We moved on to the omelettes, which had a nice flavour. There was a good balance of potatoes and onions, without there being a strong taste of eggs. The spicy potatoes were a bit soft but tasted OK. But it was the monkfish kebab that was the most disappointing: it didn’t taste as expected, and was almost undercooked. Doreen felt the same (she is a lot more experienced when it comes to eating fish) and although she didn’t enjoy eating the monkfish, she did enjoy the prawns which came with it.

By the time we came to the last dish, raxo, it was pretty much lukewarm – which was a shame, as this was probably the best. The pork was tender and flavoursome and the french fries tasted good, but would have been better if they’d still been hot.

Doreen remarked that all the sauces seemed to be variations of the same theme. They were either creamy, spicy or ‘herby’ tomato-flavoured sauces!

It was a pity that the majority of our meal was lukewarm to cold. The mistake was to serve the dishes on flat open plates instead of the more traditional clay bowls, which help to keep the dishes hot.

Before leaving we paid a visit to the ladies, which was bright and clean. There are two cubicles, one of which was particularly narrow.

Unfortunately, despite the friendly atmosphere, neither of us will be visiting Galicia again in the near future.

Joy Akwue-Butler

Joy Akwue-Butler

Joy Akwue-Butler works as the Operations Manager for IKM TeckChek Europe whose UK office is based in Croydon. She has lived and worked in the area for over 20 years. She currently lives in Caterham with her partner and has one daughter – Jasmine. Joy loves eating good food and enjoys socialising!

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  • John Gass

    The next time you fancy some tapas in a traditional Spanish-feeling environment, I’d suggest a short trip to Las Fuentes in Purley, which I’ve always found excellent. It’s like going to Spain but on a bus rather than a plane!

    • Guest

      Thank you all for taking the time out to respond – I do appreciate your feedback!

      Remember this is just my opinion – but it was after eating at Galicia, that I then remembered why it has taken so many years before going back there again … !

      Yes John, someone else has recently told me about Las Fuentes and said that the food there is very good!

  • Stephen Giles

    We have always found the food to be nothing less than excellent at Galicia Restaurant.

  • PolarDog

    Went there earlier this year. Good service certainly but poor ambience, loud background music and mediocre food. Indeed my son remarked that he got better spare ribs from the chicken shop down the road.

    • Stephen Giles

      We found Las Fuentes to resemble a pick-up joint, and the food was nothing special.

  • Joy Akwue-Butler

    Thank you all for taking the time out to respond – I do appreciate your feedback!

    Remember this is just my opinion – but it was after eating at Galicia, that I
    then remembered why it has taken so many years before going back there
    again … !

    Yes John, someone else has recently told me about: Las Fuentes and said that the food there is very good! I may have to try them out! ;-)