My internet buddy Mattias shall be traveling to Reykjavik nest week and I offered to mail him some ideas for places to eat. I then decided to make my recommendations into a blog post, so that maybe others could benefit from my list. So, here are some eating places I would recommend you to try, while in Reykjavik:
I start off with my favorite restaurant Sægreifinn, situated near the Reykjavík harbor. An unpretentious place with fantastic food. The interior is very quaint and cozily cluttered with seafood connected parapharnelia. Best dish is the lobster soup. Last time we went there we had lobster soup for starter followed by skewers of respectively whale and lobster. Fantastic!
Very close to “Sægreifinn” is Hamborgarabúllan (translates to Burger joint). Here you get excellent grilled burgers, not fancy, just very tasty. “Fast food burgers done right” as Kalli puts it. Incidentally the guy who runs Hamborgarabúllan was the person responsible for bringing hamburgers to Iceland, something which happened sometime in the eighties.
“Food&Fun” by Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi’s CC BY-NC-ND (Flickr.com)
“condiments” by roboppys CC BY-NC-ND
On the subject of fast food. Last time I was in Reykjavik we got the most delicious take away pizza from a place called Eldsmiðjan. Pizzas baked in wood fired oven with a great selection of toppings. Can’t guarantee that it’s still great, but the crew originally behind that place has started a new place called Gamla smiðjan centrally located at Lækjargötu.
“Eating Pizza” by ian.crowther CC BY-NC (Flickr.com)
Of course traditional Icelandic food has to be tried while in Reykjavik. There is a new place at Lokastígur called Café Loki which specializes in home cooked traditional Icelandic cuisine. Everything is made from scratch and they also bake their own bread. For someone not familiar with Icelandic cuisine it is very helpful that they have a photo version of the menu. I had plokkfiskur which was great. Kalli had Icelandic meat soup (lamb) which he claims was a bit week.
Kolabrautin at Harpa
Icelandic cuisine in a more luxurious version is to be had at the newly built, and not quite finished, Reykjavik concert house Harpa. On the fourth floor the restaurant Kolabrautin is situated and here we had the most fabulous meal. A four course dinner with specially selected wine to go with every dish. The meal was exquisite and a culinary experience extraordinaire. Click here for menu.
The desert was a bit of a surprise. A waitress came in and placed a large square tablet in the middle of our table. She then proceeded by scooping up various desert ingredients on this tablet. One heap in front of each one of us with sauce, cake, fruts etc. She then rounded off by making ice-cream, using liquid nitrogen.
Nonnabiti and Bæjarins Bistu Pylsur
I’ll finish off by mentioning a couple of places at which to grab a quick bite on the go, for when you are downtown Reykjavik. The first one is Nonnabiti which is a fast food joint at Hafnarstræti, specialising in subs. Great selection of fillings; fish, chicken curry, bacon, turkey, vegetables and more, accompanied by Nonnabiti’s special sauce and other condiments. Around the corner from Nonnabiti is the famous hot dog stand Bæjarins Bistu Pylsur (translates to The best hot dogs in town). The hot dogs here are cooked in lager and immensely popular. On the wall inside the stand you will be able to see a picture of Bill Clinton savouring a hot dog from the stand.
One last tip. Austurvöllur is a square in central Reykjavik which nowadays has free wifi. The square is surrounded by cafés where you can sit and reap its benefits if you do not want to sit in the square itself. I know that, out of these, at least Café Paris has decent food.
Have a nice stay!