Published October 7, 2005
It took a while to get the attention of the staff at Hótel Borg when we first arrived. A gaggle of Norwegian visitors were mingling in the bar and monopolizing the resources of the only two waiters in the restaurant. Since the bar and restaurant sections of Hótel Borg are unfortunately in the same room, one could not escape the howls of laughter and clinking of glasses.
After the departure of the gang, however,the evening passed very leasantly. Hótel Borg is a popular spot for lunch and for coffee, but it is not so busy at dinnertime. The restaurant, in Reykjavík’s oldest hotel, is a large highceilinged beige room, with 1920s lighting and potted palm trees. It felt like it would be more in place with the grand old hotels of continental Europe than provincial Reykjavík. Then again, that was the idea behind the
creation of Hótel Borg in the first place.
The classy atmosphere was well-suited to those on a romantic dinner. There was a fresh rose on each table, intimate lighting, and Nina Simone crooning in the background. There was also a very long wait between courses. If you are with a sparkling conversationalist, this helps make the evening a memorable one. For those who don’t want to take three hours to
eat three courses, consider this your warning.
The courses themselves were excellent. Reykjavík restaurants in this price range all tend to offer a similar menu of lamb, chicken and several fish dishes. While Hótel Borg was no exception, they paid a lot of attention to the accompaniments, which were both substantial and presented in a sophisticated but refreshingly unpretentious style. The wonderful aroma of each of the dishes as it was served is etched into my brain. Favourites of the evening were the briochecrusted salmon with blue cheese sauce (a starter at 1400 ISK) and the salted cod with shellfish and white wine sauce (2700 ISK).
Hótel Borg is a reminder of a past era. While not overly traditional, it feels like this is where the social nerve centre of Reykjavík would have been had Iceland been an imperial nation. Plan a long and indulgent evening here with someone you really enjoy spending time with.
Hótel Borg, Pósthússtræti 9-11, Tel. 551 1440
Open daily for lunch and dinner