Published July 12, 2010
Á Næstu Grösum
Laugavegur 20b 101 Reykjavík
Á Næstu Grösum started serving delicious veggie food on Laugavegur way back in 1975. The idea behind the restaurant was to serve healthy vegetarian food using ingredients in their purest form. Since opening, they have been serving up a damn fine selection of meat-free dishes to Reykjavík’s veggie minded. But it wasn’t always green gold.
Dóra Svavarsdóttir, chef and owner of Á Næstu Grösum, says there were a lot of challenges in the beginning. “The local produce in Iceland is limited and very seasonal,” she told us, “We have to import everything. It’s a constant struggle with the budget.” When asked whether she thought the vegetarian population in Reykjavík is growing, Dóra told us her customer base is growing, but not necessarily the number of vegetarians. “A lot of people are starting to include vegetarian dishes into their diet, but do not consider themselves strict vegetarians,” she remarks. “Before people thought you had to be a vegetarian to go into a vegetarian restaurant. Now that attitude has changed.”
When the crisis hit in 2008, a lot of vegetables were even more difficult to import. Dóra says that Á Næstu Grösum is doing pretty well for a vegetarian restaurant located in the Arctic Circle. “Even though there isn’t a lot of variety, the Icelandic vegetables are in pretty good quality when they’re in season.” Dóra explains that the farmers in Iceland have been growing a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers. “There is just one zucchini farmer,” she says. “There are a lot of things that are not available here that people who travel are used too. That is or biggest challenge.”
Á Næstu Grösum truly remains one of Reykjavík’s best places to veg out.