The year 2019 wasn’t kind to many restaurateurs. Let’s be honest, it’s a tough business. Nevertheless, Iceland’s culinary scene is seeing the emergence of new players and the old guard stepping up their A-game. Restaurants continue to diversify; we’ve got ourselves an izakaya inspired spot, while tasting menus are being questioned and reinterpreted. The scope of “Icelandic cuisine” is broadening to include not just produce and products but also their sourcing and seasonal integrity on this harsh island by players big and small. Whether it is globally recognised Nordic fine-dining or fragrant Thai curries, traditional Icelandic cuisine or family-friendly sushi, to everything in-between, this guide to the best of everything Reykjavík has to offer has been hand-picked by our exacting panel of passionate gourmands. From budget bites to fanciful fare, we’ve got you covered. Skál!
Which bakery has the best bread is a hugely contested topic in people’s homes, on social media food groups and on the Grapevine’s panel too. The giant wheaty boules at Coocoo’s are a balance of flavour, with a tang that dissolves into sweetness and an airy crumb structure. A nice crunchy crust yields to a billowy soft interior. It is fantastic on its own with nothing more than a schmear of butter and is a great vehicle for toppings. Such is the demand and affection for Lucas’s bread that last Christmas saw advance orders being taken.
Legend has it that the sourdough culture has been kept alive and clearly well-fed over decades at Sandholt. The alchemy of flour, water and time left to do its thing is transformed into one of the most beautiful rustic loaves with an enviable open crumb, the holy grail for many an enthusiastic baker.
For yeasted delights both sweet and salty, Brikk is a one-stop shop. From Nutella swirled snúðurs to a spicy chilli-flecked loaf, this bakery/cafe churns out some pretty solid sourdough as well. Light and airy, not too ‘holey’ and often warm if you pick them up in the morning, these loaves will find favour with those prefer a ‘softer’ crust.
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