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!
Makake, the newest Asian izakaya is a colourful outpost of a typical Japanese street. Named after the hot tub loving meditative monkeys, Makake is throwing down the gauntlet for casual Asian dining. Since their opening, they have introduced dimsum brunches, pop-ups with guest chefs, and vegan tasting menus in addition to their staple fare of a selection of dumplings, small plates like the braised pork belly, an interesting assortment of vegetable-forward plates and desserts like mochi and anko. With an emphasis on handmade slow food, Makake is well on its way to redefining Asian cuisine in Iceland.
When a chef and restaurateur’s mutual passion for natural wines and quality bar snacks collide, a little gem like Tíu Sopar is born. The wineria (like vermuteria, get it?) is perfect for chat-up-the-barman banter and noisy weeknight street parties, all while noshing aged Tindur with beurre noisette, crackling Padron peppers, charcuterie and the occasional ‘Fried Chicken’ pop-up, which should just be a staple dammit!
From the same people at the helm of Brauð og Co. and Snaps, comes Kastrup, a promising little Danish station. Clever in its repurposing of Hverfisgata 12 where Dill once was, this currently smørrebrød only place is plating picturesque platters of open-sandwich classics like roast beef and fried plaice. Definitely one to watch out for.
2019: Skelfiskmarkaðurinn (RIP)/ Eiriksson Brasserie
2018: Nostra (RIP)
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