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!
Best Vegan Meal
Veganæs filled the junk-food hole in the hearts of local vegans, proving that cruelty-free dive bar fare can be just as down-and-dirty as a burger joint. The ‘Fish and Chips’ are all crunch and satisfaction and the cheeseballs are as comforting as only deep-fried cheese can be. Service can be hit and miss, but you wouldn’t notice that as either a burlesque or goth drag show plays on alongside.
Jömm plays with the entire range of Oumph! variants, making soy sexy. What elevates a store shelf buy, though, are the clever iterations of Oumph! burgers, bowls and wraps satisfying every kind of craving. The icing on that (vegan) cake however are the accoutrements and vegan versions of a whole host of sauces, with the aioli deserving special mention.
Grandi Mathöll, Grandagarður 16
For too long now, vegans have had to contend with stereotypes translating to insipid restaurant offerings. Not so at SPES. Chickpeas are pulverised, dressed intensely and served atop crusty bread. Their tacos would fool meat eaters and the scrambled tofu on toast mimics eggs. Plus with most everything priced well under 2000 ISK it makes SPES quite a draw, vegan or not.
2018: Skál & Mat Bar
2016-7: Kaffi Vínyl
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