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 Place For A Fancy Meal
Hótel Saga, Hagatorg 107 8F
A shatteringly thin tuile arrives, the teeny purple wood sorrel recalls butterflies. Inside, is a treasure of milky chicken liver mousse and bilberries. You may then flit to the puffy, cloud- like orb of potato bread so good, you might just forget that silky garlic veloute. Too often fine dining can feel like a straitjacket experience. At Grillið, you are put at ease with the playfulness of the food, especially the small bites. The wine and juice pairing is a missed opportunity. However, the expansive views are singular and the service attentive. Desserts leave you with that same aha moment as when you first walk in and for that, Grillið retains its top dog spot.
Dill 3.0 as it’s popularly known is back after a brief hiatus. Chef Gunnar Karl is clearly keen on bringing that star back to Iceland. The new space is all warmth and cool-cat dinner party vibes. Handpicked details abound and the tasting menu bucks the established norm. For understated luxury and a memorable dining experience, bet on Dill.
Hilton Nordica, Suðurlandsbraut 2
Many hotel restaurants’ bad rep isn’t helped by their all-day menus leaving those looking for a culinary experience wanting. Vox, however, puts those cliches to rest dramatically. The smoked potato purée with poached egg and caviar is as decadent as it sounds, topped only by a 1953 Baron de Sigognac Armagnac—an elegant nightcap.
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