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!
Did you know that the Chinese character for “fine” recalls that of rice/meal? This proper Sichuanese restaurant packs a wallop of flavour, heat and textural delight in each of their selections. The simply stir-fried hot and sour potato matchsticks and vegetables are exactly the kind of subtlety that has been absent from Chinese cuisines in these parts and puts to rest doubts that this is only a fiery spicy cuisine. Other must-tries are the beef in hot oil, yu-shiang chicken. The panel loves “the chewy wood ear mushrooms” and the hand pulled noodles. Most dishes are vegan and lactose free, making this little gem accessible to everyone.
Family-run Fönix has something for everyone. The dedicated vegan menu is a joy-ride of tastes and textures—the mapo-tofu has pleasingly jiggly cubes of tofu and the fish fragrant eggplants are silky. The lunch buffet is also a notch above similar fare.
Designed like a time capsule of dated restaurant interiors (think red fans and gold lamps), Tian seems intent on being a Western Chinese joint. Except, amongst populars like a worthy Kung Pao chicken, there’s also pillowy steamed buns and dumplings. There’s a mythic secret menu, unconfirmed though.
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