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!
Marshall House, Grandagarður 20
With the re-opening of La Primavera, the restaurant has earned loyalists both old and new. Sitting pretty by the Grandi harbour in Marshall House, it is particularly popular with the lunch crowd. Fair warning however, this is lunch at an Italian Nonna’s house, meaning you’ll be dawdling out of there stuffed to the gills. Dinner however is an elegant affair. The focus is on coaxing maximum flavour from seasonal ingredients at their prime by doing as little as possible. You might start the year with pan-fried fresh cod, and then move onto light summer salads, perhaps grilled broccolini, and in the fall, pasta woven with wild mushrooms. A right royal treat however is the truffle (from San Miniato) festival the restaurant intends to continue hosting.
Between their brunches and breads, it’s easy to forget that Coocoo’s is really a Cali-Italian place at heart. The sourdough pizzas deserve particular mention, as do the appetisers that could easily serve as a meal by itself. The vegetarian byggoto (barley risotto) is deeply satisfying, while the olive oil cake is a true slice of simple joy.
It’s hard to categorise Eiriksson with its Italian-French leaning menu. The interiors and menu whisper nouveau riche indulgence, the ‘fancy’ ingredients are a giveaway. But all these reservations aside, they dish out a mean veal, good steaks and a smattering of pasta and pizzas.
2019: La Primavera
2018: Marshall House
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