While the pandemic shows no sign of abating, Iceland’s food and beverage industry seems to be surging ahead on a combination of hope, optimism and high spirits despite the many challenges posed by COVID. In a year full of uncertainties, restaurants old and new showed us what resilience looks like. Take-away took on a whole new meaning with at-home meal kits being offered up by celebrated chefs, marked-down menus becoming commonplace and spirited underground deliveries brightened many evenings.
Our expert panel of gourmands were hand-picked for their dedication to food—these people eat out way more than one should and can sift the mojo from the mayo with ease. While it has been a difficult year, the winners rose to the challenge, and how! Adversity does bring out the best in some and this year we are delighted to shine light on our out-of-town superstars who often eclipse their Reykjavík counterparts by miles. So sit tight, and let us help you navigate these gastronomic waters, be it the hottest burger in town or the most memorable dining experience of your life.
Hverfisgata 44 & Borg29 Mathöll
What sets Yuzu apart from the rest in this hotly contested category is the overall joy of sinking your teeth into a juicy burger that also feels surprisingly light. What we look for is a well balanced, well proportioned burger and our baseline reference is a cheeseburger or the simplest burger on the menu. At Yuzu, the burgers are easy to hold; the smashed patty is a good balance of crust to juicy insides, the meat is well seasoned and well rested (important!), the cheese is melty and—the most important criteria in Iceland—it’s thoughtfully sauced. Yuzu has struck that sweet spot by offering an ‘islensk sjoppuborgari’ for those that like their burgers drenched in sauce, a la Ísland, leaving the rest of the burgers a grease-free affair.
You can count on good old Búllan for a solid burger. The Búllan burger is a comfort burger, it’s the one you know and crave on a Tuesday night, the one you can take the kids out for, it’s the one that rarely disappoints. As the resident Burgerman insisted, ‘you can try all other burgers, but this is the one you come back to.’ A lil’ birdie on our panel whispers that, ‘the Tommi-owned Höfði location is excellent with kids’, while another swore by the Geirsgata location for the ‘Steak Burger’. Also worth trying are the Tuesday 1190 ISK deals.
A dip in Vesturbæjarlaug should include a coffee at Kaffi Vest, some rummaging at Melabúðin and a burger pit-stop at Hagavagninn after. The first to introduce the ‘smash burger’ style burgers to Reykjavík, these burgers are the “most well-proportioned, balanced burgers out there,’ observed the panel. Years later, they are still the only ones with a pitch-perfect smash patty as well.
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2021 magazine—an essential guide to having fun in Reykjavík—here, posted worldwide.
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