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.
Best Coffee House
Ásmundarsalur, Brautarholt 2, Kárastíg 1
With baristas all hired from the Portlandia school of underground coffee makers, service at Reykjavík Roasters makes you wonder if this is universal barista behaviour or just Scandinavian pain writ large. However, the expertly roasted beans make for wily cups of coffee that keep you coming back for more, even if the baristas refuse to remember your order after years of patronage. If caffeine isn’t your poison, then they have a large selection of teas brewed to perfection, chia puddings and sandwich options. Whether you are looking to have a small meeting, catch up with a friend, or get quality solo-time in, one of the many Roasters locations have you covered with drink, bite and terse baristas.
“I was shocked to learn their excellent snuður is also vegan!’ “exclaimed a panellist, a reaction not that uncommon if you’ve been to Emilie’s for their baked goods and coffee. This café mignon is still going strong on their street corner, satisfying customers with their friendly service, vegan and non-vegan scones, cinnamon rolls, cakes and muffins. We’ve had a couple of underbaked mishaps but we’re willing to forgive these faux pas for their overall cosy cafe vibe.
If you are a militant coffee drinker like our panellists, you’d be pleased to know that new wine bar Mikki Refur cuts the mustard on the caffeine front. Taking off where Bismút left off when it comes to quality and handling of luxurious coffee, Ben Boorman and his crew are meticulous when it comes to their coffees and serve a mean cup every time, whether to-go or in-house. Also, post coffee drinking, the natural wines, simple menu and atmosphere can take you into the wee hours of the night.
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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