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 Vegan Meal
Situated in the stunning Nordic House by renowned architect Alvar Aalto, this spunky little what-should’ve-been-a-pop-up-but-became-a-fixture venture by two non-chefs with a deep abiding love for food, serves up a vegetarian-vegan feast brimming with colour, freshness and vitality of peak season produce. Conceived around the idea of ‘mezze’, the sharing platters are an ode to Icelandic nature in both choice of ingredients as well as flavours. Foraged herbs, berries, fruits, stems and flowers are all commanded to service resulting in a fun, not-just-salads affair that also serves as a reminder that good vegan food is beyond batter-fried cauliflower.
Sumac’s vegan dishes have a strong following amongst local vegans. A festive atmosphere combined with Middle Eastern inspired flavours makes for a winning combo as cuisines from these parts are mostly vegan-vegetarian without much effort. We especially love the grilled oyster mushrooms over a bed of hummus and the grilled cauliflower which has recently made way for a cabbage version. We recommend ordering family style to try everything in the true spirit of the restaurant’s inspiration.
Serving up vegan versions of Southeast Asian classics, Vegan World Peace has quickly made a name for itself as one of the most popular vegan restaurants in town. SE Asia has a long history of vegan ‘mock meats’, especially by Buddhist monks in employing a meat alternative using soy and wheat substitutes. The Vietnamese Banh Mi is a staple order at the Grapevine offices and the wide range of mock fish, meats and tofu preparations means that both vegans and non-vegans will find something exciting to feast on.
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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