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.
For the definitive seafood experience in Reykjavík, you’d be hard pressed to find a better restaurant than Fiskfelagið. Their globally inspired tasting menus are a great way to try the best that Icelandic waters have to offer, from Atlantic cod served Japanese style to harissa-stocked wolffish. The sushi platter makes a great lunch. The fish of the day is usually a generous pan fried dish with a luscious sauce, making it so much more than just a lunch affair. We also love their version of a shrimp salad that others emulate, but none gets as fresh and light as Fiskfelagið does.
Chef Hrefna Sætran’s first restaurant is the place to try Icelandic seafood served up in a Japanese-inspired fashion. Not quite traditional, Fish Market, (as it is popularly known), serves up food that is a treat for your eyes as much as your mouth. The robata grilled salmon is a beautifully prepared hunk of salmon with creamy grains. The lightly salted cod—a menu staple—is dotted with green apple, a fresh touch on a dish that can otherwise be overwhelming. The cocktails are fun, (there is a Lucky Charms inspired drink, and a spicy Wasabi Mule with fresh local wasabi), and the service attentive.
Höfði Mathöll & Borg 29
How Hipstur keeps churning out dish after banging dish with machine-like precision is a marvel to the panel. Now with another outpost at the Borg 29 food hall, this restaurant’s fish of the day is a much sought after dish second only to the decadent but misleadingly named ‘shrimp bread’. Homemade bread topped with succulent shrimp, beautifully dressed salad of coriander and chervil is more than the sum of its parts.
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