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.
If you, like us, can’t stop singing the praises of Icelandic lamb, then you should know that dining on lacklustre cuts of meat drowning in sauce does not do justice to the wild roaming sheep of Iceland. Sumac is, at the moment, one of the few places—if not the only place—that cooks lamb with none of that sous-vide nonsense. Sure, sous-vide makes for tender, uniformly cooked meat, but an unpretentious, well-cooked lamb rib from the grill—kissed with smoke and licked by flame—is pretty hard to top. Sumac does just that and they serve it with blistered grapes, a splash of thinned down muhammara and lentils. It’s a dish you can’t get enough of and, thankfully, the restaurant hasn’t dared to take it off the menu. Psst, we know this is the lamb category, but if they do have it, definitely try the Icelandic goat meat from Háfell farm. Sublime.
Whatever lamb is being served here, rest assured it’ll be a meal to remember. With experienced chefs who share an unbridled passion for meat and fire, all the plates come out perfectly executed. Their love for lamb is reflected in the three different lamb dishes on the menu; choose from a lamb tartare, rump steak or an Instagram-worthy rack.
Lamb chops definitely are the photogenic cut of the meat world. Besides the fact that meat cooked on the bone makes for juicier meat and stellar presentation, Grillmarket nestles their generous chops amongst sweet grilled carrots and potatoes, making for a scrumptious treat.
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