They say that adversity breeds creativity; that adage has certainly held true for Reykjavík restaurants. When we first started to put together the Best of Reykjavík issue it was slim pickings, but over the years, decision making has increasingly become a less-straightforward affair. This has really been one of our most challenging dining editions to put together, as we were spoilt for choice both in terms of quality as well as consistency. Restaurants old and new have a post-pandemic energy about them, and we’re delighted to once again grace their tables. We’ve chomped, chewed and gulped our way around this fine city, all in the name of bringing the very best that Reykjavík has to offer you, dear gourmands.
Ban Thai continues to rule the roost when it comes to Thai restaurants—but we can’t help feeling that this is a category that could do with a serious shake up (we’re looking at you, Mat Bar, with that Northern Thai pop-up). It would have to be stiff competition however, as Ban Thai doesn’t seem to rest on its laurels. Just take a look at their website which reads like an admonishment for whatever preconceived notions you may have harboured about the cuisine. Recently, we’ve enjoyed their smoky grilled pork in a sticky tamarind glaze.
“Iceland isn’t cheap—which should be an opportunity to showcase quality food and produce,” our panellist astutely observed. Thai restaurants here, however, are often shorn of that herby, fresh punctuation associated with the cuisine, presumably as a cost-cutting measure. That being said, Krua Thai has long been the local go-to for Thai food. Loyalists swear by their fragrant curries, generous portions and attentive service.
Does Mai Thai make their curries from scratch? Probably not. Do they make the best Pad Thai in town? A resounding yes. But we’d like to take your attention off the noodle dish and direct you to the laab. Mai Thai is one of few places that makes a decent laab, chock full of sliced shallots, fresh mint, coriander and toasted rice powder. We also love the Tom Kha.
2021: Ban Thai
2020: Ban Thai
2019: Ban Thai
2018: Ban Thai
2017: Ban Thai
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