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.
Fine may have had a challenging time during the pandemic but their hand pleated dumplings never betrayed the trials of the year. A panel favourite, Fine is a no nonsense, no frills, Sichuanese Chinese restaurant that steadfastly opens Reykjvaik’s minds and palates to the extensive regional cuisine. The Mala Chicken is a tingling explosion of flavour, literally, thanks to the Sichuan peppercorn. For something simple yet exciting, we recommend the Hot and Sour Potatoes, a classic rendition of matchstick potatoes, best eaten with fragrant rice.
If your idea of Chinese food is the pallid fare at Rikki Chan, boy are you in for a ride at Fönix. While the lunch buffet is a cheap, cheerful affair compared to similar spreads across town, here even the usually staid wings are singing with star anise and other aromatics. For vegan and pork dumplings, the fish fragrant eggplant, and ‘we-challenge-you-to-find-better’ Mapo Tofu, Fönix ticks all the boxes.
Designed like a time capsule of dated restaurant interiors (think red fans and gold lamps), Tian seems intent on being a Western Chinese joint. Except, amongst popular options like Kung Pao Chicken, there’s also pillowy steamed buns and dumplings. There’s supposedly a mythic secret menu, although we can neither confirm or deny its existence.
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