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.
If you, like us, can’t stop singing 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 one of the few places that cooks lamb with none of that sous-vide nonsense. An unpretentious lamb rib, cooked on the grill, kissed with smoke and licked by flame is pretty hard to top. Sumac serves it with blistered grapes, fried almonds, 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.
Walking through the doors into Kasbah you might feel like you’ve time travelled—and we don’t blame you. The gorgeous restaurant brings a slice of Morocco right to the heart of Reykjavik without resorting to cliched gimmicks. There are several lamb dishes on the menu, but our favourite remains the lamb and prune tagine. Served piping hot, the lamb is fall-off-the-bone tender and aromatic with ground cinnamon. Mop up the sticky juices with the fluffy ‘khobz’, bread that is baked in house everyday.
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 takes it a step further by sourcing only prime quality cuts from a local farm. Perfectly seasoned and cooked to a delicate pink hue, the marbled chunks don’t need even a smidgen of sauce.
2021: Sumac Grill + Drinks
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