Being a good restaurant is, of course, about more than just food. There are many things to take into account, from the service, ingredients, and menu choices, through to the execution, plating, and of course, the dining environment. Now that the long nights and late sunsets of the Icelandic summer are here, it’s time to bask in every drop of sunlight, including during dinner. With that in mind, here are some Reykjavík restaurants with views to die for.
Saga Hotel, Hagatorg
If you’re thirsty for that finesse and nothing short of Reykjavík’s finest seasonal Nordic restaurant will do, then Grillið is your girl. You will soon learn why Grillið has been the fine dining boot camp for most of Reykjavík’s restaurant corps for decades. Lounge under a dome set with zodiac signs, soaking up a widescreen city view, while a waiter whispers sweet nothings in your ear about Tuscan wines, spherification and dried kelp. You won’t understand half of it—but who cares when there’s a symphony of flavour playing in your mouth.
IÐNÓ is the beautiful, storied, old-school theatre that sits on the bank of Tjörnin. A music and arts venue by night, the café serves a variety of snacks, finger foods, and more substantial portions, from hearty fish ‘n’ chips to deep-fried dumplings, vegan soups, and sandwiches. Best of all? You can dine on the terrace, basking in the sun and looking out over the glittering water.
Few restaurants have a harbourside location quite like Kopar, where most of the seating looks out over the water. Picturesque and intimate, the former warehouse has a cosy ambience—the upper-floor window seats frame unobstructed views of the harbour and Harpa. House cocktails are of the colourful and fruity bend, and the seafood appetisers are local and fresh. They’re open for lunch, so you don’t have to fret if the best tables are taken for dinner.
Harpa, Austurbakki 2
Nestled in a high corner of the Harpa concert hall, Kolabrautin wins points for the sheer grandeur of the location. Harpa’s distinctive geometric windows wrap around the entire space, offering views of the Old Harbour area, and over to Grandi, Faxaflói, and Esja. The service is impeccable, the cocktails are good, and the traditional Icelandic dishes have comfort food appeal with fine dining plating.
Sky Bar & Restaurant
Centerhotel Arnarhvoll, Ingólfsstræti 1
One of the most spectacular views in town belongs to Sky Bar & Restaurant on the 8th floor of Centerhotel Arnarhvoll. The menu offers familiar Icelandic dishes of fish, seafood and lamb, but it’s really the room and the wrap-around balcony you’re coming for—at sunset, pink light floods in through the huge windows, and you can see the twinkling lights of Harpa, and all the way out to Snæfellsjökull. A dreamy place to spend a summer evening.
Út í bláinn
For a view over the Reykjavík skyline that includes the iconic Hallgrímskirkja, Perlan is the place to be. The glass dome atop the wooded Öskjuhlíð hill is home to the Wonders of Iceland museum, a planetarium, and Út í Bláinn restaurant, serving up delicious bites and a 360º view. By day, there’s a lunch menu for museum-goers, with a scrumptious vegan burger, and more; come evening, the restaurant rotates—everybody gets the best seat in the house!—while the kitchen prepares some date-night-worthy dishes.
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