The year 2019 wasn’t kind to many restaurateurs. Let’s be honest, it’s a tough business. Nevertheless, Iceland’s culinary scene is seeing the emergence of new players and the old guard stepping up their A-game. Restaurants continue to diversify; we’ve got ourselves an izakaya inspired spot, while tasting menus are being questioned and reinterpreted. The scope of “Icelandic cuisine” is broadening to include not just produce and products but also their sourcing and seasonal integrity on this harsh island by players big and small. Whether it is globally recognised Nordic fine-dining or fragrant Thai curries, traditional Icelandic cuisine or family-friendly sushi, to everything in-between, this guide to the best of everything Reykjavík has to offer has been hand-picked by our exacting panel of passionate gourmands. From budget bites to fanciful fare, we’ve got you covered. Skál!
Best Lunch Place
Following a sprightly makeover, Mímir is garnering accolades for its extremely affordable lunch offers. Where else would you dine on a two-course meal; from lamb saddle to roast cauliflower to the best roasted potatoes, cooked by some of the most promising chefs, for just 2500 ISK? Sure the prices have risen slightly since they opened, but the fast paced, suitable for lunch service, and all the flourishes of fine-dining makes you forget impending deadlines. That alone makes them a clear winner.
This outpost of Denmark in Iceland upholds it Danish tradition of smørrebrød uncompromisingly. You might want to skip the akvavit for lunch, but it pairs so well with Jacob’s Plaice (who’re we kidding, you deserve the schnapps!). Perhaps the shrimp pyramid is more to your liking. Or the velvety Danish paté. Once you’ve been seated and treated like the royalty that you are, you’ll see why this was a panel favourite.
Mathöll Höfða, Bíldshöfði 9
This charming little restaurant is all heart and Nordic deliciousness. Did you know the popular ‘mushrooms on toast’ is vegan? The fish of the day is a carefully curated flaky fish bowl with fresh sprigs of herbs, veggies, grains and a lovely golden focaccia. Dish of the day and weekly specials also mean you can dine here without lunch-room dread. Score!
2019: Hlemmur and Grandi Mathöll
2015-16: Ostabúðin (RIP)
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2020 magazine—an essential guide to having fun in Reykjavík—here, posted worldwide.
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