They say the best indicator of a restaurant’s quality is not the way the place looks but the number of locals you’ll find dining inside. Hamborgarabúllan (“the hamburger joint”) passes this latter test with flying colours.
Hamborgarabúllan is that grey, teardrop-shaped wee building down by the harbour on the corner of Geirsgata and Ægisgata. Inside the small dining area, the high stables and bar stool seating, the posters of upcoming events plastered on the walls, and the sharing of newspapers and The Biggest Pub Jokes Ever (both Volumes I and II), all make the atmosphere just as one should expect from a friendly burger joint in a small harbour town.
I was surprised when one of the owners told me this crowded place has been open less than two years. “It seems like we’ve always been here,” Örn Hreinsson said in an effort to console me.
To be fair, the reason for the misconception is the other owner, Tómas Tómasson, who has been in the business a long time and is the creator of Iceland’s famous Tommi burger. You’ll find a tommaborgari on the menu at many Reykjavík restaurants, but it’s only at Hamborgarabúllan where you will find the new and improved “third generation” Tommi burger.
The latest addition to the Tommi family has new sauces: Dijon mustard, ketchup and – joy of joys – mayonnaise. This wonderful combination replaces the oft-used “Tommi sauce,” familiar to all Reykjavík residents as that curiously-coloured cocktail sauce usually served with French fries. The new version is a brave, but successful, choice.
Needless to say, burgers (there is a veggie one too) and fries are the options of the day here (a meal combo costs 880 ISK). I recommend pushing the boat out and ordering a milkshake as well; chocolate flavour will never fail, but the coffee shake was refreshing too.
After ordering, enjoy your meal – pragmatically presented in a wicker basket with plenty of disposable wrapping – and share one of the world’s best pub jokes with your seat mate. At Hamborgarabúllan, the good times never stop.
Geirsgata 1, 101 Reykjavík.
Open Daily 11:45 – 21:00,
Tel. 511 1888