Vegamót is a hodgepodge of different cuisines. The name literally means “crossroads” and it fits like a patchwork glove. But that needn’t be a bad thing—it’s the kind of anything goes bistro with generous servings, fairly reasonable prices
and a laid-back vibe.
Vegamót recently changed its opening hours to shift the emphasis away from the nightclub atmosphere to a cocktail and dinner kind of deal. A smart move seeing as it always felt like a half-assed club (where the skinka* types would go if they got tired of the queues at Austur or B5) but I’ve always had a soft spot for their kitchen. It’s nothing mind-blowing but it’s a decent, filling and dependable place for when you feel like a beer and a basic pasta/tex-mex/salad/burger. It’s also one of the most popular brunch places in Reykjavík.
I have already tried most of their burgers and sandwiches (the Louisiana Chicken Strips and Steak sandwich are frequent favourites)—so I decided to switch it up and have a look at their Italian offerings. And what better than to invite my Roman friend along, who had just popped over to Reykjavík for a surprise visit.
The cocktail menu is perfect for the kind of crowd that used to frequent the club Vegamót, but their strange, syrupy concoctions (cheesecake martini??) didn’t exactly appeal to old men like us. They weren’t familiar with Negronis so we settled for two whiskey sours (1,700 ISK each). I prefer my whiskey sours with Jim Beam rather than Jack Daniels, and I’d recommend the switch. The cocktail was still a bit heavy on the sugars and low on the booze.
For the meal we picked a Tommasi Romeo (4,990 ISK) because it bore the name of my friend’s son. Cherry aroma, full bodied, some spice. Much like my Italian friend, who, incidentally, took a break after the cocktail to start twirling around the place to the blandest house music I have ever heard.
We were flabbergasted to see a buffalo mozzarella Panini (1,690 ISK) on the menu and couldn’t resist ordering it for the first course. I asked three members of staff if they were absolutely certain that this was buffalo mozzarella and they confirmed it. That’s a strange claim considering it’s twice the price of regular mozzarella, hard to find outside of Italy and, I believe, illegal to import into Iceland (due to a ban on the import of fresh cheese). The cheese was of course in no way a buffalo mozzarella. I ate those creamy bastards every day when I lived in Italy and I’ll take a Pepsi taste challenge on it any day. Wrong shape, colour and flavour.
But the Panini was actually not that bad if only they had skipped the raw red onion slices. A caramelized onion or a proper Tropea onion might have worked.
For the main course I picked the lobster “tagliolina” (2,990 ISK) and I was pleasantly surprised. It came with big chunks of lobster that had barely touched the pan, the pasta was al dente and aside from the addition of too much garlic and mushrooms it was one tasty-ass crustacean course.
The Italian ordered the pepper beefsteak (3,990 ISK). He requested a rare steak—and it came to the table perfectly rare. The broccoli and veggies were cooked very lightly and the sauce was not too heavy. Bang on. I’ve seen steak houses do a worse job.
Vegamót did exceed my expectations and we ended up having a great time catching up on old hijinks from our days in Rome. But I will mostly be coming there for the brunch. Old habits die hard.
*skinka: Too much bronzer, too much make up, not enough dress.
What We Think: An all-rounder. Rough around the edges but dependable and not stingy with the portions.
Flavour: Name it.
Ambiance: Watching some meathead gym bunny try to work a fork is funny.
Service: No complaints. Pay at the counter kind of deal.
Price for 2 (with drinks): 4–5,000 ISK
Our Rating: 3.5/5