Published November 26, 2015
- What we think
- Healthy…yet delicious!?!
- Vegetarian/Vegan, North-African, raw food.
- Upper middle class cantina
- Accommodating, polite.
- Price for 2 (no drinks)
- 4-6,000 ISK (fair)
Throughout most of Iceland’s history, food has been considered but a means of sustenance, “fuel,” if you will. Therefore, the likes of Gló proprietor Solla, Sólveig Eiríksdóttir, cannot be praised enough. A visionary true to her cause, Solla has tirelessly promoted the idea of healthy eating to Icelanders, and played a large part in how the nation’s dietary habits have changed for the better in recent years.
Now going by the official title of “food designer,” Solla established Gló (“Glow”) in 2007. The restaurant was an instant success, and now has five locations in the greater Reykjavík area. And that’s no wonder—Gló the quintessential restaurant for healthy living types, perfect for detoxing after a weekend of binging on sugars and saturated fats, or simply enjoying a sustained, healthy lifestyle.
For this review, we visited the restaurant’s Laugavegur location, which is without doubt the brand’s flagship store.
While Gló’s menu changes daily, it’s built around certain constants. Leaning raw, organic and vegetarian, it always features soup, wraps, a vegan dish, and a raw food dish—along with the salad bar with its variety of healthy sides. There’s something for everyone—even meat eaters can satisfy their bloodlust at Gló, via the daily chicken dish.
For a typical meal at Gló, you’ll choose a course off the menu, noting whether you’d like salad with that (rather than, say, fries). Salad lovers get to pick up to three items from the bar, which stocks mainstays like rucola, spinach, cooked sweet potatoes and carrots along with a plethora of what’s good and/or fresh at the moment.
For our meal, my companion went with the soup of the day, which was cauliflower. I chose the very popular vegan wrap. We both added a salad.
The cauliflower soup was very nicely seasoned, with a healthy hint of mirepoix. Very delicious. The soup comes with a complimentary homemade yeast-free bread. This is best consumed with the homemade hummus—that is to say, when the hummus is up to standard. This time around, it was sadly way too thick, lumpy, with an off consistency.
The vegan wrap was a bit underwhelming, as it was made up of only arugula, spinach, tomatoes and red peppers, with no additional flavourings. There must be a way to spice that thing up. The salad was greatly enhanced by the cabbage I was fortunate enough to add, which was noticeably crispy and refreshing.
For dessert, Gló usually has around four or five cake and pastry options, most of them of the raw food variety. We were both pleasantly surprised by the pastries. I barely managed to sample the pecan pie before my companion wolfed it down—but judging by the little taste I got (and my friend’s words), I give it my highest recommendations.
However delicious that pie was, I did not at all regret choosing the tiramisu, which was surprisingly rich, bearing strong notes of delicious espresso and cocoa.
Now, I must admit, I’m not the biggest fan of “health foods” or the idea of eating things simply because they’re considered healthy. Food should taste good, and it should please the taste buds as well as the body. Unlike many purveyors of healthy foods, Solla and her crew at Gló manage to crank out dishes that are both healthy and delicious every day.
The restaurant scene is richer for having Gló around, a safe haven for lost vegans and vegetarians in a land where the national dish consists of dead animal carcasses encased in dead animal entrails.