From Iceland — Þrír Frakkar

Þrír Frakkar

Published March 10, 2006

Þrír Frakkar

This cosy, mid-range restaurant, in a quiet, residential part of downtown Reykjavík, Þrír Frakkar is best known for its seafood, but could also be considered an excellent example of the Icelandic dining experience. The walls of the main dining room are adorned with mounted fish and a ram’s head, which actually makes the room feel more relaxed and domestic, instead of garish, and there are thankfully no fishnets hanging from the ceiling. To the left is a smaller, more intimate dining room with a large brass mirror and some tasteful portrait paintings, giving it a classic, mid-20th century look, while to the right is another small dining room with large windows that open to one of the better views of downtown Reykjavík.
I ordered smoked puffin with mustard sauce as a starter and blue fin tuna for the entrée, and my wife went with French onion soup and the vegetarian dinner. While smoked puffin is a bit salty, the plate is sprinkled with fresh-diced carrots, red onions and parsley. This touch adds a little more life to the puffin and makes the mustard sauce superfluous.
No true Icelandic restaurant plate would be complete without at least one of the following: tiny, peeled, boiled potatoes and/or vegetables, a small portion of salad, and a lot of sauce. It’s as much a part of the national character as the flag itself. Þrír Frakkar’s entrée plate comes with all three. For those tired of pretending to be full after eating a small, pretty, and expensive meal, the dietary frankness will be refreshing.
The blue fin tuna was grilled the way it should be – hot enough to singe the meat and trap all the flavour inside – with just a little bit of black pepper. The mango sauce added a nice tang to the fish. The vegetarian meal was comprised of two main servings: a mixture of rice and chopped vegetables, and fried veggie patties. The rice and vegetables were flavourful, although the veggie patties were slightly overcooked. Both plates were served with the signature potato, carrots, and small iceberg mix. There were three desserts: skýr pie, French chocolate cake, and ice cream, but we were both too full to consider any of them.
Þrír Frakkar’s domestic and unpretentious atmosphere was enough to make Lionel Richie and Billy Ocean – some of the background music selections – bearable or at least ignorable. The intimacy might make it a better idea to make a workday evening reservation rather than go during the weekend, although I’d say the more upscale decor of the left dining room is a good place to reserve for celebrations with a few friends. Most of all, Þrír Frakkar is a quintessential and reasonably priced example of Icelandic dining. PN

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