From Iceland — Hótel Holt

Hótel Holt

Published February 6, 2009

Hótel Holt
The last time I had the pleasure of dining at Hotel Holt, it was for their classical French cuisine lunch special – three great courses, impeccably served, priced cheap. Certainly no objections there. So when I was asked to try out their dinner fare, I gladly accepted.
For those who haven’t been there, Hótel Holt is downtown, but off the beaten track, in a quiet residential area. The interior of the dining room is understated, subdued, and old-fashioned, with plush carpeting, gilded-framed paintings covering the walls, and a wait staff that strikes that perfect balance between attentiveness and distance.
I decided to go for the “Special dinner menu” – three courses for 4,200 ISK – which makes Hótel Holt ideal for dating on a budget while still demonstrating your sophistication. I started off with goose legs wrapped in puff pastry, served on mixed greens with an Icelandic blueberry sauce. As to be expected, the meat was tender, the pastry flaky, and the greens and blueberries fresh and cool, making a nice contrast. So far, par for the course. It was the entrée that would catch me off guard.
I went with Icelandic reindeer steak in a red wine sauce, served with potatoes and wild mushrooms. This might have been a little unfair of me, as cooking wild game is never easy. No matter the marinade, it will almost always taste like it’s been running around in the woods somewhere. Not so with this steak – each piece melted cleanly on the palate, and while certainly very rich, it wasn’t at all gamey. I chalked this up to the sauce, perhaps. The mushrooms and potatoes were both fine, smoky compliments to the seared steak. By the time I was finished, I was worried I’d have to force down the dessert I’d ordered.
I had no reason to worry. The crème brûlée, served with strawberry sorbet (made in-house, like everything else), didn’t add to the fullness of the previous course. The hot/cold contrast in this light dessert was really quite refreshing after a formidable steak dinner.
Hótel Holt focuses on the freshness of their ingredients, and bringing out the natural flavour of each one to its full extent. You absolutely cannot go wrong by dining here.
  • Where: Bergstaðastræti 37, 101 Reykjavík
  • How much: 5000ISK
  • What we think: You cannot go wrong by dining at Hótel Holt
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