From Iceland — Salatbarinn


Published April 3, 2009

One of the highpoints of my curly-haired, barbie-loving early existence was a cruise from my native Finland to Sweden. Back in 1985, a Viking Line ferry was pretty much the coolest thing I could think of. The luxury of coke with a paper umbrella, the excitement of the ball pit and the main ceremony: buffet dinner.
The bar seemed to continue forever and the options felt endless: herring, salmon, salad… By the main course I was inevitably full, but still held out ‘til dessert, with its chocolate mousse and fruit salad from the can.
Once I witnessed a man take an entire serving bowl of shrimps to the table next to us and eat straight from it. “Terrible manners” my mother condemned and soon the waitress came to fetch the shrimp bowl and scold the gentleman.
It was great – the amount of things on offer and the feeling of knowing you could have as much of anything you wanted. You were of course expected to eat until your bursting point.
The idea of Salatbarinn is by and large the same. For 1500 ISK you can stuff yourself full from a mind-blowing assortment of around 50 different salad stuffs, 2 types of soup, 3 hot dishes and home-baked bread, and drink soft drinks, water, juice and automat coffee as your heart desires.
I have read in my women’s magazines that if you want to be thin, you must eat small portions, a concept these all-you-can-eat buffets hardly promote. Then again, I suppose it’s better to stuff yourself with salad than most other things, if you’re stuffingly inclined.
The offerings are potentially healthy, but it’s not just rabbit food here. They’ve got hot vegetarian dishes and clear dairy-free soups on offer, but also meat and enough pasta salads to keep a big man going; indeed, I hear Salatbarinn is a pit stop for sportsmen to fuel up before practice.
Needless to say, I stayed true to my childhood and ate three plates of salad, leek soup and lamb curry before rolling to the bus stop.
  • Opening Hours: Open weekdays 11.30-20.30, Sat 11.30-16.
  • Web:
  • Where: Salatbarinn, Faxafén 9, Skeifan (on a backstreet between Hagkaup and Rúmfatalagerinn).
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