From Iceland — Vegetarian Volvo

Vegetarian Volvo

Published September 3, 2009

Vegetarian Volvo

Á næstu Grösum was the first vegetarian restaurant in town. It is now well into its second decade and has a loyal following and a bold branding strategy: on their street sign, Bill Clinton himself claims that this is the best restaurant in the entire world. And here I always thought he was more of a pylsa-guy.
The dining room is located on the 2nd floor just off the main street. It has a lunch café look with bright orange walls and a canteen service desk. 
At 5pm I was alone, but as the dinner hours unfolded the place filled up steadily.
The menu includes a lunch soup—different each day of the week—and a couple of daily specials. There is always at least one vegan option and on our visit the majority of dishes qualified.
One can either pick a single dish or sample up to five from the canteen-counter. Both my vegetarian dinner companion and I went for the four-dish plate (1.890 ISK for a mountainous portion) including rice, dressing, particularly tasty lettuce and home-baked bread with cinnamon date-chutney.
On my friend’s recommendation I went for lasagna with tomato dressing—a good call on her count. The accompanying green barley salad with red onion and herbs was also very good, but portions of the day—noodles and the chickpea carrot casserole—proved less exciting. Guacamole sauce had too much lemon and none of the sumptuous richness of avocado.
My friend was happy with the lasagna, agreed on the boredom of the noodles and liked her filled red pepper.
Most interesting was the dessert, a delicious slice of barley cake (650 ISK) that we “shared” (i.e. I ate, she watched). The crust of whole-wheat crackers was an inch too hard, but the filling of barley-apple-coconut milk mix topped with fruit jam was light and sweet with a curious texture.
“I’ve had better cakes, but I have had a lot worse too” said my friend. Once again, she was right on the money.

  • Á næstu Grösum Laugavegur 20b
  • What we think: It’s like a Volvo—a dependable classic that gets you there safely
  • Flavour: Vegan and vegetarian
  • Ambiance: School lunch
  • Service: Fast, friendly and refreshingly aware of what the portions consisted of
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