From Iceland — Even With Spelt, Deep-Fried Cannot Go Wrong

Even With Spelt, Deep-Fried Cannot Go Wrong

Words by
Photo by
Alísa Kalyanova

Published June 12, 2015

Icelandic Fish & Chips

Tryggvagata 11, 101 Reykjavík
Every day 12-21
What we think
Hefty portions, good food
Restaurant-quality fast food
Laid back, no loud music. No hurry.
Could deal with a full house better, but ok
Price for 2 (no drinks)


It may come as a surprise to those not born and raised on this island in the North Atlantic, but seafood has basically never been a staple of Icelandic fast food. Therefore, it was a welcome surprise when Icelandic Fish & Chips opened its doors almost a decade ago. To this day, however, the establishment has not followed the basic guidelines of the UK version of the former empire’s national dish. This is a proper restaurant, as far as that goes, and the food is prepared in a somewhat healthier way. Icelandic Fish & Chips make their batter with spelt and without eggs, and they fry the fish in rapeseed oil instead of a more conventional vegetable oil, which is healthier and gives the fish a different flavour.

Visiting the place on a Sunday, my companion and I found ourselves amidst a packed dining room full of tourists, which goes to show that there is a clear demand for this kind of restaurant. The menu is pretty basic. There are no starters per se, except for the soup (1750 ISK) and some basic sides, such as onion rings (690 ISK) and deep-fried broccoli and cauliflower (690 ISK). We actually ordered all of them as starters along with a mix of nine sauces/dips (nine for 990 ISK), which are made from a base of Iceland’s protein-rich skyr.

The soup, with sweet and tender langoustine tails, was packed with flavour and very nicely seasoned. The onion rings were crispy and not too oily. The same cannot be said about the deep-fried broccoli and cauliflower, which were a bit over the top.

For the main course, there are usually two kinds of fish on offer. The fish can be served on a bed of salad or with baked country-style chips that have been tossed in olive oil. My companion chose ling on a bed of mango salad (1380 ISK), while I chose cod in a more conventional setting next to “healthy” chips (1450 ISK). Now, the variety of dips/sauces came in handy. My companion, a self-proclaimed expert on sauces, was of the opinion that the basil & garlic sauce as well as the coriander & lime sauce were the best. I will have to agree. The one with chili & roasted pepper could have done with more flavour and heat. But, on to the star of the show: the fish.

My companion and I agree that the ling and cod were perfectly cooked in crispy batter and flaky on the inside, as they should be. The mango salad was very refreshing and served as a contrast to all the delicious sea salt flakes that were generously distributed everywhere. The potatoes were a bit oily for my taste but not bad at all. And it should be stated that the portions are huge. At least three fillets for a single plate. Needless to say we were hardly able to stand up after this feast and despite best intentions on behalf of the restaurant to use healthy ingredients, I sincerely doubt anyone is losing weight.

All in all Icelandic Fish & Chips is recommended. The prices are very fair and the portions are generous. What more can you ask for when it comes to something as basic as the name of the establishment suggests?

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