From Iceland — Restaurant Review: Who Am I? I'll Never Tell. XO XO Gossip Girl

Restaurant Review: Who Am I? I’ll Never Tell. XO XO Gossip Girl

York Underwood
Words by
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Published October 3, 2015


Hringbraut 119, 101 Reykjavík
Mon-Sat 11:00-21:00, Sun 16:00-21:00
What we think
A quick, fresh takeout spot, with unique, healthy dishes.
Spicy yet simple.
Waiting room or cafeteria.
Enthusiastic and quick.
Price for 2
4500 - 5500 ISK

Spotted: Grapevine writer and his girlfriend at a new fusion takeaway restaurant in Vesturbær, XO. Things seemed to be going smoothly until the couple took an extra long time ordering drinks. He wanted to order a beer, but his behaviour last week has limited her patience with his drinking. I guess there will be no Einstök Pale Ale for this party animal.

Looks like she’s letting all the jogging go to her head—ordering a Lobster Salad for 1,790 ISK, which comes with a caesar-like dressing made fresh from scratch. But. Uh-oh, What’s he doing? Ordering the XO Jungle, the restaurant’s most popular dish, a curry rice dish with all fresh ingredients and an in-house curry recipe for 1,890 ISK. It looks like sex is out of the question later, or maybe she doesn’t mind a man with turmeric and coriander seeping through his pores.

It’s no secret that Reykjavík restaurants are known for their tight dining spaces, so a healthy option take-out place with ample seating could be just what the residents of Vesturbær need. They already have the best coffee house, Kaffi Vest, a place where you can spot all the young movers and shakers of Reykjavík who’ve moved out of the downtown tourist orgy. Vesturbær could well be turning into Reykjavík’s Brooklyn. Don’t be surprised if you run into a Dan Humphrey look-a-like snacking on Donairs and writing his outsider’s account of the rich and famous of 101. Look out, Salka Sól!


It’s true, more hotels are popping up around Reykjavík than in a Chuck Bass fever dream, but you don’t need a gap year trip to the Qinghai Province of China (Xining is hot right now) to notice the lack of Feng Shui infused in this spot. It feels like hotel lobby, but certainly not the Waldorf. Actually, you wouldn’t find Blair Waldorf here, but you could run into Serena van der Woodsen. It’s a dressed-up spot for people with kids or a quick meal for the recently single. It’s tasty, though. What it lacks in charm, it makes up for in quality and service.

The ingredients deliver, and our couple bonds over sharing each other’s dishes. This might be the best restaurant for a lunch date or a place to keep the spark alive in a relationship after having children has drained all your energy. You hear that, Rufus?

XO prides itself in not using white sugar or white flour, only healthier, less refined ingredients. Coriander might be an aphrodisiac after all. The spicy flavours would be paired nicely with an Einstök White Ale, which contains orange peel and coriander, but not for our guy.

Hopefully our Grapevine writer will put his salad days behind him, or he might end up having his salad days back here, alone.


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