By Anna Þorvaldsdóttir
The “Young Composer’s Guide To Reykjavík Dining” is a bit of a tradition at The Grapevine, with past Airwaves issues featuring recommendations from Nico Muhly and Ólafur Arnalds. This time around, we thought we’d ask Anna Þorvaldsdóttir to clue us into her favourite places to grab a bite. Anna was just awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize 2012 for her work, “Dreaming.” She happens to be vegetarian, so if you’re not vegetarian and you are for some reason opposed to eating vegetarian, Google “Young Composer’s Guide To Reykjavík Dining” and you will undoubtedly find more meaty recommendations from the aforementioned composers.
Downtown Reykjavík is full of great places to have a nice lunch or dinner. I haven’t spent all that much time in Iceland the past few years, but whenever I go back home I have some favourites that I like to revisit. The following places have some great vegetarian options that should serve a variety of tastes. I have also included a place for those wanting to try Icelandic seafood.
Grænn kostur (Skólavörðustígur 8) is very nice vegetarian place in downtown Reykjavík. I would recommend stopping by and checking what their dish of the day is—it is usually a very good one and comes at an affordable 1,680 ISK (or half portion for 1,280 ISK).
If you’re looking for something a bit more fancy, Fiskmarkaðurinn (Fish Market, Aðalstræti 12) is a really great seafood restaurant that combines fresh Icelandic ingredients with Eastern flavours. It is definitely worth checking out.
Reykjavík is not a very ethnically diverse city, but there are a few restaurants serving good ethnic cuisine. Shalimar (Austurstræti 4), for example, is a great Pakistani place, which serves Pakistani and Indian food. The taste is very authentic and the atmosphere is very relaxed.
If you prefer to cook your own food and you like organic, straight from the farm kinds of places, Frú Lauga in Laugardalur (Laugalæk 6) is the place. It’s probably Reykjavík’s closest thing to a farmer’s market, and you’ll find products from all over the country with labels detailing their origin.
For great coffee, I would definitely recommend Kaffismiðjan (Kárastígur 1). It’s a small cosy place to sit down and enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee—or to grab one to go. They roast the beans in the store with a very cute pink roaster.