Life moves fast: if you don’t stop to smell the roses, you could miss it. Reykjavík also moves fast. Here are some notable new establishments that have sprung up in the city in the past couple of months.
Bastard Brew & Food
This brand new downtown bar is something of a beer palace. It’s an English pub style environment, without the sense of history—everything from the tables to the plush leather seating are catalogue-fresh—but with eleven beers on tap, a great happy hour, a promising menu, DJs, and two beers brewed in the in-house brewery, it’s already a great drinking session spot. JR
The historic Hannesarholt culture building has gotten a new lease of life. Formerly a quiet coffee spot, it reopened on June 1st as a restaurant focusing on locally sourced produce. It’s a concise selection: we tried the juicy, crisp salmon with wholesome beets and quinoa. Vegans can rejoice too: there’s always one option on the menu. If you’re looking for a secluded lunch spot where you can hear yourself think, this is the place; by night, it hosts concerts and varied cultural events. JR
Óx is a secretive new restaurant tucked away at the back of Sumac Grill; an intimate izakaya style kitchen, that seats just 11. Guests are treated to a 2.5-hour experience, the two chefs pairing unexpected drinks with seasonal favourites. Dining as if at a guess-who’s-coming-to-dinner space, one leaves with memories of conversations, new friends and the yearning for a revisit. SB
Icelandic Craft Bar
This recently-opened drinking hole is located in the storied house at Lækjargata 6a. Focussing entirely on Icelandic brews, they have six local beers on tap, and a further fourteen available in bottles, including familiar favourites from Einstök, Börg and Víking, and rarer craft beers from East Iceland by Austri (try their stellar Slöttur). You bring food in from the bar’s sister business Icelandic Street Food, just a few doors away, and they plan to open a basement for gigs and entertainment soon. JR
Gott is a delightful recent addition to the restaurant scene in downtown Reykjavík, with a long history—their first location on Heimaey in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago opened in 2013. The new place sticks to the original’s winning formula: comfort food and fast food, with a homemade and healthy feel, using quality ingredients, and with everything made from scratch. It’s a great option for coffee meetings or a casual lunch. BT
Hotel Holt, Bergstaðastræti
A new branch of the Kex empire, this new eatery dusts down the space formerly occupied by the Gallery Restaurant in the old-style confines of Hotel Holt. The wood-panelled dining room has been tastefully redesigned, as has the menu—former Dill head chef Ragnar Eiriksson is serving a new tasting menu, with an à la carte menu on the way. If it’s as good as the other Kex ventures, it’s one to watch. JR
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