Reykjavík is a fast-changing city—if you don’t stop and smell the clams and IPA once in a while, you could miss it. Here are some notable new arrivals in recent months.
This new seafood restaurant sits in the square that was formerly the “Heart Garden,” on the site where the infamous Sirkus nightclub once stood. It’s very much “new Reykjavík,” with plush seating, lots of gold, marble and leather, several bars and dining rooms, and an open plan kitchen serving fresh seafood and juicy steaks. The Icelandic oysters are pricey but delicious, and the “fruits de mer” shellfish trays are well-presented and fresh. JR
One of Reyjavík’s new out-and-proud theme bar takes on the Magic City of the ‘80s. With a sharp aesthetic that’s miles ahead of any other joint in town, Miami serves up pure vice with a splash of cosmopolitanism and a dedicated ping-pong room in the basement. It’s pricey, but it has a good happy hour, and the cocktail menu was crafted by mixology veterans, and the wine and champagne list is well-curated. You’ll feel just like you’re in ‘Scarface,’ minus the massacres and mountains of cocaine. HJC
Le Kock 2.0
Lauded burger joint Le Kock invades 101 with a downtown location. In the ground floor of a new hotel, it’s a large space with three components: the Le Kock diner serving burgers, fish and chips, and comfort food favourites; a cocktail bar called Tail; and a second branch of Deig, Le Kock’s sister bakery. The music policy can be shaky—unless you like Status Quo—but the all-day happy hour has 1,500 ISK cocktails and 800 ISK beers. JR
First Floor, Bankastræti 14
We’re currently experiencing an explosion of new drinking holes in 101. One of the newest is Session Bar, a minimalist craft-beer-focused drinking den housed in a former hair salon in the heart of downtown. There are sixteen beers on tap, both Icelandic and international, and they have a focus on keeping the prices affordable, in contrast to Reykjavík’s generally pricey craft bars. JR
Reykjavík Street Dog
It’s a bit of a mystery why the humble hot dog is the national junk-food favourite of Iceland. But Bill Clinton himself once said the Icelandic pylsur was “the best hot dog of his life.” And as we all know, BILL CLINTON NEVER LIES. Dodge the queue at Bæjarins Beztu by trying out “einn með öllu” (“one with everything”) at this smart new hot dog joint, handily placed right by Hallgrimskírkja. JR
This fishmonger and café is the Reykjavík branch of an enterprise that began in Þingeyri. You can pick up fresh fish to cook at home with fancy products such as dried seaweed or cod and monkfish livers, or they can cook it for you to take away. There’s also a menu, with the option of eating in the crisply designed café, including fish ‘n’ chips, plokkfiskur, a salmon burger, fish soup, and more. The portions are generous, and the price is right—stop by on your next trip to Vesturbæjarlaug. JR
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