Steakhouses generally aren’t considered exclusive or fancy, but Argentína isn’t afraid to buck that trend. When it first opened in 1989, the restaurant immediately earned a reputation as an institution of fine dining, one that it has maintained to this day. Granted, the subsequent opening of a large number of high quality restaurants has dented Argentína’s market share in recent years – but as we would find out, that just makes the experience of going there all the more enjoyable.
The very first thing that struck my dining partner and me when we arrived was the professionalism of our waiter for the evening. We shamefully didn’t catch his name, but if there is a single individual in the service industry of Iceland with more refined dedication to his work I have yet to encounter him. Ask him about the wines and then just sit back and pretend to understand.
Our starters consisted of cream of lobster soup, a trout rille and some reindeer carpaccio. While they all tasted excellent, it was the expertly chosen wines presented with each course that really completed and underscored the professionalism of the staff and the care with which the menu was constructed.
Our main courses were a tuna steak with shiitake mushrooms and sesame sauce, and grilled beef tenderloin, respectively. The tenderloin was predictably mind-blowing; beef is their speciality after all, and the tuna steak was at least equally impressive. The ever-attentive waiter came over after the first bite to ask if the steak was cooked to my tastes, and when I told him it was just a touch on the rare side he whisked it off for a minute or so more cooking – after which it was absolutely perfect.
For dessert there was a delicious panna cotta and one of the most sublime hot chocolate cakes you will ever encounter. The only worthy competition is a very similar dish at Café Oliver – and the Grapevine hereby requests judging duties in a head-to-head cook-off to determine the true king of the warm chocolate fudge cake in Iceland. Hey, one can dream.
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