‘The quintessential diner is not easy to come by in Iceland, at least not if you have anything resembling Edward Hopper’s masterpiece Nighthawks’ in mind. That said, the place that comes closest would have to be Prikið, situated on the corner of Bankastræti and Ingólfsstræti—as central as central can be.
Prikið is one of the oldest dining establishments in Reykjavík that is still in operation. Much like so many other downtown establishments of its kind, it suffers—or benefits, perhaps—from a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde syndrome, being a quiet, cosy café by day, and a loud, sweaty place of drinking yourself into oblivion by night. Therefore, if Prikið is to be enjoyed as a dining destination, I recommend that you visit during lunch—or whenever you manage to wake up on a given weekend. Brunch offers are on hand at any given time but otherwise the menu consists of diner classics: steaks, sandwiches and burgers, with milk shakes (even spiked, if the mood should strike.
Prikið can be busy during lunch hour, but it is always welcoming. The first order of business is to warm up with a cup of Joe. If you need to get some work done, or read a book, Prikið also offers a good ambiance, and the often sleeve-tattooed staff of hipsters aren’t shy about topping you off when needed. Opting to stay in the kitchen’s comfort zone, I order a burger. Prikið offers a ‘burger of the day’ special for just 1000 ISK, but I decide on something heavier, the sweaty burger (1590 ISK), served with onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and bacon, topped with a fried egg. Fries are served with every order of burger or sandwich.
For my companion, a pescatarian, the choices are limited to a veggie burrito, a veggie burger, fish and chips or the infamous fish burger. He chose the latter (at 1690 ISK), served with crispy onion rings, tomatoes and lettuce.
I was quite pleased with the sweaty burger. The burger was perfectly cooked: medium rare, as it should be. The egg yolk was perfectly cooked and still intact, simply begging to be cut in half, to ooze over the rest of the ingredients. Be sure to get a bottle of Tabasco to drizzle some heat over your egg—as chili and egg form one of the best couples in the history of civilization. Also, you may want to ask for mayonnaise with your fries, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The Fish Burger also passed the test, although the onion rings were not too ‘crispy’—perhaps due to the fact that they were sandwiched between steaming hot buns.
As for the dessert menu: You have the basics, an ice cream sundae, carrot cake or devil’s food cake. As my companion and I were pretty much about to burst, we decided to share a piece of carrot cake,
just for the sake of the review. It was moist and plump with a rich frosting, and comes highly recommended from me to you—although perhaps not after a meal such as ours.
All in all, this was a lunch that gave us everything we hoped for, and everything we expected. This is not haute cuisine; this is diner comfort food at its finest by any standard.
What we think : As for comfort food classics, Prikið will satisfy your needs. Hangover destination par excellence
Flavour: Comfort food, dinner, Americana
Ambiance: Easy going, cosy by day. Crowded and loud by night
Service: Friendly, accommodating
Price for 2 (no drinks): 4.000–5.000 ISK
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 11-22, Fri 08-04:30, Sat 12-04:30, Sun 12-01:00