Reykjavík is a funny town for food: the cheap places aren’t always fabulous and the fabulous places aren’t ever cheap. However, there are a few ways to construct a soothing itinerary. There is one that I usually do alone, and another is better in pairs.
Alone, there is only one way to construct an afternoon. At three o’clock, it’s about a perfect, iconic lobster soup, whale kebab, and light beer at Sægrefinn. Walk across the street to Café du Haïti and order a poisonously strong delicious double espresso, in your best Island French. Then, you have an hour to kill, so walk around the harbour. Return, ruddy and refreshed to Hotel 101. Breeze into the dining room, and order the foal sandwich with a side of mustard to dip the fries in. If you wait to order the mustard, you’ll have to watch them put the order in, and haul a tiny little ramekin of Dijon up through the dumbwaiter; it’s a little depressing. The foal sandwich, however, is a high-water mark for western civilization.
The second itinerary is more expensive, and best done with people to laugh about it with you. Book yourself a table at Sjávarkallarin (don’t even try to walk in and wait at the bar. It’s no seats at the bar, and they will give you a very intense stare if you try to order a drink). Just perform the tasting menu with her attendant wines: it’s a procession of the delicious (langoustine, truffle, and sriracha bell jar), the absurd-in-any-economy (zebra carpaccio), and the linguistically extreme (hubba-bubba sorbet).
Afterwards, go get a hot dog. There is nothing more exhausting than eating fusion food, no matter how wonderful. You’ll have earned it.
Posted October 13, 2009