Reykjavik, Iceland, is hot right now for many reasons: the music, the scenery, and most of all, the food. Ever since Noma (in Copenhagen, Denmark) was named Best Restaurant in the World, Nordic cuisine has been on the forefront of every foodie’s mind.
With access to an abundance of fresh seafood and produce, Reykjavik’s chefs have created a delightful culinary scene. Below are seven of our favorites:
For seafood lovers only. Seriously. If you’ve ever wanted to try whale or puffin (and I suggest that you do — they are delicious), this is the place. Specializing in all things that come from or fly above the ocean, this family-owned restaurant serves the best fish stew in the city.
This romantic restaurant boasts sweeping views of the harbor, and its menu emphasizes local sustainable fare. It is also one of the only places that serves Icelandic rock crab — a true treat. You should also check out the daily catch, which is literally just hours old, if that.
Mikkeller and Friends
Situated in a 200-year-old house, the dining area — which serves great pizza — is downstairs, but before you eat, head upstairs to the bar, which has 13 local craft beers on draft.
I arrived hungry as heck for lunch and ordered three things — but had to stop after the first, bruschetta, arrived, as it was so good and so big. At the shop upstairs you can buy all sorts of cheeses, breads, and spreads if you want an impromptu outside lunch, but the restaurant is where it’s at. Note to the wise: Order the dish of the day. All the locals do, and it’s spectacular.
Also on the waterfront, next to Kopar, this gorgeous little seafood joint serves a mean meal of mussels steamed in beer along with a shot of Brennivín — the local liquor that tastes like rye.
Only open Wednesday through Saturday, this Scandinavian restaurant was mentioned to me by several chefs in Greenland. “It is the best! You must go,” Bjorn Johannsen, the head chef at Sarfalik (in Nuuk, Greenland), insisted. While it is expensive — Dill is worth it. The executive chef, Gunnar Karl Gislason, is inspired by the New Nordic Cuisine and does wonders with seafood.
Across the street from the famed Icelandic Church Halfgrimskirkja is Kaffi Loki. If you’re in the mood to really eat local, skip the coffee shop downstairs and head up top where traditional Icelandic dishes — lamb stew, fermented shark, fish stew, and, of course, salmon on freshly baked flatbread — are served.
Thanks to Lindblad Expeditions for a great trip to Iceland.