Eating Out in Reykjavik
Article by Vikki Beale
If you’re planning a foodie’s holiday, Reykjavik is not necessarily the first place that springs to mind – but it’s time to think again! Hot springs and Northern Lights are not all Iceland has to offer, and Reykjavik’s restaurants are fast becoming renowned for their innovative take on cutting edge, international cuisine. The city has no shortage of eateries and restaurants, and even a two day city break to Reykjavik will give you a fantastic taste of what’s on offer, and leave you wanting more.
Iceland’s economy may be wobbly, but the country is fighting back by looking inwards. Eighty per cent of the economy is based on the specialised food market, and right now it’s all about going local. Iceland’s famously clean environment means that locally sourced seafood, meats and poultry are of a world-class organic standard, and Iceland’s young chefs are starting to make a noise to the rest of the world. In the restaurants, cafes or in any one of a hundred Reykjavik hotels, you will find a quiet revolution in cookery beginning to emerge.
Traditional favouritesThe mainstay of Icelandic cuisine is seafood. Fished from the pristine waters of the North Atlantic, haddock, cod, plaice, halibut, herring and shrimp are served up on every menu, and anyone on a holiday to Reykjavik will want to sample the traditional methods of preservation that give Icelandic food its distinctive flavour. Salting pickling and smoking meats and seafood form the basis of the traditional “thorramatur” enjoyed particularly between the months of January to March. One of the more unusual things to try is hakarl, (cured shark) which has a flavour you’ll either love or hate! The eating of whale has become a sensitive subject, but there are still some restaurants that will buy and serve up the steaks and blubber in Reykjavik. Iceland holidays are full of adventure, but that may well be one you don’t want to try!
In addition to seafood, Iceland’s dairy industry is world famous. They produce over eighty different types of cheese including skyr, a yogurt-like concoction, which is a local favourite. If you can, visit a cheese factory on your city break to Reykjavik, and see firsthand the centuries old production methods. The tastes and smells will make your mouth water all the way home!
For those who like meat rather than fish, the tender taste of locally reared lamb from the Icelandic highlands is renowned around the world, not least because of Iceland’s strict hormone free policy and regulated meat industry. Game such as reindeer and goose are popular as well as some sea birds – puffin is an unusual delicacy you could only ever try on a holiday to Reykjavik!
Modern CuisineWith most of Reykjavik’s chefs under the age of thirty, all over the city, restaurants are embracing a vibrant edgy feel. Using fresh local meats and seafood such as scallops and langoustine, the young guns are creating a unique fusion of food and theatre. Seemingly, with every night a holiday, Reykjavik city restaurants look to be competing for the carnival crown of most outrageous ways to present their food!
The locals love a display and you could find your dinner served with some unusual accompaniments, like dry ice and helium balloons! The young and hip of the city queue up at popular restaurant “Orange”, to be served their “ice cream popcorn” by waiters in lab coats and fake moustaches, cooking at their tables in a cauldron of nitrogen!
There is no better time than now to enjoy a city break to Reykjavik, and this fresh and funky city will open your eyes to a whole new world of tastes!
About the Author
Vikki Beale is a holiday expert for iceland2go, a specialist operator providing a selection of itineraries for the best Reykjavik Iceland holidays. We arrange luxury holidays and tailor-made holidays to Iceland and Greenland, with sights including glaciers, geysers, fjords, and the Northern Lights.