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Thoughts on Reykjavik, Iceland?


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Well, last weekend march 1st me and my fiancee went to luxembourg, besides reading a bit and surfing the net we had no preconceptions, whenever we said we are going to luxembourg most people had a bemused expression...

anyway i have to say we loved it,small,compact,friendly,food was good,even the weather was reasonable..There are several main areas round/in the city, the european centre,hollerich (the station area !!) the central city and squares and the grund. The grund is very much like a tiny bruges in appearance with a few bars and restaurants, you can in the free lift through the city walls...

food wise i believe you have 4 or 5 establishments with 1 michelin stars to choose from..We chose a place called Clairefontaine which was brilliant, the chef and his wife are quite young and the food was traditional but innovative aswell. The actual service was not as slick as i have before but it also added to a pleasant and relaxed evening. We chose the chefs menu, great amuse's of lobster consomme,tiny bit of confit duck and mash and a lobster jelly. This was followed by foie gras en bloc with the most amazing confit tasting tomatoes, then we had a beautiful, huge prawn/langoustine in what appeared to be crispy noddle with cauliflower cream, the flesh was so tender. Then scallops with balsamic , then turbot with a generous portion of truffle slice..by this point we were so full and satisfied that we asked if we could skip on the pigeon with lobster -at this point the maitre'd explained it had been started but could be packaged in a "doggy" bag, not many places would offer that service!! The sad thing is we never tried the pigeon as 3 days and no fridge probably wouldn't have done it any justice......We finished with cheese and a dessert which was interesting, praline mille fuille with star anise cream, celery coulis....not breathtaking but it went well and was a light enough finish...after aperitifs, a Saussignac with the pate, a luxembourg white and a red (cannot remeber the names !!) and the advice of our livers, we skipped on disgestifs....Very satisfiying evening, slept like babies, we were even given a home made lemon cake on departure...and total was approx £90 each.....Not bad, one of our cheapest !!

take care

sarah xx :raz:

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  • 1 year later...

I will be going to Reykjavik, Iceland (the Capital) for the first time in January for four or five days . I had done a search on egullet for Iceland in general but (though not to my surprise) nothing came up. I was wondering if anyone on this board has been there and/or had any insights, recommendations, or words of encouragement regarding things to eat and places to go. Thank you.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I was in Reykjavik seven years ago, so I can't recommend any particular restaurants at this point.

However, the food there may still present a few unique features: In general, salads and vegetables were treated

almost as precious garnish, just a few perfect leaves or pieces on the rim of the plate. Because of the rocky volcanic

soil and a relatively short growing season, I'm guessing that those vegetables were produced hydorponically, in

small, geothermally heated greenhouses I'd see out in the countryside.

There were opportunities to try native wild meats/fowl. I had one excellent meal including cormorant breast, very

rich and tender, served boneless in a red wine sauce (currant? can't remember!), with a warmed apple relish garnish.

I'd expected the bird to taste slightly fishy, but this wasn't the case.

I also tried whale steak, simply seared, with a grainy texture and a unique taste that reminded me how flavorless

standard beef is. (My theory is that it was actually Iceland pony: the countryside was host to herds of these

animals roaming loose in the middle of nowhere with no obvious function. Meanwhile, since there appeared to be

a surplus of ponies on the landscape, and the average American tourist has usually eaten neither whale nor pony,

how would they ever recognize the switch? [dang, can't get the smilie in here!])

The "Golden Triangle" is a popular tourist route with a striking array of waterfall, geyser, plate tectonic, glacial and

and generally spectacularly desolate scenery. I don't know if it's passable in January, though. You might get a guide

and rent a four-wheel drive for a trip on the glaciers if the weather permitted. Be sure to bring a bathing suit, shower

clogs, etc. Geothermally heated swimming pools are all over the city, many outdoors.

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In Reykjavik down at the port, and the port is not separated, as it is in other cities, from the edge of downtown, (a wonderful thing, to me), there is a building housing an organized flea market which has as part of it a tiny food hall where you can try the famous rotted or fermented shark in various stages of affinage, as well as less challenging good stuff like smoked lamb (just excellent), and dried cod, which is eaten out of hand sort of like potato chips or pork rinds, or with butter on bread.

The flea market is interesting too, if you like that sort of thing. As you walk up the main drag there is a small two-story restaurant whose name means Lake-something in Icelandic (sorry I can't remember -- any passerby will know) where it is nice to get coffee or tea and sweets, or something more like lunch, smoked fish and so on.

The local liquor is Brennevin, which a lot of people dismiss as rotgut but, straight out of the freezer and in small doses, is not bad, especially with a cube of the aforementioned rotted shark. A classic, really -- just like the Russian odiferous dried fish always paired with vodka.

Vegetables are largely greenhouse-grown and few and far between, but there are red fruit, rhubarb and wild berries of different sorts, which show up a lot, sometimes as preserves on top of skir, an extra-rich yogurt, Skir. Skir is eaten with a bit of extra-rich cream poured over it, as well, and is really good.

There is a restaurant called Perla in an outlandishly designed building built outlandishly atop the gigantic geothermal water tanks that serve the city and its suburbs, which is proud to utilize Icelandic ingredients. I had, among other things, some lumpfish caviar there which was just delicious. Red and crispy, like large-scale smelt roe, decidedly NOT the shelf-stable dyed-black tarry stuff sold under the name lumpfish here in the U.S.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Thank you all for the recommendations and insights. I will be honest I was not

expecting anyone to reply. I may not become addicted to eating puffin, ram's testicles,

and fermented shark (hakarl) washed down with brennevin (the local potato distillate

scented with caraway seeds). I am, however, quite looking forward to the great fresh

fish, seafood, rich local yogurt (Skyr), and the smoked Lamb that I now know exist in

Iceland. Thanks again. :smile:

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  • 9 months later...

Oh all right, I'll ask my sister who lives in the Netherlands again! She is a recovering geologist who specialize(d) in geothermal activity, and enjoyed her trip to Iceland hugely. I hear that drinking rather than eating is the thing to do, and I suspect that she probably went round Iceland on chocolate biscuits, but I'll ask anyway...

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I'm jealous! -- I loved Iceland. Beautiful country, friendly people, incredible landscapes and the northern lights... However: like everything else in Iceland, the food is expensive. Also, good vegetables are hard to find. (We did eat one dinner at a vegetarian restaurant in Reykjavik called Noestu Grosum which was casual and filling.)

As for upscale dining, we had a great fish tasting menu dinner at Tveir Fiskar -- although it wasn't all fish, since it included small dishes of puffin and dolphin (didn't have whale, though). We also ate at Siggi Hall, but since we were there during December, we had their special holiday buffet (the first time I've ever had a "buffet" brought to the table, course by course), so I can't tell you what the food is like the rest of the time. It included traditional Icelandic holiday foods, such as smoked lamb and reindeer and what seemed like a jillion different flavors of herring.

The skyr was delicious; we had some at breakfast every day. (There were also different herrings every day at breakfast...) However, I didn't like the traditional hakarl (rotted shark) and brennivin ("black death" = schnapps) too much! We made a special trip to a supermarket just to buy the hakarl but after two pieces, we decided to "donate" the rest to the hotel bar...

Alcohol is very expensive, so consider bringing some with you or buying duty-free on arrival (Iceland lets you do that).

PM me if you have any other questions about the food or visiting Iceland! :laugh:

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  • 3 months later...

Don't know if it is too late to reply, but I can answer any questions you have about Iceland.

The best restaurants at the moment are Sjavarkjallarinn (Seafood Cellar Restaurant) and Vox at Hotel Nordica. Both have excellent fish dishes. For casual dining go to Vegamot, A Naestu Grosum, Hresso. This is not necessarily stellar food but rather good atmosphere, decent prices and regulars for the locals. Considering how expensive it is, you risk feeling robbed if you go to a mediocre restaurant.

Best Icelandic food to try is skyr and smoked lamb. Icelandic lamb is the BEST! You can get good whale at a restaurant called Thrir Frakkar. The only Icelandic drinks are a Xmas concoction which is half orange soda/half malt drink and of course, brennivin.

I could go on and on. Let me know if you want more. :wink:

izla

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  • 3 weeks later...

Izla, good info in your post, thank you. Can you suggest any outdoor cafes (in summer, of course) which are good for early evening dinner (around 7 or 8pm), and which would be OK for child as well (by that I mean a casual place, hip and trendy is out unless we can find babysitter!). Maybe a step or so better than a pizza/burger place. Any help, thank you!

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  • 2 weeks later...

You know, there is a good reason why one Icelandic clothing manufacturer advertises: "There is one place in Iceland where you absolutely must wear warm clothes. That place is called Outside."

There aren´t really any outdoor cafes here, although many cafes will have tables outside in summer whenever the weather permits, but it isn't all that often you can eat outside in the evening.

If the weather is obliging, the Hressingarskálinn (Hressó) garden downtown is probably a good bet, Vegamót also. I don't recommend eating inside at either place - too smoke-filled, at least for me.

Hornið is a nice, child-friendly restaurant - my daughter often takes her family there - and the food is ok. No outdoor tables, though.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My favorite restaurant in Reykjavic is ARI I OGGI...this may be one of my top 10 restaurants anywhere. I have spent a grand total of 10 days in Iceland and eaten 3 meals in that one place. Its a cafe /bar ...some game boards, magazines, students, very casual, service a little umm slow but ......the Lobster soup is to die for chocolate crepes and hot chocolate buried under whipped cream....oh man I really need to get back there...It is only a few doors off the main shopping street up hill, Nellies is on the corner

MMmmm lobster soup

dont forget to try a hot dog

and eat butter at every oportunity

we wont discuss the price of Fed-Exing butter to NJ :wacko: yes I have and a loin of the best damn lamb in the world

tracey

edit

by the way, you do know whats for breakfast right?

Edited by rooftop1000 (log)

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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We will have to try this place, particularly as my 2 1/2 year old's name is Ari. He will find it endlessly funny. And I'm a sucker for a good cup of hot chocolate. Thanks for the tip!

Chris

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  • 2 months later...

You are not going to have a problem to have a nice time in Reykjavik it is lowley.

If you go to the north of Iseland you hav to wisith Akureyri it is a small town. But they hav one of Iselands best restaurants.

Fridrik V is the name. I hav not ben there my self but i heard it is realy good!

When I was ther vi vent to a brasseri, I think the name was Apoteket it wasa in the center of Reykjavik. It was good but not special.

We went to an other restaurant as well. Wox it was realy good but every thing in Iseland is expensiv!

Hav a good time!

Mumin!

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  • 1 month later...

Well, here is our trip report on our two days in Iceland. I must say that it was a wonderfully gorgeous two days of weather (last Friday and Saturday, and rained as we were leaving on Sunday). We started with dinner outside at Apotek, two tasty thin crust pizzas and a salad. One pizza was very good with prosciutto and arugula, and the other was simply tomato and cheese. We milked our time at the table, ordering several beers in order to enjoy the lingering warm sunlight and watching people. The next evening we had dinner at an outside table at Solon, which was not my first choice, but was entirely satisfactory. I had a moist and perfectly cooked salmon with rice, which was fine but not memorable. Staff there were very accomodating to our two year old, offering to make him a special meal not on the regular menu and providing crayons and coloring book. Lunch was a picnic with sandwiches from the supermarket, butter (I could eat Icelandic butter straight from the package!) and skyr with berries (mmm). I wish we had more time and maybe had arranged for a babysitter so we could do more adventurous dining, but there is always next time. Thank you to everyone for your suggestions!

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  • 1 year later...

We had been warned, Good Friday was probably not the best time to arrive in Reykjavik. The poor souls you saw trudging about were all tourists who had made the same mistake. Luckily some restaurants were open.

We had chosen Tveir Fisker (Two Fish). The menu sounded delicious but was unfortunately over fussy with a lot of different flavours competing for one another. We tried the dolphin carpaccio which had very little taste but some great lemon, and langoustines which were fine. The two main courses came with identical towers of vegetables but were otherwise forgetable:Roasted monkfish with wild mushrooms ragoút and port wine balsamic syrup and Pan-fried artic char with caramelized raisin and lemon sauce. Mains were more than £20 each.

Our deserts were a long time coming, the waiter apologised an offered them free on the house as they had had an accident with them! Sykr (a type of yogurt) pannacota was fine but like flavoured soft cheese than a pannacotta. Meanwhile, more and more foreign visitors filled the restaurant ....

By the way, do order coffee not latte, cappuccino or americano in a cafe. You then get a pot of a delicious brew at any cafe (at least 3 cups) which will supply any caffeine lover's needs.

The second evening, we found a gem. Icelandic Fish and Chips. Many Icelandic families were enjoying their meals here. The formula is simple. All organic produce, no white flour and no sugar. Choose the type of fish you fancy (from a list of about 6). This is then cooked in the lightest imaginable batter (made with spelt flour) and served with crispy potoatoes (rather like roast potatoes). Add a side order of "skyronnaise" a mayonnaise-like sauce made with skyr and you have the perfect meal. There were at least 6 flavours including coriander and lime or mango which really enhanced the flavour of the fish - delicious. Prices by Iceland standards were very good about £11 for this meal. They make their own soft drinks. Children are very welcome. Each table is provided with crayons and a paper cloth - most adults just had to doodle.

The owner's father says that they are looking to open in the UK. I do hope so!!

No website: Tryggvagotu8 101 Reykjavik +354 5 11 11 18. This is in the harbour area almost opposite Tveir Fisker

Danielle Ellis

Edinburgh Scotland

www.edinburghfoody.com

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Aaahh you missed my favorite spot, probabley in my top 10 meals ever a little smokey cafe called Ari i Oggi just off Laugavegur heading up towards the church.

Mmmm lobster soup, fresh warm bread and butter, and choclate crepes piled with real whipped cream

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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