ustreetguy

Reykjavik, and Iceland in General

52 posts in this topic

I can't remember the name of any of the joints I went to, but I did have some good eats. Two tips: bring lots of money as everything is pricey as hell, and don't even bother going out boozin' until at least 11pm unless you want to drink alone. Also, I hope you're single-- more babes per square foot than any city I've been in. :unsure:;)

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Perhaps this is a longshot, but does anyone have any restaurant recommendations for Iceland - preferably in Reykjavik?

Siggy Hall's.

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A bit outdated, but a few years ago Jlock and I had an amazing dinner at perlan. I don't knwo whether it was just the night, or how much the view and overall coolness of the place affected our opinion of it, but it always comes up whenever we try to list the best meals that we have ever had. http://www.perlan.is/

ETA: I just went to the website to which I linked, and I am a bit creeped out. I have never seen a restaurant advertising their funeral receptions so gleefully.

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Having just gone to Reykjavik in May, I can tell you our group of 9 had a very nice meal at Laekjarbrekka Sorry my memory is too short to remember many details but the service was wonderful, the atmosphere like a quaint european chalet, and the food was delicious. Here's a helpful link:Reykjavik City Guide/Restaurants.

Cafe houses are everywhere, and do not overlook them...the coffee is fabulous. Have an Icelandic Hot Dog--(mmmm. lamb ;) ) It's the goo that makes them great, though. The best place to get one is down by the water here at "Bæjarinn's Bezta Pylsur, or Town's Best Hot Dogs."

As an aside, there's a really great musuem that opened in mid-May housing the ruins of an original Viking longhouse from around 930 AD. I highly recommend checking it out--the technology used in displaying the information is amazing. "Reykjavik 871+/-2 comes from the dating of the “settlement layer” of volcanic ash, formed in an eruption in 871 +/- 2 years."

Make sure you sleep lots before you go...'cuz the partying really doesn't start 'til around midnight. Maybe that's why the coffee's so good :unsure:

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Having just gone to Reykjavik in May, I can tell you our group of 9 had a very nice meal at Laekjarbrekka

That's it! I've been trying to remember the name of that restaurant (a co-worker might be stopping in Reykjavik) It's been eight years or so, but we had a great meal there. Love that Icelandic lobster - small, sweet, and delicious. I'll gladly second this recommendation.

Otherwise, lamb or seafood will be good just about anywhere. Some of the more traditional Icelandic foods can be somewhat challenging. If you have the palate for it (and the stomach), go for it - rotten shark is a bit beyond me.

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If you have the palate for it (and the stomach), go for it - rotten shark is a bit beyond me.
Ahhh yes - the infamous hakarl (pronounced how-karl). I actually bought some at the market to share with a few buddies. It tastes like a cross between strong blue cheese and ammonia. I'm the only one that swallowed it [insert dirty joke here]. And no, I don't think I feel the need to try it again.

But you know, it's not so bad if you chase it with a shot of Brennavin - an Icelandic spirit/scnapps made from potatoes and caraway seeds.

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Just came back from a nice Iceland vacation.

The restaurants –

Seafood Cellar (in the same building as the Reykjavik tourist center) continues to cook at a very high level. The food was really fresh and creative, I particularly liked their cod cheek appetizer and house seafood soup. It’s practically a bargain at the current exchange rate.

Fish Company (#1 on TripAdvisor) was uneven. The sushi was pretty lackluster and the salt cod dish was way too salty. The ambition is there, but the execution was lacking and the flavors didn’t always go well together.

Tapas Barinn was okay. The puffin with blueberry sauce was good. The lobster related dishes we ordered were not good.

Northern Lights Inn. Homestyle cooking. We got the langoustines and lambs, both were tasty and amply portioned (as they should be at almost $50 per entrée). The service was really negligent though.

Eldsmidgan. Good pizzeria, nice thin crust baked in a wood fired oven.

Other stuff –

Blue Lagoon – 4900 ISK per person! And a cliché and super-commercial to boot. But kinda fun to go once with friends, hang out in the milky blue water. Remember to put lots of conditioner into your hair before getting into the pool.

Ferðafélag Íslands tours and huts – Awesome. Seriously consider Iceland for your next hiking trip. No bears, no bugs, no view blocking trees, flush toilets and warm huts, and really nicely equipped kitchens. We had wonderful guides – enthusiastic, knowledgeable, patient, and kind.

Grayline AKA Iceland Excursions – Not recommended, they’re basically bus drivers that contracts out all of their tours, with minimal quality control. We had one decent coach tour and one tour that was almost a complete waste of time. In our experience, their bus drivers are not as nice or responsive as Reykjavik Excursions bus drivers.

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Can you post a link to the tours and huts place? I don't want to go to the beach next summer, and I can't even type that word into the Google machine!

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Eldsmidgan. Good pizzeria, nice thin crust baked in a wood fired oven.

I actually just got back from Iceland too--and can definitely echo the good things to say about Eldsmidgan. My wife and I got a pie to go on Saturday and sat outside eating it while watching a band during culture night. They're putting what little wood there is in Iceland to good use!

As for outside Reykjavik, I have to say, I found the little hot dog cart in Stykkishólmur to be even better than Bæjarins beztu in Reykjavik. Their secret blew me away in its non-obvious simplicity: a spoonful of baked beans under the dog. Everyone loves baked beans with hot dogs but I've never encountered it in bun-form. Genius!

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This is going to be a long-shot, but has anyone been to Iceland in December? I'm considering a few days there this December, but am not sure whether to be scared off by the 4 hours of daylight...

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I have! It was great. Lots of cozy time in cafes and museums, short excursions out to the countryside, the blue lagoon. It was fun, and I was even solo on the trip.

But, man, food was expensive!

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Based on my experience about a year ago, I think the food prices are pretty comparable to DC (considering that tax is included in the price and tip is purely optional) on the middle to high end, maybe 50% pricier on the low end. Fish, lamb, and game are all really good. Lots of musuems and clubs were built during the pre-2008 boom, so there's lots to do indoors. The sights in the Golden Circle (the three key attractions near Reykjavik) will not take too long and are relatively close together, so you should be able to see them all in daylight (Gullfoss and Stukkur definitely, Thingvellir depends on how much walking around you wish to do).

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I just returned from my second trip to Iceland, although this one was sadly too brief. MBK, I wouldn't worry about the short daylight because there's still plenty to do even when it's dark, such as museums, live music, hot pots, and if you get lucky and have clear weather, you'll get a shot at the northern lights at night. And like astrid said, you can see a lot of the nearby scenery during the 4 hours of light or so you may have.

I had a spectacular dinner at Grillmarkaðarins. The restaurant is right in the heart of downtown, just down an alley off of Austurstæti (near the intersection with Lækjargata). You can't tell from the street, but the restaurant is enormous, where even the basement has probably 20-foot ceilings. It's very stylish and inviting, with lots of wood for a country with few trees. Also, the downstairs bar area has more Eames chairs than a Herman Miller factory.

We ordered the Christmas tasting menu which is nine courses of modern takes on traditional Icelandic holiday dishes. There was no written menu (we were told it changes frequently) nor explanation of what the courses were that night so we just hoped for the best and were not disappointed. There were a lot of surprises--for example, pickled herring served in a jar beside a deepfried, hardboiled egg topped with salmon was like an Icelandic deviled egg. Goose with a chocolate sauce and a side of roasted potatoes covered in caramel was nearly shocking in its ability to balance salty and sweet without going overboard in either direction. I did not expect to see a turkey dish (though I was more impressed with the bacon mustard that came with it). Two tasting menus and two beers came out to $160 (including tax and gratuity, of course), which I consider a pretty good deal (and helps show how Iceland is not as expensive as it once was--it's no Norway).

I haven't had much opportunity to experience this new Nordic movement that everybody seems to be talking about during the last few years but I think this meal really helped me get what the fuss is all about.

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I was there in August for only about 40 hours or so, and absolutely loved it.  No particular restaurant suggestions, but if you have time I suggest doing a day tour of the "Golden Circle" - geyser, waterfalls, astounding beauty, tectonic plate action, history (including the hill where they started having their annual parliament in something like 930 AD!).  Very very cool. 

 

Also there is an alternative weekly newspaper, in English, that should give you some clues about where to eat, where to see music, etc - link

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Does anyone have recent updates?  Restaurants, things to do, places to see. etc.

High End Restaurants - Grill Market, Fish Market, Fish Company

Forage/MG Restaurant - Dill

Things to do - reserve in advance for in water massage at Blue Lagoon

Tours - Golden Circle, Northern Lights (by boat or by bus), Whale Watching

If you're going in winter, I suggest you stay in central downtown (i.e., near Grill Market or within a few blocks).

 

You can look at Fodor's or Frommer's online to see what other attractions there are.  There are a couple of free walking tours of Reykjavik that you can participate in.

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Get lobster stew and whale skewers here

There was a really tasty Indian place with puffin and other Icelandic meat dishes that I can't find, maybe it closed.

Try the hakarl because they love seeing foreigners eat it, it's probably the grossest thing I've ever had, like urine in gelatin form. 

There is a great comedy show that tells the history of iceland. 

 

What a great little country! There are good city tours, too, and they will tell you all about the hidden people.

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What a great little country! There are good city tours, too, and they will tell you all about the hidden people.

 

As I recall, the road from the airport to the city has a lot of curves despite the flat openness of the landscape to avoid disturbing the residences of any fairies, or elves, or whatever. Imagine being the person who mapped out where the road should go.

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If you have time to spare, rent a car and take an overnight trip to Skaftafell and Jokulsarlon. The combination of volcanoes and endless ice fields is breathtaking.

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Another thing I forgot to mention, and it will sound silly unless you have done it:

 

Be sure to remember to look out the airplane window while passing over Greenland.  Holy moly.

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Wow, thanks for all the recommendations!  Don, we are going; the trip is already booked.  4 1/2 days in January, for my birthday. Ericandblueboy, we are staying in downtown Reykjavik.  Astrid,  I don't know that we'll be able to fit an overnight outside Reykjavik, but the plan is to go back in mid-June for the summer solstice.  Depending on what we discover in January, we might do a longer trip in summer.  And sheldman, I remember doing that when we went to Scotland many years ago.  I think my face was glued to the window for half the trip.  I couldn't get over the long, long, long sunset.

 

My idea of the perfect vacation: get up early to beat the crowds to someplace stunning for a nice hike/photography, go back to a reasonably lux hotel for a hot shower, eat a really good but not formal dinner; repeat.  Maybe a museum when the weather sucks.  Check out local contemporary art scene when there is one.  Spend an afternoon in a local area where there aren't many tourists, trying to blend in.

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Oh oh oh ... Go to a local pool / hot pot, if you want a local experience. That's their "third space" like a pub or Starbucks. But, instead of drinking, you just hang out in the pool or a hot pot, which is like a jacuzzi. There are a bunch in town, even the smaller cities in Iceland usually have one. You pay admission, shower, and then just relax with the Icelandic people. Laugardalslaug is one of the bigger ones. 

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