fiskmarkaðurinn, reykjavik

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interesting seafood in reykjavik. the entrance of this restaurant is very unassuming for one that is meant to be a popular hotspot owned by a member of the Icelandic culinary team, and when you get it, there’s a sort of modern organic aesthetic going on. prices are high, and the food is asian-inspired.

we started off with a complimentary dish of crusty soft baguette – loved the sesame seeds on top – served with a dish of mayonnaise mixed with black rice. I don’t exactly remember what was in this, but this tasted just like japanese mayo, and that’s difficult to spoil. this was followed by a dish of salmon tartare on fried wanton skins with fish roe; quite nice and we thought the flavours were very reminiscent of chinese steamed fish. it was alright; when you give something chinese-inspired to asians, it’s very difficult for us not to judge it based on what we’ve had before – this is, after all, our food.

that bridged the wait for our starters, which was a lobster soup with coconut milk as well as minke whale sashimi. this lobster soup was good and served in a very modern style, with the soup being poured out of a sake flask onto lobster tails, and mussels on the side. this was good, but still didn’t make us think wow – hereon in we concluded that Icelandic lobster soup just wasn’t for us. the minke whale was very good – we ordered it in order to cross it off our list of local delicacies – and was served seared around the outside and in thin slices on a bed of pungent wasabi mayo and soya sauce. it was like very blue rare beef, and less gamey than you’d expect, like a cross between raw tuna and beef.

we shared a tuna which came on crispy well-seasoned fried onion as well as miso paste, but unfortunately the plate was also strangely doused – and i mean the entire bottom was soaked – with olive oil, which made the food just a bit too greasy. such a waste.

the other main of monkfish was very nice though, firm and accompanied with a large fried scallop. I don’t think the kitchen does very well with fried food – the taste of the oil was still apparently on the scallop and I left the fried batter on the plate.

this was good, but we’ve had far better in london, and it really is a little too expensive for what it is. I think you should try and get reservations for the grillmarket – or grillmarkaourinn – way ahead (we were told it was booked full two weeks in advance) because the food there sounds better.

potturinn og pannan, reykjavik

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family-style icelandic in reykjavik. we were recommended this restaurant by the receptionist at the hotel, and it was a decent dinner with good quality ingredients, if nothing spectacular.

I ordered the catch of the day, which was good value as it came with the soup and salad bar. this was a white fish – can’t remember what – on a bed of tasty mash, surrounded by a strange curry sauce. strange because it was misplaced in a plate of what I thought was meant to be local, but it was still tasty. the self-service bar had two types of soup, and the vegetable one I tried was decent. the pretty-looking bread was very stale though – it needed long soaks in the soup to become edible.

we also had the lobster soup to share, but we weren’t impressed. I’ve found through reading various websites that the icelandic lobster soup is more a cream-sherry broth than a thick bisque which we prefer, so this is probably more a matter of tastes. as it was it was intensely savory – so much that we thought it was a little too salty initially – and the serving was far too big. the garlic cheese bread that came with it was nice though.

my partner had the lamb, and found as before that icelandic lamb is very mild – still too strong for me – and that while it was of good quality, it wasn’t impressive. this was a nice restaurant, and the waiters were well-meaning if a little unsure and unattentive at times. I’m not sure I’d choose to go back, but it was nice for a neighbourhood restaurant.

bæjarins beztu, reykjavik

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fantastic hotdogs, harbourside reykjavik. iceland is known for its hotdogs, and we stumbled across this hotdog stand – a very lucky thing as it’s supposedly the best hotdog stand in iceland.

seeing as we didn’t know what an icelandic hotdog consisted of, we got three everythings; now I know that means ketchup, mustard and rémoulade over a snappy sausage on a bed of both raw and fried onions. it was very tasty, and the crispy onions added interest to the hot dogs. a little too wet though, and I had to remove some sauce to finish.

we still very much enjoy the hotdogs outside the London british museum with its sautéed onions.

tapas barinn, reykjavik

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fantastic tapas experience in reykjavik by the harbor. this is actually the first time I’ve had a full tapas meal – strange to me as I love the idea of having the choice of many tiny plates of food.

in any case, this won’t be the last time. this place was awesome. we had eight plates of food that started with a complimentary basket of foccacia-type bread with an oil dip and salted chopped nuts on the side. this was followed in quick succession by puffin breast with blueberries, cream cheese and some sort of fruit paste – we’ve never had puffin before and it tasted so gamey like as though it had been cured. it was alright, but I’m not sure I’d ever have it again but it’s just one of  those things you have to try in iceland; lobster tail with foie gras in a bisque-like  sauce – really good this, especially the sauce; and squid. the squid sounded quite normal on the menu, but it was so tasty and tender and delightfully fishy – this was my favourite of the night.

then we had barbecued pork ribs with an avocado side, grilled lamb – which I don’t eat but was told it tasted only alright, grilled goose that had a bit too much sour cream on the side, and a grilled quail. these were all rather good, but I have to say I don’t remember as much about them as I did with the first few dishes, so they are more decent than fantastic. still very good quality though.

we ended the meal with a chocolate liquorice cake, fondant-style. so amazing. I could not have enough of this – and I don’t like liquorice. you don’t taste it so much here, more a second facet of taste rather than an overwhelming layer. the waiters here were friendly, and really made the meal special.

our best meal in reykjavik.