Just got back from 3 days in Iceland on our way home from our stay in Norway. (Read about our Norway experiences here: http://www.chowhound.com/post/norway-...) My traveling companions are somewhat conservative with what they are willing to spend on food and Iceland is a very expensive place, so we didn’t necessarily try all of the best fine dining Iceland has to offer, mostly eating in pubs and bistros. However, we did hit one fine dining establishment, Kol Restaurant. Below find the restaurants we visited with some comments and the score I gave them on Trip Advisor.
While in Iceland they eat later than most Americans, they are not as late as in Spain. If you don’t have a reservation, keep in mind things will be hopping by 8 PM.
Trip Advisor 5
Skolavoroustigur 40, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
Finally got around to trying some "fine dining" here in Reykjavik, rather than picking a Bar/Bistro for dinner.
This place was great. Had the asparagus, seared tuna and shrimp "taco" appetizers. All were fabulous (FYI asparagus served cold). Mains were the Beef two ways (tenderloin and braised ox tail), Rib Eye steak and Duck Confit. Again, all absolutely delicious! Service was splendid, wine list was probably the best I've seen this trip (Norway & Iceland) and the beer list was sizeable as well.
Only downsides were the beef portions were a bit small for the price (everything is expensive!!), and they really want you out after 2 hours so they can turn the table. (Yes, they were sold out tonight and turning people away.) This was something they told you up front when making the reservation. The duck leg was large, that was a decent portion. Fried potatoes a tad overcooked. All-in-all a happy experience.
Trip Advisor 4
Laugavegur 12, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
Stopped in for lunch after arriving our first day. The Duck Confit was great, as was the onion soup. The charcuterie plate and pate plate were also very nice. Good service, friendly staff. Place is small, cramped, reservations are probably a good idea for busy times. Some Icelandic items on the menu, such as black pudding made from lambs blood in the charcuterie plate
Gamla Vinhusid Steakhouse
Trip Advisor 4
Laugarvegur 73, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
Just wandering around trying to find dinner and came across this place when we decided we'd looked enough and should stop here. The beef steak with pepper sauce was very good. The mushroom soup really tasty. The fish and chips was also nice. Not a batter that I'd call typical (at least in the USA) but still nice. Really moist and flaky fish.
Beer list was small, but they did have a handful of local craft beer. Wine list was bigger. Service was fine.
Trip Advisor 4
Bankastraeti 7a, Reykjavik 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Found this just by walking around until the we got tired of looking at menus. Worth the stop. Service was just fine for a very busy place. The flow of people never stopped!
Bell Pepper soup was delicious -- not just Bells in there, something a little sharper too. The pulled pork was amazingly good, but ask for the mustard on the side. Chicken Caesar had lots of chicken. The Super Burger was great and they let me add bacon. Scallops appetizers were ok, the teriyaki sauce was too strong, overpowered the taste of the scallops. As with the bacon, they let us order a side salad, even though not on the menu.
Had decent beer selection. Forgot to really look at the wine list (sorry).
Located in a nice central area on the pedestrian mall.
Trip Advisor 4
Vikurbraut 28, Vík í Mýrdal, Vik 870, Iceland
Out cruising around seeing the sights with approximately 2000 other tourists. (Water falls, black sand beach, glaciers) Pulled into Vik right at 12:30 and walked into this place, it was almost empty. 5 minutes later, I kid you not, it was completely full with a line out the door of people waiting for a table. Talk about timing!
Didn’t order to many things, but the house burger is pretty good and the home made tomato soup was as well. Good service managing the capacity crowd. From what we could see, the pizzas looked good, and the grilled ham & cheese sandwiches sounded good too. Recommend, just beat the crowds!
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur
Trip Advisor 3
Tryggvagotu 1, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
The local lamb based hotdogs are ubiquitous, at every gas station, but this hot dog stand is famous with reputation for excellence. I understand this is an institution and maybe tourists need to try it because every other tourist is trying it. But that doesn't change the fact that it's a hotdog stand. The hotdogs are fine; though some in my party hated them because the lamb taste stood out too much. I didn't mind that, to be honest, didn’t really notice it. But the ones served here were not any different than the hotdogs I had at a gas station while driving the Golden Circle. You can get these all over Iceland. Some say these are the best hot dogs in the world but I don’t understand why. (You might want to know that the hotdog I had on the train from Myrdal to Oslo in Norway was much better!)
They say the best way to get these dogs is with the works, which typically is mustard, ketchup, raw onions and crispy onions. The mustard is weird, not like I'm use to, not very “mustardy”, kind of bland, really. The crispy onions are great. I think other toppings are available as well, but these seem to be the traditional ones. It's cheap food, if you decide to join the crowd and stop here the only real sacrifice you are making is the time spent in line. But don't expect it to rock your world. Just enjoy it for what it is: A lamb based hotdog in Iceland, neither awful nor great.
Bryggjan Brugghus Bistro & Brewery
Trip Advisor 3
Grandagardur 8, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
Let's start with the beer -- They where out of half of their beers and even some of the guest beers. Not a good start when you come to a brewery. The nuts (snack menu) were soft, not crunchy. As if they were stale? They were sugar/spiced meaning they had to be cooked at some point, which may have soften them, but still, crunchy would be better.
On a good note, the bread was fantastic, as were the shoe string fries. The mussels were also very nice and a great portion size.
The burger was fine. Good but not great. I asked for the optional bacon only to be told that they were out of bacon!!
The fish and chips had delicious fish--light and flaky, not greasy; but the batter was too heavy and overpowering. We ended up "peeling" off the batter and just eating the fish.
The tomato soup was very nice. Sort of an Indian spin on it with the spices. Not your "Campbells Soup" style.
The facility is great, but the big windows look out on a dock with view entirely blocked by a big ship on blocks. So they really were wasted, you couldn't use them to view the harbor.
Service was friendly and efficient.
In the end it was ok, but not as good as we'd hoped for.
Frederiksen Ale House
Trip Advisor 3
Hafnarstraeti 5, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
3 1/2 Trip Advisor stars if I could on the Trip Advisor scale.
I think the beer list was fairly small for someplace calling themselves an ale house.
But we found something to drink...
The Ale house burger was good, same with the Luxury sandwich.
The "bucket of bacon" was a nice snack. Nice portion of bacon to eat with your fingers. The ribs were tasty. The porter marinade made for an interesting flavor. The sauce was not too sweet nor too vinegary, which made it quite appealing to me.
Good onion rings and curly fries.
Portions were a nice size.
The ambiance was a bit lacking, the place needs some TLC, but the service mostly ok, once we got our food things were fine, but it was a bit slow in coming.
Not a bad place, but not special either.