Restaurants in Iceland
As chefs around the world embrace the concept of local, organic, and sustainable cuisine, the trend clearly presents a greater challenge to restaurants in Iceland than, say, those in LA with California's bounty of produce at hand. But making the most of what they have, the best restaurants in Iceland serve an abundance of fish—and even whale—as well as lamb raised on moss, arctic berries, and vegetables grown during the island's brief summer. Traditional dishes like fermented shark and reindeer jerky are being given haute makeovers by young chefs. Fish Market (Fiskmarkadurinn), in the heart of Reykjavik, is a standout in the new generation of offerings, with chef/owner Hrefna Rósa Sætran bringing to her Iceland restaurant a touch of Asian flair, thanks to her stints at Nobu in London and Megu in New York before she returned home. Arctic fish are turned into maki rolls, and Icelandic ingredients like salted cod and skyr (a traditional yogurt curd) are paired with Asian flavors from ginger, soy, and lime. Travelers looking for meat with their meals should head to its sister restaurant, Grill Market.
Seamlessly fusing the old with the new, this Asian-influenced seafood restaurant occupies the oldest basement in Reykjavik. Typically jam-packed, the underground eatery displays old-school Icelandic memorabilia against a backdrop of 21st-century design.
Housed in an historic wood-frame building at Reykjavik's city's center, this iconic restaurant marries classic Icelandic architecture with trendy Asian décor (and a trendy Asian menu). Bamboo, low lights, and black accents contrast attractively with the two-story structure's wood-plank bones.
The Icelandic equivalent of Starbucks, with soul and lots of primary colors. Servers yell out orders in this sing-song way.
Located on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, just over two hours from Reykjavík, Hotel Budir's candlelit eatery serves a regionally inspired menu amid some of the best views in the country.
This period throwback to the Victorian era is named after a bonified Icelandic icon; Einar Ben was a poet and an entrepreneur who lived for a time in the century-old townhouse now housing the restaurant.
Iceland's first ever five-star restaurant, this swanky eatery at the Hotel Nordica serves Scandinavian gourmet cuisine and upscale bistro fare.
This seafood restaurant lures locals for dinner with its classic Icelandic cuisine—how about fermented shark meat followed by shots of brennivín (a.k.a. schnapps, or “firewater”)?
One of the only spots to enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine, Domo is located in what appears to be an ordinary warehouse in Lincoln Park; however, inside, slabs of wood are surrounded by tree-stump chairs and Asian artifacts hang on the walls and from the ceiling.
The restaurant opened in 2008 by Björk’s personal chef, Nuni Thomasson. His menu of regional comfort food might include dishes like foal steak with couscous and cabbage.
This family-run business in old Reykjavik Central was opened by chef Úlfar Eysteinsson in 1989. Popular with locals and unabashedly Icelandic, 3 Frakkar accommodates just 44 diners in its cozy, old-school dining room enlivened by mounted fish and stuffed rams' heads on the walls.