What I remember about the food in Iceland
Got back this weekend from a 10 day drive around (and up and down) Iceland. Had a few memorable meals. And a few that weren't so memorable.
To start: Sea Baron in Reykjavik is everything we were told it would be. Super fresh, reasonably priced, great atmosphere. Went there our first night, before we hit the road, and returned for our last night. We made friends with a large group on that final night (we knew the ropes, they didn't, so we helped them with the process), and they insisted I try the whale.
But I figured that since this had already been paid for, no additional whales would suffer due to my partaking. It looked like a nice red piece of beef, was told it tasted like a nice piece of beef, and guess what? It did. But I still won't order it. But the salmon, arctic char, scallops and shrimp were all great. And make sure you get the "local organic" salmon instead of the "farmed imported". They charge the same amount, so why not?
And if you don't get the lobster soup (sort of a miso with langoustines), I don't want to know you.
Oh, and we did stop at Bæjarins beztu for Pylsur (hotdog, to me and you) for lunch. It was as good as you've heard.
Day 2 we headed south and east. Destination: Vik. Found an interesting looking restaurant in Hella, at least from the outside. From the inside it looked like a 1970's fraternal organization hall. With similar food. Don't know the name, but it was probably the only choice in town. That night we ate at our hotel -- buffet was expensive (all the hotels seem to have dinner buffets, all are expensive), but they had downgraded our room so they gave it to us gratis. Was worth the price, and then some, but not to recommend.
By the way, all our hotels included breakfast. Usually a good sized spread, most had at least a couple hot items. And every hotel makes their own delicious bread, make sure you enjoy!
Day 3 headed towards Hofn. By now we had realized that lunch really should be the extra bread we took at b'fast, along with the dried fruits and nuts we had brought along with us from Trader Joes. Stopping for expensive, unexciting food, while surrounded by all that scenery just didn't make sense. Dinner was at the highly recommended on Chowhound and elsewhere Humarhofnin, in Hofn. Started with the "saltfish" appetizer, which was excellent, I had the langoustines, she had the Char, which was also great.
Day 4 headed northeast towards Egilsstadir, where we ate dinner in the hotel, as it was a good distance from town.
Day 5 was up to Myvatn, where we found Daddi's Pizza, which was GREAT. You know you're in a good place when the table next to you orders their pizza with basil, and the server goes to the window, picks the basil off of the plants, and puts it on the pizza. We had a pizza with pepperoni and smoked trout (when in Iceland . . . ) and both toppings were great. The trout really packed in the smoky flavor. Nice thin, slightly charred crust (with requisite cornmeal crumbs), tasty sauce, and good cheese combo on it. Best non Sea Baron meal of the trip
Day 6 was towards the west to Sauoarkrokur, where they send everyone to Olafshus, where we scored again with a pizza (trying to save some $$, a gas fillup that day was well over $150). Pizza was good -- not as good as Daddi's, and no trout, but sufficient for our needs.
Day 7 took us to Snæfellsnes, where we dined at a place called Plassid. The soup was very good. The burger was acceptable, the salmon was above average.
Day 8 sent us towards the Golden Circle. Dinner was at a place called the Pizza Factory (aka "Volcano Restaurant", at least that was what it said on the menu). Pizza looked good, but the sauce had no flavor, which caused this to be the worst of our trip. Price and surroundings were good, though, and much cheaper than anywhere else for miles and miles.
Day 9, alas, was the return to Reykjavik, but at least meant a return to Bæjarins beztu and Sea Baron, as mentioned before.
We did have a couple lunches at the gas stations en route. In many towns, the gas station IS the community center. Gas, convenience store, carwash, lunch counter, and TVs. Watched ManU score a goal while waiting for a sandwich one day. Reasonably priced and reasonably tasty. Wouldn't have wanted to do this for dinner, but for lunch it's a great option.
I think I've got everything. Can't wait to go back.
Great report! Made me want to go back. It has been a while for me, but I remember the hot dog at that same place particularly, as well as the really delicious butter everywhere and an amazing Icelandic lamb sandwich.
Went to Iceland at the end of June/beginning of July. We ate at Grill Market and Fish Market. Both pretty upscale places. We had the tasting menu at both places including the whale that was served tataki style. Of course Iceland excels at fish and Fish Market is going more sushi style with this. Fish Market has a tacky faux tiki decor. Grill Market is deffo the most posh place in town and where the young and/or wealthy like to be seen. But we were seated at the open kitchen counter so weren't distracted by the whole scene and could enjoy the spectacle going on in the kitchen. I concur about the hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu. We ate one every day in Reykjavik. We even bought the mustard and remoulade to recreate them at home (too bad we can't get that lamb taste and the great knack in the wieners). Some honourable mentions also for the Laundromat Cafe for a relaxed pint, Bergsson for scandi style brunch, Micro Bar for serious Icelandic micro brews and Kaffismidjan for hipster cofffee.
Outside of Reykjavik: Hannes Boy Cafe in Siglufjordur, Bistro Skafftfell in Seidisfjordur for decent pizza, Lonkot for locally sourced slow food (home cooking style), Geitaffell for thai style fish soup off the beaten path and the Skjaldarvik guesthouse with cozy home style cooking. Pakhus is Hofn for all things lobster but also the Vatnajokul beer made from bergy bits of the nearby Jokulsarlon lagoon but also local arctic thyme, making it the most interesting beer of the entire trip (especially compared to the omni present Viking and Gullfoss).