If a visit to Iceland is in your future, you won’t have a problem finding great Reykjavik restaurants when heading to to its capital city. Reykjavik is filled with interesting restaurants and bars no matter where you turn. But, you’ll probably want to have one or two special dinners while you are there.
Splurge Worthy Reykjavik Restaurants
Here are the Reykjavik restaurants I recommend for these occasions when planning your next trip.
You should note that many restaurants in Reykjavik feature multiple course tasting menus. So, much like a European dinner, settle in for a long evening. Also, while plenty of wines are available by the bottle, most restaurants only carry three whites and three reds by the glass. Spring for the bottle as the quality will be much better.
Food Cellar in Reykjavik, Iceland
Located in a 160 year old building, it has a cozy, almost underground feel. It’s like you’ve stumbled into a secret supper club that only the locals know about. Their full name includes the words “cocktail club“, so you don’t want to miss out on a cocktail or two.
Their cocktail list includes a section of “competition cocktails” which include 1st place winners at various competitions in Iceland such as the The Black Frog, made with Iceland’s own liquor, Brennivín, and limoncello, cumin syrup.
Our 6-course adventure menu began with cod covered in hollandaise and crispy bacon pieces. Cod, a fish Iceland is known for, was prepared so well, it melted in our mouths. Next up, shrimp skewers wrapped in panko was unlike any other panko wrapped item I’d ever seen, with panko curled around it.
You no doubt have to be adventurous if you trying a tasting menu at Food Cellar. The next item we had was the most daring but probably the best – Grilled Puffin and Leg of Goose. If you’ve seen a puffin (those adorable tiny birds), it’s hard to imagine eating them, but they are delicious and taste like beef surprisingly.
Cost of a multi-course pairing is approximately $110 USD. Add an additional $90 for wine pairings. Visit their site for more including the menu.
Kopar in Reykjavik, Iceland
It’s worth it to have one of your meals down by the harbor. And Kopar is a seductive and sexy spot to do just that. Comfy tufted leather booths and leather backed chairs await at this Icelandic seafood restaurant. Ask for a table upstairs that overlooks the water.
Try the adventure menu. At 9 courses, the $110 price point is more than fair. Though several proteins (cod and lamb) were repeated in the menu, the flavor, texture and sauce used were so varied, it was an entirely newly take with each course.
Cod tongues were served with sherry and garlic flavored cream cheese and was a glorious start. Cod returned again but this time with a butternut squash and nut crumbles. Lamb was served two ways: a filet topped with a blue cheese once and secondly in a sausage like form with a port wine mushroom cream sauce.
Icelandic scallops with yuzo and jalapeño were tasty and a beautiful presentation as was the lobster cauliflower salad. A 3-tiered platter of Kopar’s best desserts was bestowed upon us to complete our lovely meal.
Tip: Don’t leave without getting your picture on the swing by the bar! Visit the Kopar website for more details including a look at the menu.
Tapas Barainn in Reykjavik, Iceland
Located next door to Food Cellar, Tapas is Barainn is one of the coolest Reykjavik restaurants, especially for its unique decor. While Food Cellar is trendy with its red backed booths and artsy decor, Tapas features a more traditional looking style. Wood beams line the ceiling and small wood tables and a couple of booths are the seating style here.
An Icelandic Gourmet feast includes seven different tapas and a shot of Brennivin, the liquor Iceland is known for. It’s a terrific way to sample some of the best items on the menu. Of course, if you simply want mains, Tapas in Reykjavik has that too. Get lamb or cod, excellently executed. But I wanted more.
The menu is divided in tapas from the garden, land and sea. Skip the garden tapas and focus on the other two, with a heavy concentration on the land. The scallops with celeriac purée, passionfruit foam are heavenly, as is the Minke Whale. I’d never had whale before and was surprised that it closely resembled venison.
A perfect way to start your meal is Serrano with fresh figs and chili honey. The honey was a lovely compliment to the saltiness of the ham. Next up was the licorice lamb (pictured above). Even if you loathe licorice like me, get this and you won’t regret the rich flavor this sauce bestows upon this perfectly tender lamb. Another tapa highlight was the Iberico pork, presented on its own mini charcoal pot, it has a slightly sweet taste with a delectable smoky flavor.
Much to our surprise, a dessert a combo of licorice and strawberry ice cream was a delightful end to our dining experience. A bevy of small licorice candies and starfruit and dragon fruit were also in the dessert, upping the dessert porn factor.
The adventure menu at Tapas at Reykjavik in Iceland is approximately $86. Individual tapas are priced around $25 each. Check out Tapas Barrainn’s website for more great information.
What great Reykjavik restaurants have you tried? Tell us in the comments below.