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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Best of Icelandic food & drink: Part two

By Sara McMahon

  • New Icelandic  Dill’s focus is, and always will be, on Icelandic produce and ingredients, says owner and head chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason. Photo/Valli

Fresh water, fresh fish, free-roaming sheep, and rye bread baked underground in geothermal areas: Gastronomes have plenty to look forward to when visiting Iceland.


Iceland might not be best known for its culinary traditions—at least not yet—but there is an abundance of culinary delights for foodies to enjoy while visiting the country. Here’s Iceland Magazine’s list of restaurants that honour local ingredients:

1. Dill Restaurant
Dill specialises in New Nordic cuisine and guests can choose between a three, five, or a seven course meal. The set menu changes regularly throughout the year and in accordance with the seasons. The dishes are quite experimental, a sort of coming together of the Nordic cuisine of the Danish Michelin restaurant Noma and the whimsical genius of Heston Blumenthal.
Owner and head chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason once told Iceland Magazine that Dill has evolved into what he likes to call ‘New Icelandic cuisine.’ “Our focus will always be on Icelandic produce and ingredients,” he said. 

2. Matur & Drykkur
Located on Grandagarður 2 by the old harbour area in Reykjavík’s centre, Matur & drykkur opened for business in January and quickly became a favourite among local and international gourmets. The menu consists of traditional, Icelandic dishes such as hashed fish, head of cod, and the humble “pylsa” (hot dog) with all the trimmings, but served in new and innovative ways.


Chef Gísli Matthías runs Matur & drykkur.  Photo/Björn Árnason

3. Slippurinn in the Westman Islands
Slippurinn, on Heimaey island, the largest in the Westman Islands archipelago, embraces the ‘New Nordic’ food ideology and focuses on locally sourced products such as freshly caught fish, field sorrel, homegrown vegetables, and wild herbs.


4. Pakkhúsið in Höfn
Restaurant Pakkhúsið, in Höfn, southeast Iceland, is located in an old building overlooking the town’s harbour. The restaurant’s aim is to create and serve delicious dishes from local produce, such as the locally caught langoustine, renowned for its rich taste.
“My favourite product is freshly caught fish. I love cooking different types of fish and experimenting with how they respond to different cooking methods,” chef and owner Halldór Halldórsson explained.

Pakkhúsið, Restaurant, Höfn

Pakkhúsið in Höfn in Hornafjörður. Photo/Pakkhúsið

5. Galdrasetrið in Hólmavík
In the quaint fishing village of Hólmavík stands the Museum of Icelandic Witchcraft and Sorcery. The small restaurant in the front of the museum opened in 2009 and is renowned for its specialty: mussels grown in Steingrímsfjörður fjord. Curator Sigurður Atlason does much of the cooking himself and says one simply can’t go wrong when cooking with delicious products such as the Steingrímsfjörður mussels.

Galdur, Hólmavík

Restaurant Galdur in Hólmavík serves locally grown mussels. Photo/Ágúst Atlason

5. Tjöruhúsið in Ísafjörður
This charming restaurant is located next to the heritage museum in Ísafjörður, and is well-known for its amazing seafood dishes. The catch of the day comes fresh off the boats that dock in the harbour next to the restaurant.

6. Sægreifinn in Reykjavík
Sægreifinn, or the Sea Baron, is a small, humble restaurant, located in an old baiting hut on the old Reykjavík harbour. The restaurant was founded by Kjartan Halldórsson, a retired fisherman and former chef for the Icelandic Coast Guard, who quickly became famous for his delicious lobster soup.
While the lobster soup might be the restaurant’s specialty, the more traditional dish of fermented skate, a foul-smelling Icelandic delicacy, is also worth a try—if not for the taste of it, then at least because it’ll make for a good story.


The Sea Baron, Kjartan Halldórsson. Photo/Valli

7. Skjöldólfsstaðir in East Iceland
At Skjöldólfsstaðir, in East Iceland, you will find not only a guesthouse, swimming pool, and a camping site, but also a restaurant that serves dishes made from locally sourced products, such as trout, lamb, and reindeer meat. Try their reindeer meatballs or the mouth-watering reindeer burger—we guarantee you’re in for a treat. 

Read more: Best of Icelandic food & drink: Part One

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