Food: Reykjavik

Great British Menu star and restaurant owner/chef Richard Bainbridge reveals his foodie picks in the Icelandic city

By Richard Bainbridge
Published 22 Nov 2015, 08:00 GMT, Updated 5 Jul 2021, 12:41 BST

Best for coffee
Stofan is the perfect place to take the weight off your feet and enjoy a good cup of coffee and great cakes. It's like sitting in your granny's house. Alternatively, if you're feeling a little under the weather after a night out, Grái Kötturinn is perfect for strong coffee and a lazy breakfast — go for the eggs and toast.

Best for high-end
Dill isn't just the best restaurant in Reykjavik, to me it's up there as serving one of the best meals I've ever had. From the salt cod and buttermilk mousse with prawns to the Icelandic lamb and waffle ice cream with strawberry jam, the flavours and techniques used in the dishes were truly inspirational. The food tells the story of Iceland — it's clean, light and adventurous.

Best for beer
The KEX Hostel, just because it's cool, has great live music in the evenings, serves lovely beers and the people-watching is top-notch. If the munchies arise, head to one of the Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (translated as town's best sausages) hot dog stands dotted around the city. The fried onions and remoulade are exquisite at 3am.

Best food market
Kolaportið Flea Market is a great all-rounder, with everything from dried fish, fermented shark and horse salami to Icelandic jumpers. You can spend hours here — just don't forget it's cash only.

Best for seafood
Sægreifinn is a tiny shack at Reykjavik's Old Harbour, selling the freshest seafood and an out-of-this-world lobster bisque. You sit on oil drums, using planks of wood for tables, and drink beer from a can. It's basic, but pure class and an absolute must.

The chef

Richard has worked in kitchens across the world, including the Waterside Inn with the Roux brothers. A contender on this year's Great British Menu, he's unveiled his own restaurant: Benedicts.

Published in the December 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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