The global spread of the coronavirus is disrupting travel. Stay up to date on the science behind the outbreak>>

At the chef's table: Ragnar Eiríksson

Ragnar Eiríksson is at the helm of Iceland's first Michelin-starred restaurant, Dill — in the vanguard of the island's culinary renaissance

Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:21 BST, Updated 12 Jul 2021, 09:44 BST
At the chef’s table: Ragnar Eiríksson
At the chef’s table: Ragnar Eiríksson

Iceland's restaurant scene has exploded in the past five years. There's a demand for truly Icelandic food — lamb and fish are staples as they're available year-round, and while geothermal greenhouses also let us grow vegetables all year, we see a seasonal increase in fresh vegetables. It's not all pickled!

Insider's Reykjavik
The best place for an honest meal is at Sæmundur í Sparifötunum, a gastropub, inside KEX, a hostel set in a former biscuit factory. Burgers here are dressed with Ísbúi cheese and sausages are made from Icelandic lamb. Our nameless sister restaurant, located in the same building as Dill, serves amazing pizza and cocktails. Kolaportið, a weekend flea market, meanwhile, offers a taste of delicacies like dried fish, fermented shark, liquorice, and freshly baked kleinur pastries.

Coastal cuisine
My friend Hjörleifur has a sheep farm on the west coast with a guesthouse attached, Ensku Husin ('English house'), built as a fishing lodge by an English lady in the early 1900s. His sheep supply the guesthouse (and Dill); they make the best lamb stew in Iceland. Tryggvaskáli, in Selfoss, South Iceland, is set in a former ferryman's lodge; they serve lamb and langoustine.

Lava larder
Surrounded by Southern Iceland's fertile, volcanic soils is Bragginn, a converted military barracks that was a potato warehouse for half a century before being converted into a cafe and ceramic studio. Run by two sisters, it's open in summer for coffee and brunch and the occasional evening concert. It also boasts great views of two volcanoes, Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull.

At Dill, Ragnar Eiríksson focuses on the seasonal local ingredients and obscure flavours of North Iceland. Before opening Dill, he worked at Michelin-starred Copenhagen restaurant The Paul (now closed).

Follow @DILLrestaurant

Published in the June 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Read More

You might also like

A beginner’s guide to lambic beer, the oldest beer style in the world
Seven of the world’s most exciting spice markets
Why Paris's 20th arrondissement is France's most exciting culinary destination right now
The best of Balinese cuisine, by authors Tjok Maya Kerthyasa and I Wayan Kresna Yasa
The inside guide to San Antonio, the Texan city famed for cuisine and culture

Explore Nat Geo

  • Animals
  • Environment
  • History & Culture
  • Science
  • Travel
  • Photography
  • Space
  • Adventure
  • Video

About us


  • Magazines
  • Newsletter
  • Disney+

Follow us

Copyright © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society. Copyright © 2015-2021 National Geographic Partners, LLC. All rights reserved