Reykjavík restaurants: Tapas and green deep fried harðfiskur

Those who follow me on Twitter and Facebook may have noticed that I’ve been talking a lot about food. Mainly, food I’ve been eating. I normally don’t go much to fancy restaurants, except at work functions where I don’t have to pay, but recently I had dinner at three great restaurants that I want to share with you.

I should mention that I left the camera at home for all these outings, which is why I’m borrowing photos from the websites and Facebook pages of the restaurants.

Restaurant #1 : Tapas Húsið

Tapas húsið is relatively new on the scene but they only opened late last year. They are located down by the old harbor and combine Icelandic cuisine with the Spanish tapas tradition. The boyfriend took me there for my birthday, knowing that I love tapas and had been dying to try them out ever since they opened.

I’m no culinary expert and I can’t tell you which ingredients they use or whether something was too heavy on a particular spice or not so I’m just going to keep things simple. We ordered a 4 course set tapas menu, thinking that if it was too little we could always  order a dish or two on the side, and because it was my birthday we ended up sharing a dessert as well.

The food was really good, the set 4 course menu plus desert was plenty of food and the service was excellent! I also enjoy how warm the place feels and the view over the harbor from the bottom floor is fantastic.  They only thing that bothered me slightly was the fact they didn’t let us know we had to wait half an hour for the dessert we ordered and that made us late meeting up with some people after dinner.

I can’t tell you how much we paid since i didn’t pay – it was the boyfriend’s treat.

The verdict: Great food, cozy place, lovely staff – recommended.


Restaurant #2 : Grillmarkaðurinn

On Valentines day I invited my co-worker out for a meal to thank her for the help with that wedding that took place in her living room. We had both wanted to try the recently opened Grillmarkaðurinn, after hearing lovely things about it, and Valentines day worked for us both. We have very understanding better halves.

Not knowing what to have, we decided to go for a 8 course tasting menu that would let us enjoy a little bit of everything. This may have been one of the best meals of my life! The taste, how it was served, strange things done to traditional ingredients like the delicious green deep fried dried fish we had for starters and the fantastic service make this place top notch. Plus I really like the design of the restaurant, the furniture and the lights. I was told later that I should have checked out the bathroom because apparently there’s something special there. Next time I’ll drink a lot of water. The cherry on top was the desserts plate that we got at the end, where we basically got to taste everything on their dessert menu. Yum.

For all of this food – 3 starters, 4 mains and desserts – I paid 8.400 ISK per person. That seems like a lot but we both agreed that we got a lot for the money. You can get away with paying a lot less if you just order from the menu but I don’t regret a single króna I spent on this sampling menu.

The verdict: Cannot recommend Grillmarkaðurinn enough – amazing. 


Restaurant #3 : Tapas barinn

Unlike the other two, Tapas barinn has been around for a long time. It’s been one of my favorites for ages so when I got the task this week to take a couple of Canadians out for dinner for work, Tapas barinn was an easy choice. Like Tapas húsið they put an Icelandic twist on Tapas with ingredients like smoked puffin and skyr.

The food we had was delicious and the Canadians were very happy with the meal. It was fairly busy that night though so we were sat in the side room with a big Swedish group and right beneath a loud speaker on full blast. Once we pointed out that the music was a bit loud, our waiter immediately turned the volume down which made all the difference.

The Icelandic set menu they have is fairly priced and it is a great choice for visitors who want to taste something Icelandic, plus you get a shot of brennivín before the meal. For me, this was the least exciting experience food wise but of course the Tapas barinn menu is very familiar to me and the other two new and extra exciting. The Canadians were happy which is really all that mattered in the end.

For food for three, two sangrias, soda for me and a couple of coffees after dinner we paid around 17.000 ISK which is about the same as we paid for two at Grillmarkaðurinn. So it’s a good price.

The verdict: Always good – definitely worth the visit.  

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7 thoughts on “Reykjavík restaurants: Tapas and green deep fried harðfiskur”

  1. jenny says:

    We ate at Grillmarkaðurinn and did the tasting menu.. WORTH EVERY PENNY! The lava salt, the duck salad, all the grilled items.. and the big ole desert plate! Plus we sat at the grill and got to watch the funny chefs entertaining themselves while cooking.. best free show and tastiest foods!

  2. Wiliam Jones says:

    Thank you so much for all the information and your Twitter posts. We have learned so much information from you. We finished booking our trip to your Country yesterday in April and are looking forward to it. Thank so much.

  3. Roy says:

    Just returned from my first tip to Reykjavik. It won’t be my last! Although I was only there for three days, I loved every minute! It’s a great city. Wonderful, friendly, and very cook people. Great bookstores. Amazing restaurants. Wide variety of food styles (loved the Icelandic hot dogs!!) Very cool pubs and nightlife.

    Your blog was a great help.

    Looking forward to returning this summer, renting a car, and checking out what lies beyond the city!



  4. Krisztina says:

    Dear Audur,
    Thank you so much for your posts/newletters, they make me even more excited about our upcoming trip (flying in on 1st August and meeting you at your walking tour on 2nd 😉
    As I love to try local cuisine, I was wondering what kind of food you’d recommend me to try. I eat almost everything and everywhere, so any reco is welcome 🙂 yAlso, we will be touring around the ring road, so we should be able to try local specialities, if there are any.
    See you soon!

  5. Philip says:

    Hey, went on one of your cool walks, and got recommended grillmarkadurinn. Was just about to book and noticed they served Minke Whake and Puffin – Not cool – will definitely not be visiting. Puffin populations are in serious decline and as for whale hunting…..

    1. mm Auður says:

      Hey Philip.

      Our policy is just to let people decide for themselves what they want to do when it comes to the whale and the puffin and such. Some people want to avoid the restaurants altogether – other’s don’t mind going there but make sure they don’t order dishes they don’t approve of. Then we have people that just don’t care either way.

      I always inform people about the decline in puffin population around Iceland (which is only the case in the south of Iceland, they are doing much better in the north and east) if they ask me about these things.

      Personally I don’t feel the need to boycott these places, I think it’s enough just to not order the things you’re against but everyone has to follow their own conviction in these matters.

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