Icelanders eat everything, mercilessly: When I looked at the menu of the
in Reykjavik and at the traditional restaurant
fermented shark, I couldn’t believe my eyes. What is a protected bird species in other countries ends up in the frying pan in Iceland. But among tourists and locals alike, there are such and such. Some come to the volcanic island to watch the colorful black puffins that populate the Westfjords in their hundreds of thousands, while others rave about the wonderful, tasty meat of the cute birds.
is located in the backyard of the Laekjargata tourist mile. Initially the large building served as a cinema, later as a meeting house and bar until it burned down at the end of the 1990s and was faithfully rebuilt. Today it is a trendy meeting place: a mixture of lounge restaurant and bar with a modern, cozy Art Nouveau ambience on two floors.
Look & feel of the Grillmarkadurinn
Lots of wood, stone and leather – cozy and lively. Dining takes place at the long bar on the first floor or one floor below, where there are free-standing tables, but also small compartments and cozy tables similar to a séparée.
The centerpiece is the grill, which can be heated up to 1200 degrees Celsius. The operators of the Grillmarket source their products mainly from Iceland. Like the lamb, grilled pink, from the local farmer. During the summer, the lambs feed mainly on Angelica, an ancient medicinal plant which, according to Wikipedia, is known as angelica. It gives the meat its unique taste. The horse fillet with chips and mixed vegetables is firm to the bite yet tender. And the crowning glory: strawberry pavlova with vanilla cream and skyrsorbet.
After dinner drink at Apotek Restaurant
After dinner, we like to have a drink in the bar of the Apotek restaurant just a few meters away. Here, too, it is difficult to get a table. Reykjavik somehow only consists of restaurants, bars and pubs – at least it feels that way.
Icelanders love food and drink
Icelanders love eating, drinking and going out. Even for breakfast in the morning, which we prefer to eat at the Laundromat Café (diagonally opposite the Apotek) because of the deliciously sumptuous chia bowls with almonds, fresh fruit and muesli, you sometimes have to queue for a table. And this despite the fact that prices are exorbitantly high everywhere. While the washing machine is running downstairs in the basement and the kids are playing in the playroom next door, people meet upstairs for cake, coffee, omelettes or burgers with chips. 40 types of beer and lots of books and magazines are also available. The Laundromat sees itself as a social meeting point, a place to read, play chess and surf the Internet.
With its 200,000 inhabitants (including the surrounding area), Reykjavik is quite small and manageable and everything is within easy walking distance. Tourists (like us) can be found on every corner.
The next day we stumble into
– also located on the tourist trail, which makes us skeptical at first. In the absence of an alternative, we dare to enter. The former home of one of the first Danish bakers to settle in the town in 1834 has been preserved in its original state, restored and beautifully spruced up. The hallway is small, to the left and right are the small, bright living rooms, which now house the guest rooms. The tables are laid with white tablecloths and cloth napkins. Everything looks so clean and proper, as if Ariel’s Klementine (advertising in the early 80s) had personally washed and flattened the laundry. The service is professional and friendly, but nothing more.
serves classic Icelandic dishes, very tasty and sometimes also very creatively prepared. Place the fermented shark, cut into one millimeter pieces, on the Iceland Taste-You have to try the starter platter! Even if you never touch it again afterwards. The dried fish also takes some getting used to – above all, the thin, tough, white part needs a lot of time to be chewed and broken down in the mouth ready to swallow. Herring, salmon and slices of smoked lamb were more appealing.
The second starter Poached salmonlightly marinated with lemon, with cucumber, mustard and trout roe topping melts on the palate. The cuisine improves from course to course during our visit.
My absolute highlight is the cod with langoustine.
A fresh fish, carefully prepared to perfection, a tender langoustine on the back – mashed with a properly reduced langoustine sauce. This course has star level!
Second place goes to the slow-cooked shoulder of lamb in a red wine glaze, the meat falling off the bone tender and tender, accompanied by roasted fresh vegetables, green beans, mushrooms and creamy mashed potatoes. The question is: what to drink? The wine selection is international, but expensive, so an Icelandic beer remains.
THE LAUNDROMAT CAFÉ
Austurstraeti, 9 I 101 Reykjavik I +354 587 7555
no reservation possible.
Photo credits: Food © Martina Sommer/Murmelz Food & Travel / Reykjavik & Landscape (Social Media) © Press / Iceland.is