Sunday, September 4, 2016

My Reykjavík Food Walk

A guided culinary tour through Reykjavík - absolutely perfect for me!

This tour is offered by Egill and Dan since end of 2015. I was very happy finding it on the internet. Hence I signed up for it immediately. My tour should take place at end of August following my journey through the Westfjords.

The Food Walk was held in English. We were eleven guests plus Dan, our guide. Apart from me, all guests came from English-speaking countries - one Irishman, one Australian and the rest were Americans, as far as I've noticed. To be honest I had little language problems. Especially when the Americans were talking to each other, I nearly couldn't understood anything. So what? The tour was great, anyhow!

Meeting point was in front of Harpa. The Reykjavik concert hall, which was completed in 2011, impresses by its glassy architecture. "The most beautiful glass house in the world", as someone once said about it - just my opinion.

Our Food Walk took about 3.5 hours.

Íslenski barinn

The first stop was at Íslenski barinn, a bar where Kjötsúpa (traditional Icelandic meat soup) was served.

The Kjötsúpa was cooked to an old family recipe, with lamb and carrots, but without potatoes. Beautifully strong and spicy and definitely delicious. Also, there was white bread and spicy tomato butter. Unfortunately it was quite dark in the bar, so the photo of the soup is really not fair ...


Next stop was Ostabúðin, a ... - well, what is it actually? It calls itself a "small shop for food lovers" and it is as well a restaurant as a deli.

We got served an excellent selection of cheese and meat, which we ate outside in the sunshine on beautiful Skólavörðustígur road.

First, we were given three different types of cheese to taste. We got "svört gouda", so-called "Black Gouda", "gullosta", i.e. "Golden Cheese", a sort of Camembert, I guess, and a kind of gorgonzola cheese. By the way, all cheeses were made from cow's milk, as Dan told us.

Then the meat delicacies followed. First a really very tasty and spicy horse salami. Our guide pointed out that salami was made of horse meat - if someone has a problem with eating horse meat ..? However, everybody wanted to taste it. Next was a thin slice of lamb with rosemary, thyme and a little bit fennel. Last but not least we got smoked goose with a blob of raspberry champagne vinaigrette. The vinaigrette I didn't try. But the goose was very tasty!

Horse salami

Spiced lamb

Smoked goose with raspberry champagne vinaigrette

Café Loki

Our next destination was one of my favorite cafes - Cafe Loki in front of Hallgrímskirkja. We got my beloved Rúgbrauðsís, rye bread ice with whipped cream and rhubarb syrup. I have eaten it several times - and I still can't get enough of it!


Then we walked on to a traditional bakery in Bergstaðarstræti road. Dan told us the shop in going to close within the next few days and to move within the city. So he wanted to use the opportunity to show us his favorite biscuits: Hjónabandssæla - wedding bliss - a kind of durable cookies with crumble and jam.



Next we went to lake Tjörnin and to the city hall. Our guide unpacked his gray backpack - there was strawberry skyr for all and a single tub of pure skyr to try. We learned that skyr is not yogurt, but kind of cream cheese. It's not eaten purely, because it's quite sour. Normally it's prepared with fruits. Skyr is something typically Icelandic, definitely!

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur

We continued with "food to go" and went on to "Baejarins Beztu Pylsur". We could choose between "eina með öllu" and "Clinton style" hot dog. Bill Clinton had ordered his hot dog with ketchup only, when he was at this hot-dog stand. But our guide considered this as bad style and too dry for an ordinary hot dog.

So we choosed th version "with everything" including the sweet mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup together the fresh onions and fried onions. That was definitely not dry!


We continued our walk to the harbor restaurant Saegreifinn - the famous "Sea Baron".

Everybody of us got a small portion of humarsúpa. This lobster soup is not made from the big American lobsters, but from the much smaller Norway lobster. In 2006, the New York Times declared Saegreifinn's humarsúpa to the "world's greatest lobster soup", our guide proudly told us.

Honestly - I'm not quite convinced by the "Sea Baron" and its lobster soup. But at least, now I have tasted it and can have a say!


Our "final cuisine" was Apótek, a very trendy and centrally located restaurant at Austurstræti road near to Austurvöllur place. The restaurant is very stylish furhished in a former pharmacy. On its homepage, the restaurant itself describes its cuisine as a "fun mix of Icelandic and European cuisine with a smoking hot Argentinean grill". Chef is Argentinian Carlos Gimenez.

Here we got our dessert. Well, I cannot tell, what it was exactly, but in any case it was tasty! The orange tart was filled with chocolate mousse and had a biscuit base and a layer of passion fruit jelly. (That's what I guess, at lease.) In addition there was a truly wonderful, gently sour and unbelievably delicious mango sorbet. The mixture of sweet tart with sour sorbet is something very special. But I would be even have been happy with the mango sorbet only.


At the end of our culinary city tour our guide Dan gave each of us an Icelandic chocolate bar. Milk chocolate from the traditional, almost 100 years old Icelandic chocolate company Nói Sirius. After all the stuff before, I didn't manage to eat this chocolate immediately. 

All in all, the Reykjavik Food Walk was a wonderful experience for me, which I can really recommend!

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