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Tapas in Iceland, where I went and what I loved

January 15, 2016 | Ian Kalinowsky

“Icelandic Tapas” was a small restaurant in downtown Reykjavik that served their offerings in jars. You could buy a “single” jar or there was a 4 jar or a 6 jar price or a “chef 6 jar” offering. I selected the 6 jar offering but chose them myself.

My dinner was comprised of the following:

  • Deep fried cod
    • A small fancy version of “fish and chips” it was delicious.
  • Wind dried salt fish with Icelandic butter
    • A staple that can be bought in bags and eaten like chips. I did not find it be salty and the butter provided some “moisture” which made it easier to chew
  • Harlark – Rotten Shark
    • A small cube that smelled like a very stinky cheese and tasted like a chewy blubbery chunk of something. It was not horrible to taste but I think it is the smell that gets to people the most.
  • Smoked salmon with red chili sauce
    • An absolute staple on the island and it is simple to taste the freshness in the fish – it could not have been out of the water very long
  • Lamb liver
    • Small pieces that were delicious to taste but I would personally argue that the chef over cooked them as they were not “pink.”
  • Potato fries with aioli dressing

The jars were 400 ISK each and so with my coke, dinner was 2800 ISK (or about $28 cdn). LOVED IT!!

In addition to “Icelandic Tapas”, “Tapas” is another upscale restaurant very close to the harbour. Would be a great place to go with a group as the portion sizes were very large. There was also a “chef selection” of 6 items that cost 7500 ISK (about $75 CDN). Various groups that I spoke to found the food, and the prices, to be exceptional.

  • Saltfish with chorizo in a tomato and date sauce.
    • The highlight was the tomato and date sauce which absolutely shined and provided an exceptional level of taste to the saltfish. Pairing a fish with a sausage was also very interesting and it was the chorizo that was in fact “saltier” than the saltfish which given their respective names would not have been expected.
  • Rack of lamb in a samfaira and mint sauce.
    • Done medium rare the lamb was exceptional. I would have preferred if the mint sauce was a little “more minty” as it seemed to lack that bite that comes from using enough mint in a sauce.

I had only 2 of some 60 possible tapas selections and it would have been a true pleasure to have dined there every night. It is “underground” and you have the feeling that you are going into a cavern or a cellar. The manager was exceptional as I was the only single diner and he seemed to spend a fair amount of time talking to me about the food.

I will definitely be dining there again as well on my next trip.