Morgunmatur, Hádegismatur, & Kvöldmatur

Linda Lou Burton posting about Reykjavik, Iceland from Little Rock, Arkansas – Food is one of the “most telling” measures of a country and its people. Nowadays food is shipped from continent to continent in a day; but food traditions handed down over time remain favored – steak and potatoes, or fava beans, or strictly fresh-caught fish. So today, what can we learn about Iceland from simply EATING? That means not only the food and its preparation, but the people we rub elbows with; the locals. I wanted us to have three entirely different food experiences today, while being comfortable within our own “food finickies” at the same time. What is the OLDEST restaurant in Reykjavik was my first question. If it has been around before “tourism” took hold, the locals must like it. The answer turned out to be a pretty good start for the day, with breakfast.

Morgunmatur, aka Breakfast

Kaffivagninn is the oldest operating restaurant in Iceland, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week. This restaurant started as a food truck in 1935; by the 50s it was a small building on wheels, big enough for 10 to 15 people and located right by the harbor. It was very popular with fishermen, opening early and closing late. In the early 60s the restaurant expanded in size; it soon became popular with students and truck drivers as well as fishermen. Since 1975 Kaffivagninn has looked about the same. Right there by the water, plain and simple, and enduring. A great (historic) way to start our day and a menu that will please the three of us. https://kaffivagninn.is/en/

BREAKFAST SERVED FROM 7:30 AM TO 11:00 AM

  • BACON AND EGGS with toast and vegetables
  • DELUXE OATMEAL PORRIDGE with chia, apples, dates and berries
  • GRILLED SANDWICH with ham and cheese, add a fried egg
  • OMELETTE with toast and 2 toppings, ham, cheese, mushrooms, peppers, onions or tomatoes
  • SMOKED ICELANDIC SALMON with scrambled eggs, toast and vegetables
  • TUNA MELT on toasted sunflower seed bread with grilled cheese, with Dijon, apples, salad and jalapeño

Energy enough after breakfast to tackle at least three small museums in the Old Harbor area; time to watch the boats moving in and out of the harbor; time to watch for puffins, and listen to the sounds of the three languages taught in Iceland’s schools – Icelandic, English, and Danish, before getting hungry again, and ready for lunch. A FOOD COURT is one of the best ways I know to make sure each of the three of us are happy with the foods, and to mingle with the locals on their lunchtime break from work. Reykjavik has several food courts; I chose Hlemmur, with 10 vendors and this promo ALL KINDS OF FOOD, FOR ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE.

Hádegismatur, aka Lunch

Hlemmur Food Hall is the first of its kind in Reykjavik and is inspired by the great European food halls. It attracts a fun crowd especially during lunchtime, when it is booming with customers. On sunny days, people enjoy their food and beverages outside. With Neapolitan pizza, LA-style tacos, Danish sandwiches, fresh soups, Vietnamese cuisine, gourmet burgers, and specialties from the “2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded Skál,” there’s something for everybody! Open from 8 AM to 9 PM daily. http://www.hlemmurmatholl.is/english

  • BÁNH MÍ Vietnamese coffee and bánh mí sandwiches; crisp pickles, savoury meats, sriracha, and fresh aromatics; Davíð Viet Quoc’s secret family recipes passed down through generations.
  • Brauð & Co (Bread & Co); organic sourdough bread and buttery danishes; observe the bakers at work; ask about ingredients, methods, or the weather, every Icelander’s favorite subject!
  • FLATEY PIZZA Short delivery time, simple quality ingredients and delicate craftsmanship is the trademark; the outcome is naturally tasty and health conscious pizzas.
  • FUEGO L.A. style Tacos in Hlemmur Foodhall. Legendary fish tacos!
  • Kröst specializes in fine French wines, cured meats, and various grilled delicacies.
  • Micro Roast Te & Kaffi; all things coffee-related; a range desserts and snacks. Their fair trade coffee is shipped daily from their roaster at Aðalstræti only a few blocks away.
  • OSTERIA EMILIANA; an Italian restaurant inspired by Emelianan-Romagna region; specializes in real Lasagna and Focaccia bread.
  • SKÁL!; an experimental bar & restaurant with a focus on foraged Icelandic ingredients and local traditions.
  • TIL SJÁVAR & TIL SVEITA Traditional Icelandic food from the land and sea. Something delicious for the whole family.

Okay, that was fun. Are we in the mood for more museums? A nap? Probably both. Since we can sleep as late as we like tomorrow, a late, and luxurious dinner (true to Icelandic heritage) this evening; something really fancy for our “last night in Iceland.” And no looking at the right side of the menu. EVERYTHING in Iceland is expensive!

Kvöldmatur, aka Dinner

Velkomin á Grillmarkaðinn, or in English, Welcome to the Grillmarket. “Local” was the key word for me. Their promo: A close working collaboration with dedicated local farmers. The very best in local seasonal produce. Local products include lamb, beef, trout, quail, skyr, and honey. We highlight the origin of each product while using fire, smoke, fire logs, and coal. Our grill is custom made; the coals heat up to 1200 degrees Celsius; the food cooks crispy on the outside and remains juicy and succulent on the inside. The outcome is a culinary treat where Icelandic heritage and the modern age meet. Our menu is a magical fusion of tradition and modern cuisine. My comment: everything from beef to whale!  https://www.grillmarkadurinn.is/en/

In the Beginning

  • BEEF CARPACCIO Chili jam, sweet almonds, herb pesto and ruccola
  • BURRATA Icelandic artisan cheese from Skagafjörður region, rainbow tomatoes and almond pesto
  • CHICKEN WINGS Sweet soy dressing, smoked birch salt and lime
  • GRILLED PORK RIBS Grillmarket dressing, rice cakes, watercress and drizzled with honey
  • GRILLED PUFFIN Lightly smoked puffin, pickled bilberries and mushrooms
  • GRILLED WHALE STEAK Tender steak of whale, lime and soy vinaigrette
  • HORSE “WAGYU” TATAKI Apple, Cilantro, Crispy Jerusalem artichokes and miso vinaigrette
  • LOBSTER TEMPURA Chili mayonnaise, oats and roasted garlic
  • SHELLFISH SOUP Icelandic shrimps, mini scallops and langoustine
  • VEGETABLES, DEEP-FRIED IN CRISPY BATTER Mixed vegetables with organic Greek yogurt

Course

  • GRILLED LAMB CHOPS Crispy potatoes, glazed carrots and spiced nut crumble
  • GRILLED MOUNTAIN CHAR Almond pesto, potato purée and caramelized onions from Vallanes
  • LIGHTLY SALTED COD Grilled apple purée, black garlic, langoustine salad and shellfish sauce
  • VEGAN PEANUT STEAK Our vegetarian choice is made from nuts, beans and seasonal vegetables

Big Steaks

  • BEEF TENDERLOIN The best part of the beef, the steak has been prepared to perfection and is very flavourful
  • HORSE TENDERLOIN The most tender part of the horse
  • PORTERHOUSE cut from the short loin and includes the tenderloin; the bone separating these muscles gives the steak its divine flavour
  • RIB EYE OF BEEF is a steak from the rib section with perfect marbling
  • STEAKS FROM ICELANDIC FARMERS served with mushrooms glaze, Grillmarket fries and pan fried vegetables
  • STEAKS FROM THE FARM MIÐEY We handpick our steaks from Miðey farm and the meat is aged for at least 35 days
  • TOMAHAWK STEAK, garlic potatoes, aspargus, broccolini and bearnaise sauce

On the Side

  • FRIED MUSHROOMS Chestnut mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and garlic
  • GARLIC POTATOES Deep fried and seasoned with garlic sauce
  • GREEN SALAD
  • GRILLED ASPARAGUS & BROCCOLINI
  • GRILLED CORN COB With Icelandic heart butter
  • GRILLMARKET FRIES Deep fried and seasoned with garlic and dill
  • PAN FRIED VEGETABLES Kale, carrots, mushrooms and parsnip root

Sweet Endings

  • BERRY CRUMBLE Mixed berries, crunchy oats and dulche de leche caramel
  • CHOCOLATE TART Toffee filled chocolate cake with salted caramel ice cream
  • DESSERT PLATTER Selection of desserts, exotic fruits, ice cream and sorbets
  • GRILLMARKET CHOCOLATE Mascarpone mousse, warm caramel and coffee ice cream
  • HOMEMADE ICE CREAM BLISS Exquisite ice cream and sorbets with four different flavors

Forgive any misspelled Icelandic words. And forgive the printing of entire menus. Consider them as an encyclopedia of food choices in Iceland!