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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Bjargarsteinn restaurant in Grundarfjörður fjord boasts a fantastic view, an interesting history, and delicious food

By Sara McMahon

  • Hard to beat Bjargarsteinn stands on the seafront and has an unhindered view of Mt. Kirkjufell, Grundarfjörður’s landmark mountain. Photo/Olga at Bjargarsteinn

On Snæfellsnes peninsula, in the harbour area of Grundarfjörður town, stands a small corrugated iron house named Bjargarsteinn. The house was transported 140 kilometres (87 miles) from Akranes town en to its current location, where it will take on a new role as a restaurant. Run by seasoned chef Guðbrandur Gunnar Garðarsson, his wife Selma Rut Þorkelsdóttir, and her parents Þorkell Gunnar Þorkelsson and Olga Sædís Einarsdóttir, the eatery is open for business around the 20th of July.

Originally, the small building stood in Akranes town, West Iceland, before being moved to Borgarnes, where it was restored.
“I saw the house every time I passed through Borgarnes and often wondered whether it wouldn’t make a nice little coffee shop. However, it has grown considerably in size since its arrival here in Grundarfjörður, because we wanted to be able to accommodate everyone and to make it wheelchair accessible,” Gunnar explains.

Bjargarsteinn_.jpg

A new lease on life The houses have been transformed in the last few weeks.

In addition to Bjargarsteinn, the pair has run two restaurants for a number of years in the neighbouring town of Stykkishólmur, located a short 30-minute drive east of Grundarfjörður.

“Olga, my wife, was born and raised here in Grundarfjörður fjord, and it was always our plan to eventually settle down here. We’ll continue to run all three restaurants along with our amazing employees.”

Read more: Snæfellsnes on the Top 100 list of most sustainable tourist destinations in the world

Bjargarsteinn’s menu caters to both local and international taste buds and will include seasonal dishes that are bound to be a delicious treat for all food connoisseurs. During the day, they’ll serve coffee, cakes, and light courses, but in the evenings there will be generous portions of quality food made from good, local ingredients.

“We’re proud to say that rather than offering a special children’s menu that includes fries and burgers, children can enjoy the same menu, but in smaller portions, as their parents.”

A taste of the old
The culinary experience is not merely confined within the walls of the old house. The restaurant also boasts a fantastic outdoor space, complete with an open-air dining area that has an incredible view over the town’s landmark mountain, Mt. Kirkjufell, as well as a humble shed where Gunnar intends to dry fish (harðfiskur) and smoke meat.

“The old shed was a wreck, to say the least. But we rebuilt it and now look forward to inviting our guests over to try some dry fish, smoked meat, and fermented shark accompanied by a shot of Icelandic schnapps.” Although most foreign visitors are eager to taste old Icelandic culinary delights such as fermented shark, Gunnar says it’s not to everyone’s liking. “It’s an acquired taste. One of our restaurants in Stykkishólmur once got a terrible review on Tripadvisor because of the fermented shark. The people really, really did not like the smell or taste of it,” he concludes with a hearty laugh.

See confirmed opening date on Bjargarsteinn’s Facebook page.

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