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Food & Drink

Iceland's coolest restaurants are hidden in the Westfjords, Eastfjords, N. Iceland cowshed

By Staff

  • Ísafjörður Also known as "The Capital of the Westfjords", Ísafjörður is a small town of 2,500 inhabitants. It is also home to one of the coolest restaurants in Iceland. Photo/Vísir.

If you are looking for the coolest and most unusual restaurants in Iceland you should head off the beaten path. Rather than looking around the Old Harbour or in downtown Reykjavík you need to go all the way to small fishing towns in the Westfjords and Eastfjords or visit a repurposed cowsheds by lake Mývatn.

Read more: Five Reykjavík restaurants mentioned in the 2017 Michelin Guide

Coolest restaurants in the Nordics or Scandinavia?
In a tour of "Scandinavia's coolest restaurants" the New York Post stops at three of the coolest restaurants in Iceland, where "chefs are making creative use of freshly caught fish, local meat and seasonal vegetables." The story visits restaurants in Norway, Finland and Iceland, naming seven trendy and unusual eatiersm, including three great restaurants in Iceland.

The NY Post warns its readers that some of the names are unpronouncable for Americans and the prices steep, but urges people not to be deterred by this:

"Weather in these northern reaches of Europe may be chilly, but these kitchens are piping hot."

Tjöruhúsið restaurant, Ísafjörður
Tjöruhúsið restaurant A home-style restaurant in the town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords. Tjöruhúsið translates as "The Tar House". Photo/Visit Westfjords

While we at Iceland Magazine agree that Iceland has some truly excellent restaurants we would like to remind our readers that technically the term Scandinavia only refers to the Scandinavian peninsula or the three Scandinavian nations, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. If Iceland and Finland are included the proper term is Nordic. But such pedantry aside, we love the article!

The three coolest restaurants in Iceland
The three coolest restaurants in Iceland, according to the NYPost are Vogafjós by Mývatn lake in North Iceland, Nordic Restaurant in Seyðisfjörður town, in the Eastfjords, and Tjöruhúsið in the town of Ísafjörður in the Westfjords.

Vogafjós by lake Mývatn is as close as one gets to eating locally sourced ingredients, as the restaurant is located at a farm in a re-purposed cowshed:

Set on a bank of scenic Lake Mývatn, this restaurant is farm-to-table — literally. The light-filled dining area has windows facing out, towards the craggy volcanic landscape, as well as in, so that patrons can see stalls filled with cows as they chow down. The “cowshed cafe” menu is hearty and appropriately fish-, meat- and dairy-filled; standouts include homemade mozzarella, house-smoked lamb and salmon, house-cured arctic char with dill and bread baked in the earth thanks to hot geyser air that whooshes underground.

The area around Lake Mývatn is one of the most beautiful in all of Iceland.

Read more: Stunning 360°panorama from Mývatn lake wins 2nd prize in international drone contest

Hidden gems in West- and Eastfjords 

Aldan, Seyðisfjörður
Hótel Aldan The Nordic Restaurant is located in Aldan, which translates as "The Wave". Photo/Andrea Harris

The "Nordic Restaurant" which is located in the building Aldan in Seyðisfjörður, a small fishing village in the Eastfjords in East Iceland is described as a "welcome reward" hiding at the end of a "harrowing journey" of the gravel roads of the isolated Eastfjords.

A switchback-filled road lined with waterfalls winds into eastern Iceland’s harborfront hamlet of Seyðisfjörður (population 700). Rewards at the end of the harrowing journey include a picture-perfect church and a cluster of quaint, colorful wood-sided buildings.

The NY Post was particularly impressed with the lamb T-bone and impressively constructed salads.

Read more: The Telegraph names East Iceland as one of its “must visit” destinations for 2016

Finally there is Tjöruhúsið, a small restaurant in the town of Ísafjörður, "the capital of the Westfjords": "The Westfjords, a series of peninsulas protruding from Iceland’s northwest like a hand, is the most remote part of the country."

In its capital, the waterfront town of Ísafjörður, sits one of the more charming (and reasonably priced!) restaurants in the country. We’re told chef Magnús Hauksson founded the home-style restaurant next to the heritage museum “on accident”; his wife, three children and various relatives help run the place. Set in a woodsy cabin with long tables, expect a limited menu based off the catch of the day. A dish of fish, potatoes and onions arrives at the long table in a steaming heavy skillet, while rich Icelandic soup, chock-full of seafood, warms the stomach and the soul.

Read more: Record numbers of humpbacks in Ísafjörður bay in the Westfjords

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