Icelandic cuisine has changed over the years but the traditional dishes remain. In the past, harsh weather conditions meant that people had to be creative about preserving food for the long dark winters. This is how the likes of putrefried shark, pickled ram testicles and blood pudding became staples dishes.
Other native foods include lamb, blueberries, puffin and the infamous dairy product, skyr. Recently, chefs have been rather creative about combining modern methods and flavours with local ingredients to make Icelandic cuisine really stand out. We really rated the quality and presentation of the food and also the passion that came with.
Icelanders love the concept of tapas – meeting friends to have some great food whilst having a chat and get together.
Tapas Barinn offers a relaxed atmosphere with some amazing Icelandic and Spanish tapas and fantastic service. We were guided through the menu on arrival and given recommendations. We opted for some traditional Icelandic dishes mixed with more typical Spanish dishes.
Now be prepared for a list of fantastic dishes we tried – it was so difficult to choose! The split of the menu into tapas from the land, sea and garden was really helpful and the staff would happily talk us through the options.
First things first though – we had to try the cocktails! We opted for the berry sangria which was served in a HUGE glass with fresh fruit and a gorgeous passion fruit cocktail. Save some Krona during happy hour every day from 5pm – 6pm when lots of drinks are half price!
On to the main event, from the sea we had the Bacon wrapped scallops and dates with sweet chili sauce and the Lobster tails baked in garlic – the sauce that came with both of these was absolutely delicious. I definitely want to try lobster tails again!
From the land, we tried a great selection of meat tapas! We had the Chicken in chili crumbs with blue-cheese sauce (that sauce!) Kangaroo with chorizo sauce, baby potatoes and grilled asparagus and the Smoked puffin with bluberry “brennivín“ sauce – the blueberry (staple Icelandic ingredient) was amazing!
We were also recommended the Lamb tenderloin in licorise-sauce which we were hesitant about to begin but was really delicious! We also had to try the Beer glazed fillet of lamb with beer-butterscotch sauce, cauliflower purée and Spanish salsify which was cooked to perfection.
Lastly, from the garden we had the Patatas bravas with aioli and romesco sauce and the Parsnip croquettes coated with grana padano cheese and crispy breadcrumbs, served with alioli and blue cheese sauce. Both of these were very generous portions and, just like the rest, extremely tasty.
We were so impressed with all of the dishes! I you are unable to pick then go for the Icelandic Gourmet Feast. It starts with a shot of the infamous Icelandic spirit Brennivin followed by the puffin, artic charr, lobster tails, pan fried line, Icelandic lamb and minke whale. Lastly you get the white chocolate skyr mousse for 8,690kr (around £60).
Tapas Barinn is also the only restaurant in Reykjavik where the kitchen is open until 01:00 on weekends. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and it is one of the best Reykjavik restaurants.
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