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Grillið Restaurant

When it comes to the monetary aspect, Iceland is not for the faint-hearted. Food in particular don’t come cheap. Bearing that in mind, LT and I thought, why not splurge a little? Instead of paying dearly for supposed budget eats, we would indulge in higher-end dining that would actually be comparable in price to that in Paris. This way, we won’t feel like we’ve paid too much for what we can get cheaper in Paris; instead, we will get fine dining at the “regular” price. Another plus point – we will experience Icelandic dining at the top level.

Grillið Restaurant


We had our first evening meal at Grillið Restaurant, situated on the 8th floor of our hotel. As we were there very early, the place was practically empty and we scored a table next to the windows, affording us some impressive panoramic view despite the falling rain and setting fogs. Chef milled about in the kitchen that can be openly observed via see-through glass panelling. I find the interior decor a little tacky though, featuring the signs of the zodiac.

Perhaps this is the time I tell you that I’ve sadly forgotten to bring my Moleskine during the trip, lost the map which I had all kind of notes scribbled on it (have I accidentally threw it away?) and so everything from this point on is written pretty much from memory. It is a bit leaky, so I may not get every detail right. However, thanks to my credit card statement, I at least know how much we paid for the meal ;) Wanting a surprise of a meal, we have ordered the chef’s menu at 8,000 ISK (€49). It was listed as a 3-course meal, but it seems 3-course here didn’t mean the usual combo of starter+main+dessert. It was a tasting menu style 3-course (i.e. 6 dishes).



We were first presented with some crackers to nibble on. Crunchy, a little salty, it was very easy to polish off the bambou slot-filled goodies. One was made with barley, and I can’t recall the other grain used. When our meal was served we were also given a small side of bread – white and sourdough – as well as butter with smoked salt.

I am now at lost to tell you what we had to kick off our meal. I believe it was made up partly with a kind of Icelandic cheese, but the rest is a blank. You can see the cucumber and the dill alright, but those were garnish. The second part of our starter was easier to identify – salmon served with leek, seaweed, turnip puree and micro herbs. The seaweed gave the dish a hint of ocean saltiness, which was a rather unusual combination.

Mysterious dish


Our culinary adventure continued with pan-seared ling – a variety of fish which I had not known before and which is abundant in the sea surrounding the island, making it a very local catch indeed. The foam was garlicky and went well with the cod-like fish. With a large scoop of bulgur, some roasted broccoli and broccoli puree, it was a well-received dish.

Next up was beef tenderloin with sliced parsnip, grilled mushroom and roasted hazelnut. I love the earthy flavour of the plate, and the beef was cooked to just the right level of pinkness. This was my favourite dish of the meal. It was also very filing, so we were glad to possess the knowledge that this was the last savoury dish of the menu. Afterall, our counting method seemed to have failed us at that stage. We have clearly eaten more than 3 courses, no?

Pan fried ling

Beef tenderloin

Our hope for light desserts was shattered when a small plate of toasted cereals with a small mountain of dairy in front of each of us. What was that? Turns out, that was skyr, a kind of Icelandic cheese/yoghurt. It was creamy, a little sour, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I was eating breakfast rather than dinner.

Final course was a couple of quenelles of ice cream – smooth dark chocolate and parsnip (yes, parsnip) – plus little accompaniments and caramel spots. I really enjoy the parsnip ice cream which was sweet and earthy at the same time. LT wasn’t a big fan so I ended up polishing her dessert plate up too. I know, so much for me saying I was stuffed (I was, but I was also brought up not to waste food :p )…



We just about staggered out from the restaurant back to our room. The food was delicious, the service impeccable, and all in all, the meal was very reasonably priced for the quality and quantity that we’ve received. On top of that, we had had a wonderful view of the city, spotting the domestic airport nearby, the snow-capped mountain range in the horizon, and occasional peek at what the kitchen staff were doing.

Perhaps, after all the hotel confusion debacle, this was one of the silver linings? Afterall, we found ourselves right under the same roof as one of the best restaurants in town and had the pleasure to give it a try. The staff of the hotel helpfully changed our airport transfer pick-up point for our journey back in a couple of days, and on consulting the city map, we were also very close to the Dill Restaurant where we would be eating on our second evening in Reykjavík. Things are looking up indeed.

Posts in this Icelandic series:
First impression: Reykjavík
Grillið Restaurant
The Golden Circle Tour
Nordic dining: DILL Restaurant

Category: Food & Drink

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2 scribbles & notes

  1. LT says:

    Thank you for the wonderful memories LL!

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