Reykjavik seems to have become an absolute tourist Mecca, a trend that started during the financial crisis when things were cheap. They are, alas no longer so, but the masses still keep coming.
In fact, not cheap is quite the understatement: Iceland is damned expensive. Which is why I was glad I found this place!
I have to say it was not research that led me to the restaurant founded by Unnar Heigi Danielson (say that 5 times fast), but proximity and name. I was staying at Centric Guesthouse (literally next door), and the restaurant part was called Icelandic Street Food. I am after all The Street Food Guy.
Originally founded as a cheap way for workers to grab lunch on recipes from the founder’s grandmother, it has since gone all very hipster and cool.
The menu is simple as hell, and consists of the Fisherman’s Favorite (cod and potato in a creamy sauce with bread), lamb, shellfish, or vegetarian soup (served in a bread bowl), free macaroons, and FREE REFILLS! You can change menu options after what you first try, and then go rogue. I had the Fisherman’s Favourite followed by the lamb soup. It came out at about $18, which filled me up, and came with free macaroons and water. Small touches, but a great way to dine fairly cheaply in Reykjavik.
But man cannot live on food alone, and next door is the Icelandic Craft Beer Bar. The beer is all of a great standard, decently priced by Iceland standards ($7-8 a beer), and they serve the best fermented shark.
Fermented shark is Greenlandic Shark fermented for 5 months that stinks like piss/ammonia. I’ll blog about this later. It is the kind of thing locals no longer do but is still put on for the tourists. The correct way to do it is to chase it with a shot of schnapps known as “Black Death”, or Brennivin. The story goes it was named black death as the shark is poisonous to eat if incorrectly fermented, so the liquor would help you digest the poison. How nice.
Hakarl is not that bad, but I’m not climbing over a Big Mac to get some.
And finally, downstairs from the Craft Bar is the Secret Cellar, the first (and only) comedy club in Reykjavik. We visited twice, and quality varied somewhat (particularly on open mic night). Overall, we had a lot of fun there.
If you’re stuck in Iceland, these guys have the holy trinity of food, drinks and laughs (with a cheap hotel next door).
The Street Food Guy thoroughly approves!