The Northern Lights aren’t the only thing that twinkle in Iceland. The food scene in the land of fire and ice is quite simply on fire. From 17 Sortir’s delicious baked goods to Omnom’s scrumptious chocolate, we were floored by the plethora of foodie options available in the country’s culinary epicenter, Reykjavík, and across the entire island nation for that matter. Prices across the board are sky high in Iceland (for burgers, for hotels, for rental cars and the list goes on), but at least your satiated belly will help you swallow those volcano sized checks a bit easier than if the grub was bland.
This year was the first year that a restaurant in Iceland earned a coveted Michelin star. That trail blazing restaurant is Dill in Reykjavík, Iceland.
Since Dill plays host to some of the most coveted tables in the entire country of Iceland, we actually weren’t planning on dining at Dill at all. We figured we simply wouldn’t be able to get a table. We had tried Dill’s online reservation system, but sadly for us the restaurant was either closed the days we were in Reykjavík or a table wasn’t available during the date we wanted. Midway through our trip we tried sending the restaurant an email per the recommendations on the site. By the last day of our two week trip, we still hadn’t heard a peep. What to do?
Seeing as how it was our last day (which was a Thursday) we figured we’d swing by and say hi. We arrived at ten past six (ten minutes after service began and ten minutes after we drooled on Dill’s window while gazing at delightful concoctions like blueberry moonshine). We were cheerfully greeted by a hostess who informed us that Dill had a table and it was ours for the taking. Victory. Never underestimate the power of popping by a sought after restaurant in-person with a warm smile, you never know when there is going to be a last minute cancellation.
With surroundings as breathtaking as the landscapes and vistas you’ll come across in Iceland, it should come as no surprise that Dill’s owner, Gunnar Karl Gíslason, and his team take their cue from Iceland’s backyard. Gíslason is pals with Copenhagen’s famous Noma clan (in fact, René Redzepi, Noma’s chef and co-owner wrote the forward to Dill’s cookbook).
Dill’s menu is in a constant state of flux, which is a very good thing. When we were there last week, Dill was on menu #154.
There are ingredients you’ll be familiar with like ocean perch, smoked haddock, beef brisket and rutabaga.
But alongside those familiar mains you’ll encounter local favorites like kelp, ash roots, skyr (similar to yogurt, but oh so much better), sea truffle, cod chin and an ingredient you’ll find in many Icelandic dishes around your travels in the country, angelica.
One of the many lovely things about Dill is the attention to detail the owners put into selecting the dishes.
A delicious, almost chowder like smoked haddock, potato and skyr dish came served upon a stunning piece by one of the most talented ceramists in Iceland, Kristbjörg Guðmundsdóttir.
Even the glassware at Dill sparkles. We spied an incredible Iittala ultima thule on-the-rocks glass that we instantaneously coveted as soon as it landed at our table. (Iittala is an insanely talented Finnish design house.) But it isn’t just the attention to detail, the spotlighting of Icelandic artistic talent or Scandinavian design that secured Dill its star. We’re fairly sure that was due in large part to the warmth in Dill’s kitchen. Heck, the best seats in the house have to be the three chef’s table stools you see as soon as you walk through the door.
We think the star must have been granted because of the warmth and generosity that emulates from each server and sommelier you encounter. It’s said that the crack in the window at Dill arrived naturally one day, a result of the bitter Icelandic cold bumping up against Dill’s fiery kitchen. For now the crack is left the way it naturally formed, another elegant naturally formed Icelandic landscape you get to soak in.
If you’re looking for a tasty start (or finish) to your Icelandic adventures, Dill just might whet your appetite. The new Nordic cuisine in Iceland is so diverse and mouthwatering throughout the country that we hope many more Icelandic restaurants will soon begin accumulating the Michelin stars and the culinary accolades they deserve.
Address: Hverfisgötu 12
101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6:00pm
Phone: +354 552-1522
Prices (All in Icelandic Króna or ISK): Five Course Menu 11.900 (Wine Pairing 9.900), Seven Course Menu 13.900 (11.900)