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“Sjavarbarinn Leaves A Nasty Aftertaste”
Review of Sjavarbarinn

Sjavarbarinn
Ranked #91 of 496 Restaurants in Reykjavik
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Seafood
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed October 12, 2011

With only one full day to spend in Iceland on our way to the UK, my traveling companion and I did some research before we arrived in Reykjavik as far as where we wanted to eat dinner. We’d been told by several friends, who had traveled there independently of each other in the last couple of years that quote, ‘One does not go to Iceland for the food’.
Given this warning we were doubly determined to prove this them all wrong and find a really nice place to eat. We started to look at travel sites and read reviews. The parameters were: it needed to be fairly central and within walking distance to our hotel, it should be casual, it should reasonably-priced and it should offer at least a few ‘traditional’ Icelandic dishes.
After doing an afternoon of online research I found Sjavarbarinn. It looked interesting on-line but in reality sadly proved to be a bit of a bust.
The food we had was barely above the quality of an indifferent school cafeteria. Like other reviewers here I believe most of the contents of the warmed over buffet were ‘past their prime’ shall we say. My fish stew, a white fish kind of flaked into mashed potato, was fine – it wasn’t very interesting or hot – but it was edible. The fishcakes my companion ordered were truly revolting though. The only way I can describe their particular nastiness is to say that they tasted how a cheap washing soap powder smells – a revolting combination of rancid, cheesy-sweetness. Horrible.
My second choice of restaurant had been Icelandic Fish and Chips – just about everyone says it’s good and it’s inexpensive by Icelandic standards. I’m so mad we didn’t go because when we walked past it (after our disappointing dinner) it looked, warm, inviting and was well attended with customers. We staggered home, went to bed and were on a flight out of Reykjavik just after dawn the next day.
It would be churlish to let one bad meal experience sour the entire visit. Reykjavik is a cool and really interesting place with lots to see and do. But Combined with an equally vile-tasting chicken ‘pizza’ consumed on our transfer out of Keflavik airport on our return connection home – Sjavarbarinn did leave a rather nasty taste in our mouths as a parting memory of the nation’s cuisine.

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Thank nixpixnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (239)
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165 - 169 of 239 reviews

Reviewed September 17, 2011

My husband and I stumbled upon Sjavarbarinn Seafood Restaurant, when we took a walk down to the harbour to look at some of the huge ships down there. This restaurant was PERFECT for us. Really good value, we had delicious fish soup, fish and chips (best cod I have ever eaten) and the lovely salad buffet and the total came to Krone 5,800 - a total bargain compared to the rip off restaurants in central Reykjavik. The surroundings make you feel like you are really in the heart of the harbour and the Vikin Marine Museum is just opposite so convenient for a visit. WELL WORTH the 5 - 7 mins walk from the town centre. Excellent. This is what I expected to see more of in Iceland.

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1  Thank MissyMoobles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2011

After reading good reviews and seeing this place recommended a couple of times, I was really looking forward to having a great meal at a good price. I was rather disappointed.

We came for an early dinner (~6:15pm) There was only one person in the restaurant, not surprising given the time. Only four other diners came in to eat while we were there (~1.5 hrs) We were seated and looked at the menu. The woman behind the counter went over the buffet for us and we decided to try that. It came with the soup of the day which was asparagus, and that was good. The cold portion of the buffet contained several items which seemed to be similar to what we had available to us at our hotel breakfast buffet, smoked salmon, fish salads, etc. The hot buffet wasn't all that large and was never replenished while we were there and I'm not sure when it was prepared - my guess is it was there all day from lunch? It was warm sitting under the heatlamps, but nothing seemed to taste all that fresh or good. Perhaps I would have been happier ordering off the menu than paying 2800 ISK for the small buffet. Perhaps unfair to compare but buffets at casinos here in the US seem far better with more options, better food and lower cost, so by comparison, this was not good value at all. For not great food, a remote location compared to most other restaurants, and not great value, I was disappointed overall.

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1  Thank chatterbox-2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2011

For 84,000 Icelandic, three of us had a fabulous meal tonight at this great restaurant. We chose to sample, so ordered the buffet - there were many interesting Icelandic salads we'd never tasted, & two types of cold smoked fish with special picant sauce. The hot bar included halibut baked in a mild curry, halibut chips, fish balls, and a variety of other dishes. The starter was the best fish soup I've ever tasted, served with a heavy dark bread. We plan to visit again and this will be our first meal stop!

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2  Thank CCWSeattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2011

Doesn't look good from the parking lot but once you're seated everything's great. Service is friendly, helpful and immediate and you're sent straight to the salad bar - pasta, potato and olives, some herring dishes, salmon and redfish. We had a seafood soup filled with prawns, langostina tails and fish, and crab crakes. Would order them both again. Wine was expensive, I thought, so we had beer. Did not try dessert. Price was very reasonable (for Reykjavik), about $45.

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1  Thank chicksfly000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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