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“No taster menu any longer :(”
Review of Icelandic Bar (Islenski Barinn) - CLOSED

Icelandic Bar (Islenski Barinn)
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed March 17, 2013

Apparently this bar had fed the protesters outside the bar and then allowed some of them to escape into the bar when the tear gas was released. The customers had a great view of the entire protest and the photographs were taken on that night as it was so important a historical event in Iceland.

Our bar man was also very welcoming but did explain that the bar was under new management and that they no longer offered the taster menu. He did tell us of a couple of places that did and one was miles out of Reykjavik and the other was Café Loki where we did have lunch the next day.

Once we had established that this was the place we were looking for and that sadly they no longer offered the taster menu we hummed and hawed and finally decided to stay and have a drink there and think about whether we would eat here or go hunting for somewhere else again.
My husband asked what local beers they had and the barman recommended a draught beer that was local for him. I went for my usual white wine spritzer and we sat in the window looking out at the square. Once we had sat down we decided that the menu may not be icelandic but having travelled all day neither of us were feeling very hungry and it looked okay to us.

My husband ordered a pork sort of open sandwich which he enjoyed. I chose a noodle dish which was quite spicy and very tasty. We had a second drink each and enjoyed chatting to the barman about the photos on the wall and the riots over the Iceland debt; the economic situation in Europe and the world generally and the fact that Iceland owes us a lot on money and that they were challenging the interest rate and so on. We also said that we had been pleasantly surprised by the cost of things in Iceland as we had always been put off by the high prices before. He said that it was because Iceland had de valued their currency but the down side was that it was more expensive for them to travel now.

The bar was very casual looking, almost hippy laid back with a bookshelf at the door full of leaflets and brochures all rather haphazard. The floor was wooden and the furniture basic wooden and nothing flash at all. The bar went further inwards so it was narrow and went back a long way and that seemed to be where most diners were seated rather than near the bar which is where we sat.

Although initially we were disappointed not to have our Icelandic taster menu offered here , we ended up with a nice meal and a friendly chat while enjoying a drink or two so it made a very pleasant start to our few days in Iceland .

I just had to share the lovely translation of their website done presumably by Yahoo/Google translation that I found when looking up the hours of opening;
“The Icelandic Bar is open from 11:30 each day and is open for 3 weekends and the kitchen for 23 whole days.
Beer jug requests frozen, the music like an Icelandic cuisine though it is actually the original plot.”
So there you have it. The food and music are the original plot! The beer can be requested frozen in jugs and the opening times are very peculiar!

1  Thank catsholiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (56)
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18 - 22 of 56 reviews

Reviewed February 6, 2013

We stayed at The Borg next door to the Icelandic Bar in November 2012. It was a great place to meet up with friends.
The beer selection at the bar was very good, all sorts, something for everyone if you have the time in Reykjavik to try them all.
The menu was surprisingly extensive and pretty adventurous. We enjoyed the mal we ate there very much.
The bar seems to be under the same ownership as the Borg Hotel and I think they have the same kitchens. I don't know this for definite, but food did come from a door that we know lead to The Borg.
Since returning from our holiday I have longed to be back at the Icelandic Bar on a daily basis, with good company and a good Einstock White beer.

1  Thank Deborah B B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2012

I would skip it. The reason we came was the Taste of Iceland menu. The menu contains foods that are mainly unpalatable, but are part of an "experience." There HAS to be somewhere else to go for this though.

The waiter spent most of his time texting. We had to walk to the bar to get refills on water and beer.

Skip it. There are so many more places that are much better and much more affordable and friendly!

1  Thank sj1923
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2012

A wonderful place with great staff.
We wanted to try some "traditional" local foods and well and truly got them here!
My second visit, we had the taster board with a shark starter (not for the faint hearted!! ) and the traditional Brennevin shot to chase it down, then on to the main event, three starters (smoked meat and local "wild" meats featured heavily here) and three samplers of their mains, including again, much local wildlife, all well served by knowledgeable staff in a bar with a good beer and spirit selection and a great atmosphere.
I have been here now twice which is testament in itself to the quality of the bar.

Thank DemonBrewer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 9, 2012

As someone who doesn't eat fish I was quite nervous about my trip to Iceland yet excited about the prospect of trying some different foods. I had thought it would be quite difficult to find some of the more notorious foodstuffs such as fermented shark and whale meat and even then I thought they would just be served as a curiosity to silly tourists like myself.

I was very pleasantly surprised to come across Islenski Barrin in the square which served these Icelandic foods in small jars - perfect for those of us taking a risk with our dinner - almost like tapas so we could share them between us. The service was absolutely second to none, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable with a genuine passion for the food and interest in whether we liked it. And boy did we like it... Well except for the shark.

We ordered a few things to split; puffin (meaty, gamey, tasty), lamb (Icelandic lamb is some of the best I've ever had), whale (AMAZING! Like a firm but tender beef and not at all fishy and no fat to be seen), languoistine in garlic butter (yummy) and on the waitress's recommendation, foal which came as a fillet and also a confit salted foal. It was quite honestly one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. Don't be put off by the fact that it is foal, just think if you eat lamb it is a baby sheep so there is no difference and the Icelandic people love their horses and they will be organic and free-range unlike horrible battery chickens back home.

The fermented shark is every bit as rank as is rumoured. We ordered our's the traditional way - served with Brennivin/Black Death (Icelandic liquor of fermented potato flavoured with caraway) which is the only way to get rid of the foul taste. I can only describe it as eating the flesh of an obese man who has been decaying for months and someone pee'd on him. Not that I'd know of course!

I would implore anyone to visit this restaurant for its fabulous reasonably-priced exotic food and wonderful staff. Just stay away from the shark, it's got that reputation for a reason!

3  Thank rubyglittershoes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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