Looking for a great restaurant in Iceland? Well, there is a Westman Island restaurant which fits that description.
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Once it was rather a daunting task to travel to the Westman Islands, a cluster of islands south of Iceland. Travel would include an hour’s drive to Þorlákshöfn and a 4 hour of sailing. Icelanders didn´t go there very often (or land crabs, as the Westmanians used to call us here up on the mainland), and neither did international travelers. This has all changed with the building of the new harbour at Landeyjarhöfn a few years ago, which is only a one and a half hours drive from Reykjavík with only 35 minutes on the water. So naturally travelers have taken notice of Westman Islands. With tourism comes restaurants. The little town in Heimaey (with less then 5000 inhabitants) has a handful of gorgeous restaurants and pubs now, Slippurinn being the crown jewel of the island´s restaurant scene.
The family run Westman Island Restaurant
Slippurinn is one of many amazing restaurants of head chef Gísli Matthías Auðunsson, a celebrity amongst icelandic chefs. He conceptualized one of our favorite restaurants in Reykjavík, Matur og Drykkur and has since then opened a handful of restaurants in Reykjavík, the newest one being Skál in Hlemmur Mathöll. What is special about this restaurant, is that he runs it with the rest of his family, being from the Westman Islands himself. So his parents and sister are all included in the running of the restaurant! One could find worse family past times!
Built on Nordic Cuisine
And like Gísli´s other restaurants, Slippurinn did not disappoint. Gísli focuses on locally sourced ingredients, making the restaurant an excellent example of the new nordic cuisine.
We traveled to the Westman Islands in August and of course ate at Slippurinn. After a rather rocky start, with no one to come to take our drink order, the rest of the service went smoothly, And the food! the food was nothing short of amazing, really giving the better restaurants in Reykjavík a run for their money.
Kelp with your cod head
Some of the highlights of the meal were simply fabulous. The whole cod head is a no miss for our foreign guests. Glazed with chicken glaze and burnt honey, it comes with angelica and kelp, with a side of crushed icelandic potatoes. A feast for both the eyes and taste buds. The lamb with locally sourced rhubarb (stolen from nearby gardens, the waiter told us) was equally memorable. The beef was served with herbs that grow on the rocky beaches on the island with a tangy wild herb “bearnaise”.
The starters were also very good, the langoustine soup was probably the best I´ve ever had. We didn’t do many deserts, since we were very full, but the chocolate mousse with buttermilk and liquorice meringue was really nice.
Stolen Rhubar is the best
The wine list was short, but well put together, they had a good range of beers on tap (one of them being from the local brewery Brother´s brewery) but the cocktails are the main attraction when it comes to drinks. All the cocktails are made from syrups made in-house from foraged herbs in the Westman Islands. This includes Sorrel, Dandelion, Chevril, Birch, Angelica and the aforementioned stolen Rhubarb. Do not forget to order some of these! they tasted absolutely amazing.
All in all, a very surprising and enjoyable visit to one of the best restaurants in Iceland, although quite out of the beaten path. The restaurant is open from the 2nd of May to the 15th of September each year.