Time for another Best of Reykjavík post!
OK, by “casual dining” I mean going out to a place where you can walk in off the street wearing whatever clothes you happen to have on BUT you actually sit down, look at a menu and get served by a proper waiter or waitress.
In other words, not a fast food place, and not a swanky upscale place where you’d want to take a shower and put on heels / your best shirt before you go.
Casual dining places are also reasonably priced. Usually.
And they’re open for dinner, not just lunch.
Hornið. This place opened in 1979 and believe it or not, it was the first casual restaurant in Reykjavík. Prior to that, going out for something to eat in Reykjavík was a Really Big Deal — and really expensive, too. Hornið gave people a much more easygoing, laid-back experience, and unsurprisingly, was an instant hit. It’s been popular ever since, and still retains that welcoming, relaxed, decidedly Italian atmosphere. Oh, and the food is great, too — especially the pizzas.
Vegamót. This is the place that instantly springs to mind when I want to go for dinner but don’t want it to set me back the equivalent of a month’s pay. It’s a restaurant / bistro by day and pub / club by night, and amazingly they manage to drive out the sickly smell of stale beer every morning before the restaurant starts up. [In other words, you don’t feel like you’re sitting in a pub masquerading as a restaurant that can’t wait to be a pub again.] They have an extensive menu and mostly everything I’ve had there has been really good. In my experience you can’t go wrong with the fish of the day special — and clearly I’m not alone because some days they run out before dinnertime. I’ve also always had good experiences with the sesame chicken stir-fry. But just about everything on their menu is good, and at an excellent price.
Saffran. This place is fairly new [well, over a year], and already has two outlets. It’s got a West Indian slant in the food, things like Tandoori chicken and naanwiches, and also some really good and innovative pizzas. Everything is super-healthy and tasty and the prices very reasonable. I’ve only ever tried the Glæsibær outlet, and it’s part take-out, part in-house dining. And strictly it doesn’t come under my home-cooked “casual dining” definition, because you actually have to order at a counter, although the waitress or waiter then brings your food to the table. The pizzas are my favourite. Downside for tourists: it’s quite far from all the downtown hotels [although a little bird whispered in my ear that they’re planning to open a downtown outlet very soon].
And now: over to you. What casual dining place in Reykjavík would you recommend?