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Resturant review! – Vitabar

For years, the Vitabar burgers were the best-kept secret in town. Thing is … the place is a bit of a dive. Before the smoking ban was implemented you could hardly see your hand in front of your face when you went in there because of the cigarette smoke. Most of the patrons were on the fast-track to Lostville, doing shots with beer chasers like they were going out of style. And yet – Vitabarinn cooked up some freaking excellent burgers.

These days the burgers at Vitabar are no longer a big secret and the patrons no longer smoke indoors [although, depending on when you go, they may still be of the sort that have, ahem, a fatal attraction to the underside of life]. I went there twice this past summer – once with EPI when we’d just returned from our Sprengisandur trip, and once with AAH, who was having her first intro to the joys of the Vitabar burger and was suitably wowed.

EPI and I were there around 7 pm on a Friday night and had a hard time speaking normally over the racket of a bunch of drunk middle-aged guys – which really only added to the unique mood of the place. EPI and I both ordered their blue cheese burger that the town has been buzzing about and which I’d never tried before. It was OK but definitely not what it was cracked up to be … the blue cheese flavour was just a bit too overwhelming and salty and I wound up scraping most of the cheese off.

When I went with AAH a couple of weeks later there were no rowdy drunkards there but it was still remarkably busy. In fact there were at least two groups of tourists that wandered in with guidebooks or Visit Reykjavík brochures aloft, so clearly the place is becoming well-known. I ordered a regular cheeseburger and fries and was not disappointed. In fact the fries warrant a special mention – they’re coarse-cut with the skin still on and just excellent. In fact I’m getting hungry right now just writing this. Two orders of cheeseburger [large – they have patties in two sizes] and fries plus a large can of coke set me back around ISK 2,100 [USD 25 / EUR 17]. Bargoon!

Vitabar, no website, but it’s on Bergþórugata 21.

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  • JoeInVegas September 24, 2008, 6:43 pm

    Wow – You usually put down prices, but I thought those were for high end restaurants. That is expensive for hamburgers, about equal to Vegas prices. Are things that much more expensive there just because of the shipping costs?

  • hildigunnur September 24, 2008, 11:48 pm

    Joe, for a decent burger, this is actually not bad. The Grillhúsið ones (IMO the only ones that measure up to Vitabar) are even more expensive. Don’t really know if shipping costs are any part of this, I don’t think any of the ingredients are foreign.

    Vitabar is just half a block from my place, excellent hangover fare 😀 Wouldn’t want to drink there, though…

  • joseph September 25, 2008, 2:24 am

    @JoeinVegas:

    USD 25/EUR 17 for 2 cheeseburgers (real cheeseburgers that is, not fast food), fries and coke? Don’t know about Iceland, but in Norway that’s called “Cheeseburgers – 50% off Sale!”.

    It’s not shipping the goods in, but the cost of living difference between the Nordic countries and the US.

  • Annie Rhiannon September 25, 2008, 8:10 am

    I was in there on Thursday – I had the steak with pepper sauce, it was awesome.

  • maja September 26, 2008, 7:33 am

    Hmm, I think I’m going to have to have a burger for dinner. But it will have to be burger king for me.

  • ReallyEvilCanine September 29, 2008, 7:40 pm

    On this we must agree to disagree. I have previously extolled the virtues of Vítabar’s gleym mér ei (forget-me-not) burger dripping with bleu cheese, krydd and a metric shedload of garlic. The service is also much better than in most places *cough*Vegamót*cough*. Even if I’m only in town for a couple days, there will always be time for a gleym mér ei lunch.

  • ino November 17, 2008, 2:06 am

    “gleym mér ei”, just the thought of it makes me sick….. homesick that is….