Reykjavik, Iceland: The Pearl, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur & the Grillmarket

On Saturday morning Tom and I slept in and missed the breakfast at the Ion Hotel. We decided to just get on the road and figured we would pick something up along the way. If you’ve been to Iceland you know there really aren’t any food places “along the way” when driving through the country and when we did see a sign for food we would look in the direction the sign pointed and see nothing in the distance. Since we didn’t want to drive out of the way, we decided to wait until we reached Reykjavik to grab food. (Side note: the trees that grow in Iceland are extremely short and our tour guide the previous day had told us there’s a joke in Iceland, “What do you do if you get lost in the forest in Iceland?” “You stand up!”). Kills me.

We did take the time to stop and take pictures along the way.Iceland

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Iceland2Once we entered Reykjavik we went straight to Perlan (The Pearl) which is a revolving dome restaurant with views of Reykjavik; they serve dinner on the top rotating level but we decided to go during the day so we could get good pictures from the dome’s deck. Since we were starving at this point we decided to grab food at Perlan’s cafeteria, which did not have the best food but we would’ve eaten just about anything at that point.

Perlman IMG_5634 Reykjavik Reykjavik, Iceland

IMG_5805 IMG_5635Once we had eaten and taken pictures we got back in the car to make the short drive to our hotel. We stayed at Hotel Borg which was located right in the center of the city. It was a beautiful, modern hotel that was within walking distance from everything we wanted to do/see.

Parking is a bit of a pain in the city but we were lucky enough to get a spot right outside our hotel after making a few laps. Once we were checked in we decided to head out and explore. First we walked around the streets near our hotel and then we made our way to the main shopping and bar street, Laugavegur. I had done some research online before coming to Iceland and had a list of restaurants and bars I wanted to go to so during our walk we located some of them and noted their locations for later when we planned on going out at night.

On our walk back towards the hotel we stopped to take pictures of the Opera House which is a beautiful building located along the water. At this point we were both getting hungry again so we decided to stop by Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, known to have the “best hot dogs in Europe”. It’s a  small unassuming red-and-white shack which was recommended to us by my sister’s coworker who had previously visited Reykjavik.  There was a short line out front which went quickly and I got a plain hotdog with ketchup while Tom got “one with everything”– a traditional combo of fried and raw onions, ketchup, sweet mustard and remoulade.  The hotdogs were delicious and a great “snack” to have as we toured the city.

Reykjavik Opera House

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On our way back to the hotel we stopped at Uno Lounge, a restaurant/lounge which was the perfect place to grab a quick drink. I looked up which beers are recommended in Iceland and decided to order the Leifur which is a light beer (if you like Blue Moon you would like Leifur). Lei furOnce we got back to the hotel I took a long nap to try to kick the cold I felt coming on. Once I woke up we showered and got ready for our dinner reservation. We made reservations months before our trip at The Grillmarket (another place recommended by my sister’s coworker). We walked around trying to find the restaurant and walked past it the first time before realizing it’s located in a little back alley.

This was by far our favorite meal of the trip. Everything was delicious and the atmosphere was really unique. From their website:

At the Grillmarket our aim is to work closely with local farmers. We buy most of our produce directly from the farm. They tell us what’s in season, then we cook the product our own special way and the customer gets to enjoy the end result. Through our cooking we strive to highlight the origin of each product while using fire, smoke, fire logs and coal. The outcome is an unexpected and exciting culinary treat for our customers where our Icelandic heritage and the modern age meet.IMG_5804

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Grill market Reykjavik IcelandWe started off by ordering drinks. I can’t remember exactly what was in this but I do know it contained egg whites (which creates the froth on the top) and lots of cucumbers. It was so good.

We ordered the grilled pork ribs as an appetizer and we each ordered the Peanut Steak and the Fish Gourmet as our entrees, respectively. Tom’s entree was a combination of salmon, redfish and cod which he said was really good (if I remember correctly the salmon was his favorite followed by the cod). The Peanut Steak was actually not a steak at all and was made from nuts, beans and seasoned vegetables with a greek yogurt dip/dressing. It was definitely something I had never tried before and was a great vegetarian option (I’m not vegetarian but I ate a lot of meat during this trip so I wanted a night off from meat). We would 100% recommend this restaurant to others and were so grateful for the recommendation.

Grillmarket Iceland After dinner we headed to Laugavegur to begin our bar hop. I’ll include the bars we went to along with my review of each in the Iceland Guide I’ll be posting later this week but our favorites were Rosenberg and Dillon Whiskey Bar. Lebowski bar was also fun but very touristy. Surprisingly we stayed out until almost 2 am (we were pretty impressed with ourselves) but were more than ready for bed once we got back to the hotel. I’ll be back with my recap of our last day in Iceland tomorrow.
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