Home Food & Beverage This Iceland Restaurant Was Not What We Expected

This Iceland Restaurant Was Not What We Expected

by joeheg

While driving around Iceland, we didn’t do much planning about where to eat. For our time in Reykjavík, we lucked out, finding a nice restaurant by the harbor and a fantastic place in the city that was so good we went there twice. Once we headed out on Ring Road, we ate our meals at our hotels. However there was one “not at a hotel” location where we wanted to eat, close to where we were staying at the midpoint of our travels.

For the first part of the trip, we were traveling east, along the southern coast of Iceland. The furthest point we were traveling was near Höfn, billed in our travel booklet as “The lobster capital of Iceland.” I did some looking at the restaurants in town and found one with a menu that looked promising.

The website is almost totally in Icelandic, but the place gets a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor. Based on the menu and the pricing, we figured this would be our one nice dinner out when we were on the road.

Pakkhús
Krosseyjarvegi 3, 780 Höfn í Hornafirði

Our dinner plans didn’t work out as expected. On our way to Höfn, we decided to take a ride to the glacier on a Zodiac boat. Besides putting us quite a bit behind schedule, we were cold, wet and still in our t-shirts and jeans. We were going to call off the plans for our nice dinner so I called our hotel and asked if they were serving meals. The host said they were not but we could drive to Höfn and eat there before arriving.

Despite our appearance, we decided to give it a try. If we couldn’t get into our first choice, we’d find somewhere else in town. It was already later in the evening but we could see people gathered outside as we arrived. We walked up to the stand and asked if we could still get in for dinner. The host said it would be a wait but we could go downstairs to the bar in the meantime. She gave us a pager and we headed downstairs.

At this point, we stopped being worried about our appearance. There seemed to be no dress code as there were people like us, in “American tourist causal,” to groups or couples dressed nicely for an evening out. Not what I was expecting from a place with entrees costing between $30 to $50+.

Once seated downstairs, I went to the bar and ordered some drinks. I had the Pakkhus Ghost on the left and Sharon tried the Campari Orange. It was her first time trying Campari and she wasn’t a big fan of the taste.

It took about 30-40 minutes for our pager to ring and we headed back upstairs.

We were led to our table and provided with our menu.

We didn’t need much time as we’d already decided what we wanted before arriving. It was surprising when our server didn’t ask if we wanted anything else to drink and went right to the food orders. The food came out of the kitchen amazingly fast. It was only 10-15 minutes until we had our food.

Sharon ordered the lamb, as she had not tried out one of the local specialties.

Grilled fillet of lamb, lamb sausage and pulled shoulder, creamy potato mash, noisette jerusalem artichoke puré and red wine jus.

I went with the locally caught lobster. It is important to note that Icelandic lobster is langoustine and not the version you’d expect when ordering it in the US.

Ovengrilled langoustine tails and whole langoustine in Icelandic butter, garlic and parsley. Served with fried potatoes, bread and cold langoustine sauce

The meal was fantastic. The quality of the lamb and langoustines was top notch and the presentation was appealing. The main downside is the meal is messy to eat and they don’t provide enough napkins.

As we sat and ate our meal, eventually our drink and then our water glasses sat empty. No servers were walking around the room and several tables were looking for anyone to help. We ultimately got the attention of an employee and asked if we could have some more water.

We finished the meal and stared at our empty plates and a bowl full of shells for a long time. I understand that some cultures take their time when dining but I don’t want to have a conversation over a table of empty plates. We were waiting because some of the deserts looked interesting. It took some time until our server finally returned and we asked for the dishes to be removed and a dessert menu.

I ordered the brownie and a coffee.

Sharon ordered the fascinating Skyr Volcano.

Icelandic skyr mousse with Tahiti vanilla, lava, ash, pop rocks, coulis and caramel (Note from Sharon: If it has Pop Rocks in it, I will order it. Always.)

Once we finished, I took the check to the counter and paid for the meal. The total of the bill was 15.760kr, which is around $120.

Final Thoughts

This restaurant wasn’t what we were expecting. Based on the menu and the pricing, we went in thinking this was going to be the best meal of the trip. Unfortunately, the food quality did not match the decor or the quality of the service, or lack of it.

There’s always a chance we hit an off night, but several other reviews I read mention the same service issues. It’s a pity because we really wanted to like this place. I don’t want to be too negative because if you’re going in for a casual lunch, it would be a different experience. Just don’t go there expecting a fine dining experience.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

3 comments

FinnSailor October 12, 2021 - 6:06 pm

You say “The meal was fantastic. The quality of the lamb and langoustines was top notch”, yet you also say the food quality didn’t meet your expectations? What exactly were you expecting? I’m genuinely curious.

Reply
joeheg October 12, 2021 - 11:12 pm

After posting the article, I realize that statement didn’t turn out as I intended. The food was great. It would have fit into an environment better suited to the quality of the dishes served by the kitchen. I’m confused about what vibe the restaurant was trying to achieve.

Reply
Jorge Paez October 13, 2021 - 6:30 pm

You missed your chance to eat HORSE meat!!??

Reply

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