Restaurant Review: Messinn Lækjargötu – Reykjavík, Iceland

by joeheg

When we visit a new city, I’m always excited to try new restaurants. We don’t necessarily look for a cuisine specifically from the area. That’s how we found a great Italian restaurant in Sedona, AZ and had an amazing Mexican dinner in Banff, Canada. However, we like it if the menu incorporates local ingredients.

When we were visiting Iceland, some of our friends sent us text messages and comments on Facebook about their past visits to Reykjavik. Someone mentioned a great place they found to eat that was a hidden gem. They couldn’t remember the name but told us it was the “place with the skillets.”

We put our Google skills to use and found a place that looked to fit the bill.

Our speciality is fresh fish served for lunch and dinner every day of the week. We recommend trying one of our famous fish pans, where we serve sizzlingly fresh fish straight from the kitchen, along with butter fried potatoes and mouth watering vegetables.

Lækjargata, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

a group of people sitting at tables in a restaurant

After walking around town, we were a little bit chilly and wanted somewhere to sit down and eat dinner. We didn’t realize it was late because it was still as bright outside as it was at 1 PM. We walked up the front door and waited for someone to come. There were several open tables but they all said “Reserved.” We asked if they had any openings and we were told to wait outside for 15-20 minutes.

After waiting, the host showed us to our table in the front room. It was close to the door but we weren’t going to complain since we were happy to get a seat. We first ordered drinks. Sharon tried a glass of the rose and I ordered one of their specialty Gin and Tonic.

a glass of wine and a bottle of liquid on a table

I love that places in Iceland take their cocktail glassware seriously.

We then looked over the menu.

a menu of a restaurant

One surprise about the menu was the reasonable prices compared to our dinner the night before where entrees started at 5,000kr and headed up from there.

Sharon ordered the Arctic Char fish pan. All of the pans come with potatoes and vegetables.

a pan of food with a spoon

Arctic Char (Gluten-Free) Honey, almonds, cherry tomatoes, lemon and butter

I ordered the Atlantic Wolffish (after looking up what type of fish it was).

a bowl of food with a spoon

Atlantic Wolffish – Mushrooms, bell pepper, grapes, white wine, cream, cream cheese, black pepper

We both raved about our dishes but I thought Sharon won with her pick. We hadn’t eaten much that day so we decided to try the Apple Crumble for dessert.

a plate of food on a table

APPLE CRUMBLE Whipped cream, caramelized apple, fennell crumble and caramel pop corn

After finishing every bit of the crumble, we sat at the table for a while. That’s when I noticed that the guests were walking to the bar to pay for the meal. I took the cue and walked up to the counter. The hostess looked a bit surprised because she’s used to Americans waiting at the table to pay the check. That’s why it helps to learn the local customs before visiting a new place.

Sharon and I both raved about our meals. It was by far a meal we’d eat again if we ever return to Reykjavík. We had forgotten that we had another evening in town before catching our flight back to the US. We talked about what we wanted to do for the evening and we both said that we wanted to go back for another meal at Messinn.

Sharon said that her Arctic Char was so good that she was going to order it again. I couldn’t blame her. Here’s a picture of it plated instead of in the pan.

a plate of food on a table

I was intrigued by another meal on the menu. During the week I read some articles about Icelandic cuisine. While I’m all for the fancy food, I don’t want to eat like a tourist. I’m more interested in what the locals really eat.

That’s why I ordered the Icelandic Plokkfishur. A literal translation is “pulled fish,” but it’s a form of Icelandic fish stew. A dish that’s made with whatever leftover whitefish you have, mixed with potatoes, yellow onion, wheat flour, milk, butter, salt and pepper.

I love trying dishes that have been developed over the decades out of necessity.

This was definitely a gussied up version of the dish but it’s obviously not ordered by many foreigners because the server asked, “Do you know what it is?” when I ordered it. I said that I did.

a bowl of food on a table

ICELANDIC “PLOKKFISKUR” WITH BÉARNAISE SAUCE – Potatoes, onion, garlic, celery, lime, white wine, cream, butter and ryebread

They didn’t skip on the portion size, which usually isn’t a problem when you’re basically serving leftovers as a new dish. I tried to make it look appealing on the plate but I could have eaten it right out of the pan. It didn’t hurt that it was served with a few slices of Icelandic Rye bread (which is nothing like our bread at home.)

a plate of food on a table

Final Thoughts

Messinn is our favorite place we ate in Iceland. A combination of simply prepared dishes in a comfortable atmosphere at a reasonable price makes it a must-visit location. Next time, the only thing I’d do is make reservations as the location is not large. Even with the reduced crowds when we visited, it was full both times we ate there.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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