Grillmarket – Exotic Local Meats

Grillmarket (Grillmarkadurinn in Icelandic – sorry if I messed up the name, my keyboard does not have Icelandic characters) is a restaurant in Reykjavik that sources as much as possible from local farmers.  They use fire, smoke, logs and coal.  Here is a picture of the kitchen upstairs.  The restaurant has two floors, we sat downstairs.


The first thing I ordered was an Icelandic wasabi martini.  It was delicious.  I found that the cocktails in Iceland, in general, were very good and well balanced.  I also learned that Iceland produces their own wasabi.  It was milder in flavor than Japanese wasabi, and not as green.  More on that in another post.


To start, we ordered a couple of local meats that I have not seen on a menu anywhere else in the world I have been – puffin (which is bird that is prevalent here), whale, and a trio of mini burgers including whale, puffin and langoustine.

The whale steak was presented on a charcoal grill and served with Icelandic wasabi.  The charcoal flavor came through very well, and the meat was very tender.  I don’t know what type of sauce they put on top, but it was sweet.  I wonder how the whale meat would taste on its own.


The puffin had a tougher texture than chicken and no distinct taste.  I was surprised that it was a “red” meat.


Lastly, the trio of sliders.  Each one had a different taste, but I enjoyed the langoustine the most because I could taste the “lobster like” flavors.


For the mains, we had a trio of meat – lamb, beef and duck.  We ordered a side of salad to go along with this.  Each meat was delicious.  I especially enjoyed the lamb and the duck.


We also had the horse with a side of potato puree.  The potato puree was the only thing I was disappointed in.  I thought they were under-seasoned.  The horse was very tender and did not have a distinct taste.


We also had lamb skewers with a side of grilled corn.  The lamb skewers were probably my favorite item of the meal.  Extremely well seasoned.  One thing I saw everywhere in Iceland driving around was the sheep and lamb all roaming free.  I’m not surprised that it was so good.




We finished the meal with a dessert platter, beautifully presented, and a shot of schnapps.  One of the dishes was finished tableside (I tried to upload a video but the connection is too slow here; its basically hot chocolate poured over the brown ball on the right side of the platter, which melts the chocolate ball).



Overall service was good.  Not overly attentive but not lacking.  The venue itself is very nice.  Rustic and modern at the same time.  I ordered many things because I thought this would be my only chance to try them, such as the whale.  The meal was enjoyable but I probably would not go back just because there are so many places in Reykjavik that look amazing too.  8/10


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