A Michelin-Starred Chef’s Guide to Iceland with Agnar Sverrisson

Renowned chef Agnar Sverrisson will guide you through what to see and do in Iceland
Renowned chef Agnar Sverrisson will guide you through what to see and do in Iceland | Courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland
Photo of Alicia Miller
23 November 2021

From cosy Icelandic classics to contemporary fine dining, our local island expert knows the best places to eat as the Nordic nights draw in.

Formerly of London’s Michelin-starred Texture and Oxfordshire’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Agnar Sverrisson was appointed executive chef of Moss, the acclaimed Icelandic restaurant at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon hotel, in March 2021. His style of cookery, which combines the best local ingredients with global techniques, is deliciously varied – and so are his recommendations for your next trip to Iceland.

Moss Restaurant

Restaurant, Icelandic
The lounge at Moss Restaurant, Grindavík, overlooking Blue Lagoon
Courtesy of The Retreat at Blue Lagoon / Expedia.com
“Nowadays, people don’t like stiffness, even in fine dining, which is why my restaurant outside Reykjavík is very relaxed. It’s still very professional, though, with good service. Because we get a lot of Icelanders coming to eat, we like to include some international flavours – for example we use truffles or caviar from abroad. But we focus on fantastic Icelandic ingredients where we can, like lamb and halibut. The seafood here is amazing: hand-dived local scallops, sea urchin and king crab.”

The Retreat at Blue Lagoon

A woman enters the geothermal pool surrounded by rocks at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon in Grindavík, Iceland
Courtesy of the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland / Expedia
“Iceland’s geothermal Blue Lagoon is unique – the colour is incredible. It’s like you’re on the moon, but with blue water. And this small, exclusive hotel, home to my restaurant, is right there on the landmark. A lot of people come to the spa for a floating massage or silica mud wrap, sourced from the lagoon. But they also come to experience this famous spot in tranquility, as the hotel has its own private lagoon for swimming. Though, of course, you can swim in the main waters if you wish.”

3 Frakkar

Restaurant, Icelandic, $$$
A plate of plokkfiskur served at 3 Frakkar in Reykjavík
©Courtesy of the restaurant
“Want to try real Icelandic food? This restaurant in downtown Reykjavík does traditional dishes. The place is very homely and a bit touristy, but Icelandic people go here too, especially if they’ve been living abroad like I did. Order the plokkfiskur, a fish stew with hollandaise and potatoes.”

Sigló Hótel

The green-and-white Sigló Hótel in Siglufjörður overlooks the sea and is backed by lush green mountains.
© Sigló Hótel / Expedia
“Right by the harbour, in the small fishing village of Siglufjörðuron the Icelandic north coast – this is a high-end hotel. It’s quite a modern place, and yet it somehow fits the historic village, which I like. Icelandic people come here for holidays, because there’s great skiing in the mountains and it’s very family-friendly. They serve a lot of traditional Icelandic food in the restaurant, such as kjötsúpa, a lamb or mutton stew.”


Architectural Landmark
Hótel Djúpavík stands in front of water and hills
Courtesy of Hotel Djupavik / Expedia.com
“This fishing village only has about 50 residents, plus a little place to stay called Hótel Djúpavík, which used to house seasonal workers arriving for the summer and autumn herring season. But now tourists come here to visit the Westfjords, which has some of Iceland’s most beautiful scenery, with waterfalls and glaciers. It’s more accessible than some other parts of Iceland; you don’t have to travel as far from Reykjavík. The hotel will arrange whatever activities you’d like – from snowmobiling to glacier walking.”


Cocktail Bar, Icelandic
A drink served in a glass on a wooden tray
© Ash Edmonds / Unsplash.com
“I like this bar in downtown Reykjavík for a drink after dinner. It has loud music, moody lighting and real jungle decor – lots of trees everywhere. It’s a favourite with younger people, in their 30s and 40s. It was set up by some guys who are all cocktail masters, so you know the cocktails are going to be good. I always order a dry martini with Grey Goose and a smash of lemongrass. That’s my favourite.”


Architectural Landmark
The Northern Lights (or aurora borealis) in the sky over Garðskagaviti lighthouse in Iceland
© Ray Hems / Alamy Stock Photo
“This lighthouse, perched at the tip of a peninsula, is one of Iceland’s most attractive, and only about a 15-minute drive from the airport. It’s one of the best places to see the Northern Lights – though you can see them anywhere in Iceland if they decide to show, even in Reykjavík. The best times to come are between October and February, but because sightings aren’t guaranteed, plan to stay a few days to increase your chances.”

101 Hotel Reykjavik

Looking into a lounge area through a doorway in 101 Hotel Reykavik; there are seats around a burning fireplace
Courtesy of 101 Hotel Reykavik / Expedia.com
“This hotel takes its name from its location: right in the very centre of Reykjavík. It’s not at all traditional – it has modern, minimalist rooms all in black and white. The location means it’s great for exploring Reykjavík and it’s next to my wine bar, No Concept. I’m a big pinot noir lover and there I have one of the best Burgundy lists in Iceland. You choose your wine first, then your food to match, whether you feel like eating pizza or chicken wings.”

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