Sunday, November 13, 2016

Food Affair: An Affordable Feast For The Whole Family In Iceland @ Bryggjan, Akureyri

At the Akureyri Tourist Information Center, the girl at the counter recommended us The Bryggjan restaurant for a casual meal. Since it was quite a short walk away and the fact that it is connected to another amazing restaurant in Akureyri— Strikid, we found ourselves heading east towards the harbor at the edge of “Old Town". 


The location of Bryggjan is simply charming-- standing elegantly at the waterfront. A little off the beaten track through, I believe travelers who visit only the center will certainly miss this place. Strandgata 49 is a 140+-year-old historic building that played an integral role in the industrial history of Akureyri. 


The atmosphere is pretty laid back. The restaurant itself is set in a light yellow wooden house. The interior design is kids-friendly, I heard that they have a kids loft upstairs but never had time to check it out.


        Turned out, we were a little early for lunch time. Stepping into the quaint restaurant, we were greeted by the statue of Alvin and the Chipmunks. There were no one there at the counter, so we took a left into the main dining hall walking on tip toe, asking “Hello, anyone there?”. I felt like bumping into someone else’s house due to the cozy atmosphere around. The waitress who was busy laying the tables came to us with the sweetest smile and ushered us to a table right next to a small window. She soon handed us the menu. 

        After a busy morning of sightseeing, I didn’t feel like having a big meal so I requested to cut down every portion of the plates into halves. Budget aside, I hate wasting food... anyhow, the half-portion turned out to be huge. I can’t imagine what will the “Full Plate” look like. 
         The service was fantastic: relaxed yet highly efficient, friendly yet professional. Our Waitress, Margrét speaks fluent English and we were addressed by our names so we were happy to call her by the name too, love the personal touch! She was very attentive at the same time not intrusive, basically, she did a great job ensuring our great dining experience in Bryggjan.  


       Actually, we went there for the sake of the excellent Pizza buffet. However, Margrét told us that it was only available on weekdays. 
       Feeling a little bit disappointed, I took up the menu from the edge of the table and started flipping it through. The menu was so extensive and diverse, it did induce some worries: Normally, restaurants that provide overambitious menus produce terrible food. Most dishes on the menu are American: ribs, mozzarella sticks, burgers, pizzas, you know all those familiar stuff that reminds us of home. Hence, I did not have high hopes and expect them to be “okay but not great” since you know, this is Iceland. How wrong was I!  
       I relied on Margrét's recommendations. Her beautiful eyes sparkled with passion (well, guess she is a foodie as well?) as she recommended things. Especially when she told us about the Songbird burger, she said “That’s the best hamburger in the world.” And since that, the name stuck. When I need to remind my travel buddy about the Songbird burger we had in Bryggjan, I would say ”Remember Margrét’s favorite World Best Burger? ” She has the most charming smile by the way. 
       We ordered a mixed starters platter, that made up of (i think) almost everything on the menu: mozzarella sticks, salad, onion rings, buffalo chicken wings, sweet potato fries. I liked the salad as the fried coconut flakes elevated the taste to a whole new level, plus it was pretty unique. The sweet fries were good to be eaten without the dipping sauce, onion rings were crispy enough and they paired well with the Homemade Bryggjan sauce served in a bucket, which was the bomb. 
       The next course, chicken soup was creamy. Best to be eaten with nachos and cheese. The Songbird burger served with french fries and cocktail sauce was indeed very special however not the best for me. It tasted sour and spicy since it was topped the brilliant combination of pepper mayonnaise and salsa. Lettuce was somehow a little bitter love but the flavors are still very well-balanced. I absolutely loved the touch of hash browns in it. 
The grilled lamb prime was beautifully plated. It was not just pretty to the eyes, the taste was just as impressive. First thing first, the lamb prime was tender and flavorful. It came with pumpkin cubes, broccoli, carrots, the same salad with coconut flakes dressed in mushroom sauce. Side note: The baked potato was wonderful. 
The BBQ pork ribs were cooked to perfection. They were flavourful, tender and glazed with BBQ sauce. The fact that they were marinated in Einstök Icelandic pale ale enhanced the flavor but did not overwhelm.Below the glaze, the ribs had crusty barks that were delightfully crunchy. Biting into the ribs, I realized that diet plans can wait. They were very juicy, and the meat were easily pulled off the bones. 
I took this picture to show you how well cooked it was. See the clean bones beneath?
       Since we couldn’t decide between a Pond or a Hill-Snail pizza, Maggie gave us an option offering the best of both worlds. “Why not have both? We can do a 2 in 1 Pizza!”, and that was exactly what we got! The pizza base was crispy and thin, just the way we like it. On the Pond side, there were 2 huge (crayfish)? Hill-snail pizza featured Jalapeño, which I thought was very spicy but Jeanne had a different opinion. The toppings: langoustine, salad dressed with garlic lime were delightful.
       You can opt for a whole wheat pizza too! 

Although it was hard for me to leave without having dessert, we had to rounded off our meal without one this time. But at least I had this Caramel Milkshake!


By the time we left, the restaurant was filled up by patrons who seemed to be mostly locals (A good sign!). Prices here is more on-par with most European restaurant, sitting at the lower end for Icelandic standards. Thank God, finally somewhere more budget friendly in a sea of expensive options. Hence, it is definitely a good choice for medium-budget travelers (not shoestring though!), or those who need a break from fish and lamb (although you can order them here too). Best to enjoy with family or group of friends due to its huge portion.

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Thank You for Reading! 
Miss HappyFeet was a guest in Bryggjan, however, all photos and opinion are strictly, my own.  

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