The Lobster House has been one of the most popular restaurants in Reykjavík for a long time, a fact that will not come as a surprise to anyone who has ever tasted the ambitious lobster dishes that have earned the place its reputation. Situated in one of Reykjavík's older houses, originally built in 1838, it offers a tasteful environment as well as tasty food.
As you walk from the pond downtown towards the shopping streets, on the right side of Lækjargata you will without doubt notice a cluster of old houses above a small, peculiar garden with an oversized chess board. The most prominent of these old buildings houses a restaurant whose name is quite suggestive of their main speciality and is certain to get your mouth watering at once. Giving in to the temptation by treating yourself to a feast at the Lobster House will not disappoint you. All the ingredients used are Icelandic and as natural as possible. As the restaurant's head chef, Ólafur Haukur Magnússon, explains: “We try to use as much local material as utterly possible. It would be a shame not to use the good Icelandic material we have.”
The restaurant's main dish is, as most would have guessed, the Icelandic lobster, although technically, it is not actually called a lobster. “No, this kind goes by the name of langoustine and is much smaller than the actual lobster,” Ólafur explains. What it lacks in size, though, it makes up for by its other more important qualities. “It's small but it's much tastier than the big one, and much, much softer,” Ólafur says. “Americans who are used to the bigger type are sometimes a bit surprised when they get the Icelandic lobster,” he continues, but guarantees that the first bite will remove all doubt about the langoustine's excellent qualities.
Although it is renowned for its lobster dishes, the Lobster House does not limit its menu to their signature food, or even to creatures of the sea. It offers a variety of Icelandic food, always bearing in mind the freshness and quality of the ingredients used, from wild berries to ducks. “We mostly emphasize the lobster, of course,” says Ólafur, “but the menu ranges from A-Z, really. We always have salted cod on the menu, for example, and some other fresh fish,” continues Ólafur, who, as the story goes, searched all over the country to find someone who could supply him with salted cod treated in the old tradition, finally finding one old man who met his demands. “We also get red beets and salad from local suppliers. We always try to keep it local,” he says. The other dishes include minke whale, horse meat, as well as beef and lamb. When questioned about how tourists view the presence of horse meat on the menu, he says many are sceptical of it until they taste it: “It's the most delicious, tenderest meat you can find! Every nation uses the material they find in their environment. The Australians have the kangaroo, while we have the horse!”
For a pleasurable evening out, the Lobster House can easily be recommended. The cuisine can be described as traditional Icelandic in just as traditional surroundings. “We do honest cooking,” Ólafur says, “no unnecessary meddling with the materials. I guess you could say that it's classical cuisine with an Icelandic touch.” The house itself and its interior would also be worth the visit, even if the Lobster House did not offer delicious food. “It's like Iceland in the days of our grandparents - and decorated in that spirit.” If you wish to feast on exquisite lobster while imagining yourself in 19th century Iceland you will be sure to find the Lobster House a most adequate solution, with its fresh foods and comfortable surroundings.
Further information is available on www.humarhusid.is