Greinasafni: Icelandic Times einnig undir: Veitingar
Vegetarian Delights
At the One Woman Restaurant
In the house of the first restaurant in Reykjavik, built in the old style in 1903 on the corner of Klapparstíg and Laugavegur’s shopping street, is one of the country’s best-known vegetarian restaurants. It’s Icelandic name is a play on words, Á næstu grösum (lit. ‘nearby herbs’). Since few foreigners can pronounce that, most people use its former name of the ‘One Woman Restaurant’. That, too, has an unusual history. Named after the woman who originally ran the restaurant single-handedly, (hence ‘One Woman’), some men thought it was for ladies only! One wife finally asked the owner’s permission for her husband to eat there! No man has been turned away!

The restaurant is now upstairs and features a range of vegetarian foods for lunch, dinner or snacks. About 90% of the food is vegan (no dairy, eggs or meat). Being genuine vegetarian food, the ingredients are sourced from different parts of Iceland, where possible. Slow cooking is the order of the day and the menu changes regularly with the different seasons and availability of ingredients. The potatoes are quite special. When in season, they come from a farm in the east of the country - very small potatoes in two sizes, named by the farmer, ‘Sæmi’ and ‘Dóra’ after the restaurant’s owners. Every Friday, the focus is on Indian- or Nepalese-style meals but there is always a good choice available.

In many countries, wholesome vegetarian meals come with a high price premium - but not here! You can try everything, filling your plate, for a very reasonable price - about the cost of a hamburger and infinitely healthier! Even if you do eat a lot, the food is not heavy and leaves you feeling comfortable.The children’s menu includes pizza. Desserts, too, are particularly appetising. The barley cake won the Best Health Cake Award in 2000. Organic wines are available, to complement the meal.

This is a fresh, light restaurant with a homey feel to it. You can relax and enjoy your meal while others face the pressure of shopping on the street below. A range of coffees, natural teas and other drinks rounds off the meal. An unusual feature of the restaurant is the art displayed on its walls. Every six weeks or so, a new artist is invited to display and guests can buy the paintings right there. It is open from 11:30 to 10 pm Mon-Sat and 5 pm to 10 pm on Sundays. In the Kringlan shopping centre is another branch of Á næstu grösum under the escalators on the ground floor by the Útilíf sports shop. Here, it is more of a café style, with pies and a different taste to much of the food for variety. (It has the same opening hours as Kringlan.)

A third restaurant has opened in the airside lounge at Keflavik International airport. Besides eating there, you can take hot, freshly-made food onto the plane in a lunch box with you - a meal that cannot be matched by any airline!

Á næstu grösum
Laugavegur 20b • 101 Reykjavík
+354 552 8410

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