Dining with Kjarval at Gallery Restaurant
Art is a lifestyle, not a profession. Jóhannes Kjarval was painfully aware of this fact for years while he struggled to obtain his basic needs by paying with paintings and sketches, scattering his life’s work throughout the city
of Reykjavik. Tucked away on an unassuming side street, sheltered from the hectic downtown is Hotel Holt’s Gallery Restaurant, home to several works by Kjarval. Heavy draperies and frosted glass shelter guests from prying eyes, while attentive wait staff assist travellers. The meal starts light with a small taste of soup to excite the palette and move on to a delicate appetiser like foie gras braised in tart fruit sauce. The entrée follows with a heavier dish, Icelandic lamb marinated with herbs and spices. A rich dessert polishes the meal off with chocolate cake or skyr and berry tarts. Throughout dinner, guests can admire idyllic scenes of Icelandic landscapes and pe
ople livening up the dark wood panelling. Indulging in art and food was a passion of Hotel Holt’s original owner Þorvaldur, who opened the hotel and restaurant in 1965. Þorvaldur even paid Kjarval for his work by providing him with food for sketches he drew. Kjarval often sketched at The Gallery restaurant which
is dedicated to the works that he produced for his patron. The Gallery Restaurant welcomes guests as it once welcomed Kjarval. Though a first class restaurant, it is not limited, with a three course lunch for 3,500 kr. and two-for-one drinks at Happy Hour or light fare such as mini burgers.
Guests can try the three course dinner menu at 5,900 kr. Whether dining or simply stopping by for a drink, the staff encourages guests to walk through all the rooms of the restaurant and hotel to view their extensive collection of artwork.
For those with an interest in wine, the restaurant offers a cellar with 4,000 bottles and a waiter to act as a personal guide through the selection. There is a bottle of wine for every taste and price range. The Gallery Restaurant stays true to its original intent as a luxury dining experience, open to everyone, with its focus on the possibilities for guests in any price range.Gallery Restaurant
Bergstaðastræti 37 • 101 Reykjavik
+354 552 5700
See more here