Icelandic Food Tastes a Lot Better Than You Might Expect

When you think of Iceland, you likely think of blue lagoons, black sand beaches and those adorable shaggy coat mini-horses that are all over your Insta feed. What you probably don’t think of is a refined, world-class cuisine. Because unlike Italy, Japan or Mexico, when tourists visit Iceland — and a lot of them do — it’s usually not to explore the Nordic nation’s thriving foodie scene. (And that’s totally fair, considering fermented shark, sour rams testicles and whole sheep heads are among Iceland’s most popular traditional dishes.)

So when I was invited to a four course meal at Leña to kick off Toronto’s Taste of Iceland, I was a little skeptical. Would my meal experience be reminiscent of the viral video titled “Englishmen DESTROYED by Traditional Icelandic Food!!!?” I hoped not.

And thankfully, it wasn’t — the first course alone had me moving Reykjavik up on my must-see travel list. From the Arctic char through to the skyr (an Icelandic strained yogurt), Chef Viktor Örn Andrésson’s contemporary take on an Icelandic cuisine was a #foodporn tagger’s dream. For those looking to have their mouth water and their mind blown, check out the photos from the tasting menu below.

Photography by Cindy La

Grilled Langoustine

Spruce, sea truffle langoustine velouté, tarragon seaweed, smoked salmon, horseradish, wild herbs.

Photography by Cindy La

Mosaic of Arctic Char

Burnt leek, crispy barley, dill, green apples, roe, icelandic buttermilk.

Photography by Cindy La

Fried Lamb Fillet and Sirloin

Wild juniper berry glaze, leg of lamb, forest mushrooms, arctic thyme yellow beets, potatoes, lemon thyme & garlic infused lamb sauce.

Photography by Cindy La

Icelandic Skyr

Wild blueberries, warm icelandic donut, white chocolate, oat crumble.