I'm aching to go back to Iceland. I haven't been since Easter and Easter was just one of the best holidays I've had in Iceland. I miss the music, the weather, the people - but mainly I miss the fish!
You just can't get fish in the UK that's as exciting as the Icelandic fish. It's all deep fried with chips here. As much as I like fish and chips, it just isn't the same.
There are many wonderful fish restaurants in Iceland and I have a few favourites (such as Við Fjöruborðið in Stokkseyri - the best langoustine in the world!) - but last time I was home, I found a new favourite - in Ísafjörður.
After a long weekend of dancing, drinking, listening to great bands and musicians (for free), snowboarding and chilling out in hot tubs in snow blizzards at one of Iceland's best festivals, Aldrei fór ég suður (I Never Went South), I was ready for a good and filling lunchtime meal before a 6 hour drive back to Reykjavík. The options of restaurants and cafés that were open were limited, the place where I planned to go for chilli con carne was closed (although supposed to be open) but someone had mentioned Tjöruhúsið to me, saying it was a good fish restaurant.
So I asked a local: "Where is Tjoruhusid and do you know if it's open?" and got the reply: "Yes I just saw Maggi drive past, so they must be open now... (plus directions)". In such a small town, everyone knows each other by name and I loved the fact that he just assumed I knew who Maggi was.
So my companion and me found the place, a gorgeous old house, entirely made of wood. We had to push our way in, seeing as no-one else seemed to be around - but were greeted by a woman that told us they were open, they just had to clean up a bit after the previous night's party.
The head chef, obviously being Maggi, asked us what we wanted and seeing as there was no menu around I asked what they've got. "We've got fresh brown trout, halibut, cusk, monkfish, redfish... name it really. And ofcourse our seafood soup." I liked the sound of seafood soup and then Maggi said he'd make us something special as well. All for the price of 2500 ISK per person (their lunch price), cheaper than a fast-food pizza in Reykjavík.
We were presented with the largest bowl of soup I've ever seen, with the most delicious seafood soup I've ever tasted (besides my mum's recipe, obviously). We could only eat half of it and were almost full when we were presented with fried halibut with baby potatoes and fresh salad.
And then we got ANOTHER full pan, sizzling with monkfish in creamy bluecheese sauce, more potatoes and salad. We were full for the rest of the day and got to take the leftover soup in a doggy bag that lasted us for dinner as well.
It's been 2 months since I had this and my mouth still waters when I think about it... I think Tjöruhúsið may be the best seafood restaurant I've come across - and very moderately priced at lunchtime. At dinnertime, they have an all you can eat seafood buffet - for 5000 ISK.
They're only open during Easter and summer though, so make sure you head there if you're going to Ísafjörður this summer. Ísafjörður is also a stunning location, so a good way to work up an appetite is to go kayaking in the fjord or if you want something more physically demanding, go hiking in the surrounding mountains. The scenery is breathtaking and for the food alone, it's well worth the 6 hour trip in a car.
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