Litli Barinn Restaurant Review

Litli Barinn Restaurant Review

Verified expert

Enjoy the cozy atmosphere, great drinks, and tasty food at Litli BarinnA few of us coworkers decided on relatively spontaneous after-work drinks and dinner. We took the chance to visit a cozy little place we've been wanting to try that is tucked away in a quiet residential street in downtown Reykjavik.

Litli Barinn restaurant and bar just opened in early 2024, but it's quickly been gaining traction. We had heard that they had some great cocktails, a nice drink selection, and delicious, reasonably-priced food options. Considering the rarity of the last criteria in Reykjavik, we were definitely curious!

The cocktails at Litli Barinn are expertly crafted

Wiktor is an award-winning mixologist and chef; no wonder everything was great!

We made our way to Ránargata street, which is just a 5-minute walk from Ingolfstorg square, and were immediately charmed by the atmosphere. Litli Barinn is located by the entrance of the Local 101 hotel, and it's modern and stylish but also warm and inviting. It turned out to be the perfect place to chat the evening away, with the great drinks and tasty food far exceeding our expectations!

As we went straight after work, we arrived in the middle of happy hour, so between 3 PM and 6 PM. Therefore, it was only appropriate that we started out with some of those famous cocktails.

There's a great selection of drinks at Litli Barinn

From left to right: The Himbrimi Negroni,  Spicy Mezcal Margarita, and Whiskey Sour.

We got a bunch of different ones to try the range on offer. To start with, we had a Negroni made with the Icelandic Himbrimi gin, a great Whiskey Sour, and a Spicy Mezcal Margarita, which may just be the best one in Reykjavik. If you're a margarita fan, do yourself a favor and give it a try!

Next up was a round of Elderflower Spritz, Nordic Blini, and a pretty unique Bloody Mary. We all liked different ones, but my vote has to go to the refreshing Bellini. I can just imagine it being the perfect treat on those elusive sunny days in Reykjavik.

Chat the night away with beautiful cocktails

From left to right: The Bloody Mary, Nordic Bellini, and Elderflower Spritz were beautiful.

For the food, we really wanted to try all the different options on the menu. Litli Barinn has some really interesting starters that are perfect for sharing, so we got to try a bit of most dishes. This is definitely what we'd recommend to others visiting!

Try all the small dishes at Litli Barinn

From left to right: The marinated tomatoes, the melted brie, the eggs in hollandaise, and the charred pepper spread.

We tried the marinated greenhouse tomatoes served on skyr and topped with roasted almonds, which is the signature dish of Litli Barinn. We also got the charred pepper and garlic spread and the eggs with skyr, hollandaise sauce, and lumpfish roe, and we couldn't miss out on the most popular item on the menu, the delicious melted Icelandic brie.

All the dishes were fantastic, especially the eggs, where the salty roe really made the dish. There was plenty of delicious oven-baked bread on the side, and easy to order extra if needed to scoop up everything from the plates!

The melted brie at Litli Barinn was fantastic

The winner of the night was the melted brie at Litli Barinn, though the battle was very close!

For the whole group, however, the star of the show was the melted brie. It was topped with honey, pistachio, and rosemary, which complement each other perfectly, especially when served with slightly salted fresh bread. It's well worth visiting just to try it, and I can't wait to go again for more!

There are regular new and interesting additions to the drink selection at Litli Barinn

The wildale from Grugg og Makk was really refined and refreshing.

After the round of starters, we got to try a pretty special Icelandic beer that, even as a non-beer person, I really liked. It's not currently on the menu, but it may make its way there in the future as the drink selection is constantly being updated and expanded with new and interesting options. We highly recommend trying some of the more unique drinks on offer!

All the food at Litli Barinn is made with local ingredients

All plates and many other items are bought secondhand. It really adds to the homey charm!

Then, it was time for the main courses. We shared the five mains on the menu, which all featured original flavor combinations we were curious about. I was very excited to try the sweet beetroots with pesto and almonds over cabbage and skyr, and the club sandwich with chicken and crispy bacon was so good!

We also tried the rye bread with cod liver pâté and the lamb sausage, which is made in-house. It was the most surprising dish of the night, and it ended up being one of the favorites.

The final dish was the roasted tomato soup, which was one of the best ones we had tasted. It was topped with pesto, croutons, and arctic thyme, adding a touch of Icelandic nature to the dish.

All plates are sourced second hand, adding to the cozy charm of Litli BarinnEverything we tried was absolutely fantastic, and we loved being able to try the different menu items. You can really feel that there is a great deal of thought put into the dishes and effort behind every little detail, yet everything comes together effortlessly.

It's really worth highlighting how a lot of the ingredients are prepared in-house, such as all of the pickled items! The club sandwich came with these pickled celery sticks we couldn't get enough of, and that our resident celery hater adored, so they really are a must-try when you visit. Other dishes also feature pickled vegetables in different ways, and the menu is ever-evolving.

All the pickled vegetables are a must-try

The club sandwich is as tasty as it looks, and the pickled celery was amazing.

With the mains, we moved over to the wine selection. Litli Barinn has a lot of great options, including natural wines, and they're planning to expand their range in the future. We really enjoyed the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, and some in the group opted for the Santa Julia El Burro, a natural red wine. Both were new to us and really complimented the delicious food!
The lounge area at Litli Barinn has a more private atmosphere

While we had arrived pretty early, the place had really started to fill up at this point. There was another reservation on our table, so we made our way to the cozy lounge area to sample the most important course of any food establishment: the dessert.

The lounge area is a secluded corner on the other side of the dining area, so you have quite a bit of privacy and can enjoy being in your own bubble. We went for the two different cakes on offer, a carrot and a chocolate one. They were served with plenty of whipped cream, and both options turned out to be vegan!

The carrot cake was fantastic

The carrot cake was delicious.

Now, we have a small debate going on, as some in the team chose the carrot cake as the best one. While it was truly delicious, the scientifically correct and obvious choice was the chocolate cake, as it was heavenly.

It's well worth a visit on its own as you could actually taste the quality chocolate used in the recipe. The coconut flakes and the slight crunch of the almonds on top really amplified it, and it was dreamy with a nice cup of after-dinner coffee.

If you generally prefer carrot cake, you won't be disappointed by going that route. No matter what you go for, though, the lesson learned here was simply to not skip the dessert!

The dessert winner was the rich chocolate cake!

A strong contender for the best chocolate cake in Reykjavik.

Everyone in our group was really happy with how this spontaneous evening turned out, and we all agreed that we would love to go again. We especially liked all the smaller dishes, and the affordable prices mean you can actually try them all without your bank account planning an act of revenge.

You can simply pop into Litli Barinn for a coffee, a small dish with a drink, or a full dinner without it having to be a huge decision. It's also great that the food is pretty healthy, nutritious, and made from local ingredients, so you can treat yourself without too much thought and feel well afterward.

All of this makes Litli Barinn a pretty special place in the Reykjavik food scene. It really is worth checking out when in Iceland's capital, and if you want a better feel for the atmosphere, check out the video below from our visit!

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