Monkeys Food & Wine Restaurant Review

Monkeys Food & Wine Restaurant Review

Verified expert

Monkeys can be found in the heart of Reykjavik.

Monkeys has garnered a reputation for an exciting fusion menu and a fun atmosphere.

After a prolonged dance of postponements, my group of coworkers finally managed to lock in a night for a long-awaited get-together. Seeing as how this sort of gathering was proving itself as rare as a passing comet, we wanted to go for something a bit trendy yet casual enough to let loose in a laidback atmosphere. Monkeys was the obvious choice.

Found right by the main street of Laugavegur, Monkeys has garnered a reputation for exciting fusion menus and a fun atmosphere. It's in a prime location to kick off any sort of downtown adventure in Reykjavik, and we were certainly planning for a wild night.

Feeling slightly tipsy from pre-drinks, we entered Monkeys were promptly greeted by a friendly waiter who guided us to our table. As we walked through the restaurant, the interior immediately set the mood.

A scuba diver hiding amidst the greenery at Monkeys.

There are a lot of monkeys scattered around the restaurant if you're in the mood for a bit of a safari.

Jungle greenery adorns the ceilings and walls, paired up with 70s-style floral patterned furniture that somehow felt modern and not outdated.  A funky jungle envelops you, and there are plenty of surprises in store.

We had the tasting menu and a wine pairing, which consisted of five courses and five glasses of wine. In hindsight, the predrinks we had were far from necessary, but you live and learn.

The appetizer arrived after we had barely sat down - tuna tartare served alongside crispy plantain chips to start things off.

A member of our group does not partake in raw food and was easily accommodated with a guacamole substitute for the tuna, as well as other substitutions in the following courses.

The tasting menu at Monkeys consists of five courses.

Crunchy gyozas pictured with my newest love, the tiradito.

Now, the dishes started pouring in. 

We had deliciously crunchy deep-fried chicken gyozas that came to the table alongside a salmon tiradito - a Peruvian take on sashimi that I had never heard of but was possibly my favorite dish of the evening.

Two different types of ceviche on the tasting menu at Monkeys.

The tuna and salmon ceviche take center stage.

The rest of us selfishly used the opportunity to swoop in on the guac and the other substitutions as well. 

Next up, we had very fresh tuna ceviche and a spicy tuna ceviche.

It's worth mentioning at this point that at every turn a waiter came by to elevate each dish with the perfect wine to go along with it. I'd be lying if I said I remembered the name of any of the wines, but there was a diverse lineup which (I think) included a red, a white, a bubbly, a rosé, and a port.

Cheers!

Skál!

No Japanese-inspired tasting menu is complete without sushi, and sure enough, deep-fried surf-and-turf maki arrived at our table alongside some tiger prawns tempura. Delish!

The final course before the dessert was a cod in sweet miso and a rack of lamb accompanied by grilled broccolini and chips. The standards for cod and lamb are quite high in Iceland and these dishes knocked it out of the park. 

You might notice our little addition to the wine pairing in the picture below: shots of tequila. I mention this as, from this point on, my memory of the night becomes a bit muddled.

Shots of tequila to go along with the rack of lamb and miso cod.

Tequila - your trusty gateway to oblivion.

The showstopper of the night was the dessert platter - a menagerie of expertly crafted sweet delights that arrived on a tiered stand shrouded in dry ice.

There was a cheesecake, different ice creams, and a chocolate mousse dripping with caramel, all of which you could scoop up through flavored crumble. It was an exceptional finish to our meal, which, even through the hazy memory intake, made for an unforgettable moment.

Suffice to say, we were thrilled with our meal, but our night was just beginning, and we wanted to grab some drinks. We didn't have to go far.

Kokteilbarinn is the obvious go-to for drinks after Monkeys.

The Cocktail Bar is found right next to Monkeys.

Kokteilbarinn (The Cocktail Bar) can be found in the space adjacent to Monkeys. As the more astute reader may have deduced, they serve cocktails.  

I don't remember what we drank, but I do remember watching some alchemist behind the bar brewing an exotic concoction which he decanted from a dizzying height. I also remember that whatever it was, it tasted good.

The champagne train at Kokteilbarinn.

We had our drinks in the train cart seating area.

We brought our drinks to the most fun seats in the establishments, which can be found in a room made to look like a mock train cart. What happened after that is beyond the scope of this review and the realm of my memory.

As we rallied to work a couple of days later, we agreed that the night had been a roaring success. The gang at work is excited for our next visit - when the stars align.

Conclusion: Our dinner at Monkeys was fantastic, thanks to the extravagant menu as well as the fun atmosphere which was amplified by the thematic decor. The food might be a bit on the pricier side, but it is well worth it.

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