Reykjavík Chips – Iceland’s Best French Fries
The main street in Reykjavík is Laugevagur, a long street lined with many shops and many small side streets. Icelanders love gathering on Laugevagur to have beers at clubs and to watch Euro 2106 on the giant screen on the square. When I visited Reykjavík, an Icelander told me that locals usually don’t venture down the side streets often, but when they do, it’s only to have a fancy meal. To the common eye, Vitastígur, one of those side streets, looks no different from the rest. However, there rests a restaurant like no other – Reykjavík Chips.
I was heading to Iceland from Oslo, Norway on IcelandAir and was curious to know what Icelanders recommend for food. My favorite musician and composer Óalfur Arnalds is a local, so I decided to tweet him for a suggestion. He tweeted back “Reykjavík Chips ;).” I was a little confused as to why he sent back a wink, so I went and checked out the restaurant.
Reykjavík Chips (or RC) is a small chip joint. Chips are what Icelanders and the rest of Europe call French fries, and that’s RC’s speciality. The restaurant is small and cozy, inviting customers in for an intimate experience. When you enter RC, a waiter behind the desk welcomes you with a “Hæ, velkomin!” and thus your experience begins. You order your meal from the front by choosing the size of the chip meal and a sauce. The menu has tons of sauces and each one is tasty in its own right! I was deeply intrigued by each sauce, so I had to ask the waiter for a recommendation. I do not remember the exact sauce name, but nonetheless it was delicious.
Once I dug into the chips, I was in bliss. The chips were juicy but not overly juicy, and held flavors of cilantro and fresh organic oils. Each chip I savored, taking in the oil and sauce mixture each bite at a time. I enjoyed it so much that I sighed, saying “Aww, they’re gone…” when I finished my meal.
I went to RC in mid-June, and it’s now July and I still miss the chips. Today I found out that Arnalds wasn’t recommending, but was rather advertising! What a surprise. His vocalist friend Arnor Dan, featured on Arnalds’ album For Now I Am Winter, started RC with Arnalds a couple years back and has now created Iceland’s best chip joint. What started out as a culinary journey turned into an amazing cultural experience.