If you’re going to be in Iceland for Christmas Eve and want to eat dinner out somewhere, make sure you book beforehand.
Christmas Eve is when most Icelanders celebrate with their families so restaurant owners are reluctant to open up and serve food on this holiday. For those that do open up, however, they are richly rewarded.
We first attempted Restaurant Reykjavik but were practically laughed out the door when we said we didn’t have a reservation. The buffet looked amazing but at $120 per person, we weren’t too fussed. If we’d been offered a table an hour later though, we might have even paid more.
We tried a couple of other restaurants but they were all full up and then we saw a pizza/kebab/fish and chip place on the corner which was packed with people, mostly foreigners. See, there are a lot of foreigners in Iceland at the moment so it makes sense to be one of a few that open their doors to weary and hungry travellers.
This pizza/kebab/fish and chip place was busy, looked ok, but wasn’t high on our list of preferences. We decided that we weren’t ravenous yet so we’d try our luck down the road. So we walked…
And we walked…
And we walked.
We found one other restaurant that was open, an Indian restaurant, that had full tables with no food on them and a lot of pissed off looking people. The waiter/owner said we could probably have a seat at 8pm (in 45 minutes) but we decided to chance it and went farther down the road.
And then we turned around and walked back again.
The walk was interesting though. The wind has certainly picked up and gusts of it were so strong that you were pushed back down the road. I couldn’t help but laugh at the comedy of it…even though my face was freezing off.
We eventually got back to the pizza/kebab/fish and chip shop and joined a very long queue. The place was in complete disarray. There was a seating area that was full but it wasn’t clear whether you ordered first or sat first or if the people wanting take-away lined up and the people wanting to sit down sat down and gave their order to a waiter.
We were in queue for about thirty minutes before finally our line’s orders were taken (people who had been seated came up to pay so there was another line added, meanwhile people waiting for takeaway were hugging the wall).
There was movement in the seated area so I managed to get a table just as Glen got to the front of the queue. The waiter told us he’d take our order once we sat down so we did. He disappeared and didn’t come back. The other waitress told us we had to go order from the front.
Smoke started to come out of our ears. I joined the queue again, placed our order and sat back down to wait.
Meanwhile, Glen had started a conversation with the couple sitting next to us. Coincidentally they were from Southend-on-Sea and Leigh-on-Sea and the woman had heard of a friend of ours in Leigh. Small world. We chatted to them off and on about what they’d seen and done so far, while various dishes came by. We received part of our meal before them and they’d been there well before us. Such was the organisational wonder of the place.
Thankfully, the food wasn’t half-bad and certainly hit the spot. We might see the couple at the Blue Lagoon tomorrow or at the Northern Lights tomorrow night.
On our walk home we saw a couple of animations that were projected onto the side of buildings. The animations were off the Yule Lads and their mother (whose name I’ve forgotten) – Icelandic Christmas folklore legends. The one of the woman freaked Glen out because he saw something moving out of the corner of his eye.
Gail force winds on the way back to the hotel too. It’s only quarter to ten but I’m desperate need of sleep now.
Merry Christmas, everyone.