The Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant surely possesses one of the most spellbinding dining locations on the planet. 

Situated on the southwest coast of Iceland, about a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik, the restaurant is surrounded by the country's distinctive black volcanic rock and lush green pastures. It is framed by Mount Ingólfur, which, like the restaurant itself, was named after the island's first settler. 

Then there is the building itself: a turf-roofed Viking longhouse complete with intricate wooden carvings and plenty of other authentic trappings to offer you the complete Norse dining experience. 

Andri Már Gunnarsson tells us all about a family-run business that attracts visitors from all over the world. 

The menu is inspired by the concept of what fine dining would have looked like during the Viking Age, incorporating traditional ingredients and preparation methods from that era. Photo: Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant

A family affair 

"The roots of Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant trace back to my grandparents," Andri tells us. 

"They originally conceived the idea to build a dining establishment that truly celebrated our Nordic heritage. They felt there was a gap in the market for a restaurant that showcased our rich history in a proper manner." 

"Being located at the roots of Ingólfsfjall, their inspiration stemmed from the legendary figure of Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler of Iceland, whose spirit of adventure and exploration continues to inspire us to this day." 

The restaurant, found in the municipality of Ölfus, has changed dramatically since it first opened 35 years ago. 

Initially located in a more modern farmhouse building, the family later decided to construct a turf longhouse to provide a more authentic Viking experience. 

The menu has also seen significant alterations over the years and is regularly updated to provide visitors with fresh, locally sourced, and seasonal ingredients, reflecting the kind of dining experience the original Icelanders may have enjoyed over 1,000 years ago. 

Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant is named after Ingólfur Arnarson, the first settler of Iceland, who spent two winters in Ölfus before eventually establishing more permanent roots in Reykjavik. Photo: Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant

A feast for the senses 

"Our menu is inspired by the concept of what a fine dining establishment would have looked like during the Viking Age," Andri informs us. 

"We have dishes that showcase the bounty of the land and sea. We set out to create a culinary experience that not only honors our past but also provides guests with an unforgettable journey through Icelandic culture and cuisine." 

Current menu highlights include grilled lamb filet with assorted vegetables – the restaurant's signature dish – fermented shark, freshly caught local fish, and Brennivín schnapps. 

Guests can also opt for the three-course Viking Feast: wild game soup, followed by a spectacular meat platter featuring grilled beef tenderloin, fried rack of lamb, and glazed pork belly. 

The meal is topped off with a tantalizing dessert of baked cheesecake with blackberries and candied nuts. 

The restaurant is exploring partnerships with local artisans to showcase their work and further immerse guests in Viking culture. Photo: Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant

A unique experience for Viking enthusiasts 

Yet, as Andri admits, what truly sets the Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant apart is the immersive setting. 

"It's a dining experience unlike any other," Andri tells us. "When guests step into Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant, they're immediately transported to a time of true adventure." 

"They can not only savor delicious food but also immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Viking history and culture." 

Iceland was first settled in approximately 874 CE, and it is believed that its first colonist, Ingólfur Arnarson, spent two winters in Ölfus before eventually putting down more permanent roots in Reykjavik. 

Today, to truly get in the spirit of things, visitors can dress up in traditional Viking costume, quaff mead from elaborate drinking horns, and even try their hand at archery and axe throwing – weather permitting. 

Over its 35-year history, Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant has evolved significantly, reflecting the family's commitment to authenticity and Icelandic heritage. Photo: Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant

Building an international reputation 

Andri is responsible for day-to-day operations, strategic planning, and service levels at the restaurant and is understandably proud of his involvement in such a unique venture. 

"As the third generation to run Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant, I work alongside my parents, continuing the legacy that my grandparents started." 

"It's a privilege to carry on the traditions of my family and to share our passion for Icelandic history and cuisine with visitors from around the world."

Indeed, the restaurant enjoys a pleasing mix of local residents and international travelers. 

"We're proud to say that we have a diverse clientele," Andri says. "Guests hail from countries all around the globe to experience the magic of Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant firsthand." 

As Andri tells us, the team works hard to offer new experiences for guests and organizes themed evenings and special tasting events. 

"We're also looking into partnerships with local artisans and craftsmen to showcase their work and further immerse our guests in the culture of the Vikings," Andri says. "So stay tuned for updates on our future plans!"

To find out more about the Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant, please check their website or Instagram page

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