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restaurant wine glasses reykjavikFrom gourmet food to simple meals, Reykjavik has something for every taste and budget. Seafood and lamb are the stars of Icelandic menus. Fish is right-off-the-boat fresh. Cod is the most popular choice, though haddock, Arctic char, halibut, salmon and monkfish are also common. The locally raised lamb has been allowed to range freely and feed on grasses and bushes that have never known chemicals, giving the meat a distinctive flavor, which slightly resembles that of wild game.

Cheap and Chic: Two of the city's hottest nighttime venues are perfect stops for an affordable lunch. Cafe Mokka (Skolavordustigu) is Reykjavik's classic coffee bar. Vegamot, conveniently set on a little street between Laugavegur and Skolavordustigur (the two main shopping streets), is a buzzing bar and club at night -- but it's also a great stop by day, when you'll find salads, sandwiches and gourmet pizzas, as well as full meals. On sunny days, the outside garden is packed.

Convenient: Geysir Bistro, next to the main tourist office, is a pleasant cafe with well-priced prix fixe lunches that include soup and coffee.

Classic Seafood: Vid Tjornina, whose name means "by the lake," offers a cozy, homey setting with a bit of kitsch -- hanging lamps over the tables, embroidered tablecloths, hand-carved chairs. Local cod is a specialty served many ways; the marinated cod cheeks taste much better than they sound.

A Special Splurge: Fiskfelagid, or "Fish Company," earns raves for its fresh seafood and international menu. You might try lobster prepared Malaysian-style with lemongrass, chili sambal and pineapple, or sink your teeth into Russian caramelized beetroot with goat cheese and turnips. Be sure to save room for dessert.

Hot Dogs: Icelanders are crazy about hot dogs, and the place to find out why is a simple stand near the harbor called Baejarins Beztu Pylsur (this literally means "best hot dog in town," and we have to say: it's mighty fine), a standby since 1939. Look for it on Tryggvagata, just east of Posthusstraeti. (Head toward the Radisson Blu 1919 hotel in the old town, and look for a line of people.) To sample a hot dog the way the natives like it, order it with everything -- sweet mustard, fried onion and a remoulade sauce.


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