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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gló Restaurant | Vegetarian, Vegan, and Raw in Reykjavik

Raw food entree with side salads from Gló
With a trip to Iceland planned, I immediately felt the need to pack food along with me.  Why?  Well, because Icelandic people love their meat and fish and I don't.  On a prior trip to Reykjavik, I did get the chance to visit one vegetarian restaurant, Graenn Kostur, and quite honestly, I didn't expect or know if there would be others.  When I learned of Gló, I was so excited! With three locations in Reykjavik (near the Hilton Nordica, in Hafnarfjöður, and in the city center), I was most definitely going to find one no matter what during my stay.

While on my flight with IcelandAir to Iceland, I was reading the in-flight magazine and that is how I first learned about Gló.  From the Gló website:
Sólveig Eiríksdóttir or Solla, Gló‘s head chef, has been in the healthy food business for over thirthy years. She has had a very positive influence on the eating habits of the Icelandic nation. Solla has received international recognition and was voted the best RAW Gourmet Chef and the best RAW Simple Chef in the Best of RAW awards 2011 & 2012.  She has a never ending passion for raw food and healthy eating and eagerly shares her experience and educates people with her delicious recipes. 
Solla on the left and Kate McKinnon on the right
Unbeknownst to me, Solla founded Graenn Kostur in 1994 and ran it for ten years.  Her first career was in textile design and she dabbled in healthy food and haute cuisine as a hobby.  I'm so glad she went with the healthy food decision as this place is absolutely fantastic!  I also think that Solla also looks exactly like Kate McKinnon from Saturday Night Live!

After we attended the EXPO for the Reykjavik Marathon at nearby Laugardalshöll Sports Hall, we were so close to the Hilton Nordica and that meant we were also close to one of the Gló locations.  Located opposite the Hilton in a small strip mall, there is ample free parking and easy access to the restaurant.  Turned out it was another wet day in Reykjavik or I might have sat at one of their tables outside.

When you enter, you might think you're entering the restaurant, but it is an open communal area that is shared by the stores in this building.  Immediately to your right is a staircase that takes you down to the restrooms that are located just past the lockers, which I believe is for employees.  The counter where you place your order is directly to your left and there is seating in the front by the entrance as well as opposite the counter in a more private dining room.

From here you can walk up to the counter to place your food and beverage order, including Güll beer, coffee, tea, or bottled juices.  There is also a pitcher of water available so you can pour yourself a glass.  Whether it's bottled or from the tap, Icelandic water is the best water to drink!  Don't worry about the language barrier as English is widely spoken.  The restaurant is clean and beautifully decorated and the real centerpiece of it all is truly the food.  While you're at the counter, ask for wifi password so you can get online while you're waiting.


Since the menu isn't in English, it doesn't hurt to ask for a little assistance, like I did.  I was able to decipher that the first item was a raw Mexican plate and I went with that as did my husband while my son decided he was sticking with the one chicken option.  I'll be honest as I was the one that was the most excited about going and my two companions were well, more than a little reluctant.  My husband has been a vegetarian now for about two years so although I thought he might find it interesting, I wasn't sure he was going to embrace it fully.

When you order your entree, you can also get sides of salad that you choose from the front case.  They are all fresh, crisp, and delicious.  Don't forget to help yourself to the free hummus by the cash register, which is insanely good!

What's unique about Gló is that you can go with vegetarians, vegans, raw foodies, and carnivores alike and everyone can get something to eat.  This is because they offer four dishes of the day with a raw food item, chicken, vegetarian, and a soup of the day. Since the menu changes daily, you can visit more than once and know you won't try the same thing twice.

My raw food plate included two salads, one of which was beet and the other a regular salad with broccoli.  I loved that that they weren't afraid to make the salsa a little spicy and it was delicious and filling.  You might think that it wouldn't be enough food being mostly salad, but there is absolutely no way I could even finish all of the food on my plate.  My husband's plate, the top picture in this post, is almost identical to mine, but he ordered the beet and apple salad, potato salad, and some kind of a root vegetable salad.  He ate it all!

What is raw food?  "Raw food is about consuming unprocessed vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, heated under 47°C. This preperation method preserves the enzymes in the ingredients, so your body gets an extra large portion of excellent nutrition."

Chicken wrap with two side salads from Gló
The one chicken option on the menu the day we went was a chicken salad wrap, which my son ate alone with two side salads (potato and pasta), which he, too, devoured.

If you're interested in a dessert, they have sweets, too including some prepackaged items.  My husband went up and grabbed a bar believing it was free.  Clearly, he doesn't go out often and I immediately begged him to put it back or pay for it.  He didn't want to discuss dessert after that.  Before we left, they added more cakes and pies to the dessert case so you can expect to find new offerings at different times throughout the day.

Chia Grautur
Since my husband and I are both now enjoying chia seeds, when I spotted chia on the menu, I had to ask what it was.  Turns out it was a porridge and I thought it might be good to start the following day off with so we picked up one to take with us.

If you're planning a visit to Reykjavik, do not skip a visit to Gló because it will be a meal you will absolutely remember.

Visit one of Gló's convenient locations in Reykjavik as well as their FaceBook page:

Gló near the Hilton Nordica
Across the street from the Hilton Nordica:
Engjateig 19, 105 Reykjavík, phone. +354 553 1111

Gló in Hafnarfjörður
Next to the art museum:
Hafnarborg, Strandgata 34, 220 Hafnarfirði, s. 578 1111

Gló in the city center
In the city center at Laugavegur 20b, 101 Reykjavík

Marian Krueger
Email: mkrueger@travelshopgirl.com

2 comments:

  1. This sounds just like One Lucky Duck and Pure Food and Wine in NYC...when you visit I'll have to take you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, yes, yes -- must go! I wish there were more options like this in Boston. Not sure why they haven't caught on. What's here is either somewhat underwhelming or just not good. :(

    ReplyDelete

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