Italian Elegance in Iceland

 Kolabrautin is an elegant aerie with a harbor view.

The restaurant sign inside Harpa IS vertical. Reflections trick the eye.
The restaurant sign inside Harpa IS vertical. Reflections trick the eye.

The Society of American Travel Writers did not fill 2014 convention attendees’ dance cards every minute, and on one free evening, my husband and I and three friends were going out together. The consensus was for Italian food, and upon several recommendations, we ended up at Kolabrautin. I don’t know what the name means, but neither it nor the food is stereotypically Italian. The small menu offers a selection of dishes that aren’t of the rough, red sauce tradition from southern Italy but a refined, contemporary style that takes advantage of Iceland’s abundant seafood and quality lamb and beef.

Kolabrautin is located on the 4th level of the Harpa Center, a spectacular convention center, concert hall and more. The harbor views are excellent, and the décor is elegant modern Scandinavian. The whole package is a distinctively Icelandic combination.

Simple, classy table settings foretell of fine food and fine service.
Simple, classy table settings foretell of fine food and fine service.
The gleaming open kitchen is where the magic happens.
The gleaming open kitchen is where the magic happens.

Many of our fellow diners seemed to be on expense accounts — tables where what appeared to be businessmen predominated. We were the down-market bunch, ordering judiciously and, in my case anyway, enjoying a small portion of deliciousness rather than pigging out on less refined food. Since it was our anniversary — a romantic dinner for five, of course — I ordered a glass of Proseco to begin. We also shared a bottle of wine.

Excellent bread served on a board, with fresh Icelandic butter.
Excellent bread served on a board, with fresh Icelandic butter and optional salt.
The kitchen sent out this lovely amuse, even though we were five low-rent diners.
The kitchen sent out this lovely amuse, even though we were five low-rent diners.

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The waiter said that the spaghetti with langoustine, chili and garlic was spicy. It wasn't, but it was very good.
The waiter said that the spaghetti with langoustine, chili and garlic was spicy. It wasn’t, but it was very good.
Pan-fried cod with cauliflower, broccoli and crispy potatoes. You can't go wrong with cod in Iceland.
Pan-fried cod with cauliflower, broccoli and crispy potatoes. You can’t go wrong with cod in Iceland.
Rotolo di pasta with house made ricotta, spinach and porcini sauce.
Rotolo di pasta with house made ricotta, spinach and porcini sauce.

Price check: ISK2529-3950; primi, ISK3400-3850; secondi, ISK3980-5980; desserts, ISK1800, and a four-course set menu, ISK1800. You need to check current exchange rates.

The address and phone are Austurbakki 2,  101 Reykjavík, Iceland; Tel. +354 519 9700.

 

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