Advantages The food - the atmosphere if you like that sort of thing
Disadvantages The speed of service - the atmosphere if you don't
Our second excursion into the culinary capabilities of Iceland's northern sub-capital saw us fetching up at Greifinn.The restaurant is a short walk away from the centre of town on Glerargata, which is the main road out. You can't always go by the architecture in Iceland, but in this case you wouldn't be doing the place a disservice to assume from its boxy "transport caff" appearance and dowdy salmon and sand colouring that this is a stack-em-high-sell-em-cheap kind of a place.
If you're looking for fine dining, look elsewhere.Greifinn considers itself a family restaurant. Think: Frankie & Benny's. Think: TGI. Think Fatso's. The place is much in that loud and fun variety of American Italian diner. If you accept that and take it on its merits then you won't be disappointed.
We'd booked in advance – you don't turn in a party of a dozen or so (though we'd actually lost two en route to the restaurant for reasons not to be disclosed) just on the off-chance they can squeeze you in. This foresight only helped slightly.Booking two days ahead, reconfirming the night before and double-checking the time on the day, still saw us arrive to be told that we'd have to wait.
I hate waiting to be seated in a restaurant. I especially hate it when they knew we were coming. On the other hand, occasionally my chums and I eat early and we're equally annoyed if assumptions are made that we'll be out the door quick…can't stand being chivvied either. But wait we did. For ten minutes or thereabouts we cluttered up the doorway. Other reviews around the web suggest that this is not uncommon at Greifinn, so you might think they'd have dedicated more than a couple of benches to the waiting clientele. Or maybe just got their act together on bookings?!What became very clear at this point is that maybe Greifinn can afford not to worry too much. It is a very popular restaurant. Probably not the tourists' ideal dining haunt, but the locals evidently adore it. Not only was the restaurant itself full, but a lively trade was also being done in take-away pizzas. This part of the business did seem to be properly organised as folk turned up, collected, paid and left, with no dithering. Given the relatively short tourist season in Iceland, I can't blame them for looking after their core trade in preference to we one-night-standers.
Eventually we were led to our tables. The restaurant layout really didn't facilitate a single table for our large group, so they'd double-banked us into two by sixes, which worked fine. Menus were provided and drinks orders promptly taken.We studied the long and varied menu. Received our drinks. And waited. And waited. Hmmm.
Eventually, the technically minded amongst us – or maybe the nosey parkers who'd been watching what everyone else was doing – or maybe the intelligent souls who bothered to read the information further than finding something scrummy to eat – realised that you had to call for service. At the end of each table is a bell. Press it and a little light comes on.
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