Recommendations for the Far Flung Faroe Islands
Halfway between Iceland and Norway in the heart of the North Atlantic, the Faroe Islands have famously been described as ‘the windy edge of nowhere.’ The 50,000 Faroese who live among the 18 islands are proud descendants of a Viking culture that landed here 1,200 years ago. Centuries of isolation has bred a civilization of resourcefulness and resiliency, where people work hard for any food this harsh terrain will give up. They’re still eating seagulls and fermenting mutton heads to preserve for the winter. But they’re also blessed with some of the most prized resources on the planet: langoustines the size of lobsters, turnips that taste like pears, scallops, giant horse mussels. And even though restaurants are a mere 10-year-old phenomenon, you’ll find some truly amazing meals in the capital city of Torshavn.
Photograph by Claes Bech Poulsen
Located up the hill from Torshavn in the Hotel Foroyar, Koks is one of the best restaurants in all of Scandinavia. Chef Poul Andrias Ziska celebrates the incredible and unique ingredients native to the Faroe Islands: the sweetest langostines and scallops on the planet, lamb that’s mild and melting, urchins the size of softballs. He follows the tenants of the New Nordic cuisine movement, a set of principles that’ve popularized a fierce devotion to regional ingredients. He’s also embracing cooking techniques that’ve been around for hundreds of years, like air curing and fermentation, that were born out of necessity on these isolated islands. You can expect avant-garde concepts and presentation, such as the popular chips made of dried cod fish and dried skin, served on cod bones; raw salmon served with leeks, goat cheese and herbs (pictured above); fulmar with Jerusalem artichokes. There are two options of tasting menus… I’d suggest springing for 9 courses, because you may never have a meal like this again.
Oyggjarvegur 45, 100 Tórshavn; +298 333 999; koks.fo
Located in the heart of Torshavn near the harbor, Hotel Hafnia’s restaurant is one of the most popular mainstays in this capital city. The hallmark of the modern restaurant is the seafood buffet, which overflows with spectacular Faroese species. But if you miss the buffet, you’ll still be delighted by the refined dishes that combine traditional Faroese ingredients with international flavors. Expect dishes such as lamb with celery, kale and fermented gravy, and sweet Faroese scallops with dried kohlrabi and angelica.
4-10 Áarvegur , Postsmoga 107, FO-110 Tórshavn; +298 313233; hafnia.fo
Barbara Fish House
I went to Barbara Fish House a couple times while shooting the Bizarre Foods episode and loved it. They’re serving delicious, shareable portions of Faroese food in a cozy old wooden house near Torshavn’s harbor. Seafood heavy dishes populate the menu… bouillabaisse, ocean perch, blue mussels, meaty horse mussels, scallops. Whitewashed walls, loads of candles and a warm fireplace make this teeny place a small haven on a cold wet night. Don’t skip dessert. Warm cobblers and crisps are heavily in play.
Gongin 4-6, Torshavn; +298 331010; facebook.com/BarbaraFishHouse