ÓX Second Icelandic Restaurant to Receive Prestigious Michelin Star

ÓX is the second restaurant in Iceland to be awarded the prestigious Michelin Star, a commendation for the finest dining in the world.

The announcement came yesterday, July 4, at the annual Michelin Guide Nordic Countries event in Stavanger. 

Icelanders in attendance included Rúnar Pierre Heriveaux and Þráinn Freyr Vigfússon on behalf of ÓX, and Gunnar Karl Gíslason on behalf of the restaurant Dill, which was the first Icelandic restaurant to be honoured with the Michelin Star in 2017.

ÓX is run by chefs Þráinn Freyr Vigfússon and Georg Arnar Halldórsson. According to the Michelin Guide, ÓX “offers the best Icelandic produce in highly personalised dishes, which blend traditional flavours with a modern edge.”

In a statement to RÚV, Rúnar Pierre called the award the best possible advertisement for the Icelandic culinary scene but stated that it would not change much for him and his team, who will continue to work as they did before.

Some 11 other restaurants throughout Scandinavia were honoured with their first Michelin Star at the event, alongside two other restaurants with a two-star rating. 

Dill was also awarded a Michelin Green Star, a commendation for their commitment to sustainable gastronomy.

Hungry for More

When opening acclaimed restaurant Agern in New York, Gunnar Karl Gíslason tasted twenty different types of butter before he found one he liked. His pastry chefs sourced several kinds of organic milk because the ice creams made from regular milk tasted off to him. He never did end up finding lamb that met his standards in the US, though he found a single farm in the mountains of Pennsylvania whose grass-fed sheep he deemed adequate to serve his guests. But in Reykjavík, he’ll scarf down the local classic – a hot dog with ‘everything:’ crispy fried onion, fresh onion, mustard, remoulade, and ketchup – like the Akureyri-raised country boy he is. There’s a catch though: he’ll only get one from certain shops where they heat the sausages the way he likes them and serve the right kind of ketchup.

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Icelandic Chef Regains Michelin Star

Dill restaurant Michelin star

Reykjavík’s Dill restaurant was awarded one Michelin star last night at the Michelin Guide’s 2020 awards ceremony for the Nordic region. Dill was the first restaurant in Iceland to be granted the distinction, but then lost it last year. Gunnar Karl Gíslason, the restaurant’s chef and owner, says his sights are now set on getting a second one.

When Dill lost its Michelin star last year, Gunnar Karl was living in New York. He decided to return home to Iceland and work to regain the star, whatever the cost. He says there was a lot of work behind getting the star back and praised the restaurant’s staff for their efforts. “It’s a very good feeling. We are unbelievably pleased and happy,” Gunnar Karl told RÚV reporters after the award was granted. He hopes the distinction will spark more opportunities in Iceland’s restaurant industry.

Gunnar says it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what changes led the Michelin Guide jury to change their mind about Dill – they publish no comments on their decisions. “Michelin makes sure no one has any idea about what they’re doing, what you have to say, how you have to build up your restaurant.” It’s clear, however, that Dill is on the right track.

Asked whether his goal for the coming year was to hold onto the star or to add a second, Gunnar said: “In the old days, I said I would be very happy with one star, but when you have one then you want two.”