Blue Lagoon Restaurant Awarded Michelin Star

Moss Restaurant Agnar Sverrisson

Moss, the restaurant at Iceland’s popular attraction the Blue Lagoon, was awarded a Michelin star in Turku, Finland yesterday. The restaurant’s Executive Chef Agnar Sverrisson says he and his team are still digesting the news. RÚV reported first.

Moss is the third restaurant in Iceland to be awarded a Michelin star: the first was Dill, which received the distinction in 2017, and the second was Óx, which received one last year. Both Óx and Dill retained their star, and in addition to its star, Dill also boasts a green star, awarded for gastronomy and sustainability. One Michelin star means that a restaurant is “very good in its category.” Two stars mean a restaurant is “worth a detour” while three warrant “a special journey,” according to the Michelin rating system. Other Reykjavík restaurants mentioned in the guide this year are Middle Eastern spot Sümac, the recently opened Tides, seafood restaurant Brút, and traditional-food-with-a-twist favourite Matur og Drykkur.

Agnar said that Moss had been working towards earning the distinction since 2018. “It’s not easy to get this star and you have to sacrifice many things,” he stated. “The Retreat at Blue Lagoon has been ready to do that and finally we got it. We’re on cloud nine.”

Agnar previously worked as head chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, the oldest restaurant with two Michelin stars in England, and opened his own venture, Texture Restaurant & Champagne Bar, in London in 2007. Texture was awarded a Michelin star in 2010 and retained it until 2020, the year that Agnar returned to Iceland and took the position of Executive Chef at Moss.

Moss’s menu features modern Icelandic cuisine with a sustainable focus.

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.

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.”

Icelandic Chef Awarded Michelin Star

Souvenir Restaurant, run by Icelandic chef Vilhjálmur Sigurðarson in Ghent, Belgium, has been awarded a Michelin star. Vilhjálmur has run the restaurant alongside his Belgian wife Joke Michiel since 2014. It’s a big week for the couple, who are expecting their third child in a few days.

“I moved to Belgium at the time to work at a restaurant here. It was meant to just be a short stopover but life took over. I met Joke and eventually I got stuck,” Vilhjálmur told Belgian newspaper HLN, describing the culinary atmosphere in Ghent as “ideal.”

“Initially we didn’t even think of coming to this ceremony since the baby is supposed to arrive this week,” Vilhjálmur confessed. “Fortunately, we came anyway.”

Souvenir’s menu is built around local vegetables and seafood. Ghent has a five other restaurants with one or more Michelin stars: Restaurant Vrijmoed, with two starts; and Restaurant Horseele, Chambre Séparée, Oak Restaurant, and Publiek with one star.