Tjoruhusid: Isafjordur’s Amazing Fish Restaurant

We finally visited the local Icelandic fish restaurant, Tjöruhúsið. Local meaning, a log cabin, a tiny kitchen, and the husband cooking fish on a moving stove. There were three choices: fish soup, catfish, and a type of cod. We choose all of them and then waited.
Menu at Tjoruhusid

We waited and waited; as the air filled with fish, the time passed slower and slower. Eventually, we received some fresh bread and a stick of butter (literally a square block) to hold us down from clamoring like cats. 30 minutes later and a massive porcelain bowl appeared at the table. It was fish soup. The soup was creamy but not too think and held morsels of white fish that melts in the mouth.
Delicious Fish

Another 30 minutes later, our professor plops down at the table and we partake of more beer while waiting for the main plats. They show up… in large ironclad pans. One pan is filled with cod cooked in a creamy, bechemal type sauce. Adorned with grapes, salad greens (the only time I will be able to forage in Iceland), sliced tomatoes, and lemons, the dish is fit for the aristocracy. Or maybe, just the local fisher families of the WestFjords.

7 thoughts on “Tjoruhusid: Isafjordur’s Amazing Fish Restaurant”

  1. How I miss amazing Icelandic local fish! I figured out the name of the restaurant for anyone visiting Isafjordur, Tjöruhúsið. It is located at the end of the street (past the university), next to museum.

  2. We ate at Tjöruhúsið in July of 2009, and it was still exactly the same, even down to the pictures on the menu. We were there late in the evening, and the food was being served sort of buffet-style- they put those pans on the counter at the front, and everybody came up and took some. Truly delicious!

  3. Geoff – That’s awesome! Do you remember the pricing of the meals? It was something I wanted to mention.

  4. we were there last summer and the food was delicious. do you know if it’s open in march? we would like the celebration of my husband in that restaurant

  5. Thanks a bunchI really liked reading this. It makes me want to start my own blog! Just what topic though? I am a dentist by profession but cannot imagine many people wishing to read about the dental profession? Maybe I am wrong!

  6. We were referred to this restaurant by a local guest house as a place where we could get a good meal at a reasonable price. The restaurant is in the oldest building in Iceland, a 1741 “prefab” sent over from Denmark. Meals are served at long plank tables. If you’re there on a busy night, you may be sharing the table with another party.

    Our waiter was a viking who spoke good English but didn’t trust himself. He would speak three words in English and then stop. He was so engaging it was hard not to try to fill in his English for him but then he would say three more words and stop; good man speaking good if uncertain English. We ordered soup and the catch of the day. The catch of the day is a given; it’s not as if you have a choice of entrée.

    In a while, a large bowl of soup arrived: a really good soup with a tomato base. Naive us; when we decided to ladle out a second serving we discovered mussels at the bottom of the bowl. We tried not to over-do on the soup as it wasn’t dinner but the mussels turned a good soup into a great soup and leaving a mussel in the bowl did not seem to be an option.

    After another while, the entrée arrived, plaice in a cast iron skillet with salad greens, tomatoes, and grapes. One bite confirmed that this was one of, if not, the best fish dinner I have ever had. There was more fish in the skillet than we could eat but we kept trying. It just seemed sinful to leave any of it uneaten.

    If you get to Isafjordur, you must try this restaurant.

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