Restaurant ÓX is a small, speakeasy-style restaurant from chef Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson, tucked away in the back of his casual restaurant, Sümac. In contrast to the big, bustling dining room it’s hidden inside, the interior at ÓX is no bigger than the eleven-seat counter it houses. The space instantly makes you feel at home – that’s because the kitchen is originally from Vigfusson’s grandfather’s old farmhouse. Now, the rustic cabinets and appliances have been transplanted into this fine dining restaurant; the setting serves as a fun juxtaposition to the stunning presentations of the tasting menu. ÓX only has one seating per night, with a total of three chefs preparing and serving 20 dishes showcasing local Icelandic ingredients. It’s dinner and a show – the chefs love interacting with the guests and are eager to go into detail about any ingredient or technique. It’s a lengthy, complex menu, which is especially impressive given the tiny space they are operating in. In our opinion, ÓX is the next Michelin star candidate in Iceland – this is the most innovative and exciting new restaurant in Reykjavík. Update: Like we predicted, ÓX got their first star in 2022!
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The price for the experience is inclusive of the tasting menu as well as the wine pairing (which was quite generous, and focused on natural wines, one local beer, and a house-made kombucha). They also have a non-alcoholic pairing for those not drinking. Later this year (after the summer), ÓX will move into a new location across the street. The style will be identical, although the counter will be U-shaped instead of L-shaped, and there will be a little more space for the chefs to work. Instead of high bar stools, guests will be able to sit in normal chairs at the counter as the kitchen will be sunk into the floor (like at Sushi Anaba). It will still be a restaurant speakeasy, in an alley, down some stairs, and hidden in a new cocktail bar the chef is designing to look like a grandma’s living room from the 70’s. We look forward to coming back hopefully next year to see the new venue and maybe make a YouTube video next time!
Have you been to ÓX? Let us know in a comment below.