Sægreifinn – The Sea Baron Restaurant
A true legend and a trailblazer in Reykjavik harbour is the Sea Baron, a retired fishermand and Coast Guard chef, who came up with the recipe for what has been called the “world’s greatest lobster soup.” You’ll find his restaurant, Sægreifinn (The Sea Baron) down by the old harbour in Reykjavík in green-painted, old fisherman’s hut, where you can have your choice of fresh seafood barbequed on skewers and see if there is any truth to the bold statement about the lobster soup.
In his early days, the Sea Baron, who is better known as Kjartan Halldórsson, was a fisherman who sailed from Reykjavik’s harbour during the 1950′s. Kjartan then decided to tak a week-long chef’s course and hired himself as a chef for the Cost Guard, where he would prepare meals during the often long tours. Then he pioneered marketing smoked eel to Icelanders and, to this day, he smokes his own ells down by the docks, the pungent smell forcing him to smoke them during the night.
Later, Kjartan opened up a fisk shop, selling all sorts fresh fish products directly from the dock.
Kjartan’s transition from fishmonger to restaurant owner was based more on coincidence than anything else. One day, standing by his boxes of fish packed in ice, a group of foreign visitors asked if it were possible for Kjartan to prepare the fish for them. Quick to spot an opportunity Kjartan ran to the nearest shop, purchased a grill and cooked the fish right there, inviting the visitors to dine inside his fish shop – which is where the Sægreifinn restaurant stands today. Word spread and more people asked for his grilled seafood, so Kjartan got rid of the boxes and becam a restaurand owner.