Eating your way around the Faroe Islands
Unveiling the Faroe Islands isn’t just about experiencing landscapes and traditions, but also embarking on an unparalleled culinary journey. From savouring coastal cuisine to indulging in Michelin-starred excellence, this Nordic archipelago invites food enthusiasts on a unique gastronomic adventure. The Faroese restaurant culture has changed drastically within the last decade, not in the least because of a few brilliant and innovative Faroese chefs, initially led by the celebrated Leif Sørensen and more recently by the chef at 2-star Michelin-star restaurant KOKS, Poul Andrias Ziska. Not only has it become commonplace for Faroe Islanders to eat at restaurants, but they have also started to accept that traditional Faroese food is suitable for fine dining. So read ahead and get those tastebuds tingling!
“Raest” means fermented in Faroese. Unlike the wet fermenting process for yogurt and pickled herring, the Faroes’ salty, brisk air creates ideal conditions for air-drying meat and fish, a process done in hjallur, food-drying sheds scattered across the islands.
Images by @raestrestaurant
Raest: In May 2016, the Faroe Islands saw the opening of what might be the world’s first “fermented” restaurant: Raest, entirely dedicated to traditional Faroese fermented foods. The restaurant itself is in Tórshavn, in a creaky 400-year-old house with a bright blue door. The narrow dining room’s floors, walls and ceilings are built of salvaged driftwood. Communal tables seat 27 and are made from the reclaimed Douglas pine of an old schooner’s mast. A Delft stove once fueled by blubber oil sits in the corner. The menu includes cold fermented lamb soup with turnips, fermented cod and fermented lamb intestines, fermented colon on sauerkraut, Rhubarb porridge with cream of burned rosemary, and for dessert, waffle, jam, and milk. This dining experience may not be for everyone but if you’re a budding foodie like myself then it’s definitely worth it!
The Faroe Islands’ location in the North Atlantic Ocean means that seafood takes center stage. As you journey along the dramatic coastline make sure to look out for one of the many delicious seafood restaurants and enjoy the freshest catches prepared with an artisanal touch.
Barbara fish house: Tucked between turf-roofed houses in the historical part of Tórshavn is Barbara fish house. Boasting the world’s freshest seafood, it has a fantastic tasting menu, consisting of locally-caught Faroese seafood such as horse mussels and smoked salmon, fresh scallops, and Bouillabaise poured from a teapot. If you want to try true Faroese seafood, Barbara is definitely the place to go!
Elevating your dining escapade, the Faroe Islands showcase Michelin-starred gems hidden amidst their pristine landscapes.
Koks: Elevating your dining escapade, the Faroe Islands showcase Michelin-starred gems hidden amidst their pristine landscapes. Koks, located within a 17th-century farmhouse, seamlessly blends culinary creativity with local treasures like foraged ingredients and ocean catches. Immerse yourself in Koks’ innovative tasting menus that translate nature’s bounty into unforgettable culinary experiences. KOKS was awarded two Michelin stars in February 2019 and again in February 2020 when KOKS was also rewarded with a sustainable emblem by the Michelin Guide. KOKS maintained its position as the leading restaurant in the Faroe Islands when it was awarded two stars once again in September 2021.
Venture into the lush hills and unlock the secret behind the Faroe Islands’ farm-to-table movement. With its isolated location and unique climate, the Faroe Islands have a distinct range of ingredients, including seafood, lamb, and wild herbs. This movement focuses on promoting sustainability, supporting local farmers and producers, and preserving traditional culinary practices. Restaurants and chefs in the Faroe Islands often collaborate closely with local farmers, fishermen, and foragers to obtain the freshest ingredients available.
Images by @aarstova.restaurant
Áarstova: A well-known and much-loved restaurant located in the capital. Áarstova is renowned for offering traditional Faroese cuisine with a focus on local Faroese produce that graces your plate with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant is often praised for its cosy and authentic atmosphere which adds to the dining experience. Popular dishes you will find on the menu include seafood, lamb and various preparations of locally sourced ingredients. Try the “Spík ogn Grønari,” a savory dish marrying bacon and greens, that encapsulates the spirit of the land in every bite.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of travelling is tasting the local food. More and more people in the Faroese are offering ‘heimablídni‘, translated as ‘home hospitality’, where they invite people into their own homes for dinner and a chance to get to know the locals.
Images by @klarajohannesen
Durita and Fróði: Durita and Fróði serve an exciting menu with the special taste of fermented food, which is called ræst in Faroese. Traditional dishes with a milder taste are also on the menu. The couple, who live in the capital, Tórshavn, are happy to serve dinner in their authentic Faroese home with a beautiful view. You will taste 10-12 different Faroese specialities, prepared by Durita and Fróði all while learning more about the Faroese way of life.
Anna and Óli: This underground restaurant offers you the opportunity to sample new food, often dissimilar to the food usually served in restaurants, in a personal environment that will give you a proper taste of Faroese culture. Anna and Óli serve a 5-course meal, including homemade bread with sausage (Anna’s grandmother’s recipe), homemade rhubarb juice, and lamb – raised on their own farm – as the main course. I was lucky enough to try some of the homemade rhubarb juice on my last visit and it absolutely deliscious!
Faroese Dessert Delights
Your culinary voyage is incomplete without indulging in Faroe Islands’ sweet treasures. Relish “kaldskel,” a dessert soup concocted from dried fruit and vanilla sauce, or surrender to the allure of “Tunnbrødsrull,” a rolled dessert laden with cream and jam. Each dessert is a blend of tradition and innovation, culminating your journey with a sweet touch.
Images by @fiskastykkid
Café Fríða: Head to the picturesque town of Klaksvík and visit Café Fríða, a cosy great cafe if you’re looking for delicious coffee and tempting treats in a relaxing environment! The café is named after the first ship built by the Faroese people. It was pioneer Nólsoyar Páll that had Royndin Fríða built, 250 years ago, Royndin Fríða was built illegally and in hiding. Today it is recognised to have had great significance for the Faroese people.
Fiskastykkið: Located by the historical fish drying area in the village of Sandavágur, Cafe Fiskastykkið really has something for everyone. Fish, greens, homebaked bread, and the most mouthwatering pastries are on a constantly changing menu so you’ll be spoilt for choice! Don’t miss out on the rhubarb tart, it was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever had!
Paname Café: Located in the historical grass-roofed building in Vaglið square by the Parliament, you will find the Parisian-inspired Paname Café which effortlessly combines French interior and décor with informal Faroese hospitality and a real sense of history. This family-run café offers homemade pastries and bread, organic coffee and tea as well as some great French wines to sample over your platter of charcuterie. The perfect place to start your day with a homemade bun with cheese and rhubarb jam or to round off a long day with a good local beer.
Craft Beer Takes Center Stage
The craft beer scene in the Faroe Islands has seen significant growth and innovation in recent years. While it might not be as established as in some larger countries, the Faroe Islands have made impressive strides in creating a diverse range of craft beers that reflect the local culture and natural surroundings.
Mikkeller Tórshavn: Located in a 500-year-old wooden house, Mikkeller Tórshavn is a haven for beer enthusiasts. This establishment, a branch of the renowned Mikkeller Brewery, offers an extensive selection of craft beers from around the world. Whether you’re a hophead seeking an IPA or curious about innovative brews, Mikkeller’s diverse offerings are sure to tantalize your taste buds. The relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff make it a perfect spot to savor your favorite brew or discover new flavors
OY Brewing: OY is a newcomer to the craft beer scene however this microbrewery definitely packs a punch! Excellent atmosphere, delicious food, and dangerously smooth drinks! I had the Rhubarb (there’s a running theme here) and pear cider which was amazing! The location is a little out of Tórshavn, however, it’s still easily accessible on foot.
So there you go! Who knew such a small island could be home to so many amazing eateries! I’m going to end this food tour here as my stomach is rumbling but if any of these places have piqued your interest then check out our brand new 4-Night Faroe Island Experience and come taste for yourself!
Written by Lucy Kaufmann