Gastronomy, coffee, and culture in Tórshavn
Gourmet cuisine that ranks among the best in the world
For many years the KOKS restaurant was at Hotel Føroyar, where head chef Leif Sørensen turned it into one of the best restaurants in the Nordic region. He did so with a New Nordic focus on local herbs, seaweed, and outstanding Faroese ingredients such as lobster, mussels, and lamb. A couple of years ago, fresh young talent Poul Andrias Ziska took over the reins of the restaurant, which recently checked out of the hotel in Tórshavn and moved 12km away to the scenic village of Kirkjubøur, where the experience can be enjoyed against a backdrop of the most beautiful sea views imaginable.
Í Geilini, 175 Kirkjubøur
Nordic art and culture
At first glance, it looks almost like the grass-clad Nordic House is growing right out of the ground. The large window façades give an unobstructed view of the outside world, but the building’s purpose is actually to look inward and showcase Nordic and Faroese art and culture. In the name of Nordic harmony, the stones are Norwegian, the floor planks are made from Swedish wood, the chairs are Finnish, the steel construction is Danish, and the grass on the Icelandic roof is Faroese. The permanent exhibition displays the best in Faroese art, and they also hold concerts, theater shows, and dance performances including traditional Faroese dance. Or you can just drop by for a quick break in the culture house’s café.
Sound a bit weird? It’s actually not. The chilly waters of the North Atlantic that surround the Faroe Islands contain seafood of extremely high quality, making them ideal for sushi, and that’s exactly what’s on offer at Etika, where you can sample the nigiri made with fresh Faroese salmon and sticks of Faroese lobsters and top-quality lamb.
Gongin 3, 100 Tórshavn
At the fermentation restaurant
Restaurant Ræst is something of a culinary innovation. The Faroe Islands are both famous and infamous for their fermented specialties and it is these fermented ingredients that form the basis of the special menu at Ræst, which will be a new experience for most guests. At Ræst, you can try both fermented lamb and fermented fish, and wash it down with some sherry and organic wine. A visit here is not to be missed if you want to challenge your taste buds and get better acquainted with Faroese specialties.
Gongin 8, 100 Tórshavn
The best coffee in Tórshavn can be found at Brell Café. The café imports the beans itself and they are roasted several times a week. The beans are used in both the espresso machine and the French press, but you can also have your coffee brewed using modern ‘third wave of coffee’ systems such as the Hario Syphon and the V60 filter system.
Vaglið, 100 Tórshavn
A tour of parliament
The small Tinganes peninsula is probably one of the world’s oldest parliamentary meeting places. Since 825, when the Vikings met here to discuss national affairs, the place has been the parliamentary center of the Faroe Islands. Far out on the headland that divides the harbor in two is a beautiful old wooden building dating from 1856, where the Lagmanden, or Prime Minister, is based. Visitors are welcome to come to Tinganes and take a walk around the old town area of á Reyni, where the ancient black-tarred wooden houses with their grass roofs, the red warehouses, and the narrow alleys weave beautifully together.
Shop for local handicrafts
Öström is housed in one of the harbor warehouses and is a real haven of local design, Faroese knitwear, and handicrafts. There’s plenty to look at in the lovely big and bright premises by the harbor, where you can also enjoy a great cup of coffee in Öström’s café.
Text: Lars Roest-Madsen