Now You Can Get Real Tacos in Iceland
Homemade corn tortillas. A real salsa roja, smoky with ancho chiles. Creamy, avocado-laced salsa verde. Frosty-cold micheladas. In many respects, the new Taqueria La Poblana is exactly what you'd expect from a proper taco joint in the year 2017, with one, significant twist. It's in Iceland. Not only that, it's also one of the most sought-after restaurants in in Reykjavik right now.
Launched by expat Juan Carlos Guarneros, La Poblana is one of a handful of offerings inside Reykjavik's Hlemmur food hall, a project that's turned the city's grotty old bus station from a must-avoid, to a must see. Icelanders have been lining up at the various stalls for everything from bánh mí to liquid nitrogen ice cream to charcuterie. And tacos. Don't forget tacos.
La Poblana's are served as as they ought to be—topped simply with onions and cilantro. The tacos may transport you thousands of miles away from Iceland, but the prices will snap you right back—for a set of three, you'll pay 1,390 króna, which comes out to nearly $13. (If that seems expensive, it's actually a pretty good deal, for Iceland, where a bucket of chicken at KFC can run you over $20.)
This isn't the first time proper tacos have made an appearance in the Nordic countries, or in Europe at large—that side of the Atlantic is currently having a love affair with proper Mexican cooking. Rocio Sanchez' famous taqueria, Hija de Sanchez, adds a gorgeous pop of color to any grey day in Copenhagen, while in Paris, the twin, tiny locations of El Nopal have become a cheap eats staple among the capital's younger crowd.
La Poblano isn't Reykjavik's first flirtation with Mexican cooking—in 2015, another restaurant, Tacobarinn, opened up to much fanfare, eventually closing its doors, but not before one local reviewer took the restaurant to task for its mournfully bad tortillas. Even in Iceland, they know—if you're going to open a taqueria, your tortillas had better be legit.