Authentic Mexican food beneath the Northern Lights

Taco Pescado - fish taco at El Santo.

Taco Pescado - fish taco at El Santo. Photo/ El Santo

Anna Margrét Björnsson
Anna Margrét Björnsson

El Santo is a  new Mexican restaurant which opened on Hverfisgata in Reykjavik a fortnight ago. It's already becoming one of the most popular restaurants in the city which indicates that this northernmost capital of Europe was craving for a dose of spicy, sunny food.  The restaurant is situated in an unusual building with a glass roof, where another Mexican restaurant was previously located. 

 "We obtained this location in the autumn and redecorated," explains Ása Geirsdóttir, who owns El Santo along with Björgólfur Takefusa. „We created a new menu with our chef Agnar Agnarsson who is passionate about Mexican cooking."

Agnar Agnarsson, the chef at El Santo, with owner Ása ...

Agnar Agnarsson, the chef at El Santo, with owner Ása Geirsdóttir. Kristinn Magnússon

  „Agnar lived in the US where he was introduced to Mexican cooking.  On our menu we offer classic Mexican dishes made with only the best quality ingredients. "We make everything from scratch, we use our own hot sauce and corn tortillas, we offer vegan options and everything on the menu is gluten free. We only use chicken from an organic free-range farm in Iceland and we use as many Icelandic vegetables as we can. Everyone feels good after a meal here," she laughs. 

The menu is short and simple and focuses around traditional tacos. You can order pork, chicken, fish or vegan tacos or Gorditas, fried pastries with different fillings, Empanizados which are deep-fried jalapenos and habanero, and Elote which is grilled corn on the cob and a very popular dish.“

Elote - grilled corn on the cob.

Elote - grilled corn on the cob. Photo/ El Santo

On Thursday nights and on weekends, El Santo turns into a lively venue with different DJ's spinning tunes far into the evening. "We also have a lounge on the upper floor where people can enjoy margaritas and beer before or after their meal, or people can just come here for a cocktail, they don't have to eat."

Asked why she thinks El Santo has had such a great reception, Ása believes that the food obviously plays a major role, but also the great atmosphere. "We have this interesting glass roof and on clear nights you can see the stars and the Northern Lights above you as you enjoy Mexican food. All this, along with the music, creates a wonderful mood." 

She points out that El Santo is yet another restaurant to open on Hverfisgata, a street which has undergone a new lease of life this past year. "Many people think Hverfisgata is actually nicer than Laugavegur now. It offers plenty of bars, restaurants and shops, a great art house cinema, and we're located opposite the National Theatre so people often come her for an apres- theatre meal or drink. It's really nice to be a part of this street."

El Santo is open from 5 to 11 pm on weekdays and until 1 pm Thursday - Sunday. 

Check out their Facebook page HERE. 




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