Matstovan hjá Elisabeth (Viðareiði, Faroe Islands)

On our last full day in the Faroes, we drove to the north end of Esturoy so we could climb up Slættaratindur, the highest mountain in the Faroes (albeit just 2890 ft). While we had some tremendous views on our way up, we soon found ourselves encased in thick clouds and decided to descend and use our last day exploring a few of the villages in the Faroes that we hadn’t already visited. So we soon found ourselves in the far Northeast corner of the islands, enjoying the pleasant village of Viðareiði.

The village is quite picturesque, lying on a narrow isthmus on the island of Viðoy connecting two fairly impressive mountains (by Faroes standards), Malinsfjall to the south, and Villingdalsfjall which includes Cape Enniberg, the second highest sea cliff in Europe at 754 meters (2,474 ft). Alas, the same weather that caused us to turn around on Slættaratindur also kept us from attempting Villingdalsfjall. So instead, we enjoyed the views from the village, explored the church and graveyard, and then wandered over to the restaurant. Restaurant? Yes, unlike most of the remote villages, Viðareiði actually has a rather nice restaurant, Matstovan hjá Elisabeth (roughly translates as “Elisabeth’s Dining Room”).

Matstovan hjá Elisabeth has a particularly nice feel, it’s a cozy, homey dining room that feels a bit more like you are in someone’s home than a formal restaurant. Menu-wise, it’s pretty much “Faroese comfort food”, and indeed, the specials the evening of our visit were relatively straightforward: guillemot (a seabird), saddle of lamb, and a variety of fresh fish dishes. Having seen uncountably many sheep during our visit, yet not having had much for lamb in the way of food (aside from a slice of lamb the first night, and some skerpikjøt slices back at Koks), I decided having the saddle of lamb was in order.

And, indeed, this was a particularly pleasant dish. It wasn’t fancy: a nicely spiced and salted slab of lamb served up with a rich gravy and a selection of root vegetables, but the quality of the lamb was pleasant: this was one of the nicest, richest pieces of lamb I’ve ever had, and it was cooked to absolute perfection: medium rare with a nice crisp to the fat. About the only downside? This wasn’t a cheap meal, but hey, I was as far as you can get in the Faroes from the main port or airport without using ferries, and, to be quite honest, I’d probably pay almost this much for a lamd roast at a nice chop house back home. So I was rather pleased. That, and enjoying it with a Föroya Bjór Green Islands Stout (probably the best beer we had in the Faroes), and this was quite a pleasant last formal meal to have on our visit.

So, despite the relatively remoteness (although it’s only about a 40 minute drive from Klaksvik), Matstovan hjá Elisabeth was a quite enjoyable outpost of a restaurant, with charming views and a pleasant staff.

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