North by Dill in Akureyri: The North Icelandic Cuisine of Gunnar Karl Gíslason

After Dill, the first Michelin-starred restaurant of Iceland located in its capital, Reykjavik, Chef Gunnar Karl Gíslason opened another gourmet restaurant in the second largest and most important city of the country. North opened its doors in the summer of 2022 in the city of Akureyri, Iceland's "Capital of the North". Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and fjords, the city is a picturesque base for exploring the country’s numerous natural wonders like Eyjafjordur, the longest fjord in Iceland and fascinating activities like whale watching.

As a gastronomic base in northern Iceland, Akureyri is still in the bouts of growing and North is an address to take note of for an excellent north Icelandic experience. Just outside the center of the city, North is located on the ground floor of Hotel Akureyri, a refurbished building from the 1920s that used to be a printing factory where some of Iceland's important literature were printed. The color scheme of warm tones of black, brown and burnt sienna cover the restaurant from top to bottom where candles and dried herbs liven up the wooden tables. It has a set-up reminiscent of an intimate living room, with throw pillows sitting on top of cushioned benches, armchairs and couches while carpets muffle the floor with colors. At one end of the dining room, a counter works as the finishing kitchen table with bar seating to watch the chefs at work. 

The helm of North is entrusted to Chef Rafn Svansson, who had worked side by side with Gunnar as his sous chef in Dill. Replicating the same philosophy of Dill, Rafn focuses in showcasing the ingredients acquired locally and the producers from whom they are sourced from. Freshness is foremost but being a country that poses difficulty in cultivating fresh produce because of its short daytime light hours in the cold months, pickling of the locally-grown summer produce, like in their tradition, is the principal method of using vegetables outside of the growing season.

Gunnar Karl Gíslason

Dill plays an integral part of Gunnar's culinary career. He opened it in 2009 and was awarded with the first Michelin star of Iceland in 2017. He spread his wings towards North America by working as the Head Chef of Agern, a restaurant in New York owned by Claus Meyer, one of the two founders of Noma in Copenhagen. But after a four-year stint and garnering a star at Agern, he lost the star of Dill. This prompted him to go back to Reykjavik to reconquer the lost brilliance of Dill.

Gunnar Karl Gíslason, photo taken from North website

Gunnar Karl Gíslasson is one of the most prominent figures in New Nordic cuisine. A fundamental experience can be attributed when he was working under Head Chef Erwin Lautherbach at Saison, a two Michelin starred restaurant in Denmark. He has a great sense of sustainability in his kitchen wherein all raw materials are saved and reused in every possible way. The scraps are minimized by using them in other dishes, which impacts responsible cooking and creativity in integrating them as new ingredients. Simply saying, he finds fulfillment in a no-waste cooking.


The menu of North is inspired by the traditions and ingredients of northern Iceland. The philosophy of responsible cooking and sustainability remain as the backbone of the kitchen. The dishes are attained with few steps as possible to be able to make the raw materials stand out. It parallels the principles of Dill but with more affordable prices and less entries. The seasonal tasting menu, priced at about €82 (12,300 Sk) is an authentic journey through Icelandic culture. Wine pairing is at around €80 (11,900 Sk).


Address: Hafnarstræti 67, 600 Akureyri, Iceland
Tel: +354 454-5070
Opening hours: Dinner on Wednesdays to Saturdays, 18:00 to 22:00 / Breakfast daily from 7:00 to 11:00