Frammi við Gjónna, Leynavatn, Faroe Islands

For a true taste of the Faroe Islands, make the 30-minute drive northwest of Tórshavn to this two-Michelin-starred restaurant, which sits in a river valley at the edge of Leynavatn lake. Here, head chef Poul Andrias Ziska and his talented team distill the tastes and smells of the surrounding landscape into exquisite dishes, offering diners an elevated take on traditional fare. Committed to sustainability, they use Faroese products whenever possible, sourcing only as far as other Nordic countries when local ingredients aren’t available. Also employed are ancient practices like salting, smoking, and fermenting, which creates raest—best described as Faroese umami (the team here really understands how the flavor is best developed and incorporated into new dishes, making it slightly easier for foreign palates to stomach).

Arriving at KOKS is like walking into a gourmet fairytale. After parking, you’ll be escorted to the restaurant’s own hajllur (a small, slatted storehouse used for fermenting), where you’ll be treated to traditional snacks like whale blubber and cod chips as well as a beer made exclusively for the restaurant by Danish brewery Mikkeller. Then, you’ll pile into a Jeep for the short drive through the valley to the restaurant—a traditionally Faroese building, painted black with a grass roof. The entire staff greets each group by the door, leading them into the cozy wood interior for a parade of 18 beautiful dishes, from scallops, langoustine, and mahogany clams, to crab with leeks, bacalao with blue mussels, and, of course, fermented lamb. Opt for the wine pairing, and be sure to linger in the lounge after your meal for coffee and various flavored aquavits.

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This upscale restaurant can be found inside the four-star Hotel Føroyar. Overseen by Chef Leif Sørensen, it has a contemporary interior and a menu that draws on sustainable local and regional cuisine. Expect traditional preparation methods such as fermenting and curing, and ingredients like cod, crab, lamb and blueberries.

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