September 10, 2004
I missed out on a nice photo opportunity while at Cafe Ópera. Before bringing me my Icelandic lamb dish, the waiter told me that they normally bring out a hot rock on which the customer seasons and cooks the lamb. I have no cooking skills whatsoever. I had visions of me burning up my $40 lamb meal. I declined and had the chef cook it in the kitchen. The chef did an outstanding job. I regret that I didn't give it a try. I saw others in the restaurant who ordered the lamb. The wait staff came out and put an apron and a chef's hat on them and then brought them the sizzling rock.
Paying for the meal was a little awkward. The cost of living in Iceland is high. This meal was no exception. The appetizers, entrées, and desserts for the two of us came to a total of 9750 ISK ($122). Traci and I do not drink alcohol but I'm sure the bill would have shot up exponentially if we did. However, the price was not the awkward part because it was expected. What was not expected was that the waiter brought me my credit card slip that had a line for tip amount on it. I was sure I had read that tipping for meals is not a custom in Iceland. The waiter was standing there waiting for me to sign, so I asked him was the tip included. He told me no and that I could enter the tip amount in the space provided. He was a decent waiter so I tipped him. After consulting my guide books again and other group members, I found out that indeed tipping is not a custom in Iceland; although, a tip will not be refused if you give one. Oh well, he was a good waiter.
From journal Iceland Getaway