After landing, my top priority was finding great places to eat in Reykjavik. Food is usually my main concern when I go travelling. Case in point, I’m planning a cross-country trip to America in the future and am seriously considering making it a food crawl, where I taste each State’s signature meal – nom.
I’ve tasted rabbit stew in Northern Spain, meat pie and mash in London, escargot in Paris, pizza in New York – trying local food is a must whenever you travel.
What food should you eat in Reykjavik?
When it comes to food in Iceland, you can’t leave the country without trying some kind of fish. Trout is popular, as is salmon, and for the very brave, there’s the option of fermented shark. However, be sure to opt for the small tasting portions when ordering as very few people take a second bite. Taste aside, it’s definitely worth trying for the true Icelandic experience.
Whale is also available, but I’ll admit I didn’t order any for fear of how the meat was obtained. You hear horrific stories about vicious whale hunters and since I hadn’t researched it beforehand, I didn’t know the ethics behind places that sold it in Iceland. Considering animal fur can be readily bought in many shops throughout the country, I didn’t feel confident enough to chance it.
Rye bread is incredibly popular in Reykjavik and smoked lamb is a must-try if you’re anywhere in the country. My personal favourite dish during my stay was Rye Flatbread with Smoked Lamb in Café Loki. I got it on three separate occasions during the five days – seriously, it’s just fab.
Where to eat in Reykjavik
Café Loki, located on Lokastígur (street) beside the stunning Hallgrímskirkja (church), was actually my favourite place to eat in Reykjavik. The staff were very sweet and chatty (perfect English) and their free wifi was really good. I spent more than a couple of hours just chilling and reading with pots of tea in this spot.
I would also highly recommend their Rye Bread Ice Cream – not quite as amazing as Murphy’s Caramelised Brown Bread Ice Cream, which is available in Ireland, but it’s a very close second. They also have some lovely Icelandic pastries that the locals enjoy such as Kleiner (twisted doughnut).
When it comes to nightlife, Icelanders are pretty laidback. A lot of people drink in each other’s houses or in pubs and – from what I saw and was told – there doesn’t seem to be a big nightclub scene. While I usually avoid anything that seems too touristy, locals are actually big fans of The English Pub, which has live music, great atmosphere and Reykjavik favourite, Kilkenny Beer.
Oh and don’t you dare forget to stop off for a famous hot dog with everything on it at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.
Cost of food
I heard complaints from some other Irish tourists about the high cost of things in Iceland, but I didn’t have that problem. Like anywhere, if you go to the main tourist places, you’re more than likely going to be ripped off; however If you take a detour off the few main streets and find somewhere the locals are more likely to visit, you’ll get much better value for money.
Then again, I’m from Ireland so I’m used to paying ridiculous prices for items…