There is a pretty good chance that you want to try Icelandic food while you are in Iceland. Whether you’re looking for an upscale restaurant or a cheaper option, you should be able to find a place that offers what you like. In this article, we will tell you where to find cheaper and fancier versions of some typical Icelandic dishes.
Icelandic hot dog
The Icelandic hot dog, pylsa, is a treat that has surprised travellers for years. The topic of the Icelandic pylsa generally spawns two questions. Why in God’s name should I get a hot dog in Iceland? And then, the inevitable follow-up – why is it so damn good?
For penny-pinchers: Getting a hot dog in Iceland doesn’t have to break the bank. Many people say you can get the best hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu, a small but very famous hot dog stand in the city centre. And yes, it’s the one where Bill Clinton ate.
For spendthrifts: Looking for something fancier? Then head to Pylsa/Pulsa Bistro. A bun with your hot dog? How plebeian! Here, you will get your hot dog served on top of beer-mustard-braised onions, with potatoes and a green salad on the side.
Fishing has been part of Iceland since the age of settlement, and Icelanders have mastered this sport since. Every day, the freshest fish is caught and delivered to restaurants around the country. Looking for a healthy lunch or dinner? Then check out these seafood restaurants.
For penny-pinchers: Sægreifinn offers seafood on skewers, and they are famous for it. They have skewers with trout, salmon, shrimp, cod, scallops, redfish, catfish, plaice and more. But it’s not the only thing they are famous for, their lobster soup is what really attracts the crowds.
For spendthrifts: If you’re ready to spend some serious cash, then Fish Company is what you’re looking for. Does slowly-cooked arctic char and fried Icelandic langoustine with apple jam and beer-glazed sunchokes, topped with beer foam sound good? We think it’s needless to say more.
Skyr has been part of Icelandic cuisine for centuries. It was even mentioned in Icelandic sagas, so you can basically eat the same as Grettir the Strong. It’s a healthy, protein-rich dairy product, loved by Icelanders and tourists alike, and definitely something you should try during your stay.
For penny-pinchers: For the cheapest skyr, just head to the nearest supermarket. All kinds of skyr are sold, from fruity ones with blueberry, apple and lemon to sweet tastes with vanilla and chocolate. But you can also get your skyr plain, of course
For spendthrifts: Plain skyr, how boring is that? If you’re looking for something else, like vanilla skyr panna cotta with red fruits, you will get your fix at Lækjarbrekka, where always some creative and new skyr dessert in on offer.
During summertime, Icelandic lamb roams mountainsides freely which is reflected in the taste. Closer to game than farm-raised meat, lamb really is the beginning and end of everything Icelandic cuisine.
For penny-pinchers: Lamb Street Food serves Icelandic lamb meat with a Middle Eastern twist. They focus on healthy, local ingredients without additives. On the menu are different homemade wraps with Icelandic lamb meat and other local ingredients, such as Icelandic herbs and sea salt.
For spendthrifts: Would you prefer it if lambs only grazed on a small Icelandic island, eating nothing else than angelica? Of course you would. Luckily, you can get what you’re looking for at Grillmarkaðurinn, one of TV chef Jamie Oliver’s favourite restaurants in Reykjavík.
New Nordic Cuisine
New Nordic Cuisine is based on local, natural and seasonal produce. Traditional dishes are prepared in new ways, and local ingredients are used in surprising combinations. Purity, simplicity and freshness are keywords of restaurants focusing on New Nordic Cuisine.
For penny-pinchers: If you’re looking for New Nordic Cuisine for a reasonable price, then head to Matur og Drykkur. They offer classical Icelandic cuisine with a modern twist. They find inspiration in old Icelandic cookbooks and spice the recipes they find up in new and innovative ways.
For spendthrifts: Dill is the only restaurant in Iceland that has received a Michelin star. Each dish contains just a handful of ingredients to let flavours reach their full potential, and they offer organic wines to pair with the food. If you want to go here, better book your table on time.
Who would have thought Iceland is a go-to destination for ice cream lovers? Whether it is on a fine summer night or in the middle of a winter storm, you will find Icelanders queuing up for delicious ice cream.
For penny-pinchers: A sweetheart of Icelandic ice cream lovers and travellers alike, Valdís offers a selection of delicious gelatos and sorbets. They make a new batch of ice cream and waffle forms each day, so it is very fresh. Their sorbets are amazingly flavourful and they have an endless array of funky flavours.
For spendthrifts: Small-batch, artisan dairy products from a local creamery in West Iceland, can it get more exclusive than this? Erpsstaðir offers homemade ice cream, in several rich flavours. The ice cream itself is actually not that expensive, but it’s so tasty that you will probably spend more than you were planning to.