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Iceland restaurant suggestions?

Iceland restaurant suggestions?

Old Jun 12, 18, 10:42 am
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Iceland - too expensive, too far, too small and too expensive

Just returned from Iceland and my husband and I wanted to know what inspired us to go. Very small city with not much to do. Landmarks are far between. The people enjoying it most were from out west and love to hike between all the landmarks or stay on a sheep farm. Yuck. I have been throughout the west, Alaska and Canada and can't figure out why inspired me to go to Iceland. No nightlife, museums are small, the Arts Festival venues didn't seem to have anything going on once we trekked to get there. The restaurants are so expensive that we didn't eat out once. $50 for hamburger, $25 for kids fish and chips. We drove to Costco and had a hot dog and pizza. Shops are full of trinkets and souveniers. A small stuffed puffin was $35. People that are getting those cheap fairs will be shocked when they buy their first coffee or beer..
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Old Jun 12, 18, 10:43 am
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Stay home and find some other place to visit.
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Old Jun 12, 18, 11:56 pm
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Originally Posted by mphall View Post
Stay home and find some other place to visit.
Honestly I agree, if you want to stay only in Reykjavik, go to 2nd-rate museums, and eat hamburgers and pizza you would be better off staying home. You've accurately described the dark side of Iceland and I felt mostly the same way about Reykjavik. But there is so, so much more to the country. If you're a person who enjoys being in nature it's practically a wonderland between the waterfalls, glaciers, volcanos, and easy access to camping.

As for restaurant recommendations, I can recommend the H÷fnin restaurant near the harbor. We spent about $65 for the two of us, with beer, and I thought both the food and service were excellent.
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Old Jun 13, 18, 5:56 pm
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Totally agree with _kurt. I've had good $15 hamburgers in Iceland, but REALLY good $20 Arctic Char and other local treats. And very few folks go to Iceland for the museums. You go there for the incredible natural vistas like waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, etc.

Sounds to me like our Nashville friends didn't do any research before going to 'the latest hip destination'

And I don't know of anyone who stayed on a sheep farm!
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Old Jun 15, 18, 9:35 am
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As a native Icelander I really wouldn't recommend going far out of your way just to visit ReykjavÝk. Sure, check out the city for a day if you are passing through but it really doesn't offer much of interest in my view. Iceland is about exploring the natural sights.
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Old Jun 20, 18, 9:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Out of my Element View Post
The way to eat in Iceland for less $$ is to hit the grocery stores (Bonus, with the big pig on the sign) and stock up there, along with the bakeries that are all over the place.

Our lunch every day was sandwiches that we made with bread from the bakeries and cheese and meat from the grocery store, along with dried fruit/nuts we brought from home (Trader Joes, if you have that).

Dinner can be done cheaper if you don't mind a premade sandwich from the convenience stores/markets at the gas stations in the smaller towns, or share a pizza ($25-$30), or the great Icelandic hot dogs can suffice now and then (they really are very good).
This is what we are looking to do. Take some food with us, and buy fresh stuff there. The only issue we might run into is the opening hours of the supermarkets and not being able to get to them on the days we'll be taking tours (decided against the Ring Road tour). Heck, we're also going to BYOBing!
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Old Aug 11, 18, 8:18 am
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Originally Posted by mphall View Post
I realize that Iceland is expensive but surely for all the tourists there, someone might have found a few bargains. Maybe a museum cafe or less touristy part of town? Any thoughts are appreciated.

Iceland is really really expensive and I think the US and Canada can't be beat for natural beauty. I wish I had saved my money and just gone for a weekend to see the Northern Lights and skipped the rest. If you're thinking about going to Iceland, check some other destination off your list first. It's an icy island and any food or supplies are very expensive. The fish is quite fishy because of the cold icy waters. It's not like Alaskan salmon. Museums all charged admission and a drink and sharing a sandwich was about $40. Crazy.


Er, Arctic char is local, fairly common and a typically salmonid fish. Tastes something like between trout and a milder salmon, like King. Quite like Alaskan Arctic char or mild salmon. Ubiquitous cod is hardly ôfishyö if itĺs fresh. Plaice is common, and delicately flavored. Icelandic lamb is among the best. Goose and game are not uncommon. But yes, itĺs pricey.

And strikingly beautiful, with glaciers, fjords, thermal areas and baths, clear streams and bountiful waterfalls, and the opportunity to walk down (or snorkel or scuba the Silfra lake) the rift that splits the American and European tectonic plates (not to mention the site of the Althing, the prototypical parliament).
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Old Aug 11, 18, 11:19 am
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Originally Posted by mphall View Post
Museums all charged admission ...
Wait until you are over 67 and you will enjoy free admission to some museums in Reykjavik.
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Old Aug 11, 18, 5:07 pm
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Originally Posted by NewbieRunner View Post
Wait until you are over 67 and you will enjoy free admission to some museums in Reykjavik.
(And at 75, USA TSA doesn’t make you remove your shoes. )

For cheaper eats (or to resupply, buy the clothing that one didn’t bring or that was in the lost baggage), don’t overlook

Costco Wholesale Vorhuis
Kaupt˙n 3, 210 Gardabaer, Iceland


South of Reykjavik, if you’re renting a car at KEF ideal to stop en route to Reykjavik. Or starting out southbound on the Ring Road.
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Old Aug 11, 18, 6:21 pm
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Near our hotel (Konsulat) and the harbor, some options... including a Delicatessen. Some are more informal. The Sea Baron / Saegrefinn is lobster soup or skewers of various kinds of fish and produce.
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Old Aug 11, 18, 6:52 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Near our hotel (Konsulat) and the harbor, some options... including a Delicatessen. Some are more informal. The Sea Baron / Saegrefinn is lobster soup or skewers of various kinds of fish and produce.
Wow! Iĺve been to all of them with the exception of SŠgreifinn. I was going there with some people from a recent Greenland tour but our flight was delayed and it didnĺt work out.

Other cheaper places Iĺve been to include CafÚ Loki by Hallgrimskirkja and Icelandic Street Food on LŠkjargata.
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Old Aug 12, 18, 4:41 pm
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Originally Posted by NewbieRunner View Post
Wow! I’ve been to all of them with the exception of SŠgreifinn. I was going there with some people from a recent Greenland tour but our flight was delayed and it didn’t work out.

Other cheaper places I’ve been to include CafÚ Loki by Hallgrimskirkja and Icelandic Street Food on LŠkjargata.
KaffÝ Loki is a good place to enjoy informally served Icelandic food. The adventurous can try items like

lundi (Puffin - the entire diet is small fish rich in oils - fishy, oily)

kŠstur hßkarl - Greenland shark, which can easily live to 300-500 years, has such high concentrations of urea and trimethylamine oxide in the toxic flesh it must be cut up, hung and aged for several months to become edible. It still smells like a powerful household cleaner. Hakarl’s generally consumed in appetizer sized portions and washed down with caraway-flavored Brennivin (a type of distilled potato aquavit flavored with caraway; you’ll frequently see called svarti dau­i (“Black Death”). I do like Brennivin as an aperitif, and it’s quite gentle and delicately flavored. (I always bring some home.)

Minke whale. Usually consumed as steak from the grill.

(The above have been consumed for generations, dating back to the days the Norsemen settled here. My own preference is even though I have Norse blood in my veins, I don’t partake of any of these three.)

Tamer Icelandic specialties like kj÷tsupß (lamb meat soup) and plokkfiskur (haddock, potatoes, white sauce and onion), rye ice cream, etc. are available too. Icelandic lamb is among the best, and the Icelanders certainly know how to make the most of any fish. Langoustine and seafood soups are typical as well. Loki is a centrally located tourist place frequented by Icelanders craving reasonably priced local food. I’ll be noshing there again in a few days.

skyr, is a delicious yoghurt-like preparation made from skimmed milk. It tastes sinfully rich, but in fact it’s high in protein and low in fat. It’s often flavored (and sweetened) with fruits such as blueberry or strawberry. Easy to find in shops, often as dessert in restaurants.

For other local food, see the article by ViaHero here.

Also, most restaurants seem to offer vegetarian fare, and a few offer vegan fare.

Icelandic breads are often home-made or artisan, and delicious. Often rye flatbraud or flatk÷kur will be served topped with smoked lamb, salmon or trout.

ßstarpungar (love balls, deep-fried, spiced balls of dough often served for dessert)

p÷nnuk÷kur (thin sweet pancakes / crepes, usually cinnamon flavoured)

kleinur (twisted doughnuts, are sweet and chewy treat

pastries are plentiful - blame the Danes and their occupation

Vegetables and fruits.

Root vegetables are very typical and local, others are grown in hothouses and greenhouses, and many are imported. Bananas definitely do not grow in Greenland, and you’ll find fruits can be expensive. Rhubarb is common, and deliciously tart.

Some seafood you might encounter served in many ways, including fiskis˙pa (fish soup, usually rich and flavorful).

bleikja (Arctic char - like fresh water king salmon, delicious)

■orskur (cod - white, mild and prepared many ways including fish and chips, Icelandic cod is a major export to North America)

har­fiskur (dried haddock, torn into strips when brittle, popular snack eaten with butter)

h÷rpudiskur (scallops)

humar or leturhumar is often called lobster, but it’s actually their smaller cousin the langoustine - definitely not lobster.

kŠstur hßkarl (Greenland shark, fermented to render it edible; see above)

krŠklingur (blue mussels)

l˙­a (halibut, a delicate and flaky white fish from a large flatfish)

oskarkoli (plaice, a small flatfish)

rŠkja (shrimp)

sandhverfa (turbot, another flatfish)

sÝld (herring, can be fresh or preserved in oils, sauces)

silungur (fresh water trout, fresh in summer and smoked year round)

skata (skate - skate wings taste rather like scallops)

sk÷tuselur (monkfish, eely fish with mild white flavor)

steinbÝtur (catfish)

villtur lax (wild salmon); eldislax is farmed salmon

řsa (haddock, one of the true cod family)

If it’s supposed to be fresh and it smells fishy, it’s not.


Meat is consumed in Iceland, but fish rule.

hreindřr (caribou, reindeer) is more common in the east in summer, somewhat gamey

hrossakj÷t (horse meat) is still popular, considered a delicacy and usually expensive.

lamb (uh, huh, lamb) is delicious, hay fed during winter and pasture (grasses and herbs) at other times. Lamb soup, kj÷tsupß, is more like a goulash, is hearty, filling and delicious - and often economical.

minkehvalur (Minke whale) is beefy and usually consumed as grilled steaks.

nautakj÷t (beef) is scarce and pricy, grass fed if local, but hanburgers are popular.

svÝnakj÷t (pork)

přlsur (hot dogs) are popular and you’re apt to find queues at Reykjavik’s přlsur stands.


Birds have always been part of the Icelandic diet.

hei­agŠs (pink-footed goose, often served roasted in autumn.

lundi (puffin) has typically been smoked or broiled in lumps, and as it eats fish exclusively has a fishy, oily flavor. Not as common as puffin colonies are diminishing.

rokkhlÝf (rock ptarmigan), a land bird about the size of a pigeon, is a Christmas delicacy

svartfugln (often called “blackbird” in English is actually guillemot)


Drinking: skyr and BrennivÝn are mentioned above.

Alcohol was banned in Iceland for years, but today one must be 20 years old to imbibe legally. Alcohol is expensive in Iceland. Alcohol is only available from licensed bars, restaurants and the government-run VÝnb˙­in liquor stores (www.vinbudin.is).

Wines are imported, mostly from the European continent.

Beers fall into several categories: 2.2% plonk sold in petrol station shops; local mass produced beer like Egils, Gull, Thule and Viking lagers or Pilsners; imported mass produced beers; locally produced artisan brews well worth trying.

All alcohol can be expensive, but many places have early evening “happy hours” that bring prices down a bit. If you want to exploit happy hour, download the ReykjavÝk Appy Hour app to your mobile.
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Last edited by JDiver; May 20, 19 at 9:09 pm
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Old Aug 12, 18, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Tamer Icelandic specialties like kj÷tsupß (lamb meat soup) and plokkfiskur (haddock, potatoes, white sauce and onion), rye ice cream, etc. are available too.
I've opted for tamer Icelandic specialities (Icelandic Plate - Baldur) of rye bread slices with mashed fish and egg & herring, plus rye bread ice cream.

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Old Aug 13, 18, 8:27 am
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Dill is the Michelin-starred restaurant. It's quite good and relatively reasonable given the quality. It may seem odd to have Mexican food in Reykjavik, and yet Burro, a relatively new restaurant, is quite good. Good cocktail bar - Pablo Diskotek? - above. Reykjavik has a strong indie music and craft beer culture. There's some good food at places that combine those. Mikkeller, of course, has a great assortment of beer and in Reykjavik they have pizza crafted by the Dill folks. Many places have happy hours. There is an app for that you can get. Getting outside Reykjavik, choices become more limited so it can be good to have snacks or sandwich items. Nˇat˙n is the grocery I preferred as they have a lot of specialty items, decent produce and bakery. They also have freshly prepared food at lunch for reasonable prices. Other grocery stores are less expensive, but lesser offerings.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 11:49 am
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Link to a good list of casual restaurants in Reykjavik posted on June 8, 2018 by Au­ur, a resident of Reykjavik, on her blog I Heart ReykjavÝk.

For those on the road, there are some relative bargains at petrol / gasoline stations, which often have popular cafÚs and cafeterias selling decently prepared grilled and fast foods, often filling set price lunch meals. That might include lamb, kj÷ts˙pa (thick lamb soup with vegetables and lamb chunks), fiskis˙pa (rich fish soup) or even plokkfiskur (haddock fish, potato, onion and white sauce) and plates with whatever the fish of the day is.

For example,

Kannslarinn on the highway in Hella is a casual road-side diner with good value, great kj÷tsupß (lamb soup), lamb filet, etc.

Restaurant Vikurskali, cafeteria style in Vik, is in a gas station / food truck stop . The lamb soup (more like a goulash), fish and chips,vegetarian burger are good, hearty and economical. service station

Last edited by JDiver; May 20, 19 at 8:58 pm
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