Thursday 5 November 2015

Where to eat in Reykjavik, Iceland

Remember back in July I went to Iceland? Well I'm just about getting around to blogging about it. I have a ton of posts planned detailing where we went, where we stayed and what we did. I've got about five posts planned just for Reykjavik but to be perfectly honest, I'm a little overwhelmed about where to start. I want to do a proper Reykjavik travel guide once I've uploaded my other posts but for now let's start with a little guide for where to eat in this wonderful city.

I adore Reykjavik, for such a small city there's a ton of stuff to do and plenty of great dining options. We spent 4 nights here which allowed us to sample all sorts of tasty delights. Unfortunately I left it too late to book one of the nicer restaurants in town so everywhere we tried is on the casual side. If you're after a gastronomic Scandinavian type meal I would recommend booking far in advance, especially if you're visiting in the summer. But considering the Nordic countries tend to be a little on the expensive side it's probably a good thing we stuck with the cheaper options.
When I look back on our time in Reykjavik I realise we didn't eat that much 'local' food. I think part of the reason was because we couldn't get a reservation at any of the nicer spots in town meaning that our only other options was cafe / bar type food. We did make up for this on our road trip where we ate lots of locally caught food and mountain reared lamb.

Breakfast / Brunch / Light Lunch

Cafe Babalu

I'd wanted to visit this cafe the first time I was in Reykjavik but we ran out of time so I made sure it was top of the list on this visit. The cafe is so cute, with a real English countryside tea shop vibe about it. Think lots of trinkets on show, pretty furnishings and a really snug atmosphere come winter. It's the perfect spot for brunch or light lunch with lots of crepes and sandwiches on the menu. We both opted for savoury crepes (ham and cheese for me) with a unforgettable cookie sandwich on the side to have for later that day.

Grái Kötturinn

I'd read that Bjork frequents this below street level cafe so we made sure to pencil it in one morning. Of course we didn't see her, I actually think she was in London at the time ironically, but to make up for the loss we had one of our most talked about breakfasts of the trip, The Truck. Your plate comes loaded with eggs, toasts, tomatoes, bacon, and pancakes which is enough to keep even the hungriest of people going for the best part of a day, I don't think I even finished it all as there was so much food. The cafe is sweet, think a Scandinavian version of a greasy spoon, I liked it a lot.

Bergsson Mathús

We visited this place the morning we left Reykjavik and I'm so glad we did because it's was one of my favourite foodie spots in Iceland. Bergsson is the ultimate Scandi cafe, think mid century furniture, a minimalist atmosphere, and delicious food. Steve and I both had the brunch plate which is an amalgamation of orange juice, bacon, fruit, cheese, bread, egg, and yoghurt. I have such fond memories of this place and the delicious breakfast that next time I'm in Iceland I'll be rushing back straight away.

Tíu Dropar

We popped in this little cafe to pick up some take away sandwiches for the first day of our road trip. I'd like to have stayed to eat because there's almost a chalet vibe, maybe due to the exposed beans and low ceiling. The sandwiches were lovely, generously stuffed on good bread that didn't fall apart on their journey in the back of our car.

Sandholt Bakery

Reykjavik's famous bakery and for very good reason, the baked good are delicious. I couldn't take a picture myself because it was covered in scaffolding at the time but on our visit we picked up some Icelandic doughnuts which are nothing like the variety you'd find over here and some freshly baked bread. I was so glad to visit Sandholt again last month when they had a stall at Borough Market.


The Deli

This is a great little spot on the main street to grab a slice of pizza to go. Not quite the Voodoo Ray's of Iceland but close enough as there's a ton of different pizza varieties each day and for cheap prices.

Taqueria Lucha Libre at the Paloma

I don't think this place had been open long when we visited in July but this tiny truck in the courtyard of the Paloma / Dubliners pubs sells great quality tacos. Who knew that the food truck scene was such a thing in Iceland? The tacos were tasty and cheap and you get a choice of different options so it's a fairly decent spot for a quick bite.

Sea Baron // Sægreifinn

This is the famous lobster soup hut down by the docks and if you don't visit you are a fool because the lobster soup is sublime. It's slightly curried and comes with a basket piled high with bread. Huge chunks of lobster are submerged in the delicious comforting soup and once you've taken the last spoonful you'll be gutted there's none left. This is a Reykjavik institution. You can also pick up a fish kebab, there's about 10 different types of fish to choose from. I think we went for red fish (what ever that is) and it was decent enough.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur

Another Icelandic institution, this hot dog joint is best visited in the middle of the night. During my first visit to Iceland we visited in the middle of the night midst pub crawl. This time around we visited in the middle of the night again, but because we'd spent all day driving around the countryside. The hot dogs are super tasty, the mustard looks odd but trust me when I say it's delicious and don't forget to pile on the crispy onions. We ate so many hot dogs in Iceland, you can pick them up from most petrol stations and they're a good option when there's a lack of food and your fed up of eating crisps.

Ramen Momo

We tried this ramen from their stand at the ATP festival and whilst it wasn't quite as good as the stuff in London it really wasn't too bad. A good option if you're sick of burgers, hot dogs and Mexican food.


Burger Joint // Hamborgarabúllan

Of course I was going to mention a burger place and of course it was going to be Tommi's. I actaully did a blog post about the Icelandic burger joint from my last visit. Great burgers, just like the London offshoot although this time around I felt the interior wasn't as cosy as my previous visit but maybe that's because it wasn't Christmas. Anyway, the burgers are still great and make a good option for a cheap dinner.

The Laundromat Cafe

I love this all day cafe / bar, the colour coordinated bookshelf may not be the most practical but it's a bar, not a library so who cares. This place was another revisit but I didn't eat here last time. The menu is pretty standard with sandwiches, burgers and plenty of Mexican food. We shared a plate of nachos which were tasty. The food isn't anything special but it does the job. What I really like about this spot if the fantastic beer collection and the general relaxed atmosphere. It's a big space so plenty of room to find yourself a table plus there's a functioning laundry room in the basement.


We stayed at KEX hostel during our time in Reykjavik and one evening were treated to a complimentary meal. The menu is small and includes standard bar food like burgers. We went for the Cajun chicken and chorizo burger. Both were very tasty, the chicken was extremely succulent and the burger was extremely falvoursome, just a shame I couldn't have it cooked medium rare. I never expect too much from hotel food but I was pleasantly surprised here. If you're staying at the hostel and you're after an easy dinner one evening then it's worth giving it a try.

Bunk Bar and Cafe

Another place serving Mexican food can you believe it. It's a nice spacious bar and there's a happy hour menu so it's a good choice for a cheap meal

Icelandic Fish and Chips

I don't have a picture of this place because I visited on my first trip but it's definitely worth including because I can still remember my dinner from over 3 years ago. The batter on the fish is made from spelt so it's a lot lighter than your traditional British fish and chips making this somewhat of a 'healthy' option, sort of.

Dill Restaurant

Dill would have been my choice for a fancy dinner but unfortunately it was full by the time I tried to book. Hopefully I'll get there next time.

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1 comment:

  1. Hannah, this is amazing! I'm going to look back on this if I ever go to Iceland - the Laundromat Cafe looks so cute! x


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