Lamb, fish, potato, and mushroom – the four components that are responsible for the delicious Icelandic food. Because of the extreme climate that has converted large parts of Iceland into lava fields and wastelands, there is more animal produce and less vegetables and spices in Iceland, but the country is paradise for the people who enjoy fish and lamb.
It is a well-known fact that Icelandic sheep are raised naturally in the wilderness of the country. Moreover, the ban on bovine growth hormones, fresh water from glaciers and mountains, and almost negligible use of pesticides on plants give a rich natural flavor to the Icelandic lambs. Most of the fishes that are sold and served in restaurants in Iceland are caught wild. And there are numerous restaurants that are using traditional and new methods to add more flavor to the seafood. Though Iceland has a wide variety of fishes, different kinds of cod, flat, and herring fishes are most common in the restaurant menus.
There are also a lot of restaurants for growing the vegetarian and vegan population. The Icelandic Vegan and Vegetarian Society is a group of Icelanders that are helping restaurants cater to the vegan and vegetarians who are living in and traveling to Iceland.
To taste authentic Icelandic food, visit these ten restaurants in downtown Reykjavík:
1. Fiskfelagid Fish Company
Located in one of the oldest houses in Iceland, Fiskfelagid Fish Company is one of the most famous seafood restaurants in Reykjavík. With a beautiful outdoor space, fancy indoor décor, and a huge variety of seafood, this restaurant gives the best fine dining atmosphere in the city. The restaurant menu combines Icelandic seafood with the flavors of famous recipes from all around the world and some special recipes of Iceland. This place serves the most delicious salmon and it is a must visit restaurant in Iceland.
As the name indicates, it is a restaurant famous for its grilled food. It has a tasting menu and a few dishes prepared on a charcoal grill. The restaurant offers delectable food, exceptional service, a beautiful setting and a wonderful atmosphere. Because of its growing fame, the restaurant is crowded even during the lunch. And this place serves the tastiest lamb.
A perfect place for a quick afternoon snack or a four-course meal in a laid back, relaxed restaurant. Famous for its lamb and horse recipes, Forréttabarinn is one of the restaurants in Iceland that is not too expensive and serves delicious food. The portions of ‘classic’ and ‘grand’ appetizers are enough for a meal.
It is important to go to at least one sushi place in the country that is famous for its fish. This place serves food that is a blend of Japanese and South American cuisine, which is unique. As the name suggests, the place is famous for its sushi and it actually is juicy and mouthwatering. There is a huge variety of fish listed on the menu including shark, whale and arctic char. Hence, it is one of the best places for fish lovers.
This place starts serving traditional Scandinavian meals as early as seven in the morning. While the breakfast menu is not too different from American menu with ham, cheese, and bacon, the lunch and dinner menu offers more variety of Icelandic dishes that includes traditional Icelandic flatbread, fish balls, cod and Arctic char. The blend of American bacon, European scones and Icelandic porridge in the menu makes this restaurant unique and loved by tourists.
With six kinds of bread, juices, Icelandic Skyr, cheese, and fresh fruits, this place serves the biggest and the best breakfast buffet in the city. Apotek, which means a chemist’s shop in English, also has a beautiful lounge and an interesting list of cocktails. It also has a special ‘Sunday Roast’ when the restaurant serves traditional Icelandic leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic.
It is one of the most famous vegetarian restaurants in Iceland that serves street food and has a tonic bar. The café-like setting and its unique menu (with a huge variety of salads) to serve a considerable vegetarian population of Icelanders and tourists make this place one of the top places among restaurants to visit in Iceland.
Another vegetarian restaurant in Reykjavík that serves the best soups in the city. This place also has a lot of vegan options. Hence, it is loved by vegetarians and vegans equally. The place is not for fine dining, but good for grabbing a quick bite or to sip a warm soup in the afternoon.
9. Bombay Bazaar
One of the few Indian restaurants in Iceland that serve traditional Indian snacks and full-course meals. Since it is an Indian restaurant, it also has a fair number of vegetarian options. It is located in Kópavogur, which is not too far from Reykjavík center.
10. Laundromat Cafe
A cute café that has a laundry room, a huge play space for children, a wide variety of books to read while sipping coffee, and a unique décor. The café has a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it is great for families with kids and people who want to do their laundry without getting bored.
Updated: August 24, 2017