The Best Food in Iceland Things To Eat in Reykjavik by

The 6 Best Things To Eat In Reykjavik, Iceland (and What It Costs!)

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Hot dogs, fish, soup, yogurt, tomatoes and orange soda. It doesn’t sound like much, but these are the six best things to eat in Reykjavik, Iceland – especially if you’re visiting Reykjavik on a budget (and, honestly, even if your funds are limitless, these classic Reykjavik food items should be on your must-eat list of Icelandic cuisine).


Best Food In Iceland

Due to the isolation and harsh winters of an island nation, the national cuisine in Iceland ranges from fairly basic and expected, to creative and downright strange. The remoteness also makes it outrageously expensive, which makes finding cheap places to eat in Reykjavik nearly impossible. We attempted to keep our budget in check and still get a taste of traditional Icelandic food – and we think we succeeded in finding six of the best things to eat in Reykjavik, Iceland.


The Six Best Things To Eat In Reykjavik

Our list of what to eat in Iceland includes a range – from fast food to traditional eats. For each item, we have included the Reykjavik restaurant where we ate it and how much money we spent. At the end of the post, we include other tips on eating in Iceland, the best restaurants in Reykjavik, Iceland food tours and cost-saving advice concerning Iceland food prices. 


#1 Icelandic Hot Dogs

The fascination is bewildering, but it’s really no joke: hot dogs are one of the best things to eat in Reykjavik, Iceland. Unlike the hot dogs in America, the links in Iceland are made with a blend of lamb, pork and beef and have natural casings.

But, it’s more than just the Reykjavik hot dog that makes it a winner and one of the most popular Icelandic dishes. Specifically, it’s the toppings that take the Icelandic hot dog from ordinary to extraordinary. Ordering a hot dog with ‘The Works’ means it will be covered in ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onions, raw onions and a remoulade sauce, which is a mixture of mayo and sweet relish.


The Best Hot Dog Restaurant in Reykjavik: Baejarins Beztu Pylsur

When talking about Reykjavik Best Restaurants it seems odd to put a street food stand on the list, but there is no denying that Baejarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand is the best. In fact, their name – Baejarins Beztu Pylsur – translates to Best Hot Dog in Town. MAP and website

Of all the places to eat in Reykjavik, at Baejarins Beztu Pylsur food cart near downtown Reykjavik, a line of tourists and locals are sure to be found. Even US President Bill Clinton has eaten at Baejarins Beztu. {Insert your favorite Bill Clinton hot dog joke here.} Don’t worry if the line looks long; it moves fast.

Each Icelandic hot dog costs about $4 USD – which ranks it as #1 for Cheap Eats Reykjavik. We got two each and called it dinner!


#2 Reykjavik Fish and Chips

Unlike the odd popularity of hot dogs, it’s easy to understand why Icelandic fish and chips is found on nearly every Reykjavik restaurant menu. The entire country’s population lives on the coast – and fishing is still the number one industry in Iceland. (We even learned from locals that part of the reason Iceland does not want to join the European Union is because they are intent on protecting their fishing industry.)

There are more than 300 species of fish found off the coast of Iceland and three varieties of salmon are found in the country’s rivers. Some of the most common fish listed on the menus of restaurants in Reykjavik, Iceland are cod, halibut, haddock and herring. Fish is prepared just about every way imaginable from fresh-out-of-the-sea sushi to savory fish stew to golden fried fish and chips.


The Best Fish and Chips Restaurant Reykjavik: Kaffivagninn

For Reykjavik fish and chips, Kaffivagninn was one of the Reykjavik restaurants recommended to us by a local – and we’re glad we made the extra effort to find it. MAP and reviews.

Kaffivagninn Restaurant, which is located on the old harbor, was established in 1935 and is consistently rated one of the best restaurants in Reykjavik. On a cold day, it is quite the walk from downtown Reykjavik, but totally worth it.

It’s not considered one of the cheap restaurants in Reykjavik, as it’s a bit on the pricey side at about $20 USD per meal. However, the portions are big enough to be shared. The meal comes with three fried fillets, three dipping sauces, a pile of fries, delicious soup, a fresh side salad, a roll and unlimited hot coffee (which was perfect after walking to the restaurant!).



#3 Icelandic Lamb Soup: Kjotsupa

Lamb Soup, Best Things to Eat in Reykjavik Fish and Chips

I don’t think there is anything better than a hearty, rich soup on a frigid, overcast day – and Icelandic meat soup, called Kjotsupa, fits the bill. A staple of Iceland cuisine, the flavorful stew, which is a concoction of lamb, root vegetables (like potatoes and carrots), rice and herbs, is simply divine. I could have consumed an entire vat of this traditional Icelandic food all on my own.

Lamb has long been the meat of choice in Iceland; in fact, Icelandic Sheep rank as the most common farm animal in the country. The meat is considered a delicacy. The distinct taste is attributed to the lambs being raised without grain feed or hormones.


Where We Ate Icelandic Meat Soup: Geysir Center Icelandic Restaurant

Icelandic meat soup is widely available and we are pretty sure it is all amazing. Where we best enjoyed it, however, is in somewhat of an unlikely place: The Geysir Center, located across the street from Strokkur Geyser. MAP.

We made a stop there on our Golden Circle Tour and wanted something to help warm us up. One portion of the a la carte soup cost an astounding $15 USD (did we mention it’s difficult to find cheap food in Iceland?!), but the taste was exceptional – especially as we were standing outside in the cold waiting for Strokkur Geyser to put on its show.

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#4 Skyr Yogurt

Skyr Yogurt is a popular food in Iceland…as it has been since the Vikings brought the recipe to the island more than 1,000 years ago. The yogurt is produced using Original Icelandic Skyr Cultures and skim milk produced by family-run farms. The traditional Icelandic food is packed with protein – and it’s unlike any other yogurt we’ve ever tried. Website.

The best way to describe Skyr Yogurt is that it is thick and creamy, but not heavy and – best of all – it’s low in fat. If you are looking for fast food in Iceland that is not a hot dog, a cup of Skyr Yogurt is a good choice! 

Where To Eat Skyr in Iceland: Everywhere!

While Skyr Yogurt is now sold in countries around the world, we think eating Iceland local food in Iceland tastes even better. And, because it is so wildly popular, the Iceland favorite food is found in supermarkets and (in some form) in nearly all Iceland restaurants. 

If purchased at a grocery store, a small container of Skyr generally it costs about $2 USD – making it one of the least expensive and healthy things to eat in Reykjavik. 


#5 Greenhouse Tomatoes

Eating fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes in Iceland in the dead of winter was not an experience we had anticipated, but one we were treated to on our Golden Circle Tour. We made a stop at the Fridheimar Greenhouse, which use Iceland’s naturally abundant geothermal resources to grow tomatoes indoors year-round. 

While wintertime tomatoes are hardly typical Icelandic food, they are certainly part of the innovative Iceland food culture – and we were more than happy to partake! 

Greenhouse Restaurants Iceland: Fridheimar Restaurant

The greenhouse at Frideiman is also used to cultivate cucumbers – and they have on-site restaurant. One of the most unique restaurants in Iceland, they feature tomato-based meals (rather than typical Iceland cuisine) in an atmospheric setting inside the greenhouse. MAP and Website.

At the Little Tomato Shop, visitors can purchase greenhouse products to-go. We bought a cup of deliciously sweet piccolo tomatoes for $2.75. Spices, sauces, salsas and soups are also for sale. 


6. Egils Appelsin

Egils Appelsin is a carbonated orange drink that is ingrained in the Iceland food culture. The drink is produced by the mega-beverage company, Olgerdin (the same maker of Gull and Borg local beers that we tried during our trip!).

The orange soda has been a popular Icelandic drink since the 1950s. While the beverage is consumed year-round, during the holidays it is mixed with Malt to create a non-alcoholic cocktail called Jolaol, which translates to Christmas Ale. We didn’t try the festive concoction, but on it’s own we can confirm that Appelsin is better than Fanta!

Where To Buy Appelsin: Everywhere

Appelsin is practically the national drink in Iceland – so it is available just about everywhere. At supermarkets and convenience stores it costs about $2 USD per bottle. At restaurants it will cost more. The best-tasting Appelsin is ice-cold and served in a glass.

Don’t Miss Tasting Great Icelandic Craft Beer! 

Best Places to Drink Craft Beer in Reykjavik, Iceland by


What Food We Didn’t Eat In Reykjavik, Iceland

When we researched what to eat in Iceland, we were introduced to an array of bizarre foods. However, venturing into the traditional and exotic cuisine of Iceland didn’t make our list of things to eat in Reykjavik.

In modern times, some of the funky food seemed more like a tourist novelty than a commonplace local meal. While we were intrigued by Iceland’s history of food, we couldn’t stomach consuming it. Besides, most of the unusual food in Reykjavik tend to be extremely expensive.


Unique Food of Iceland

While we took a pass on eating some of the more unique traditional Iceland food, it is certainly worth mentioning a few iconic Icelandic dishes that once provided sustenance through the harsh winters. Although some of these food are rarely consumed now (thanks to refrigeration), many of the places to eat in Reykjavik will feature Iceland traditional food (but it’s often just for the tourists). 

Fermented Shark – Hakarl

No longer a staple of Icelandic cuisine, Hakarl is far from the best food in Iceland. In fact, many locals have never even eaten it. The foul-scented cured meat is said to smell worse than it tastes…still many adventurous eaters can’t get it down. Locals say the best – or perhaps only – way to eat fermented shark in Iceland is to chase it with a shot of the potent local liquor, Brennivin.

Smoked Iceland Puffin – Lundi

Unlike Hakarl, Lundi – or Puffin – is a local delicacy that actually tastes good. The dark meat is often described as tender, gamy and slightly fishy. The world’s largest puffin colony resides in Iceland – and the funny-looking bird has provided nourishment to the people of Iceland since the times of the Vikings.  However, puffins are considered by some groups to be an endangered species. While it is still legal to hunt and serve lundi, we were fine not eating the Iceland famous food.

Boiled Sheep’s Head

Sheep’s Head is one of the Icelandic foods that we couldn’t stomach simply because the presentation is not at all appetizing. At restaurants in Reykjavik, Iceland the entire sheep’s head (minus the brain) is boiled, plated and served. Diners then carve out the tongue, cheeks and eyeballs – all of which are said to be delicious. (We will just take their word for it!) 


More Popular Food In Iceland

Strange Things to Eat in Reykjavik Caviar from a Tube JetSetting Fools

One of the best ways to really understand what locals eat is to stroll around the grocery store. As we perused the goods for sale, it revealed some other odd habits of eating in Iceland.

Dried Fish – Hardfiskur

Packaged like potato chips, Hardfiskur is hard, dried fish that is similar to jerky. High in protein, it’s a favorite snack of many Icelanders.

Black Licorice

Made from the root of licorice plant, which is quite prevalent in the country, Icelandic licorice is a favorite sweet treat. Stocked on the shelves of every grocery store, the candy comes plain, coated in chocolate, stuffed with marzipan and as an ice cream topper. 

Caviar in a Tube

We usually associate caviar with fine dining, but in Iceland we found it in an aluminum tube. Apparently quite popular in Nordic countries, the tubed caviar is creamed smoked fish roe and it is used on top of toast, eggs, crackers and cucumbers, among other foods.


Restaurants In Reykjavik, Iceland

Looking for the best restaurants in Reykjavik? Although we didn’t get a chance to eat at these Reykjavik, Iceland restaurants, they come highly rated by fellow travelers. Restaurants are listed by categories –  Cheap Eats Reykjavik, Mid-Range Reykjavik Restaurants and Iceland Michelin Star Restaurants. We include a link to each location on Google Maps (where you can also find hours and reviews). 


Cheap Reykjavik Restaurants

The cost of food in Iceland is rarely called cheap, but there are some less expensive places to eat than others. We think the best inexpensive Iceland fast food is a Reykjavik hot dog (see #1 on our list of Things To Eat in Reykjavik!). However, budget travelers can also seek out cheap Reykjavik food at these top-rated restaurants.

Icelandic Street Food

Using Grandma’s recipes, at Icelandic Street Food they offer a limited menu of classic fare and a true bargain. Their bottomless bowls of soup (seriously, free refills!) cost about $17 USD. Now, that is a value dinner in Reykjavik! MAP

Fish & Co

Fish & Co is a Reykjavik Food Truck that doles out dishes of pan-fried cod that is cooked to perfection. Their fish platters are served with fries or a salad of spinach and baby tomatoes for just about $15 USD. The food truck gets high marks as one of the most affordable and best places to eat in Iceland. MAP.

Lamb Street Food

The fast-food Reykjavik Lamb Street Food restaurant focuses on local cuisine with a healthy twist at a budget price. Lamb wraps start at about $15 USD – and they offer a range of vegan options, too! It is highly rated as one of the best cheap restaurants in Reykjavik. MAP.


Mid-Range Traditional Icelandic Food in Reykjavik

If you are wondering where to eat in Reykjavik for a sit-down meal that is splurge-worthy, but won’t completely break the bank, we have a few suggestions.

Forretta Barinn

Earning rave reviews from fellow travelers, Forretta Barinn offers an upscale dining experience at affordable prices. Touted as one of the best restaurants in Reykjavik, Iceland, the focus is on local ingredients and traditional fare. One of the stand out features of their menu is the choice of four set 4-course meals, which start at around $45 USD. MAP.

Resto Reykjavik

One of the extremely popular places to eat in Iceland, Resto Reykjavik is highly regarded for its quality seafood and local cuisine. The restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere, well-presented dishes and value pricing. MAP.


Best Restaurants in Reykjavik with Michelin Star

Visitors who want to really splurge on a meal can find some of the best food in Reykjavik at one of the city’s Michelin Star restaurants. As of 2019, there are 8 Michelin Star dining establishments in the city, and you may want to check your credit limit before sitting down at one of them!

Grillid Restaurant Reykjavik

Boasting an amazing view and excellent service, Grillid offers a fresh and creative menu for people who appreciate fine dining. Rated as one of the best places to eat in Reykjavik, it is the details – like pairing the perfect wine with each course of food – that creates a superb dining experience. Complete meals cost around $150 per person. MAP.

DILL Reykjavik

Featuring an inventive menu of local cuisine, Dill excels at presentation and personal service. The chefs and sommelier are on hand to give full descriptions of the food and wine – which is why it is ranked as one of the best restaurants in Iceland. The extensive tasting menu is offered at about $110 USD and can be paired with a wine experience. MAP.


Icelandic Cuisine Tours

A fantastic way to get a taste of traditional Icelandic dishes and regional specialties is with the help of a local guide on an Icelandic food tour. Guide-led tours range from a couple of hours sampling the best food in Reykjavik to all-day adventures in the countryside.

Food Tour Reykjavik

For a sample of the local cuisine in Reykjavik, join fellow travelers for a small-group Reykjavik food tour. The Food Lovers Tour is a highly rated Reykjavik food walk that is limited to 12 participants and features 10 tastings. Reserve Your Spot!

Beer and Food Tour in Reykjavik

Discover local cuisine alongside craft beer on a Beer and Food Tasting Tour. The beer and food pairing meal takes place at a local brewery and includes 6 small plates of Icelandic cuisine, as well as samples of 6 different locally-produced beers. Book it now!

Countryside and Iceland Cuisine Tour

Set off with a guide into the West Iceland countryside for a day of phenomenal food and sightseeing. The trip includes visiting a local farm and microbrewery. Find out more!


The Cost of Eating In Iceland

As budget conscious travelers, we always consider (and calculate!) the cost of food in the places we visit. We knew before going that the food prices in Iceland were going to be high, but I’m not sure that we were exactly prepared for the exorbitant costs of eating in Reykjavik.


Iceland Food Costs

During our short stay in Iceland, we definitely spent more on food than we usually average – and more than we originally budgeted.

We thought we couldn’t go wrong by ordering a pizza for take-away, but we were hit with sticker shock. A large mediocre-tasting meat pizza cost around $30 USD.

The food and drink prices in Iceland were astounding – and finding cheap eats in Reykjavik proved more difficult than we imagined. However, we weren’t prepared to let the cost of eating out in Iceland hinder our experience – and we don’t think other travelers should either.

Some of the top things to eat in Reykjavik are expensive, but also essential Iceland food experiences. We saved money be making our own breakfasts so that we could splurge on a few meals, like Icelandic fish and chips and the famous meat soup. 


Best Budget Tip: Avoid Iceland Restaurants

Since even the most affordable restaurants in Reykjavik, Iceland are not cheap, the best way to save on the budget is to buy food at the grocery store. The largest supermarket is Bonus, which is where we should have shopped, but we went to the 10-11 store instead.

When on a budget, the Best Things to Eat in Reykjavik are from the store JetSetting Fools


How Much is Iceland Food at 1011 Store?

While buying food at the store to cook at our Airbnb apartment was a cost saving measure, buying the food at the 1011 convenience store was not. We went ultra-basic and bought the essentials for filling breakfasts and mid-day snacks – and were still left with a hefty price tag for what we got. 

This is the food we bought – and how much it cost:

  • Six Eggs cost 589 ISK/$4.65 USD – which is 77 cents per egg.
  • One Loaf of Bread (15 slices) cost 539 ISK/$4.25 USD – which is 28 cents per slice.
  • Four Apples cost 709 ISK/$5.60 USD – which is $1.40 per apple.
  • One Danish Loaf (8 pieces) cost 599 ISK/$4.75 USD – which is 60 cents per serving.
  • Cheese (16 slices) cost 722 ISK/$5.70 USD – which is 35 cents per slice.
  • Total shopping bill: 3,158 ISK/$24 USD

Cost of Homemade Breakfast in Reykjavik

The food that we bought at the store was used to make breakfast in our rented Airbnb apartment. We broke the price down to calculate how much it cost per meal. 

  • Egg Sandwich – 1 egg (.77), 2 slices of bread (.56), 1 slice of cheese (.35)
  • Half of an apple (.70)
  • I piece of Danish (.60)
  • Total breakfast cost: $2.98 USD

While I think the 1011 store food prices in Iceland are outrageously high, it was still more cost effective than eating out in Reykjavik – and probably much healthier. Our entire breakfast cost the same as a single hot dog, which would not have been enough to call a meal.


Top Tips For Your Trip To Iceland

Now that you know what and where to eat in Reykjavik – and how much it costs! – we have a few more tips for your trip!


Where To Stay In Iceland: Reykjavik Accommodation

During our visit to Reykjavik, we stayed in a great Airbnb Apartment. We have found that staying in apartments is often less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen where we can cook some of our own meals.

Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!

However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many Reykjavik Hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. We recommend searching for hotels that offer an included breakfast or cooking facilities. 

Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip: Kvosin Downtown Hotel, Canopy by Hilton and Hotel Lotus Reykjavik – or start your search for the perfect place to stay on

Budget travelers may want to look at these Reykjavik hostels: Reykjavik Downtown Hostel, Loft Hostel and Falkinn Guesthouse


Flights To Iceland

Our preferred method of getting anywhere is by flying (we are JetSetting Fools, after all!) and we arrived in Iceland from Amsterdam and departed to Washington DC. Other popular US gateways with direct flights to Iceland include Seattle, Denver, NYC and from Europe; London, Frankfurt and Paris. When we need to purchase plane tickets, we start our search for the best deals on airline tickets on Skyscanner.

The main Reykjavik airport is Keflavik Airport (KEF), which is the hub for Iceland Air. It takes about 45 minutes to get from the airport to the Reykjavik city center – and there are numerous options for making the trip. Visitors can rent a car, book private transportation, ride a shared shuttle or take the Flybus


How To Plan Your Trip To Iceland

During our Reykjavik trip, we squeezed just about as much sightseeing as we could into our time in the city. In addition to everything that we ate, we explored the city, ventured out on day trips to the Golden Circle, the South Coast of Iceland, chase the Northern Lights and soaked in thermal waters. 

Use our detailed day-by-day Iceland Itinerary to plan your trip!


Start planning your trip to Iceland! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


We want to know: What do you think are the best things to eat in Reykjavik, Iceland? Is there any food in Iceland that you would add ot our list? What do you think of the price of food in Iceland? Did you splurge or go budget? Tell us in the comments!


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Best Things to Eat in Reykjavik

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17 thoughts on “The 6 Best Things To Eat In Reykjavik, Iceland (and What It Costs!)

  1. Jan MD

    Traveling to Iceland mid November, 2017. Looking for suggestion for type of shoe and coats to bring. We are hoping to see the Northern Lights, any recommendations on good tour companies.

    • Hello Jan. Sorry for the late reply! We used nearly all our clothes in late January…we’d recommend lots of layers and a good wind-breaker and trekking shoes, we use Merrell. Reykjavik Excursions took great care of us when we visited. Good luck on seeing the Northern Lights!

  2. Debbie

    Thanks for the tips on where to shop. My husband and I just booked our trip for September. We are considering to rent a van/camper for the week! Can’t wait!

    • Sounds like a fantastic way to see Iceland – and a wonderful time of year, too! Enjoy your trip – oh, and if you drink alcohol, buy it on arrival at the airport in the duty free shop ~ cheapest place in town! 😉

  3. keith rhodes

    My wife and I spent 4 days there in the beginning of Dec, 2016 WOW, what a trip we had!! The people were great, food was very good and Iceland was a very beautiful place. We had the hot dogs(very good and not expensive at all) fish and chips and the yogurt. The place is a little pricey but well worth it. We also had chicken wings and they were pretty darn good. We found out that the best thing to do is wait until you are in the airport to buy your gifts and such before heading home. Much cheaper and the same items you find in town. We stayed at the Grand Hotel and it was very nice with a great breakfast.. Did the Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle tour and saw the geysers. And saw the Northern Lights. Made some new friends. I would like to go back in the summer months, rent a camper and drive the Island. Have to put that on my bucket list….Oh yeah, the locals told us to buy groceries at Bonus. much less expensive.

    • Hi Keith – Thanks for the great comment and tips! We, too, loved Iceland in the wintertime…and now want to go back in the summer! We think renting a camper and touring the island would be a great way to see it! Great tip on buying gifts at the airport – since we are full-time travelers (and, thus, carry everything we own), we never buy gifts, so we didn’t know the tip about buying gifts at the airport. If/when we go back, we’ll definitely do our grocery shoppping at Bonus! What did you think of the Blue Lagoon? We skipped it in favor of the local thermal spas – and have heard differing opinions; curious to know yours. Cheers!

  4. D

    Hey guys, if you ever go again, try doing your grocery shopping at Bonus – they are better priced (altho they are obviously still going to be expensive to you, esp as you’re working in $) but they are better than 10/11 who are more of a convenience store like 7/11. There is one on the main shopping street, Laugavegur, and if you head out towards the Harbour and beyond (towards the Whales of Iceland exhibition centre) – there is a much larger Bonus and also a Kronan which i think is a little more pricey, but nice as a treat.

    • Thanks for the tip! Great info!! Yes, I think shopping at Bonus would have been much more economical – and if we had been there longer than 4 days, we would have made the effort to find it, for sure.

  5. I’m glad you’ve written your last two posts, brings a new perspective. You guys travel much as we do and while we enjoy going out and living it up on occasion we also have to keep the price of basics down. That may not be the case if someone is on a two week vacation but as full time travellers I now know that Iceland would not be a place that we would ever use as a base for any lengthy amount of time.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Absolutely not as a base! However the landscape is incredible (possibly even more so outside of winter) and the people are fantastic. Also, if traveling to/from North America and Europe, Iceland Air allows free stopovers for up to 5 days.

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