Photographed all over Iceland
The best breakfast, lunch, cake 'n dinner spots for vegetarians & vegans (and everyone else)
Food & restaurant guide to Reykjavik (and Iceland in general)
There are so many restaurants in downtown Reykjavik, with new places poppin’ up almost weekly, that you can easily lose track of where to go and what to try during your stay in beautiful Iceland. On top of that lots of myths and wild stories rank around the eating habits of the small population with the ridiculously difficult language and around the gruesome dishes that you apparently will get served. It’s also a common misbelief that vegetarians and vegans would be in trouble when spending time in the northernmost capital of our amazing planet – very, very wrong! A fact, indeed, is that there is no such thing as cheap food up here. (But there is cheapER, at least – if you know where to go.) Due to all of those reasons just mentioned, we sat down and wrote an entire 50 pages e-book on how and where to eat in Reykjavik. Unfortunately, said little e-book is currently only written in German and also not published, yet. That’s of course highly inconvenient, so we thought we might translate all the important parts and hand you an article filled with our favorite places and spaces, with the ones we consider reasonably priced, plus some overall useful information and handy tips. Four days of nonstop editing and here we go: a comprehensive food & restaurant guide to Reykjavik (& Iceland in general), especially for vegetarians and vegans.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(simply click on where you wanna jump to)
Chapter 1: The myths (and truths) about Icelandic eating habits
A lot of people still have a very wrong idea when it comes to groceries and food culture in Iceland. In the eyes of many the natives slaughter whales in masses and eat mostly sheep head, fermented shark and cute little birdies. Let’s please finally get rid of those ridiculous prejudices once and for all: that’s nonsense! Yes, in some Icelandic restaurants there still is whale on the menu and it is still allowed to hunt them (two species and in strict constraint to never even get close to extinction, though). You can judge this however you want: it’s a start. What a lot of people do not know: hardly any Icelander would ever go buy whale meat (we’ve never even seen it in grocery stores) or order it when going out for dinner. Whale is mainly consumed by tourists because they think that’s what people eat out here and they want to try it. We find it highly difficult, this entire whale discussion. Iceland is a secluded country far off the mainlands and for centuries the inhabitants ate what the sea provided. That included bigger mammals. With the markets opening up and import getting easier and easier whale has been crossed out of personal diets but still the Icelandic nation itself is judged as whale slaughtering ignorants. Well people, eating cows and pig isn’t that much better… Different cultures might have strange customs in your eyes but keep in mind that our customs and our history might feel just as wrong to them. All of us shouldn’t always be that quick to judge! Anyways, let’s not dive into that conversation deeper, since it never really ends well. We’ll leave it at this: Icelanders are a very tolerant, liberal and open-minded crowd. Plus, a lot of Icelanders actively take a stand for stopping the whale hunt and (for example) have founded an initiative that marks restaurants as whale free by putting up stickers with ‘meet us don’t eat us’ in the windows. If you book a whale watching tour you will quickly realize that those are mainly for educating tourists about how to keep the giants of the sea save. (You can find the official homepage of the project right here.) Same goes for all the other weird and disgusting dishes you will stumble upon during your research – there might not even be a handful of people left that actually think rotten shark would be a delicacy. It’s mainly ancient customs kept alive to entertain tourists. We don’t know a single person who tried fermented shark or would claim sheep heads are a great and yummy meal.
Reykjavik (and the entire country) is a good example of what can happen if a population sticks together and fights for a cause. May it be in something like football or the relevant things like equal pay for women and changing dietary habits and customs for the better. Of course, a population being this small does help in making change happen. Therefore, we are pretty certain that whale meat will be completely off the tables in the not so distant future. Now let’s finally talk ‘wine and dine in Reykjavik’.
Chapter 2: Veggie and Vegan in Reykjavik (and entire Iceland)
Being a vegetarian or vegan in Reykjavik is easy – no matter if it’s eating out, cooking yourself or grabbing a snack on the go. The big supermarkets often have a better assortment for vegans than back home in Germany for example and some offer more shelves with organic food than non-organic. There is plant milk of literally all sorts available, from vegan pasta sauce to cheese to ice cream to super foods – you will find whatever you are looking for. Since we try to cut back on refined sugars we know for a fact that it is super easy to find replacements, date syrup being our personal number one choice but you will also find coconut sugar, agave & maple syrup, and Xylit. If you don’t know it, yet: the app ‘Happy Cow’ will help you finding vegetarian and vegan stores, shops, restaurants and even beauty products. What you might also notice: you don’t have to be too concerned about hitting the road and finding nothing suitable to eat. In some of even the tiniest villages, there is minimum one cute café or cozy restaurant that offers at least a veggie option. In most of the gas stations, you get fresh and quite delicious veggie and vegan sandwiches and salads to go (by brands Dagný or Somí – the vegan ones are clearly labeled as such). On some of the big stations, you will also find food chains like BooztBar where you can order freshly squeezed juices, skyr smoothies (the skyr can be substituted for almond, soy, rice or coconut milk at no cost) and Acai bowls to go. Safest way sure is to prepare your own food in the morning and take it with you on your trip, though.
One ‘word of warning’: you might come across a brand selling snacks named ‘Veganesti’- That’s Icelandic for ‘provisions for the journey’ and not vegan, at all.
We can only repeat ourselves: Iceland by all means is NOT cheap. That includes vegan products. Almost everything is being imported and a lot of things are more cost-intensive than what you will be used to. A plant milk costs around 5€, almond butter maybe 7€. A few things will come cheaper (maple syrup, for example) but most will probably come as a shock. Like we said, it’s super easy to shop vegan but be mentally prepared for the prices. A positive surprise: Avocados. They are sold in a net of 5 (or 7) and almost always perfectly ripe. Next to the great variety in regular supermarkets you will find a few additional shops you might find quite interesting. Fjarðarkaup is a grocery store in Hafnarfjörður (suburb) and offers a section of health food with lots of vegan products. One of the Gló restaurants (more about those, later) in Fákafen 11 has a little food department filled with vegan options (they sell Seitan, for example). The Heilsuhúsið is a so-called health store and offers plant-based medicine, ecological products, juices, tinctures and beauty products. You can also get vegan snacks and protein bars there. At Mamma veit best (Mom knows best) in Kópavogur they also have an all vegan assortment. But for those of you that don’t stay somewhere close to that area it’s probably not worth the drive since you will find more than enough all over downtown.
Of course, such an extensive assortment and variety you will only get in Reykjavik and Akureyri. In most of the small villages, you will find one, maybe two supermarkets and you’ll have to go with what they have to offer. Especially in the west and east fjords (partly up north, as well) big supermarkets are nowhere to be found so you should try and bulk buy before you head out. When you plan on hiking the highlands or going on a road trip off the beaten path and into Iceland’s wilderness then make sure to prepare and pack enough food (since there obviously are no restaurants and markets out there). If you don’t you might seriously regret it. We learned the hard (and hungry) way.
Chapter 3: Grocery shopping in general and some hacks to save money.
Import is difficult, the population small and most things just aren’t needed in big enough amounts to be able to sell them for a better price. On top of that, import taxes are ridiculously high. Iceland doesn’t have the biggest advantage when it comes to agriculture since only a fraction of the land can be used for cultivating fruits, veggies, and corn due to the soil conditions. Since the climate is so incredibly harsh Icelanders can cultivate what proofed to be capable of withstanding the weather. (Potatoes and turnips, basically. A somewhat larger variety of products, such as tomatoes and strawberries, can additionally be grown in greenhouses.) Iceland is not only a green country when it comes to its breathtaking color palette in summer, it also lives off of green energy. A lot of restaurants opt for local and seasonal ingredients like arctic herbs and veggies cultivated in said greenhouses which make for high-quality food. Knowing all of this, you might get an idea why the groceries tend to be very pricey. Still, there are a few tips on how to save money when eating in Iceland. Here we go!
Just like everywhere, there are expensive but also cheaper supermarket chains. 10/11 which you will mostly find downtown is also called ‘the tourist trap’ because it is ridiculously overpriced. Hagkaup also is a little more cost intensive but best when it comes to fresh fruit and veggies. A little less expensive are Krónan and Nettó (they both have a really nice assortment of health food, eco-choices, and vegan options) and cheapest would be Bonus – the store with the funny pig as a logo. Beware that in some stores the price tags are electronic. During high season and when the place is really crowded prices might suddenly climb up to 4(!)€. Best would be to shop in the morning and to avoid the stores downtown. Almost every market sells a brand named “Euro Shopper” which isn’t just cheap but also really good. The cherry jam is awesome, same goes for applesauce, the chocolate spread, and the pasta sauce. A lot of their products taste even better than the high priced alternatives. They do only have basics, though. If you are looking for good quality tomatoes then look out for a brand called Islenskir Tómatar (they also have cucumber and salad) – delicious, not too expensive and locally grown.
One more personal tip: buy your bread at Hagkaup! They have really nice bread, fresh out of the oven every morning. In Bonús you might easily end up with some weird tasteless protein bread. Cheese is incredibly expensive if you buy it in slices (14€ has been our personal max we’ve ever paid for cheese here) so rather opt for a chunk and the local products. “Ostur” is regular cheese (Gouda) and “Maribo” a little more like cheddar. Vegan cheese is available in good variety at Krónan for example, they sell brands like “Violife” and more. Milk and Cocoa are best by Icelandic brand MUU. We once randomly picked something from the shelve and ended up with buttermilk in our coffee, which was really bitter. We personally aren’t the biggest fans of Skyr (except for the blueberry one) and rather go for yogurt but that is a matter of personal preferences, of course. The grounded coffee by Kaffitar is amazing and should be sold everywhere – we always gladly invest the extra bucks (but that, as well, is a matter of opinion).
You can’t buy alcohol in any supermarket (don’t be fooled, the cans of beer are alcohol-free). If you are looking for some Viking ale or a nice wine you have to stop by a place called Vínbúd which has very inconvenient opening hours. (11 am to max 8 pm during the week, on Saturdays they close somewhat between 2 and 6 pm, depending on the location and Sundays they are closed, completely.) If you want to go out for a drink (alcohol is REALLY expensive, we paid 17€ for the tiniest cocktail of our lives) then make sure to download the app “Appy Hour” which tells you where and when to go to catch happy hour and only pay half for your drinks.
Last but not least: you DON’T need to buy any water! The cold water from the tap is of the highest quality and purer then almost everywhere on this planet. Make sure to drink the cold one, though – it is cleaner plus the warm water smells like sulfur in some places and tastes reaaaaaally awful. Just always bring your bottle and refill it at whatever tap you come across, the quality is perfect all over the country. That way you won’t have to get rid of any bottles by the end of your stay, as well. (And you can’t bring those back to the supermarkets but have to make your way to a special place where the waiting line is no joke.)
Chapter 4: Reykjavik Restaurant and Café -Guide
You have to be aware that there also is no such thing as a ‘cheap meal out’ in Iceland. It is one of the world’s most expensive countries for traveling (we think it’s actually been voted no.1 just recently) and there is no way around that fact. Even burger joints and tiny bistros are cost intensive and you hardly will pay less than 25€ for two. If we keep it as cheap as it gets, stick to our water bottles and only order a meal to go it’s always somewhat between 8 – 15€ per person. It just doesn’t get any cheaper than this (only if you cook for yourself, of course, or mayyybe a gas station sandwich). First things first: We hardly ever had really disappointing food experiences here in Reykjavik (entire Iceland, even). There are awesome restaurants all over the place – most of them really cost intensive, though. We still would suggest indulging in at least one fancy night out, it’s worth it and it’s your holiday, after all. Most restaurants we checked off of our list have been awesome and prices have been justified and/or somewhat reasonable. At Reykjavik harbor, there are countless places offering freshest of fish (obviously), in case you should be a pescetarian. If you are you should have fish in Iceland at least once since you will hardly be disappointed. If you head out for a ‘treat’ night then calculate 50 – 80€ per person, minimum. That mostly includes a three-course meal and a drink. Of course, you can also get around Iceland with fewer bucks in your pocket. The “canteens” at the main sights and attractions offer great soups, cakes, yogurt and sandwiches (with the rising number of tourists the prices rise simultaneously, so we wouldn’t call those places cheap, either). If you have to stop at some pit stop ’cause you have been out on the road and forgot to pack snacks then you can easily order some fries and burgers (they all at least offer a veggie option) and you will be astonished how good those are.
Don’t be surprised if nobody will bring the bill to your table after you’ve finished your meal since it’s common to pay at the register directly on your way out. Some fancy places changed that due to the all the tourists coming by and in more and more houses both is possible. Giving tip is not common and even used to be frowned upon. (It was understood as an insult since that would mean customers assume a waiter would need charity.) Since so many people do it anyways it’s no longer prescribed but still not an Icelandic custom. In Reykjavik, you can spend the most perfect evening when it comes to drinks and food. There are countless unique cafés, bars, and restaurants and even after a few beers, some dancing and getting to know the locals you will still find more than enough places to cure an after hour food crave. Downtown, directly at Lækjartorg, there are food trucks almost every night, especially during summer, where you can get everything from a burger to seafood to Churros for a reasonable price and in good quality.
We’re gonna repeat it one last time: Reykjavik is expensive! So please don’t be shocked if we label a place as not really cost intensive. It’s measured by Icelandic standards and that might exceed your countries prices by far!
If you browse through this guide you might notice that there are some very well known and highly recommended restaurants missing, maybe even some that got great ratings on popular platforms. We did not include those as we have made some really bad experiences there or heard harsh criticism. Stomach aches, food poisoning, racist behavior towards strangers or simply prices far beyond the level of the quality of the foo) are more than enough reason to make it impossible for us to whole-heartedly suggest stopping by. We did not have many of those experiences (two, to be precise) but of course those restaurants are most definitely not getting a mention in a food guide that is supposed to make your stay even more fun.
No matter what diet you prefer or how your budget is – we want to make sure that you’ll find your perfect spot for great food. Reykjavik can be a true paradise to all those wo love slow food and local delicacies (like arctic thyme <3) are vegetarian or vegan and opt for fresh ingredients. It can be IF you know where to go. And we want to make sure of that!
Key: (√) is for vegan, ƒ for fine dine and prices are labeled € to €€€€ (cheap to expensive).
Breakfast & Brunch
We are some of the biggest “go-out-for-a-late-breakfast-on-the-weekend’ lovers you will most likely ever come across and even though we didn’t manage to test ALL lunch and dinner spots in Reykjavik we dare to claim we tried all available breakfast options. Even though we’ve read and heard the opposite quite a few times by now, the capital does have an awesome breakfast culture and also offers great variety when it comes to brunch.
Our personal recommendations
From town, it’s only a 20min walk and the coffee house easily one of our fav places. The Chai tea is delicious so is the savory french toast and the “Eggs Benedict”. For vegans, lunch is even more suitable as they offer an awesome cold soup (Gazpacho), a chickpea burger (that is actually pink due to the beetroot within) and fries with awesome avocado dip. They have salads, vegan snacks and treats and all hot beverages can be ordered with plant milk. | Corner of Hofsvallagata / Melhagi | €€
Our personal fav all over Reykjavik. It’s a book café, super cozy and offers a great selection of novels, photo books and lots of cute and funny bits and bobs plus beautiful posters and postcards. We love the selection of cakes (vegan and raw available) and panini, the Chai latte is awesome! and the coffee latte just as good (all available with plant milk, as well). If you get there early enough you might even snatch one of the heavenly delicious Nutella croissants. Yummy! It’s never overcrowded – we always find a table. Prices are more than ok for downtown Reykjavik, it’s one of the cheapest breakfast options out there! | Vesturgata 2a | € – €€
Another beautiful place for a relaxed breakfast. Especially during the off-season you always get a table and the hot molten-core chocolate cake is simply superb. Prices are reasonable. The couch in the corner is our favorite place on a rainy morning. Add a cappuccino and a bun and we are happiest. Vegan cookies and cakes are also available – so you should definitely find some great treat to indulge in. | Týsgata 8 | €
A breakfast-only space downtown that is kind of hidden in a basement. We wouldn’t call it cheap but you get served the best bagels of town (at least that’s our humble opinion and well, we’ve tried them ALL! :D), freshly squeezed orange juice and pancakes. At the ‘grey cat’ you mainly meet locals, amongst the musicians and artists, who are sipping a cup of coffee in the early hours of the day. We’ve never experienced this tiny hidden gem to be crowded. | Hverfisgata 16 | €€
The red house on the corner is THE hangout spot for locals. They often have concerts and parties and the food is an event in itself (if you are not on a diet, that is :D) Especially awesome would be the pancake on french toast (which you can order without the bacon) and it’s exactly as greasy and amazing as it sounds. With maple syrup and cheese it makes for a meal that will fill you up until the next day. The most famous dish? A breakfast called ‘The Hangover Killer’ that comes with a sandwich, a Jack Daniels infused ‘Bruce Willis Milkshake’ and an Aspirin. You can also have dinner here (we did when it turned into the biggest party of them all when Iceland won against England in the Eurocup) but we prefer breakfast or lunch (they offer two vegan burgers) that will definitely fill you up and not empty your pockets, completely. | Bankastræti 12 | €€
Some more suggestions, you might wanna check out
(√) Laundromat Café – You have to be early to get a seat as it’s always overcrowded with tourists. Come before 11:30 am as the early breakfast is even better, anyways! Try the pancakes with caramelized banana and fresh blueberries and order the avocado toast! The Chai latte is especially good, as well. The interior is super cool with world maps as wallpaper. They have a laundry room downstairs where you can clean your clothes while munching. They have tons of veggie options and two or three for vegans (all really good!). Prices are very ‘downtown-y’ and you will easily pay 60-70€ for two. | Austurstræti 9 | €€ – €€€
(√) Systrasamlagið – A small café with a special concept. Alongside the healthy breakfast options (such as porridge, Acai bowls and smoothies) and the most loved Espresso in town, there is a health store included. Everything is fair trade, organic, local and you can get vegan options, as well. | Óðinsgata 1 | €€
Early in the Morning – Just your place if you are an early bird and love breakfast. The café is open from 07:00 – 11:00 am in the morning and the only early breakfast spot in town. It’s a little hidden, never overcrowded and offers a great selection (all kinds of eggs, Bircher Müsli, fresh salmon, avocado toast, and pancakes.) Whoever tried it loved it so it’s an absolute recommendation. We are not 100% sure if it really is that suitable for vegans, though. | Veghusastigur 9 | €€
Ice Cream, Cake & Coffee
Besides all the desserts and cakes that we already praised in the breakfast section, there are some really awesome ice cream parlors and sweet tooth heavens to be found in Reykjavik, as well. Here we go with the ones we highly suggest you have a bite at:
Our personal recommendations
Being die-hard ice cream fans we tried many parlors all over the world and apart from one or the other Gelateria in Italy, one in Fernie, Canada and one special café in Austria’s Klagenfurt, Valdís offers the best ice cream of all time. Everything is made fresh each morning, most ingredients used are local products and the assortment is simply ingenious (LU-Kex if you love cinnamon and everything Christmassy just as much as we do, Turkish Pepper if you really are into licorice) – all sorts do taste heavenly! No artificial flavors are not too sweet and perfectly creamy. They also offer two vegan sorbets daily, the flavors vary. (The waffle contains butter, though – so just order in a cup. :)) | Grandagarður | €
Directly next to Valdís you will find 17 Sortir where you can get amazing cakes, cupcakes (also vegan options) and other little treats (try the whipped cream/meringue dessert with fresh blueberries – ridiculously delicious!). Beware that it is a to-go place, only. There is one single table in the store and one bench in front of the door so no seating. You can either sit down on one of the benches at the old harbor and enjoy the view while munching on some sweet goodness or just take the little treats to your holiday home. In most supermarkets, you can now buy 17 Sortir dough to bake your own cookies with it. AND you can order cakes from them (vegan, as well) if there is a birthday or wedding being celebrated during your stay! (Remember the unicorn cake that went viral last year?) | Grandagarður 2 | €€ – €€€
A Japanese tea house with crazy awesome wall paintings and an authentic tea assortment, also to be found at the old harbor. Especially yummy are the cakes but you can also stop by for a sweet breakfast. The interior is incredibly cool, the served plates look super cute and you can order beautiful cakes for events here, as well. Owner Sarah opened her first café of this kind in Zurich, so Reykjavik is location number two. We absolutely adore it and suggest to everyone who has a sweet tooth to make their way to the harbor, sit down in this fun café and spend a stormy afternoon with cookies, cake, and tea! | Grandagardur 101 | €€ – €€€
Some more suggestions, you might wanna check out
(√) Joylato – An amazing concept for super fresh ice cream that is being made right when you order it – thanks to liquid nitrogen. Every day they offer six different sorts (we highly recommend salted caramel). All choices can either be ordered with dairy or completely vegan – both tastes awesome! Since all ingredients are fresh, the ice is being made while ordering and the store is located downtown it’s not cheap, at all but we still would give it a go! You can also order vegan toppings and the waffles are vegan, as well. | Njálsgata 1 | €€ – €€€
Vöffluvagninn – The small yellow waffle booth is located directly at Hallgrimskirkja and one of our fav stops whenever we crave something sweet. The waffles are some of the best you can get in entire Reykjavik and offered with a large variety of toppings and sauces (we always opt for cinnamon and whipped cream). Compared to lots of other places the prices are cheap (even though 7€ for a waffle isn’t really that cheap, after all.) | Frakkastigur 27 | €
(√) Café Babalu – When we were new in town we spent hours at Babalu. They have really good food which isn’t that expensive, a garden and a balcony, free w-lan and a Star Wars toilet (!). Absolutely make sure to try the Nutella cheesecake – it’s to die for!!! If you are looking for a cheap(-ish) lunch then order the daily special with tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich. Babalu offers a good variety of vegan options. (The Chilli, The carrot cake and the apple crumble are heavenly!!!) Unfortunately, Babalu can be extremely overcrowded these days and you might have to wait in line to get a table. Some people are not aware that there is additional seating on the upper floor, though so make sure you check out if there are free tables up there! | Skólavörðustígur 22 | € – €€
Lunch & Snacks to go
If you really would love to go out for a fancy meal but don’t wanna spend that much money on one single dinner then maybe just turn it into a lunch. In many places, the lunch menu is half of what the dinner costs and we personally prefer sitting down for a casual lunch over dressing up and heading to town for dinner. You dine with a lot of locals that are meeting friends and colleagues on their lunch break so you get quite a good feeling for the northernmost capital of the world and its inhabitants.
Our personal recommendations
There are countless veggie lunch spots in Reykjavik – one of the best of them would be Gló. You will find everything veggie/vegan/raw your heart desires from lasagna to soups to salad bowls. Fresh juices and desserts, the variety isn’t too big and it all tastes really, really good. We love the coconut curry soup and the vegan lasagna – it’s SO delicious! It is rather cost intensive, especially as the main restaurant is located downtown. There are weeks with special offers, though and during those, the main dish only costs 1000kr, which is really decent for a very filling main course and the high-quality ingredients! | Laugavegur 20b (and three more places all over Reykjavik) | €€ – €€€
Probably our absolute favorite space in town. It’s located at the botanical gardens and therefore quite far away from Laugavegur but you can easily get there by bus (or just explore Reykjavik on the approx. 40min walk). The café itself is a beautiful large greenhouse, they offer delicious cakes and snacks (amazing soups!) and the coffee is perfect, as well. Prices are moderate, vegan options available. In summer you can sit outside, meet locals with kids and dogs hanging out in the park and enjoying a cappuccino or a light meal. Especially awesome: lots of the spices and veggies used in the meals are hand-picked in the gardens and greenhouses of the botanical gardens. | Grasagarðinum Laugardal | €€
A mix of bar and restaurant, especially suitable for lunch and the only ‘vegan only’ place in Reykjavik (and entire Iceland). They have sandwiches and lasagna plus varying meals of the day. At night it turns into a bar, the café is filled with (you guessed it) vinyl and music lovers. We personally think it’s VERY hipster and too loud to sit down and have a meal at night but around lunch, it’s a treat. The interior is relaxed, the sandwiches (feat. Oumph soy) just heavenly and the wraps and burgers are really good, as well – so are the desserts. Of course, the cocktails you can order there are vegan, too. | Hverfisgata 76 | €€ – €€€
A small café located inside the National Gallery art museum and a real hidden gem. It never is crowded (especially if you go slightly past lunch main hours and around 3 pm), the soups and bread are delicious and the prices just fine. They also offer traditional Icelandic dishes like Plokkfiskur (fish and potatoes) with Rúgbrauð (a dark bread that used to be baked in the ground of geothermal areas and tastes awesome). It’s as quiet and calm as you would expect in a gallery. Closed on Mondays. | Frikirkjuvegur 7 | €€
Some more suggestions, you might wanna check out
(√) Reykjavik Chips – Just like the name suggests you will find fries at Reykjavik Chips. Not just some fries but exactly how fries have to be. Besides ketchup, they offer another vegan sauce which is a satay on cashew base. It easy, kind of cheap and a quick bite if you are finding yourself having some cravings (beware: the portions are quite large, especially the family sized one!). The prices are moderate but it’s still downtown we are talking about – cheaper than most other lunch spots, though. At night they have a happy hour where you get beer for decent prices. On the weekends it’s crowded with locals having a pre-party bite and drink. | Vitastígur 10 | €
(√) Lemon – Not really a restaurant rather than a bistro. They have lots of juices, smoothies and Skyr drinks and offer awesome sandwiches. Like the Pescado with pesto and avocado or the Mozzato with Mozzarella. Super delicious. They also have a vegan option with Falafel. The smoothies aren’t really cheap but awesome and the Skyr can easily be replaced with soy milk. We like to take something to the go or back home with us since the atmosphere in Lemon is not really that cozy and rather hectic in our opinion.| Laugavegur 56 & Suðurlandsbraut 4 | € – €€
(√) Ramen Momo – A tiny Ramen restaurant downtown which also offers vegan Ramen (Miso, Kimchi, veggies). Momo is one of the cheapest places in town and only uses fresh and local ingredients. Absolutely perfect for a quick stop and to get a warm lunch for little money. There is hardly any seating so whatever you get it’s most likely to go. The dumplings (Gyoza) are delicious, as well! | Tryggvagata 16 | €
Dinner and Fine Dine Experiences
In Reykjavik, you can go out for a fancy dinner and experience the most amazing food or you end up paying way to much for not even a mediocre meal. We are not gonna list those places where we were beyond disappointed but let’s just say we once paid more than 250€ for two for the tiniest cocktails ever, a charred black piece of red cabbage and half-baked fries – never again. You most of the time will end up dining like ‘the kings of France’ like us Germans say and to make sure of it we’ve put together a list of places that we can suggest you give a go with all our hearts.
Our personal recommendations
Or ‘Seafood Grill’. We’ve eaten here quite a few times by now and were extremely happy every single time. The pasta with shrimps comes with a sauce so delicious you hardly know how to handle it. The salmon is perfect, as well. It’s a little narrow when it comes to the seating situation but none the less really cozy. The prices indicate that you obviously are dining downtown and in a high-class restaurant – it’s worth it, though and the quality of the food impeccable. A real gem if you wanna go out for a dinner that is delicious and made from mostly local and super fresh ingredients. There also is a lunch menu, daily from 11 am to 4 pm. | Skólavörðustígur 14 | €€€€
WE LOVE SUSHI! Reykjavik has a lot to offer in terms of Maki/Nigiri/Inside-Out. There is the extremely expensive Sushi Social for those who want an experience of its own with combinations of ingredients in your Sushi rolls that you have most likely never heard of before. If you are like us and prefer Sushi in it’s simplest form, then opt for Sakebarinn. Avocado, salmon, some cream cheese, some mango. It’s by far our fav Sushi place in town. The atmosphere is inviting, open and modern. If you come early you might have the entire restaurant to yourself but later in the evening, it’s always packed. The rosé wine is great and the price matches the quality. You get delicious Sushi for European prices, have a view onto busy Laugavegur and all personnel is incredibly friendly. The menu has clearly labeled vegan options! | Laugavegur 2 | €€ – €€€
In our opinion, they offer the best vegetarian dish(es) in town. The veggies are perfectly grilled or smoked, the potato bake is damn delicious and the sauces are, too. The dishes vary but every time we went there whatever they served was heavenly! The hot chocolate cake for dessert is a must (unfortunately, they don’t always have it). It’s a little pricey, has a really stylish interior and the setting on the plates is really cool and rustic. We just love the cozy atmosphere in the steakhouse near the harbor and would like to say that the higher prices are justified. (Compared to other fine dining places they even are moderate.) |Tryggvagata 4-6 | €€ – €€€
An incredibly nice restaurant in the old harbor. We’ve been out for a dinner here just once by now but it was a really good experience. Great wine, great service, and top notch food. They offer several vegan dishes including a vegan dessert which is still quite rare in the world of fine dining restaurants in Reykjavik. | Geirsgata 3 | €€€€
Some more suggestions, you might wanna check out
Le Bistro – A French bistro with beautiful interior and a built-in little chalet where you can pre-order to have a ‘Fondue Feast’ (or Raclette) in. It’s a three-course fondue where you first are served molten cheese, then hot oil and then heated up chocolate to dip all your food in. Your table will be filled with bread, veggies, fruit (and meat, of course – for those who want it) and so much more you can’t even think of. Mushrooms, marshmallows, deep fried tomatoes and little pancakes – it literally is a feast. You end up sitting there for hours, eating your night away. They also offer regular ‘of the menu’ French food like molten cheese with nuts and soup. The burger unfortunately isn’t the best so you might wanna try something authentically French, instead. | Laugavegur 12 | €€ – €€€
★ ƒ Dill – Reykjavik's first Michelin star Restaurant – so, of course, it needs to be mentioned. We haven’t been there yet (It’s on top of our the list) but only hear amazing things. They don’t offer anything vegan per se but will turn anything into a vegan dish if you ask them to in advance. It’s awesome for vegetarians, so we heard as you can mention your type of diet when booking the table and they adapt the often 7 course menu accordingly. The food is 100% locally grown and it’s been recommended to us as a must many many times. You have to book in advance and it’s only open a few nights a week. | Hverfisgata 12 | €€€€
Caruso – A cozy pizza place with super cute “grandma” interior and really good pizza. For a restaurant downtown it’s really not that expensive and the atmosphere is very calm and relaxed. You can watch people strolling by while munching on typical Italian pasta. We love Italian food and therefore find Caruso to be a good choice for a not that cost-intensive night out with friends. | Austurstræti 22 | €€ – €€€
Enjoy your Icelandic food experience!
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