Reykjavík is widely known for being one of the most expensive cities in Europe, and veganism is often reported to be one of the most expensive diets in the world. With that in mind, we’re going to have to use the term ‘cheap’ pretty loosely here. However, that doesn’t change the fact that these vegan eats are totally yum and worth every penny. If you’re sick of cooking lentils and rice at home, or just want to treat yourself this holiday season, here are some spots you should hit up.
1. Emilie and the Cool Kids
This French-owned café has it all: bagels, pastries, scones, and more! Prices range from just a few hundred ISK for sweet pastries, to 1,990 ISK for the Vegan Breakfast (vegan cream cheese and avocado bagel, glass of OJ, any hot drink). The cinnamon rolls from here are also great value— seriously, they’re huge. It’s not a desert, it’s not a snack—it’s a full meal. If you can finish one of these all to yourself you’ve earned my respect. If you pay a visit to Emilie and the Cool Kids you might notice the UK 70s/80s music they’re sometimes playing (on my last visit it was Roxanne by The Police), which makes this the perfect spot to hit if you’re a Brit missing home.
2. Tommi’s veggie burger
This 1,190 ISK veggie burger (if you want it made vegan, you need to specify when you order) is hands-down the best vegan burger in Reykjavík (in my opinion, at least). The only thing that could be done to improve it would be if Tommi’s could add a slice of Violife cheddar, but this burger is certainly impressive enough as it is. The glossy bun encases a deep-fried veggie patty, topped with crunchy lettuce and all the condiments you’d expect to find in a picture-perfect junk food burger. If you want to add fries it’ll cost you extra, or you could go for a meal deal (1,990 ISK) and get a drink and fries thrown in.
3. Taj Mahal
1,990 ISK might sound like a lot, but at Taj Mahal that will get you a main, a side of rice, and a whole naan bread. The two vegan mains on offer are the Tofu Tikka Masala (bright red and perfectly spicy), or the Mixed Vegetables curry (equally yum and contains at least one of your five-a-day, probably). Historically speaking, spicy = pricey, so it’s no surprise that Taj Mahal’s vegan options are among the more expensive on this list. However, their portions are generous and utterly delicious. Taj Mahal’s menu also boasts an array of vegan sides, starting at 790 ISK. With masala fries and masala onion rings, samosa and pakora—homesick Indian’s and native Icelanders alike will find comfort at at this authentic South Asian restaurant.
4. Mandi’s falafel
A good falafel wrap can totally change your day, but a Mandi’s falafel wrap will change your whole week. With prices ranging from 650 ISK for a falafel bowl with hummus and salad, to 1,650 ISK for a falafel meal, you can get your falafel fix at the price point you choose. If you order the falafel wrap and want to make it vegan, remember to specify that you want it without yoghurt sauce. There are two Mandi’s locations in the city, so you’re never too far away from this classic vegan option.
5. Brauð’s cinnamon roll
This humble desert would definitely be classified as broadly Nordic rather than strictly Icelandic, but Iceland certainly knows how to do cinnamon rolls right. Brauð’s cinnamon roll is incredible. The colour of the dough alone gives everything away: baked to a beautifully caramelised dark hue, and topped modestly with sugar crystals. The filling itself is a perfect blend of sweet and cinnamon. At 490 ISK this treat is the cheapest item on this list. Also, if you’re a loyal customer (which you soon will be once you’ve tried these cinnamon rolls) you can buy a snazzy Brauð tote bag and get 10% every time you bring your bag in-store. Your savings can really stack up if you visit Brauð often. Their sourdough loaves are also very good, if you’re looking for a more savoury treat.
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