The year 2019 wasn’t kind to many restaurateurs. Let’s be honest, it’s a tough business. Nevertheless, Iceland’s culinary scene is seeing the emergence of new players and the old guard stepping up their A-game. Restaurants continue to diversify; we’ve got ourselves an izakaya inspired spot, while tasting menus are being questioned and reinterpreted. The scope of “Icelandic cuisine” is broadening to include not just produce and products but also their sourcing and seasonal integrity on this harsh island by players big and small. Whether it is globally recognised Nordic fine-dining or fragrant Thai curries, traditional Icelandic cuisine or family-friendly sushi, to everything in-between, this guide to the best of everything Reykjavík has to offer has been hand-picked by our exacting panel of passionate gourmands. From budget bites to fanciful fare, we’ve got you covered. Skál!
Best Traditional Icelandic Food
Long before Icelandic food was considered ‘cool’, this unassuming cafe has been unabashedly celebrating tradition. From the classic farm style kjötsúpa (lamb soup) to herring and plökkfiskur, everything is a throwback to how the island once ate. We recommend trying the rye bread soup as well—it’s part what the heck, part dessert, but all delicious The carrot-cake doppelganger Freyja is a trout brauðterta (savoury sandwich cake) that is retro tasty as well. And for those writing their own tales of bravado, there is fermented shark to be washed down by Brennivín.
To get a sense of Icelandic food culture from a time before it was fashionably New Nordic, pay a visit to Þrír Frakkar. This restaurant has not let anything sway them from tradition—you’ll spot everything from foal, to black bird, to cod throats and plokkfiskur that are sure to remain long in your memory. A visit to this place underlines that good old-fashioned Icelandic cooking can be all kinds of memorable.
Named after Halldór Laxness’ two-part novel, this charming little eatery dishes up affordable, plentiful food, offering visitors a taste of Iceland on a budget. The plokkfiskur and the steamed fish are cooked in home-style modesty and they accommodate vegans and vegetarians as well.
You can buy a copy of the full Best Of Reykjavík 2020 magazine—an essential guide to having fun in Reykjavík—here, posted worldwide.
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!