Over the past year, Keto has become a full-blown fad in Iceland. Well over 3% of the population has joined the Keto Iceland group on Facebook, and restaurants and grocery stores are jumping on the bandwagon.
The diet is quite complicated, as it revolves around eating less than 20 grams of net carbohydrates per day, which is supposed to bump the body into a state of ketosis, causing it to start burning fat for energy instead of carbs and protein. Google it before you go nuts. Please.
Pizza pizzazz (hold the crust)
The Grandi Mathöll pizza joint Skjaldbakin offered the first keto pizza in Iceland and it is still considered by many to be the best. They offer quite a few toppings combinations, so you’re not likely to get bored anytime soon. Pizzan also changed the game last year when they started offering keto pies, in two versions, and keto breadsticks, which is a real lifesaver for those that are starting out and haven’t quite figured out the grocery shopping. Not to mention, they deliver. Pizzan also offers a keto ice cream, although we’re not sure if eating the whole tub by yourself will benefit your health. You decide.
Café life (pastries forbidden)
The keto chicken salad at Kaffi Laugalækur is kind of perfect, in a keto way. It’s a green salad concoction with chicken, eggs, and bacon shreds, topped with garlic sauce. Simple, but the raw materials are top-notch. The place is great too. They serve great coffee from a small roaster (if you don’t like black coffee or espresso go for the cortado with coconut milk), and they have a lovely kids corner. An all-rounder. For a downtown newly reopened classic, there’s also the Laundromat Café. They offer keto versions of all the burgers, their baked salmon and their bearnaise steak.
A fancy night (no bread, only butter)
Kröst: A pioneer, they were among the first to offer a keto burger, which still holds its own, and most of their menu has keto options, although you do have to ask the staff. Other than that, the simplest options for keto fine dining are the steakhouses such as MEAT and Hereford. Matarkjallarinn and Sjávargrillið also offer keto modifications to their menu.
Fast fast fast food
Culiacan, the tex-mex fast food joint, offers three keto-friendly options, and noodle joint Wok On offers a zucchini noodle base to keep your carbs in check. Salad spot Local offers three ready keto bowls, and Black Box Pizza does a couple of pizza options and a keto bowl, which we quite liked. Bike Cave’s keto burger gets a mention too. If you venture far out in the suburbs, Gullnesti in Grafarvogur offers a keto burger. Hyper-cheerful family-oriented burger joint Fabrikkan (think TGI Fridays but a bit better and the burgers are square) offer a keto bowl, no word on the burgers though. Subway offers some salad options that are keto, ask the staff. Health food joint Saffran’s keto chicken also deserves a mention.
For the vegetarians
This category is unfortunately very slim, especially since the carbon footprint on mostly meat-based dishes is not great. Gló is the only party we know of, although their veggie keto bowl is more low-carb than keto, clocking in at around 25 g. of carbs. They also offer a keto chicken salad and a keto burger, which is quite popular. Kröst can custom-make a vegetarian keto burger, with their Beyond Meat patty It works without bacon, but if you skip the egg, it’s quite sparse. Here’s hoping that in the future more of the vegan restaurant biz will try to get the low-carb crowd in. One can only dream.
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