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Good food, definitely part of the holiday fun, right?! And that certainly does not have to be a Michelin star restaurant. In Iceland we had great meals at restaurants throughout the island during our Ring Road 1 round trip. In this article I list my favorite Icelandic restaurants. Personal restaurant tips for dinner and/or lunch.
Route 1 or the Ring Road (Icelandic: Þjóðvegur 1 or Hringvegur) is a national road in Iceland that runs around the island and connects most of the inhabited parts of the country. The total length of the road is 1,322 kilometres (821 mi).Wikipedia
Dining out in Iceland
I must say that we have had yummy meals at an above average number of places in Iceland anyway. I actually did not expect that in advance. Although I didn’t really know what to expect from the food in Iceland. Lots of fish, and that’s right. But everywhere there were certainly great meat and vegetarian options on the menu too.
For instance, you see lamb offered quite often and a beef steak not often. I’m not much of a fish eater, but the fish soup in Iceland really stole my heart. Also as lunch, in combination with a piece of bread, delicious! Healthy, filling and affordable.
13x favorite restaurant in Iceland
Hereafter follows a description of the restaurants we liked, in chronological order. Then I will briefly write something about costs and share a mobile map with the locations of the restaurants. We made a tour of Iceland for two weeks. We drove the Ring Road 1 counterclockwise, from Reykjavik to the southeast, northeast, west, ending in the capital. For the record: we were just the two of us.
1: Kaffi Krus in Selfoss
The first day of our trip and immediately we hit one of the best restaurants: Kaffi Krus in Selfoss, near the Golden Circle. We got up very early back home in The Netherlands to catch our 7am flight. So we were quite hungry by lunchtime. The menu of this restaurant has all kinds of tasty options, so that’s great.
What a lovely lunch we have here. A beautiful authentic building on the outside, warm and cozy on the inside. Old black and white family photos and many wooden pepper mills adorn the interior. The avocado fries, chicken salad, burgers, lamb, pizza, pie… everything is here is finger-licking good!
The 2nd evening we were actually planning to eat somewhere else. We were even already there. But shortly after a menu was pushed into our hands in a large moodless room in the back of te restaurant, we decided to leave and go to Kaffi Krus again. So we ate at Kaffi Krus twice. And I would like to go there again, yum! For dinner a lot busier than when we were there for lunch, so make sure you have reservations in advance (just call, they speak English), also during the week.
And the bill? That was ISK 10,880, or approximately USD 43 per person (p.p.)
2: Fridheimar in Selfoss
Have you ever been eating in a greenhouse? Located right on the Golden Circle Fridheimar, a restaurant in a tomato greenhouse that, yes, almost exclusively serves dishes based on tomatoes. Tomato soup of course, but also Caprese salad with Icelandic mozzarella; mussels or ravioli pasta with tomato sauce, homemade tomato ice cream, etc. Feel free to add a Bloody Mary!
If you want to have an extensive lunch in the greenhouse with a choice from the entire menu, then you really need to book in advance. If you come along spontaneously, you have to hope and wait for a seat at the bar. Or nice weather, so that you can enjoy a cup of tomato soup with a piece of bread outside on the terrace. Nice concept, tasty soup, only open for lunch!
Fridheimar is a family business since 1946. It is about 5,000 m2 in size and supplies approximately 20% of the tomatoes of Iceland. Insects and bees are used for biological control and pollination come from The Netherlands.
The bill? It was not too bad at all, total ISK 2,500, so less than USD 10 p.p.
3: Sudur Vik Restaurant in Vik
Cozy restaurant in a gray wooden building. It was not possible to reserve a table in advance when we called, but we did not have to wait on arrival either. That will be different after COVID I think. Vik is a popular place among tourists, partly because of the black beach and puffins (Apr-Sep). After a day of walking in the sea air or a long drive you will get hungry! And then you’ve come to the right place at Sudur Vik.
Friendly, smooth service. Shared together the so-called For Fun Snack Plate as a starter, not special, but tasty. As a main course we had leg of lamb and a charcoal smoked local fish, both tasted good. They also have burgers and pizzas. Fine red wine, nothing fancy. Rhubarb tart shared with the two of us for dessert, nice! Good music at Sudur Vik. In short, a pleasant dinner in Vik.
And the bill? That was ISK 15,100, or app. USD 60 p.p.
4: Pakkhús in Höfn
I dare say that this is one of the best restaurants in at least Southeast Iceland, perhaps of entire Iceland. This charming harbor-side spot offers a luxurious restaurant experience for its food, without being arrogant. If you are in Höfn, I will definitely recommend eating here. Provided you have the budget for it.
The specialty of Pakkhús is langoustine, in a variety of forms, but you’ll also find several great meat options on the menu. Beef rib-eye, duck leg, slow-cooked pork, lamb and sometimes even horse steak! The only question that remains is: truffle mayonnaise or chili mayonnaise? Whatever you choose, enjoy it.
Pakkhús is certainly not the cheapest option in Höfn. Other good, cheaper alternatives include Hafnarbúðin (Langoustine sandwich), Kaffi Hornid (lobster pasta or pizza) and Ishusid. Or for another evening. Hafnarbúdin has a bit of a simple American Diner like atmosphere including basic drive-thru.
The bill? You can’t get away from Pakkhús for less than ISK 10,000 (USD 40 p.p.). Then you have a cod fillet as a main course and both 1-2 drinks. Count on at least double if you dine here extensively (2-4 courses). At Hafnarbúdin you’ll spend app. ISK 6600, or app. USD 26 p.p. At Kaffi Hornid app. ISK 8600, so about USD 32 p.p.
5: Vid Voginn in Djúpivogur
As someone else described this place; “this is a perfect place for a pit stop on a long drive”. In our case: on the way in southeast Iceland from Höfn to Seydisfjördur, which is on the coast near Egilsstadir. Djúpivogur is another small fishing village on the coast, 5 minutes from Ring Road 1. Vid Voginn is a lunchroom on weekdays and also open for dinner on weekends (Fri-Sat-Sun).
At Vid Voginn, tasty, traditional and fast dishes are served with fresh, local ingredients. See, we love that! We stuck to a cup of soup with Icelandic bread and that was delicious! You have a nice view of the small harbor here. After lunch you can refuel right away before heading into the mountains, or keep following the R1 along the coast towards Egilsstadir.
And the bill? That was ISK 3,000, so about USD 12 p.p.
6: Nordic Restaurant in Seydisfjördur
Seydisfjördur is the port where ferry boats arrive from the Faroe Islands and Denmark. A small village in the East of Iceland, but especially lively in summer. There are a number of good restaurants. We chose Nordic Restaurant, which shares the same red painted building with the reception of Aldan Hotel and sushi bar Nord Austur (upstairs). For the latter you really have to make a reservation well in advance; that’s the best sushi restaurant in Iceland. For the enthusiast!
Nordic is located on a corner where you can see everyone entering the village. At the same time, it is located on the main rainbow street and the pond of the town. So very central. Friendly service and a cozy, authentic atmosphere complete with candle on the table. The plates were beautifully laid out and all the food tasted really good.
From the slices of bread with truffle butter and sea salt, to the homemade breaded balls stuffed with reindeer meat, to the fresh fish with pesto and wine. Excellent! For dessert I had rhubarb pie with whipped cream and ice cream, Tom chose moss ice cream. Every day the chef goes out into the mountains to pick the special moss and makes ice from it, very special. Only in Iceland!
And the bill? Here it was ISK 17,700, or app. USD 70 p.p.
7: Fjallakaffi in Egilsstadir/Mývatn
The drive from Egilsstadir to Lake Mývatn is probably the most boring part of Ring Road 1. It is therefore a good thing that there is a nice restaurant nearby for a good lunch. It is a 7 minute drive from the Ring Road but easy to do with a normal car. They call themselves cafe in the mountains but it is a pretty simple straightforward road in summer. You end up in a mini village with a few houses, a church and a restaurant.
Fjallakaffi is built in the old-fashioned way and insulated with sods and also looks very rustic on the inside with wooden tables and walls. The lamb soup was very tasty and filling. We also ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and something to drink with it. You get a wide view of the landscape with it. They also sell handmade wool sweaters here. A successful pit stop en route to Lake Mývatn. Or stay at the opposite sleeping across the street…
The bill? We spent ISK 7440 here, so about USD 29.50 p.p.
8: Vogafjós farm restaurant at Lake Mývatn
Earlier I wrote about this farm restaurant at Lake Mývatn. Next to delicious food you can also stay at Vogafjós Farm Resort. It’s located on the east side of the lake, just south of the central village Reykjahlid. Vogafjós is truly one of the best restaurants we visited during our Iceland tour. Very nice atmosphere and good quality of food. About 40 cows and 120 sheep live on the farm.
For nice days, there is a furnished terrace outside with a view of the lake. However, given the flies that were there around the lake in large numbers at that time, we decied to sit inside. And you have every reason to. You eat here among the cows. There is glass in between, but while you are eating at the table, you can look at the cows that are in the barn. And while the ladies are getting milked (around 7:30 am and 5:30 pm). Awesome!
Gosh, I was so happy that I had opted for the lamb fillet, really delicious. The carpaccio I had as a starter was good too. And given the tempting display filled with homemade cakes, we couldn’t resist the temptation for a slice of apple pie with ice cream and whipped cream as dessert. Yum! The food was better than the pictures haha
Vogafjós was one of the priciest restaurants where we ate during the trip. We took three courses, wine and beer so also ordered quite a bit. The bill? ISK 20,000, or app. USD 79 p.p. Make reservations!
9: Gamli Baukur in Husavik
After a few tough hikes and a lot of sightseeing, Husavik was the penultimate stop for the day during the Diamond Circle route that we drove counterclock wise from Lake Mývatn. I got the name of this restaurant Gamli Baukur as recommendation from a Polish girl we met a couple of years ago in New Zeeland.
Gamli Baukur is the oldest and best restaurant in the fishing town of Husavik, from where also whale watching tours depart. Easy and free parking. The restaurant looks nice, right on the harbor. We were very hungry so anxious to get inside and order. Called ahead to make a reservation, luckily it wasn’t too busy (half full). The interior is wooden with many pictures and objects related to fishing.
Tasty fish soup, fine grilled prawns and the main course I took – cod with pesto and barley risotto – was delicious. The sweet potato fries with chili mayo are also recommended. Gamli Baukur was really one of our favorite restaurant during our 2 week tour of Iceland. After dinner we left before sunset (long daylight in the summer) to see the last sight of the Diamond Circle we did that day, Godafoss!
And the bill here? That was ISK 13,350, or USD 53 p.p.
9: Torgid in Siglufjördur
Unfortunately in Siglufjördur Hannes Boy and Kaffi Raudka were closed due to COVID-19. There you can sit on the terrace with a view of the harbor and the beautiful hotel where we stayed, Siglo. So straight off to dinner then.
Fish pizza, never thought I’d eat it. But the reviews were very convincing that I should do that anyway at Torgid. And I did not regret that at all, it really is so delicious! Furthermore, a what you may expect from a local pizzeria, good distance between tables, friendly waitress, great! Take away is also possible.
And the bill? It was reasonable; in total we paid ISK 9200, about USD 36 p.p.
10: Baccala Bar in Hauganes
Just before we spotted whales, we had lunch at Baccala Bar. And that turned out to be the right decision. The fish soup is delicious here. Never thought I would eat something like that, but Tom had already eaten fish soup at Husavik a few days before and it turned out to be tasty. So I did want to try the fish soup here and it was fantastic! We got two large cups of soup filled with cod, vegetables and some herbs, plus some bread on the side and free water.
You will receive a 10% discount if you indicate that you join(ed) a whale watching tour on the other side of the street. Friendly staff who properly meets the COVID-19 measures. The interior of Baccala Bar is a cozy mess full of fisherman’s trinkets. From the outside you can easily recognize the restaurant, with that Viking ship in front.
The bill was a joke here; ISK 3500, or about USD 14 p.p.
11: Hraunsneff Country Hotel in Bogarnes
The last two nights of our Iceland tour we stayed at Hraunsneff Country Hotel at the Ring Road 1. This is nicely situated between the peninsula Snæfellsnes and Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls. We had dinner here twice in the evening. Normally I am not that much into eating where you also sleep, but sometimes it can also be practical, just because you are tired. Or simply because you ate so well the first night, and that was the case here. Also nice with children because they have farm animals outside.
During our first dinner at Hraunsneff I opted for the beef steak. As said before, you don’t see beef steak on the menu very often in Iceland anyway. And here it was the day’s special, so I ordered it. And I did not regret that choice! Truly the best steak ever! The next day Tom wanted to take it too, but unfortunately they didn’t have the beef steak as a daily special anymore, so that was a bummer. Tasty truffle mayonnaise and sweet potato fries. And for that Skyr Panna Cotta already alone, I would love to come back!
13: Hraun in Ólafsvík
This restaurant on the Snaefellsnes peninsula in west Iceland is run by a local family. There are quite a few tasty options on the menu here, already 9 options for appetizers alone. We came for lunch so didn’t want to go too crazy. I couldn’t resist the temptation to have fish soup again. We also ordered a bunch of soft tacos.
Looking back, it was actually a bit much for the two of us together (soup + tacos). The soup was already quite a plate full. Anyway, it all tasted good! The place smelled a bit like something had just been burned in the kitchen, but we didn’t notice it on the plate at all. Unfortunately no more room for dessert. I heard those are very tasty here too.
Somehow I can no longer find Hraun’s receipt. I do remember we spent our last Icelandic crowns here. Was around ISK 7000, so roughly USD 28 p.p.
UPDATE: it has come to my knowledge that Hraun is closed. Please check below bucketlist for two alternative restaurants on Snaefellsnes.
Costs dining out Iceland
Eating out in Iceland was never cheap, but Iceland isn’t anyway, like New Zealand for example. I expected that. And really good food is also worth something to me, I am not a low budget traveler. As long as I get value for my money. Paying too much for food that is not tasty simply sucks. Fortunately, that almost never happened in Iceland. A matter of preparation and luck.
Prices for food differ, of course, but let me take the above-mentioned Gamli Baukur in Husavik as an example, which has fairly average prices for Iceland. Fish soup ISK 2300, medium pizza ISK 1800, cheeseburger ISK 2600, salad with chicken or shrimp ISK 2300, cod fillet ISK 3750, beef steak ISK 5000, dessert ISK 1500.
No idea how much an Icelandic crown is worth? You divide the Icelandic kronor amount by 126 and then you know approximately how much it is in US dollars (april 2021). Currency calculator.
Hopefully these amounts give a bit of an idea of the approximate prices at restaurants here in Iceland? You can of course make it as crazy as you want. We have decided not to worry about it and just enjoy it. After all, it is vacation. As I wrote before; if the food is good, I don’t mind paying a little more. But that is of course very personal.
Saving tips for food & drinks in Iceland
8 tips to keep food and drink costs limited in Iceland:
- Don’t go out for dinner every day (cook for yourself, take away)
- Prepare your own breakfast and lunch (bring cutlery)
- Eat something cheap once and awhile, like a hot dog
- Don’t drink wine or beer with dinner for an evening (or two)
- Stock up on a few bottles of wine and/or beer at the airport on arrival
- Check the price level in advance via the menu online
- Don’t take three courses everywhere, stick to two or one
- Don’t overdo it with a lot of tip
Some people bring a lot of food to Iceland themselves. But to take a stack of long shelf-life burgers with me on such a trip, that is going too far for me. Look, when you make the crossing by ferry with a camper from Denmark, I get it and you can also save a lot on food and drinks then. But more than a small cereal bar and a few bags of my favorite tea, I personally wouldn’t take with me on vacation.
By the way, pay close attention to what you take with you, especially when you travel into Iceland from outside of Europe. Check the customs rules for duty-free import for food and drinks in Iceland. It would be a waste having to pay a lot of tax upon arrival or having to throw it away, right?
Keep in mind that supermarkets in Iceland often open quite late in the morning. As an example, the opening hours of the Bonus in Hveragerdi (near Golden Circle): Monday to Thursday 11:00 am to 6:30 pm, Friday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday 11:00 am to 18:00h. I was surprised by this. Bonus is one of the cheapest Icelandic supermarket chains, recognizable by the black and yellow letters and pink piggy bank as O.
Duty free alcohol at airport
The duty free shop is located near the baggage belts at Keflavik (KEF) airport near Reykjavik. Go shopping first, because you cannot go into the store with your luggage. A bottle of wine here costs on average as much as a glass of wine in an average restaurant in Iceland, so it’s worth it. For 3 bottles of wine and 10-pack of half liters of beer, we payed a total of USD 44.66 duty free. A bargain by Icelandic standards!
Just make sure you:
- buy wine bottles with a screw cap (unless you have a corkscrew with you)
- book accommodation with a small fridge in it, to chill f.e. white wine and/or beer (red wine = easier)
Bucketlist restaurants Iceland
Where to eat? The choice is big during an Iceland round trip. Of course there were also certain restaurants that we did not get to last time. So those are still on the wish list for the next time, such as:
- Bjargarsteinn Mathús and Narfeyrarstofa, both on Snaefellsnes
- Apotek, Kol Restaurant, Grillmarkaðurinn, Ræktin and Skal in Reykjavik
- Farmers Bistro in Flúðir (mushroom farm near the Golden Circle)
- Klausturkaffi in Egilsstadir
I think that the above makes clear that in Iceland not only fish is eaten. So the fish soup tasted very good, even though I am not a big fish eater. You can also eat things like fermented shark, whale and even puffin here and there, but I thanked for that.
In terms of meat, lamb is popular in Iceland. For example, there is the dish Hangikjöt, which is leg of lamb smoked over sheep poo. Yum haha You also sometimes see horse meat offered, somehow often these are the better restaurants. Popular hot dog chain called Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur is located in Reykjavik. You also see a lot of burgers and pizzas on the menus of Icelandic restaurants, because yes, that price eh.
Icelandic yogurt Skyr is enjoyed for breakfast, snack or dessert. Icelanders also love – how else could it be – ice cream. Earlier I told you about the moss ice cream that we ate at a restaurant in East Iceland. Reykjavik also has a number of nice ice cream shops, including Valdis. There you can taste special ice cream flavors, such as After Eight, Turkish pepper or liquorice.
When it comes to restaurant staff, everyone everywhere was actually just friendly, a bit distant though. Typically Scandinavian in my opinion. You usually don’t get a lot of personal attention in Icelandic restaurants. The only waitress to actually chat with us in an Icelandic restaurant in two weeks was from Poland.
Want to know more about modern Icelandic food?
Map restaurants Iceland
This mobile friendly map includes most things mentioned in this article and more! It is smartphone friendly; you can use it easily via Google Maps. Click on the top left icon to open the menu. To customize the map to your interests, simply (un)select categories. Via Google Drive you can copy it to your folder of My Google Maps.
I hope you found this article nice and interesting, perhaps also useful for your Iceland tour? In any case, we really enjoyed the delicious food in Iceland. If you have additional tips or a question, feel free to leave a comment below this article. Njóttu máltíðarinnar, in other words: Enjoy your meal!
Interested to read more articles about Iceland? Check out the Iceland Blog Archives! More articles will follow soon.
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Last Updated on 04/22/2021 by Flitter Fever