bread, pastry..and more bread – Icelandic food
Icelandic food can be expensive! Similar to fine dining prices.
If you’re a foodie like me and love good restaurants and cafes, I suggest saving extra cash before your trip so you do not have to eat supermarket food every day. If you’re travelling on a budget and food isn’t a priority then that’s ok too… it’s totally doable.
To save money on a meal, it’s a good idea to have your breakfast at the hotel; a buffet breakfast is usually included in the room price. I had filling things like cereal and bread to get me through to the next meal.
The average price of a bowl of soup (from just a standard café or roadside restaurant) is around $30AUD. Lobster usually being slightly pricier. It always comes with bread so it’s quite filling. There is a really nice soup place on the main street in Reykjavik directly opposite the ‘Handknitting Association of Iceland’ shop.. Svarta Kaffid (Laugavegur 54, 101 Reykjavík). It usually has a queue out the front but the line goes fast, it’s worth the wait. There are just two options, a vegetarian and meat (reindeer apparently being popular) and comes in a big soft crusty bread roll.
The pastries and bread in Iceland are amazing; in winter it’s hard to go past a nice bakery smelling of freshly baked cinnamon scroll. There is a really nice bakery Brauð & Co (16,, Frakkastígur, 101 Reykjavík) which is always crowded which is why it’s good to get there early. Their cinnamon scrolls are to die for. If you’re after a coffee with your bakery treats, they suggest taking your food to the Reykjavik Roasters just up the road (Brautarholt 2, Brautarholt, Reykjavík). The café is popular, hipster, and a bit slow but it’s nice coffee with a good atmosphere.
Hot chocolate – Whilst on holiday, for 13 days, I had at least 2 hot chocolates (with cream on top) every day! Surprisingly I didn’t gain weight. Out of all the hot chocolates I consumed, my favourite was definitely from Mokka Kaffi (Skólavörðustígur 3A, 101 Reykjavík). It’s on one of the main streets in town. We went there twice, and it was perfection both times. They are best with cream on top, so smooth, not overly sweet or bitter, just pure smooth creamy deliciousness, best hot chocolate of my life. This café also does nice waffles.
If you’re after traditional home made Icelandic food – Café Loki (28, Lokastígur, 101 Reykjavík) is the place to go. The café has a bright yellow sign and is very close to the church at the top of the hill (Hallgrímskirkja. you cant miss it). There is everything Icelandic, rye bread, meat soup, mashed fish, dried fish with butter, fermented shark, flatbread with sheep head jelly etc. I ordered the rye bread with herring and the rye bread ice cream. My friend ordered the dried fish with butter and fermented shark. The fermented shark smells like cleaning product and I’m not sure how anyone can eat it, but my friend managed to get through the whole bowl without any funny faces.
Lobster soup – Lobster soup is everywhere in Iceland and it’s delicious! I had it every chance I could. The standout place was in Hofn, Kaffi Hornið (Hafnarbraut, Höfn í Hornafirði). The soup is smooth, very creamy, strong in flavour, and usually comes with more cream on top and bread on the side.
A few snacks worth mentioning:
– Dried fish with butter. The supermarkets have a large selection of dried fish and you can buy individual packets of butter. It’s apparently a popular snack, I gave it a go and can’t say it was amazing but it was edible.
– Skyr. A cultured dairy product that’s high in protein. I quite enjoyed it, tastes very similar to those little kids yoghurts ‘petit miam’. A little overrated, but a good snack for the road.
– Laufabraud. A deep fried patterned flat bread which is eaten around Christmas time. You can get large containers of it from the supermarket. Dangerously addictive, and I can only imagine very high in calories… delicious.
Overall I was very impressed with everything I tried in Iceland. Lots of bread, pastries, fresh fish and soup was mainly what I ate for 2 weeks.. not my typical diet but calories don’t really count whilst on holiday.