Although you might not think about it too much, Iceland has a thriving and fun foodie scene. You can also always opt for more exotic fare, like Iceland’s famous fermented shark.
Because this tiny island country sits right between Canada and Europe and offers the best of both worlds.
15 Must-Try Restaurants in Iceland
You’re bound to find something delicious and palate-pleasing in Iceland. From traditional food to bistro cuisine and everything between, Iceland’s restaurants are serving the best of the best.
- Location: Skipagata 14, Akureyri 600 Iceland
- Website: Strikid
Strikid is right in the middle of Akureyri, Iceland. A popular destination for hikers who don’t want to home base in the capital. It’s a convenient, popular place where you can enjoy gorgeous views in conjunction with fine cuisine.
So dine outside in the summer months and check out the fjord for a magical dining experience. You’ll find a lot of fish on the menu, both cooked and sushi varieties.\
There are also vegetarian options, beef, and chicken. There’s also a good cocktail menu, and the ambiance is excellent. Consider making Strikid your watering hole of choice next time you’re in Iceland.
2. Kef Restaurant
- Location: Vatnsnesvegi 12 Hotel Iceland, Keflavik, Reykjanesbaer 230 Iceland
- Website: Kef Restaurant
Simply put, the food at Kef Restaurant is delicious. using local ingredients to make conventionally loved dishes like salads and tacos. You can also get larger entrees, like beef tenderloin, if you’re feeling famished.
But be aware that the portions are certainly sizable. Kef Restaurant does tend to get busy.
So if you’re traveling on the weekends or for their meal rushes, it’s a good idea to make reservations in advance. Once seated, you’ll experience excellent service. Your meal will generally come out in a flash.
- Location: Hafnargata 19, Keflavik, Reykjanesbaer 230 Iceland
- Website: Rain
Rain has big, gorgeous windows that look out on the lovely Icelandic beach. It’s a great place to unwind after a long day. Even if you’re not hungry, you can plan to share a cocktail or two while taking in the bay.
The bay is nothing short of magical. If you are hungry, you’re in luck. Rain specializes in seafood. The fish is always fresh and flavorful. And it comes with excellent sides like mashed potatoes.
Good appetizer options include lobster soup or fish and chips to share. The best thing is that you can spend hours in Rain, and nobody will ask you to wrap it up. It’s the ideal chilling out destination.
- Location: Tryggvabraut 22, Akureyri 600 Iceland
- Website: Salatsjoppan
If you’re looking for a lovely little spot to pass your afternoon meal, Salatsjoppan is exactly up your alley. The ambiance at this restaurant is everything. It’s both cozy and classy at the same time.
Plus, the staff is super professional and knowledgeable about everything on the menu.
You would have to seriously try hard to have a bad time. The atmosphere and food are great, and the prices are reasonable. Especially considering that the restaurant is right in the heart of Akureyri.
- Location: Hafnarstraeti 92, Akureyri 600 Iceland
- Website: Bautinn
Another Akureyri gem, Bautinn, serves up comfort food done right. With massive chimichangas, salads, and burritos. If you’re craving something to fill you up quickly after a long day exploring Iceland by foot, Bautinn is one of the best options in the area.
It does get pretty busy at this restaurant. So, you should consider making reservations. Especially if you’re visiting during a busier time.
They have tons of options for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. And you can also order an appetizer to share if you’re not famished. The potato wedges and their focaccia are both outstanding.
6. Kaffi Ilmur
- Location: Hafnarstraeti 107 B, Akureyri 600 Iceland
- Website: Kaffi Ilmur
This restaurant serves excellent coffee and has excellent entrees. It is a simply lovely spot to have a good meal in Iceland. The coffee is the star, brewed to order and served fresh and hot.
Savor a cup or two before you start on your next hike or adventure. If you arrive hungry and have time, Kaffi Ilmur’s menu is nothing to sneeze at.
They have inventive, delicious dishes like lamb soup and fresh sandwiches. Check out the roast beef or smoked lamb if you’re famished. Lighter palates might want to try the vegetable quiche and save room for cheesecake.
- Location: Glerargata 20, Akureyri 600 Iceland
- Website: Greifinn
This restaurant tends to be super popular. So make sure that you make reservations well in advance. It’s a moderately priced, good place that’s beloved by locals and tourists alike.
Plus, the menu is constantly changing and incorporating new and exciting dishes. The fish at Greifinn is spectacular. And if you’re looking for something a little bit lighter or to share, the pizzas are top-notch.
They also serve comfort food classics like big salads, burgers, and excellent cocktails. It’s a solid restaurant with a good reputation where you can get lovely food at reasonable prices.
- Location: 51 Hafnargotu, Keflavik, Reykjanesbaer Iceland
- Website: Retturinn
Keflavik’s Retturinn is an excellent spot to go if you’re looking for authentic and tasty Icelandic cuisine. You’ll find plenty of classics like traditional pork, meatballs, parsley potatoes, or soup.
It’s a smaller place, and it’s only open for a few limited hours, so make sure that you’re prepared to wait if you go. It’s worth it. The food is also reasonably priced, and you’ll wind up with a portion significant enough to share.
You can also get combo meals during certain times of the year. And they generally have one or two specials going at a time. You will know that you’re on to something special when you see all the locals going there.
9. Apotek Restaurant
- Location: Austurstraeti 16, Reykjavik 101 Iceland
- Website: Apotek Restaurant
In Iceland’s capital city, you will find Apotek Restaurant, and you’ll be pleased that you did. This higher-end restaurant features tons of different dishes. So you can explore Icelandic food or stick to more traditional favorites.
It’s all up to you. When you visit, the only thing to keep in mind is that the food is sharable, so order several plates and prepare to enjoy. Some of their top dishes include foie gras, french fries, preserved meats, salmon dishes, and huge ribeye steaks.
Their cocktails are excellent. But if you don’t feel like partaking, they also make a fantastic cappuccino. Sometimes there’s live music, and there’s always a great crowd at Apotek Restaurant.
10. Old Iceland Restaurant
- Location: Laugavegur 72, Reykjavik 101 Iceland
- Website: Old Iceland Restaurant
This highly-rated restaurant is one of the most popular places in Reykjavik for tourists and locals. They take reservations until 6 p.m., but you might have to wait for a table if you arrive afterward.
However, most people think that the wait is worth it once they taste the food. There’s a set menu of delicious options like salmon, cod, lamb, and freshly made desserts.
Although the restaurant is small and intimate, it doesn’t seem like it’s too cramped. Instead, you’ll feel like you’re dining amongst friends. People with food allergies or gluten sensitivities can also eat at Old Iceland Restaurant.
11. Fiskfélagid – Fish Company
- Location: Vesturgata 2a Grófartorg, Reykjavik 101 Iceland
- Website: Fiskfelagid- Fish Company
As you might guess from the name, this restaurant serves some fantastic fish courses. So whether you’re looking for more standard fare, or you want to reach outside of your comfort zone, there’s a good chance that you’ll find it here.
You can also do some inventive surf and turf dishes or select items from the chef’s menu to try. This restaurant truly specializes in plating and presentation. You will know that you’ve stepped into somewhere special the second that you sit down.
It would be difficult to choose a bad dish from the menu. But some standouts include lobster and scallop soup, tuna tartare, and fresh fish of the day. One of the best ways to enjoy your experience is to get several dishes to share.
12. Reykjavík Kitchen
- Location: Raudararstig 8, Reykjavik 105 Iceland
- Website: Reykjavik Kitchen
Right in the center of Reykjavik, you’ll find Reykjavik Kitchen. It’s close to most of the major hotels and attractions. So you can swing by after you’ve finished sightseeing or hiking for the day.
The staff is lovely and very knowledgable about the food. They can also make suggestions or help you with dietary restrictions as needed. The homemade bread is superb.
And you should try it the traditional way with whipped-up butter and unique salt. As for food, the cured fishes and meats are exceptional. Heartier fare includes lamb and fried cod.
13. Matarkjallarinn – Foodcellar
- Location: Adalstraeti 2, Reykjavik 101 Iceland
- Website: Matarkjallarinn-Foodcellar
Situated in a historic building, the Matarkjallarinn Foodcellar is right in the heart of the city. And dining there is an immersive and fantastic experience. They use many local ingredients, paired to perfection.
And they serve them with whimsical and classical cocktails. It’s a classy but friendly restaurant that will make you fall in love with Iceland even more. Meats are delicious at this restaurant, including the duck and lamb.
You can also find vegetarian courses and fabulous desserts. On special nights, a pianist will perform as you sit down for your meal. Check their website for the schedule and plan to be amazed.
14. The Coocoo’s Nest
- Location: Grandagardur 23, Reykjavik 101 Iceland
- Website: The Coocoo’s Nest
This casual and funky restaurant in Reykjavik will be guaranteed to become one of your favorites. They serve non-pretentious, delicious food like tacos and pizza. But everything is cooked to perfection.
The Coocoo’s Nest has a fantastic selection of designer cocktails with local ingredients. Since it’s overlooking the harbor, you’ll enjoy incredible views as you dine.
The service is quick, professional, and friendly. If you have any questions or concerns about the menu, just ask their team. You can also make substitutions if you need to, and they do run specials from time to time.
15. Restaurant Aura
- Location: Blikavollur 2, Reykjanesbaer 235 Iceland
- Website: Restaurant Aura
If you’re craving fantastic seafood, Restaurant Aura is really where it’s at. Their dishes taste like they are fresh out of the ocean, and they’re prepared in inventive and tasty ways.
Their servers can also help you pair your dish with a good wine or cocktail. So you’ll have a phenomenal dining experience.
If seafood is too heavy for you, Restaurant Aura also has plenty of homemade soups and starters that will take the edge off your appetite. These restaurants are some of the best ones that Iceland has to offer.
One of the best things that you can do while traveling is step outside of your comfort zone. So don’t be afraid to try new foods and exciting restaurants. It will only add to the experience.
Things to Consider
Before stepping off the plane, consider these key ways to make the most of your Icelandic eating journey. First, be open to trying new foods. Even if something sounds strange, it might just taste delicious.
For example, Icelandic yogurt is creamy, dense, and flavorful. and their lamb soup is precisely what you need to keep the chill off. Hakari, or fermented shark, is a bit of an acquired taste, but you shouldn’t rule it out completely.
Also, go where the locals go. Visit social media groups and learn about different neighborhoods or dishes to try. Also, it pays to understand the currency difference so that you can budget properly.
Iceland tends to be on the expensive side. And you certainly don’t want a sticker shock the second that you come back from your vacation. Keep these things in mind on your next trip to Iceland, and you’ll have a far better culinary experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
These frequently asked questions and their answers will help you be as polite as possible to your Icelandic hosts and enjoy the food culture there. If you have any extra questions, ask a trusted friend or your hotel concierge to help you out.
What are some basic Icelandic table manners?
Icelandic table manners are a lot like American or European table manners. Keep your elbows off the table, but it’s okay to rest your wrists on the table’s edge. Use your left hand for your fork and your right for your knife.
Don’t take more food than you can realistically consume if you’re eating at a communal table. It’s bad manners to throw away food in Iceland. Instead, just take a smaller portion and ask for more if you want to sample extra entrees.
Will I be served fermented shark?
It’s highly unlikely that anyone will serve you fermented shark. Although you might be able to find it if you’re curious and want a taste.
For Icelandic people, fermented shark is an ancient food that they have a connection with. Some associate it with their childhoods or have a fondness for it. But they understand that it is the ultimate acquired taste.
Fermented shark is a lot like stinky tofu or durian fruit in other parts of the world. So, just politely decline if you’re offered some but don’t want it.
How much should I budget for dining out in Iceland?
Unfortunately, you should plan to spend quite a bit on food in Iceland. Generally speaking, your average meal out will cost $20. But, you can always whittle that back a little bit by dining at cheaper establishments.
Or even cooking for yourself. This is why it’s essential to understand the currency difference. A good trick is to put a currency converter right on your phone and reference it whenever you’re making a purchase.
Can I find vegetarian and vegan options in Iceland?
Absolutely! There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options all over Iceland. You can even find specialty treats, like vegan ice cream, throughout the country.
If you’re not sure if a restaurant offers this type of food, simply ask. Generally speaking, people are more than willing to accommodate you. Especially if you’re a tourist and being polite.
What sort of meal is very common in Iceland?
Icelandic people eat a lot of fish, yogurt, and lamb. You’ll find fish and lamb in many different types of stews and soups, as well as served as the main course.
Skyr or Icelandic yogurt is typically served for breakfast. Although you can get it virtually any time of the day. They also have plenty of fresh bread and butter.
Best Restaurants in Iceland: A Summary
There are tons of great restaurants in Iceland. And the best one depends on what kind of cuisine and atmosphere you’re looking for. The beauty of Iceland paired with a great food culture offers a variety of experiences. Rest assured, you’ll have plenty of choices. Happy travels!