Known for the wide variety of seafood on offer, Icelandic food has to be tasted to be believed. Whilst Iceland boasts many restaurants across the country offering their delightful take on national dishes and local cuisine, there is something special about enjoying gourmet food in a fine dining setting. If you are overwhelmed by the sheer number of dishes you want to try or are unsure about what the local delicacies are, we at Iceland Car Rental are here to give you the low down on some of the country’s local dishes and offer some recommendations for the best restaurants Iceland has to offer.
Being an island, is it any surprise that the Icelandic diet is primarily made up of fish? These two dishes are must trys when you visit:
- Stockfish – A form of dried fish, used as the Icelandic alternative to bread due to issues growing grain in the country.
- Plokkfiskur – A fish stew containing white fish, onions and potatoes.
- Hákarl - Fermented shark that is often served as part of a traditional selection of Icelandic food.
Despite struggling to grow grain in the country, Iceland has also developed a range of bread and pastries that you should look out for:
- Flatkaka – A type of unleavened flatbread, often eaten with Hangikjöt.
- Rúgbrauð – Icelandic rye bread.
- Snúður - A cinnamon filled bread in a spiral shape, covered in a chocolate, caramel or sugar glaze.
- Pönnukökur – Crepe-style pancakes, usually served rolled up with sugar or jam and whipped cream.
Lamb is also a staple of the Icelandic diet. Found in many dishes, these are just a few of our favourites:
- Hangikjöt Sandwiches – Thinly sliced lamb is a popular sandwich filler.
- Kjötsúpa – A soup made of the tougher cuts of lamb, vegetables and Icelandic herbs.
- Pylsa - Many have named this the must-try food of Iceland! A hotdog formed of lamb, beef and pork, ask for ‘the works’ to enjoy this with onions, mustard, ketchup and remoulade sauce. The most famous stand to grab one from is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur in Reykjavik, which has reportedly been visited by many famous faces in its 80+ year history.
It wouldn’t be a list of iconic Icelandic foods without mentioning the iconic Skyr. This dairy product is commonly mistaken for yoghurt, but is in fact classed as cheese, and has been consumed since the Viking period.
So where are the best places to taste the finest food Iceland has to offer?
Many of the best places to eat are in Reykjavik. You can’t go amiss if you travel to the downtown area, where there is a high concentration of fine-dining restaurants. Here are our recommendations to save you from having to rifle through the many eateries on offer.
Reykjavik | 9.400 - 12.900ISK
The Fish Company is a traditional Icelandic seafood restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner. Based in the cellar of the Zimsen building, the setting is eclectically designed to represent the experimentation and contrast you’ll find on the menu. Fiskfélagid prides itself on providing an exciting yet homely dining experience with cuisine from Iceland and around the world.
Reykjavik | 8.350 - 10.500 ISK
Situated on the old harbour, Kopar offers an adventurous Icelandic menu that combines both land and sea. The wonderful location offers views across the water, allowing you to watch the ships as they come in for the day. Kopar also offers a delicious vegan adventure menu.
Reykjavik | 17.900 ISK
If you’re looking for a Michelin-star restaurant in Iceland, Dill is one of the most popular. Focused on fresh, foraged, Icelandic ingredients, sustainability and stunning surroundings - what’s not to love? Founding chef Gunnar Karl Gíslasson and other internationally experienced chefs will even take the time to serve and explain the dishes themselves.
Reykjavik | 54,000 ISK
Michelin stars are incredibly respected in Iceland, with only 2 places holding it. Óx is the other incredibly revered Michelin-star restaurant in Reykjavik, a seat at which will cost you 54,000 ISK. With just 11 seats in total, you’ll need to search well in advance to be in with a chance of eating here. Chef Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson specialises in traditional and surprising flavours.
Fine dining in Iceland is more than just enjoying a meal, it’s an experience to remember. Want to travel to your reservation in style? Be sure to rent one of our cars to make your journey as luxurious as your meal.