6 Best Restaurants in Reykjavik to Suit All Budgets

06.12.2016

Iceland is a popular hotspot for nature lovers, famed for its dramatic landscapes, which feature volcanoes, geysers and hot springs. It’s also the home of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, which attracts thousands of visitors. However, in recent years the destination has also experienced a renaissance in its culinary culture, thanks to rise of the contemporary Nordic food movement.

The island’s capital, Reykjavik, is at the centre of this shift, emphasising simple dishes made from local, seasonal ingredients. Hungry travellers no longer find themselves greeted with traditional dishes of fermented shark and singed sheep’s head; instead, there are a range of trendy bars and restaurants that satisfy foodies from all over the world.

Northern Europe has a reputation for being fairly pricey, which is why we’ve compiled a list of six of Reykjavik’s best restaurants with options for every budget. Whether you’re soaking up the luxury or travelling on a shoestring, there are delicious culinary experiences aplenty.

1. Dill Restaurant
Arguably the best restaurant in Iceland, Dill fully embodies the values of the new Nordic food movement, thanks to the vision of its pioneering chef, Gunnar Karl Gislason. It is situated in Nordic House, a cultural institution designed by architect, Alvar Aalto, highlighting recent efforts to entwine food with the country’s cultural identity. By day visitors can expect traditional ingredients with a contemporary twist, and by night, diners are treated to three, five or seven course menus. It’s not cheap but it’s worth it for the world-class experience, and you can even take a piece of the inspiration home in the form of Gislason’s recent book, North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland.
Address: Hverfisgata 12, 101 Reykjavík
Website: http://dillrestaurant.is/

2. Bæjarins Beztu
It might not look like much but this understated hot dog vendor is one of Reykjavik’s most popular places to eat. It was first established in 1937 and has since earned a place on the city’s food tours, attracting queues of people, day and night. In 2004, Bæjarins Beztu earned global fame when President Bill Clinton stopped by to grab a bite to eat. The lamb-based hotdogs can be customised with a selection of toppings, including ketchup, mustard, onion and remoulade. And what’s more, they’re super cheap! A hot dog and a can of coke will cost you the equivalent of around £5 – just be prepared to wait with the other hungry locals and tourists.
Address: Tryggvagata 1, 101 Reykjavik
Website: http://www.bbp.is/

3. Grillmarkadurinn (The Grillmarket)
Located in an alleyway in downtown Reykjavik, Grillmarkadurinn is another of the city’s culinary spectacles. Its delicately lit interior offers a warm and intimate environment, perfectly suited to the pared down food. But that’s not to say it’s anything but spectacular. Taking its inspiration from Iceland’s natural landscape, the menu utilises fresh produce from local farms and the chefs’ Michelin-starred experience to create dishes that are both hearty and elegant. The cooking process is equally as understated, favouring fire, smoke and coal to keep the ingredients as close to nature as possible. If you can stretch your budget for an evening, Grillmarkadurinn is a treat that you won’t forget.
Address: Tryggvagata 1, 101 Reykjavik
Website: http://www.grillmarkadurinn.is/en/

4. Noodle Station
Like Bæjarins Beztu, Noodle Station is one of the city’s best-known treasures, frequented by visitors and locals alike. In essence, the dishes are simple, offering noodle soup in three different variations: chicken, beef, and vegetable, with a mixture of secret ingredients. But Noodle Station take their food seriously. Based on a Thai family recipe, the food is perfect for warming you up on a cold evening. And just like the more expensive restaurants in the city, this small franchise prioritises fresh ingredients in their hearty food. Dishes range from £5-10, and are therefore well within budget for those planning a more affordable trip!
Address: Laugavegur 86, 101 Reykjavik
Website: http://noodlestation.is/en/

5. Fiskfelagid
Iceland is famed for its world-class seafood and Fiskfelagid, or the Fish Company, is the perfect spot to try it. Located in the basement of the Zimsen building, the cosy restaurant offers traditional Icelandic seafood, as well as fish dishes from across the world; for those who want to gain the full experience of either, there are two set menus, ‘Around Iceland’ and ‘Around the World.’ Like many of Reykjavik’s culinary hotspots, Fiskfelagid aims to create a homey atmosphere where guests can enjoy the spectacular food in comfort. This is not to be missed if you’re looking to sample some of the country’s best catches.
Address: Vesturgata 2a, Reykjavík
Website: http://www.fiskfelagid.is/en/

6. The Laundromat Café
Last but not least, The Laundromat Café. This is one of Reykjavik’s hipster havens, decorated in the style of an American diner with working self-serve laundry machines, and designed to create a community hub for locals and travellers. After delving into a generous brunch and a delicious milkshake, guests can browse over 6,000 books and an eclectic selection of magazines. Alternatively, there’s the opportunity to settle down to play a game of Backgammon while waiting for your laundry to finish. Although it might not offer the most innovative food in Reykjavik, it does beat the competition in terms of its kitsch atmosphere – and it’s perfect for the whole family!
Address: Vesturgata 2a, Reykjavík
Website: http://www.thelaundromatcafe.com/en/home

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