Reykjavik: 14 Best Restaurants, Bars, Cafes, and Food Halls

Kaelene Spence, an American expat who now calls Iceland home, came on the Postcard Academy podcast to share her insider tips on where to find the best food and drink in Iceland. Kaelene blogs about her Icelandic adventures at Unlocking Kiki

Listen to the Postcard Academy podcast (and subscribe for free!) for more tips on how to have an incredible vacation in Iceland. 


 
This year, Kaelene Spence got married, bought a house, had a baby, earned her MBA, and then returned to work after maternity leave. Miraculously, she still finds time to blog about her Icelandic adventures at  Unlocking Kiki,  Photo courtesy of  Kaelene .

This year, Kaelene Spence got married, bought a house, had a baby, earned her MBA, and then returned to work after maternity leave. Miraculously, she still finds time to blog about her Icelandic adventures at Unlocking Kiki, Photo courtesy of Kaelene.

What local food or drink do I need to try in Iceland? 

This is a carnivore’s paradise: fish, hotdogs, puffin, reindeer, flat bread topped with a smoked lamb called hangikjöt — even rotton shark. Vegetarians can eat salty licorice, kleina (the Icelandic doughnut), or vínarbrauð (a custard pastry).



But really, if I’m a vegetarian will I starve in Iceland? 

No, they have veg-friendly options. Kaelene’s favorite vegetarian restaurant is Glo. They have a few locations and serve vegetarian and raw dishes made from Icelandic produce grown in geothermal greenhouses. “It’s amazing to taste these vegetables that have been grown in a greenhouse in the winter.”



Food halls to try in Reykjavik  

Hlemmur Mathöll and Grandi Mathöll. “They’re both in the downtown. Most of these local restaurants emphasize local produce and products, so it’s a fun place to go and try out Icelandic foods.”



Best bakery in Reykjavik

Braud og Co. “My favorite one is downtown and the building is painted this fun tie-die.” Try the cinnamon rolls.



Best coffee shops in Reykjavik

Stofan Cafe. Head here for cozy comforts that make you feel like you’re at Grandma’s house.

Reykjavik Roasters. If you’re addicted to great coffee, this is your place.


Best lunch spot in Reykjavik

Nautholl. “It’s actually next to the geothermal beach here in Reykjavik and the fish of the day there is always amazing. And it has a really beautiful view over the bay.”



Best dinner spots in Reykjavik

Apotek and Tapas. If you want to try different Icelandic foods, splurge on the tasting menus. If cool ambience is your thing, Apotek is located in one of the first pharmacies in Iceland (Apotek actually means ‘pharmacy’ in Icelandic).



Best restaurants to get a traditional Icelandic meal

Cafe Loki. Try the rye bread pudding, which is baked underground using geothermal steam.

Mulakaffi. Workers pop in here during the day to enjoy a meal like mom would have made them.



Best wine or cocktail bar in Reykjavik

Slippbarinn. Cocktail lovers will get a kick out of the fun presentation and combinations dreamed up here.

Kex. Head here for happy hour. “They have a beautiful view over the ocean and the mountains. It’s always a fun vibe and often they’ll have live music there and good prices.” Drinking is expensive in Iceland, so cherish these drink specials!

Port9. New cozy wine bar where sometimes you’ll hear live jazz.


Kaelene’s mom wheeling around her grandbaby outside  Braud og Co . Photo by  Kaelene .

Kaelene’s mom wheeling around her grandbaby outside Braud og Co. Photo by Kaelene.


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If you found this article useful, please share it, and subscribe to the Postcard Academy podcast. Each week, expats and adventurers share their insider travel tips on the best food, nightlife, and cultural experiences in the most interesting places around the globe. I’m your host, Sarah Mikutel, an American who's spent the last 8 years living in, and traveling around, Europe.