Eating and drinking in Iceland comes in two forms: largely and on a budget. There really isn’t much of an in between, so let me tell you what to know before you go.
Food is expensive
Oh man. I’m talkin’ REAL expensive. Like $24 for a bowl of soup expensive. See the below photo of an empty bowl of soup? Yeah, that cost a whopping $24, but I coughed up the krónas anyway because I was starving from hiking many miles in the pouring rain to the Reykjadalur hot springs, not to mention freezing cold and soaking wet. Yes, it’s expensive, but the soup at the Earth Cooking restaurant in the town of Hveragerdi is delicious, as seen from the scrapings below 🙂
Bonus, the budget grocery store of Iceland, is cheap (but with weird hours)
Bonus. You can’t really miss the bright yellow grocery with an even brighter pink pig as its logo. It’s bad for the eyes but good for the bank account since prices are kept super low here. Beware, however, that you may get what you pay for. While I did purchase fine veggies, fruits and other items, I arrived to the hotel with a very expired and very moldy block of cheese. Blah. Keep in mind that while hotels are on the pricey side as well, you can opt for a room with a kitchenette. That way, you can grocery shop and cook while saving money. Speaking of hotels, I stayed in a few B&Bs with incredible homemade breakfast including Aros Guesthouse in Reykjavik. Björg, the woman who runs it, is so incredibly sweet and eager to give any recommendations you wish. Highly recommend!
*Note that Bonus may have weird hours. The first couple of times I tried to make a visit, it was closed, not opening until very late morning.
Specialties include Skyr yogurt, soups, hot dogs, pancakes
I looove delving into a new country’s cuisine. I didn’t find anything extremely out of the ordinary in terms of food in Iceland (no, I did not try the delicacies such as whale b/c that’s just sad), but I fell in love with Skyr yogurt and its perfect consistency. I’ve always been a huge fan of soup, and Iceland hit it out of the park with their creamy goodness that warmed me up in mere seconds (photo below taken at The Soup Company in Vik). The locals of Reykjavik love their hot dogs, so I obviously had to taste test a couple. I can confirm that the best hot dog can be found on a street stand called Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur – they keep it simple and clean, just the way I like ’em. Lastly, I had an Icelandic pancake for brunch one day. These aren’t the pancakes you’re probably thinking of – sweet, syrupy and full of sugar. Instead, Iceland cooks them up savory with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, barley and whatever else your heart desires.
Iceland is a fan of beer, and I’m a fan of both Iceland and beer. Match made in heaven! My favorite local beers are Einstok and Kaldi. Einstok can be found easily throughout grocery stores and liquor stores. I drank Kaldi when I visited the Beer Spa, Bjorbodin, a highlight of the trip! In northern Iceland about 30 minutes from Akureyri (Iceland’s second largest city), there exists a fairytale land with hot tubs on the coast, craft beer and BATH TUBS full of BEER. I miss it just thinking back on this lovely afternoon. It was the perfect way to relax after going nonstop on the Ring Road (the road circling the perimeter of the country).
Ice Ice Baby
If all else fails (or is too expensive), there’s always ice in Iceland. Kidding, sort of. And yes, you can drink the water in Iceland, straight out of the tap!