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The Best Restaurants in Reykjavík

    Updated: 28th January 2024

    Welcome to Reykjavík, a city where the culinary landscape is as diverse and captivating as its scenic views. From hidden local treasures to world-renowned dining establishments, each restaurant is a testament to Iceland’s rich culinary heritage and contemporary innovation. Whether you’re craving traditional Icelandic dishes or modern, globally-inspired cuisine, Reykjavík’s dining scene has something to offer for every palate.

    Reykjavík Kitchen

    Reykjavík Kitchen, a family-run establishment nestled in the heart of Reykjavík, offers a cosy and friendly atmosphere with a commitment to serving fresh Icelandic fish and meat. Their menu is a celebration of local flavours,a standout dish is the Pan Fried Cod, paired with basil pesto, sweet potato puree, roasted peppers, potatoes, mandarin glaze, and crispy basil. For those seeking a more immersive dining experience, Reykjavík Kitchen also offers a three-course menu option, including delicacies like Coffee Cured Salmon and Lamb Ribeye, culminating in a delightful Crème Caramel dessert. The restaurant takes pride in its selection of Icelandic beers and an extensive wine list, ensuring that each dish can be accompanied by the perfect beverage. 

    Old Iceland Restaurant

    Established in 2014, Old Iceland is a family-owned gem, run by three brothers who bring a unique touch to Icelandic cuisine. The restaurant prides itself on using local Icelandic produce, including herbs and spices sourced from the country’s mountains, infusing traditional dishes with distinctive flavours. A standout on their menu is the lamb, renowned for its tenderness and rich, authentic taste. What makes Old Iceland Restaurant special is a commitment to showcasing the best of Iceland’s natural ingredients sourced from the surrounding mountains and fjords. The atmosphere is cosy and welcoming, reflecting the warm hospitality for which Iceland is known.

    Himalayan Spice

    Blending authentic Nepalese and Indian cuisines, the menu at Himalayan Spice is packed with high-quality, fresh ingredients, showcasing popular dishes like Chicken Tikka Masala and their delicious Himalayan Biryani. The restaurant also serves an array of handmade bread options, including a standout Peshwari Naan. Their skilled and experienced chefs bring a unique fusion of flavours to each dish, focusing on rich, complex flavours. Emphasising warm hospitality and community engagement, Himalayan Spice is committed to sustainable practices and the potential health benefits of spices like turmeric and ginger further enhances the holistic appeal of the restaurant, creating a dining environment that is not only welcoming but also enriching for the body and soul.

    Mama Reykjavik

    Focussing on healthy, café-style international cuisine, Mama Reykjavik is a charming and inviting plant-based restaurant that stands out for its commitment to vegetarian and vegan-friendly options (or “Earn Medicine” as Mama Reykjavik puts it). A couple of highlights on their menu is the Mama Jamaica and Tomato Soup and African Stew, perfect for warming up after a long day out in the cold. The restaurant doubles as a community space, enriching the dining experience with art, music, and a series of engaging events. 

    Kasbah Cafe Reykjavik

    Kasbah Cafe Reykjavik offers a delightful journey into the heart of Moroccan cuisine, with a menu rich in traditional flavours, the restaurant presents a variety of tagines, including the standout Chicken Lemon Tagine, a delicious blend of chicken, preserved lemons, potatoes, and olives. Their Bastilla, a unique Moroccan pie with spices and almonds is another must-try. Each dish at Kasbah Cafe Reykjavik is crafted with authenticity and care, reflecting the vibrant culture of Morocco. 

    Lóa Restaurant

    Lóa Restaurant in Reykjavik stands out with its distinctive “No Menu” concept, a dynamic buffet blending Nordic and Mediterranean flavours. This innovative approach promises an ever-changing culinary adventure, catering to various dietary needs including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The restaurant is celebrated for its delicious locally sourced dishes, particularly the lamb soup, scallops and Icelandic Salted Cod Tartare. Lóa’s commitment to high-quality ingredients and creative culinary techniques has garnered acclaim, making it a favoured destination in Reykjavik’s dining scene.

    Forrettabarinn

    Established in 2011, Forrettabarinn brings a delightful dining experience with a focus on fresh, local ingredients and Southern European-inspired cuisine. Owned and run by Róbert Ólafsson, a chef with extensive international experience, the restaurant offers a variety of starters, desserts, and a popular four-course set menu. The venue, dating back to 1939, originally served various industrial purposes before becoming a creative hub for Icelandic artists. Now, Forrettabarinn’s design blends minimalistic Scandinavian style with art, featuring high ceilings typical of old industrial buildings and a bar area crafted from old pier wood. The menu showcases a range of creative dishes with a highlight being the smoked duck appetiser and Herb-crusted lamb ribeye. The restaurant also boasts a fine selection of local and international beers on tap, light wines, and unique cocktails, complemented by a happy hour. 

    Fiskfélagid – Fish Company

    Meal from Fiskfélagid restaurant, Iceland
    Credit: Jason Paris

    Fiskfélagid offers a unique dining concept with its ‘Around Iceland’ and ‘Around the World’ menus, taking guests on a gastronomic journey. The chefs expertly blend local ingredients with global spices, crafting an array of exotic dishes that cater to a diverse palate. Standout options include the Icelandic cod and Arctic char, known for their fresh, perfectly prepared flavours. The ambiance of the restaurant complements the dining experience, featuring a cosy and rustic setting with stone walls and charming decor. This venue is ideal for special occasions, romantic dinners, or memorable meals, providing not just food, but an immersive cultural experience. 

    Matarkjallarinn – Foodcellar

    Situated in a historic 160-year-old building in Reykjavík, Matarkjallarinn is renowned for its Icelandic brasserie-style cuisine, crafted with passion and flair using Iceland’s finest ingredients. The restaurant offers some of the best lamb, duck and seafood dishes in the city as well as a delicious glazed butternut squash for vegetarians, complemented by live dinner music from a vintage 1880 Bösendorfer grand piano. The bar offers an impressive selection of fine cocktails, skillfully mixed by their expert bartenders. 

    Skál!

    Skál! is a trailblazer in Reykjavík’s dining scene, standing out as the first food hall in Iceland and earning accolades including a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its exceptional food at affordable prices. This vibrant spot, run by a trio of culinary innovators, including a renowned chef, boasts an eclectic menu that frequently changes, offering a taste of Iceland’s rich culinary heritage. Highlight dishes like the Arctic Char, smoked carrots, and a uniquely Icelandic take on the hot dog, showcase their commitment to blending traditional flavours with modern techniques. Expect a lively atmosphere enhanced alongside an extensive selection of natural wines, locally brewed beers, and homemade kombucha.

    Kröst

    Situated in the unique Hlemmur Food Hall, a transformed bus station in Reykjavik, Kröst is a Grill and Wine bar renowned for its locally sourced ingredients and innovative cuisine. The menu, divided into hamburgers, small plates, and mains, features standout dishes like the Grilled Lamb Ribeye, cooked in a Josper wood grill-oven fueled by Portuguese wood, a necessity in Iceland’s tree-scarce environment. Other signature dishes such as the Garlic Potato Balls highlight Kröst’s culinary creativity. Each dish is thoughtfully paired with wines, and their drinks selection includes Icelandic draught beers made with the country’s pure volcanic-filtered water. 

    Conclusion 

    Reykjavík’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of traditional Icelandic flavours and innovative global cuisine. From the cosy charm of local seafood bistros to the sophisticated ambiance of high-end eateries, each restaurant offers a unique dining experience. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the cornerstone of menus here, ensuring every meal is an authentic taste of Iceland.

    Check out our other Reykjavik guides here!

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