You won’t find a McDonalds in Iceland as the last one shut down in 2009-aah, shame! but you can get great burgers and hotdogs, fishy and meaty dishes as well as wonderful soups. If you are interested, the last McDonalds burger bought in Iceland is now on display at a hostel. It’s well over ten years old now and still looks as tasty as ever! Don’t believe me?- Click HERE.

Icelandic Hotdog- Psylur


Let’s do the drinking bit first! There are loads of bars and pubs in Reykjavik as one would expect. I tried a fair few and liked them all! Some of my favourites are – Kex [see below] and Húrra, which has a small venue at the back. Dillon has a prime spot on Laugavegur sells itself as a whisky bar but it does have other spirits, beers and wine also. The Dubliner next to Hurra is also a great bar and has a seven hour happy hour – YAY !

If you want to watch live sports, the cosy The Lebowski Bar and the larger The English Pub and American Bar are good options. The American Bar also serves tasty burgers and ribs.

The Reykjavik Grapevine have a brilliant app called appyhour which is very helpful and will save you a few pennies.

My favritist app!


The eating bit: There are plenty of excellent restaurants and cafes in Reykjavik to choose from and here are my favrits. You may be a bit shocked at the prices if this is your first visit to Iceland. A main meal can easily cost double or even treble what you would pay back at home. A bottle of wine is likely to be around £40! Beer is a good option if you like a drink [other than water] with your meal. Lovely fresh Icelandic water is free, so don’t buy bottled. the bars mentioned above also serve decent food and are good options.

For a wonderful culinary experience both the Reykjavik Kitchen and Forrettbarrin are superb.

The Reykjavik Kitchen is near the Hlemmur foodhall right next to Lucky Records. On our recent visit my wife and I were treated to probably the best fish dishes that we have ever tasted! [Thanks Laura for the recommendation].

Forrettbarinn : We have eaten here a couple of times now, including a wonderful New Years Eve dinner. They offer well presented and superb food in a relaxed environment.

Íslenski barinn has a nice vibe and a decent menu ranging from hot dogs to burgers, and other meaty and fishy dishes including the infamous Hákarl– see my review at the bottom of this page.

Grai Kotturinn: Cafe. Bjork’s favrit. Great for lunch or breakfast, or brunch and their coffee is wonderful. Warning- their pancakes are HUGE!

Sægreifinn : The Sea Baron is a fish restaurant and has a good reputation and is generally considered to be good value. It’s in a hut by the old harbour and does not look impressive, but their lobster soup is meant to be amazing. My family and I did enjoy the food here- we had fish skewers, but it was still pretty pricey and we were all still hungry afterwards. I think we should have had the soup as a starter which may have helped fill us up.

Saffran, We tried out Saffran as it was close to The Arctic Comfort Hotel and we were away from the city centre. They do a range of pizza and spicey foods to take away. We ate in and it was pleasant and affordable

Kex: The Kex Hostel is housed in an unnassuming and bland block but head upstairs and you enter a large pleasant room with a bar and restaurant as well as the reception for the hostel. They have a good selection of home brewed beers on tap and a small but yummy menu. The new menu now offers a very reasonably priced pizza menu which are as good as Flatey in my opinion!

Kaffivagninn on the harbour arm is the perfect place to stop for lunch, coffee or cakey. It’s Iceland’s oldest operating restaurant apparently. It’s near Fly Over Iceland.

Cakey at Kaffivagninn


There are several foodhalls dotted around Reykjavik- The Grandi Foodhall is by the harbour, Borg 29 is east of the city centre not far from Laugardaslaug baths and Vera Food Court is near the university. The Kringlan Shopping Mall near Perlan also has a new food hall called Kúmen but it’s on the outskirts of the city.

My favritist is the centrally located Hlemmur food Hall which offers 8 different eateries that covers a range of options such as: Vietnamese, Icelandic, Italian food [Flatey Pizza!-yum], as well an Ice Cream parlour and a bar. It’s an informal place to eat and drink- perfect for families.

On a budget ?

Self catering will save you loads and Bonus supermarkets are dotted around Reykjavik and are a good affordable [ish] option. A meat or fish soupy lunch with bread in a cafe can be pretty filling. A pizza dinner is pretty well priced and the pizza’s at Kex and Flatey pizza’s are excellent. You can grab a hotdog or two at the famous and incredibly popular Baejarins Beztu stand in the old town not far from the harbour. [Ask for a hot dog with everything!]. Petrol stations often sell hot food to take away or eat in and they can be a good option too.

You could also save money by downloading the ICELANDIC COUPONS APP which has some generous discounts.

And finally -few words on Hakarl [Fermented shark]

Hakarl has been described by the chef Anthony Bourdain as “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing he had ever eaten” If that does not put you off and you want to be brave [or foolhardy like me] and wish to try the infamous local delicacy Hakari, several places do serve it.including Íslenski barinn.

If you do not wish to try this and I do not blame you, here is my opinion on the dish:
The shark came served as a small sugar lump sized cube. It’s the smell that hits you first, a putrid, acrid smell of stale piss that
makes you gag if you breathe in [not advisable]. The texture is like a squash ball, possibly a little less chewy, but I have not eaten a squash ball for some time. The highlight is definitely the shot of Brennivin which does offset the weird numb sensation in ones mouth.

Quick Links:

Reykjavik Homepage


Places to see for free


Bathing in Reykjavik

Shopping in Reykjavik

Record Shops and Music

New Years Eve

The Golden Circle

South and The Blue Lagoon

East of Reykjavik

West of Reykjavik

Further inspiration and Reading