Finding good food in Reykjavík is not difficult, but finding cheap food is a fine art. The cost of groceries in Iceland is 44% higher than in England which means the price for food in a restaurant can soar to to dizzying heights. Even in supermarkets the cost is much higher than I am personally accustomed to – on our first night we went into a 7/11-type shop and bought: sushi, prepared watermelon, a couple of drinks and share bag of crisps. Our “pop to the shops” cost £37! I wish I wasn’t British, as I would have been brave enough to simply put the groceries back and stay hungry, but awkwardness wins. Awkwardness always wins.
I have compiled a brief, but not exhaustive list of cheap places to grab a bite to eat in Reykjavík for you. Some I have seen on other lists, some I haven’t. I have eaten at all of these establishments!
Vitastígur 10, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
You cannot miss it really. Reykjavík Chips has a six foot cone of chips outside their building, shaped like the Hallgrímskirkja – which I thought was a cool touch. Their chips come in three sizes: small (750 ISK), large (1050 ISK) and family (1350 ISK) and you can then pick your sauce to garnish the goodness! There were a lot of sauces to choose from, but my personal favourite was the béarnaise.
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
Tryggvatagata 1, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
I didn’t see a list of places to eat in Reykjavík that did not include this famous hotdog stand, so I will keep this short. The hot dogs are the real deal! Join the likes of Bill Clinton and James Hetfield and order a hotdog “with everything”. You can get an hotdog with a drink for approximately £5-7.
Laugavegur 54, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Walked along the main shopping street in Reykjavík and came across this little upstairs restaurant. It was so cold outside that we pretty much had to go in and my boyfriend had heard good things, why not! Svarta Kaffid serve two types of soup each day, one meat and one vegetarian. When we visited they were dishing up a spiced vegetable soup and an Italian meat soup, and honestly I really wanted something a bit more “traditional” so I was quite reluctant. However, we stayed and I am glad we did. We ordered one of each soup at around £13 each and it came to us in a bread bowl! Most importantly, the soups were delicious. We always share food and agreed that both offerings were absolutely great, the atmosphere was lively and the place was packed with a mixture of tourists and local diners. This restaurant is located so conveniently and dare I say it – #breadbowlgoals
Lækjargata 6b, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
A relatively new establishment, Messinn is a fish restaurant and a fish restaurant by the sea can only be a good thing, surely! The ambience in the place was perfect and the service was incredible, the staff were so helpful and were patient with our pitiful attempts to speak Icelandic. The diners here were mostly local as far as I could tell, which is always a pro point for me as I feel that I am not about to be caught in a tourist trap (which is literally a phobia of mine, don’t ask). The starters ranged from 1100ISK to 1400ISK (£7-10) and the main courses 1800ISK to 2250ISK (£13-16) which is pretty reasonable if you ask me.
We ate saltfish mousse, bouillabaisse, fish stew and arctic char. It was extremely well seasoned and the flavours complimented each other wonderfully. The fish stew was genuinely tasty, my partner actually ordered it but I kept dipping my fork in and he became quite territorial! The char was flavoured with honey and almonds, with I was dubious of at first, but it clicked straight into place. Beautiful restaurant, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Hallgrímskirkja Square, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
Or, Waffle Wagon! Here you can get Belgian style waffles until late, right outside Hallgrímskirkja (not too far from Reykjavík Chips, maybe stop for dessert *oink*). The waffles can be served plain or with the usual stuff; chocolate, caramel, syrup, cream, etc. and they cost 590ISK for a plain waffle or 890ISK for a topped waffle which gives it a range of £4-6. Plus, they are big enough to share which basically means they are half price, right? So make sure you ask for two forks.