Eating in Iceland was not as exploratory as it could have gone since I draw the line on certain meats. I will not eat a puffin or horse meat, which is normally consumed in Iceland. It is their customs and I am okay with that, it’s just not my bag. Now I did try wild goose and reindeer which I did like, and I am proud of myself that I did try something new.
What I did find in Iceland was a lot of delicious seafood, fresh ingredients, and great fusion cuisine. All of it was fantastic, and I am ready to go back for ‘Round Two’!
From the best soup that I have ever eaten to eating chips with a skewer, my list of ‘What I ate in ICELAND- A Food Journal’.
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
AKA “The best hot dogs in town!”
Hot dogs in this country are often called the ‘National Food of Iceland”, and the best place to eat them is from a small stand that is not to far from Reykjavik’s harbor. When you order a hot dog from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur make sure that you ask for “The Works”, and they do not mess around. “The Works” includes ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion and remolaði, which is a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. Yeah, I pretty much inhaled it.
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur has been open since the late 1930s, and has fed people from all over the world including Bill Clinton and Metallica Metal Star, James Hetfield. Baejarins Beztu Pylsur is an outdoor hot dog stand, so dress warm and eat your hot dog fast.
For location and information, please visit their official website – Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
I was recommended by two sets of friends, from two different countries to check out Reykjavik Chips. I like to eat at places that my friends recommend because we often have the same taste in things. My friends said these were great tasting chips, and I will have to agree – 100%.
The best thing about Reykjavik Chips besides the quality are the choices of sauces. There are ten tasty sauces that range from a pickle sauce, garlic sauce, to just plain ketchup. Also, you are give a wood skewer to spear your chips ,and to dip your chips, just to keep your fingers clean.
For location and information, please visit their official website – REYKAJAVIK CHIPS
Icelandic Candy Bars
If this did not scream “Fat Americans”, I do not know what did. As I have mentioned in other blog posts, I have a fascination for other country’s chocolate bars. I do lean more towards specialized gourmet chocolates, but it is always fun to try the every day ones too.
While we were driving along Highway 1, we went inside a gas station where we found candy bars for about $1 USD. If you understand the currency exchange in Iceland, then you know how expensive it is for us Americans. So to find candy bars for $1 USD, you might as well have been giving it to us for free. We went a little crazy and bought bags full.
Dinner at Ranga Hotel
This is where we saw the Northern Lights on our last night in Iceland. We were in Iceland for a week, and hunted them almost every night until we came across Ranga Hotel. The owner suggested that we come back for dinner because it was a good night to see them, and we did. During dinner the staff opened the back door, and said “Outside! The lights!” The sky was glowing green, and it was magnificent.
Dinner at Hotel Ranga is a very special experience, especially on those nights when the Northern Lights are clear. Within this luxury resort, is an award winning gourmet restaurant serving regional dishes with a Modern Nordic twist. It was here that I first tasted reindeer and goose, which I really enjoyed. They also serve international wine, beer, and a good selection of specialty cocktails.
For hotel and restaurant information, please visit their official website – Hotel Ranga
For our Northern Lights experience – Waterfalls & the Aurora Borealis | An Unforgettable ICELANDIC Road Trip
The alcohol laws in Iceland can be surprising for those who like to drink while on holiday. Like others, I had read many different articles on what the current regulations were. Between what I had read and what I experienced while in Iceland, it all came out to the simple conclusion that alcohol is heavily taxed and expensive, period. The currency exchange is already high, and to buy alcohol was like drinking on The Strip in Vegas. I am just saying to be prepared. You cannot purchase cheap alcohol in a grocery store or at the airport during arrivals. You can only purchase alcohol at State stores throughout Iceland. If you cannot find a State store, your next option to buy a highly taxed drink is in a restaurant or bar. Simple as that.
We did skirt around the issue by bringing our own alcohol packed in our check in luggages. There is a certain limit on how much alcohol you can bring into the country though, so do not go crazy.
You can find that information online at – Frommers Entry Requirements and Customs in Iceland
Another never say never moment. About twenty years ago, I had a friend from Sweden tell me that they ate reindeer. I was horrified and said “Like Santa, Rudolph, reindeer?” I could not believe it. Twenty years later, I am in Iceland eating reindeer- RAW!
Did I like it? I loved it. The funny thing is that I do not like cooked game meat because I am sensitive to the heavy flavors. I was expecting the same gamey taste, but there was none with this dish. It was very nice, and I would definitely eat it again- Never say never.
A shot or double has always been a great pick me up when I travel. I make it an absolute habit everywhere I go. Plus, they always add a nice treat on the saucer such as a cookie or candy. Espresso just makes everything complete.
“I drink it black like my heart” is what I say when I order it. That always seems to get a good laugh in any country.
Lunching at GALITO in Akranes
During a fun day trip that lead us into Akranes, in search of a lighthouse that we eventually found, we had an incredible lunch at Galito. We were recommended this place by the locals who said it was one of the nicest restaurants in town. I will say that all of us genuinely liked this restaurant. The service, food, and ambiance was wonderful all the way around.
We pretty much devoured the bread & butter, and loved all the food that we ordered. My main dish was the Béarnaise Truffle Steak Sandwich, which tasted as good as it sounded. It was pretty chilly when we visited Iceland and the carbs, plus heavy meat, with the addition of the word “truffle” just sounded perfect.
For restaurant information and location, please visit their official website – GALITO Restaurant
Dinner in our Flat
One of the benefits of renting a flat is having a kitchen. In a country like Iceland where the currency exchange is not in our favor, cooking breakfasts and several dinners helped out a lot. We did have many wonderful restaurant experiences, but eating at ‘home’ balanced everything out.
We purchased cold cuts, cheeses, bread, and fresh produce from a couple of grocery stores in Reykjavik. That added to the food items that we brought in from the states, which made for several full meals. Yeah, we can be smart sometimes.
Langoustine Soup- One of the Best I Have Eaten
To this date, one of the best soups that I have ever eaten. In all places to find this gem was in a casual upscale restaurant in Akranes, Iceland. It is the same restaurant that I noted in a previous entry on this food journal, GALITO.
What made this soup phenomenal were the elevated ingredients. It is a langoustine soup with garlic roasted lobster tails, and white chocolate. The general thought is that white chocolate would destroy a strong flavor dish, but it does not. I once had a burger with a white chocolate bun, and it was outstanding and very balanced. The white chocolate in this langoustine soup did the same, it created a nice balance.
For restaurant information and location, please visit their official website – GALITO Restaurant
Iceland Grocery Shopping
I love grocery shopping in other countries. It is never a quick trip into a foreign market like in the States, which I rarely go into. In a different country’s grocery store, I like to wander up each aisle and just browse. It was not any different for me in Iceland, and I think all my friends had the same mentality.
I loved browsing the cheeses, and was wide eyed when I picked up the Gott sweets package. I had never seen this before, and had not seen it after. This was a great impulse buy, and I am glad that I did it.
Pizza at ELDSMIDJAN
Trying pizza in different countries is another fun way to taste how another culture makes a certain food. I am not an expert on Icelandic pizza, I wish I was, so I am not sure if what we ate holds up to their standards. I will suggest this Eldsmdjan if you are looking for a good meal with beer or wine, within a nice and friendly atmosphere.
There are many varieties of pizza at Eldsmidjan including ones that are focused towards tourist. They also offer fresh salads to round off your tasty pizza experience. For what it was, we enjoyed it.
For location and restaurant information – Eldsmidjan Pizzeria
Dehydrated Food- Shared Pile
The four of us brought a lot of shared food in the form of dehydration packs. Upon research and what other friends told me about traveling into Iceland, was that the currency exchange rate was not in our favor. It was a lot more than UK and Europe, so we all brought over dehydrated meals, oatmeal, snack bars, etc. Sharing is caring!
Mountain House has a great variety of breakfast packaged meals. We made a couple of packs in the morning, and shared it amongst each other- Just add water.
I have a video of me running with these bao buns trying to catch up with the walking tour group, and completely missing them. What lead up to that moment defined what my friends and I predominantly focus on- FOOD.
We were on a free walking tour, saw the Skuli Craft Bar food truck, and were easily distracted. We placed our order but with any good food, it was going to take awhile. Our tour kept walking and so did we. I ran back hoping to pick up the food, and make it back to the tour. That did not happen- the tour and my friends were gone! Come to find out my friends ditched the tour, and headed back to the flat, which was fine because that was where I was going. I went back with bao buns in hand, and then we ate hot yummy bao buns in our flat- The End.
Skuli Craft Bar Bao Buns are truly delicious. This food truck is an extension to the Skuli Craft Bar in Old Town Reykjavik. You will find it in the square outside the bar’s brick and mortar.
For more informaton, please visit – Skuli Craft Bar’s Facebook page
Wine in a Flask and Taken Bread
When you travel with friends that you grew up with sometimes you revert back to those days. I will not mention what day tour bus we were on, nor will I say how and why ‘one of us kids’ got the bread and butter. I will say that we definitely belonged in the back of the bus with the other rowdy kids. Actually we were the only rowdy kids, and mind you we are all over 45.
Do you like my 80’s hair? That happened when I took off my beanie. How about my personalized flask filled with red wine? Yep, that was how the bad kids rolled through Iceland.
Japanese Happy Hour
In Reykjavik you will find several Japanese restaurants serving fresh sushi, and other Asian inspired dishes. I love trying Asian food in other countries just to taste their interpretation. I was just glad that my friends on this trip had the same ideas, as one of the girls took the reins and located Sushi Social along Parliament Hill. She did a bit of research, and realized that Happy Hour prices would be the same as our regular prices in the states.
Sushi Social is a delicious place to be social with sushi. We enjoyed everything we ate. The ambiance is upscale modern, the service was fantastic, and the food was all very fresh. For those who enjoy Westernized sushi then you will love the rolls, as well as their meat dishes, and desserts. This place is high on my recommendation list.
For location and restaurant information, please visit their official website– SUSHI SOCIAL
Every country has their own version of cheese balls, cheese puffs, cheese snacks, etc. For a very long time these used to be a go to for me because they are very easy to eat. Like in this photo, I an walking throughh Reykjavik with my friends up ahead (yellow grocery bags). We had just come out from the market, and I was already shoving cheese balls in my face. Graceful sight, I am sure!
Mmmm cheese snacks- what is your favorite ‘easy to eat’ snack?
Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world…
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