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5 must-visit restaurants in Reykjavík for the best Icelandic food

5 must-visit restaurants in Reykjavík for the best Icelandic food

by Nona Vesele 29 days ago
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Table of contents

  • 1. DILL Restaurant: exceptional Michelin star dining
  • 2. Indulge in the finest local food in a laid-back ambience at Reykjavík Kitchen
  • 3. Old Iceland: at the heart of traditions
  • 4. Enjoy cocktails & beats at Foodcellar
  • 5. Fish Company: versatile gourmet adventure
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In Iceland, adventure travelers find their happy place amidst nature's grand spectacle, captivating with its rugged landscapes, untamed sea crashing against dramatic cliffs, and the Northern Lights staging their dance in the night sky. Reykjavík is the typical starting point of exploration that adds a splash of culture and history to your already mesmerizing package. It is also home to the country's best restaurants, where talented chefs showcase the finest ingredients in innovative and delicious ways. The pure flavors of local food have the power to impress — whether it's succulent meat of free-roaming sheep, the bounty of the cold ocean waters, comforting plokkfiskur, rye bread treats, or wholesome dairy products. In this guide, we’re thrilled to share some of the highlights of the dining scene in Reykjavík that you better not miss.

1. DILL Restaurant: exceptional Michelin star dining
Photo from Restaurant Guru
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Dill Restaurant
#2 of 626 restaurants in Reykjavík, Iceland
Laugavegur 59, Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland
Closed until 6PM

Arguably, DILL is your perfect initiation into the world of Icelandic cuisine. This upscale establishment spins tales of the land and sea, offering a sneak peek into adventures that await through their exquisite 7-course menu, boasting 2-3 plates per course. At the core of its philosophy lies authenticity and simplicity, in the best meaning of the word. With a firm commitment to sustainability, the kitchen team treats each ingredient like royalty, making sure everything gets its moment to shine. Gunnar Karl Gíslasson, the chef and the founder, hails from the north of the country, where his family maintained a vegetable and herb garden. So, there's a profound appreciation for the gifts of nature and farmers who cultivate them running through his veins. With all his culinary zeal and love for homeland, DILL proudly snagged Iceland its first-ever Michelin star back in 2017, plus a green star for its eco-friendly practices.

The restaurant's decor strikes a balance between sober and stylish, with concrete floors, splashes of red on the walls, abstract art, and greenery. The ambiance is airy, thanks to the spacious layout and the flood of natural light pouring in through the large window. Small portions allow you to sample an impressive array of flavors, like parsnip with caviar and rapeseed oil, dry-aged lamb paired with mushrooms and lovage, cod tongue accompanied by cabbage and tomato, smoked haddock served with skyr, and more. 

DILL menu — 23500 ISK

Wine experience — 17500 ISK

2. Indulge in the finest local food in a laid-back ambience at Reykjavík Kitchen
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Reykjavik Kitchen
#3 of 626 restaurants in Reykjavík, Iceland
Rauðarárstígur 8, Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland
Open until 3PM
Skyr
Skyr

Often enjoyed for breakfast or dessert, Skyr is a traditional dairy product from Iceland, often classified as a type of cheese but commonly eaten like yogurt. It is made from skim milk and has a thick, creamy consistency, a slightly sour taste, and is rich in protein. The specialty is typically served with fruit, granola, or sweeteners like honey or sugar.

Reykjavík Kitchen is that cozy family-owned establishment you stumble upon when strolling in downtown and instantly feel like you've hit the culinary jackpot. With a commitment to fostering a welcoming ambiance and serving up delectable local fare, they've made a name for themselves. You're greeted by an inviting interior bathed in muted hues, complemented by wooden walls, expansive windows, and intricately carved metal lamps casting a warm glow. Actually, its casual vibes don't give a hint that you're in for a high-end gourmet experience.

The restaurant's creative starters, like coffee-cured salmon homemade mascarpone, chili oats, orange glaze, and melon or lamb carpaccio with arugula and dates set the tone for the meal. Tagliolini paired with pan-fried cod or lamb ribeye accompanied by a comforting pumpkin & potato gratin will be the highlights of your feast. Vegetarians have enticing options too, such as flavorful garlic roasted cauliflower served with cashew purée or baked sweet potatoes with thyme, garlic, and chickpeas in coconut sauce. Finally, skyr crème brûlée is a must-try that will stick in your memory as much as the top attractions you'll encounter during your trip. And don't miss out on the chance to sample draft Icelandic beer produced in Akureyri.

Lamb ribeye — 6450 ISK

Skyr crème brûlée — 2650 ISK

3. Old Iceland: at the heart of traditions
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Old Iceland
#4 of 626 restaurants in Reykjavík, Iceland
Laugavegur 72, Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland
Open until 3:30PM

Nestled conveniently close to Hallgrímskirkja, the country’s largest church and a must-visit site, Old Iceland has been a proud advocate of Icelandic cuisine since its establishment in 2014. Yes, this is another spot that wears the national culinary heritage proudly, and rightfully so. Operated by a trio of brothers, it's a venue infused with soul and character, where passion drives every dish and interaction. You feel it from the moment you approach its gray façade with low white windows that beckon you inside with welcoming warm yellow light. As you step in, you find the ambiance that’s quite simple, with no extravagant decor, just a comfortable and charming space adorned in soothing beige tones.

Despite the restaurant's homely appearance, the dishes here are elaborate, with a keen focus on textures and flavor balance. Indulge in either the three-course menu or explore à la carte offerings, showcasing delicacies like cod cheeks, cured salmon, and wild mushroom soup with cognac. Standout options include pan-fried Arctic char with celeriac-potato mash, broccolini, and apple-cucumber vinaigrette, as well as lamb ribeye served with baked parsnips, fried potatoes, beetroots, and demi-glace.

3-course menu with cod — 10390 ISK

4. Enjoy cocktails & beats at Foodcellar
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Foodcellar
#6 of 626 restaurants in Reykjavík, Iceland
Aðalstræti 2, Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland
Open until 2:30PM

If you're looking for a lively night filled with good vibes and catchy tunes, Foodcellar is the spot to be. Here, they promise to satisfy your cravings with mouthwatering cuisine and uplift your spirits with soulful melodies. Tucked away in the basement of a 160-year-old building in the heart of Reykjavík, this brasserie exudes an air of mystery with its subdued lighting and intimate setting. The true star of the show is a majestic mahogany grand piano straight from 1880. And this isn't just a dusty relic — it's the centerpiece of live performances that'll serenade you through your dinner.

While they do have à la carte selection, we suggest exploring one of their degustation sets: Discover Iceland, Surf & Turf, Seafood, or Vegan. And if you're feeling particularly adventurous, take a leap into the unknown with the Secret Menu — an exclusive 6-course chef's choice that's bound to thrill your senses. Additionally, at Foodcellar, you'll find Icelandic gin specialty cocktails, as well as wines from around the globe, available by the bottle or by the glass.

Seafood menu — 10900 ISK

Secret menu — 13990 ISK

5. Fish Company: versatile gourmet adventure
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Fish Company
#7 of 626 restaurants in Reykjavík, Iceland
Vesturgata 2a, Grófartorg, Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland
Open until 2:30PM
Sushi
Sushi

Sushi is a Japanese dish extremely popular around the world. Sushi is made of raw fish, seaweed called nori, and rice mixed with a dressing prepared using rice vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Fish Company is an upscale restaurant, perfect for those who crave haute cuisine served in a designer interior. Housed within a historic 19th-century building, it embodies the adventurous spirit of its chef and owner, Lárus Gunnar Jónasson, with original stone walls, rustic wooden beams, abstract artwork, and bold bronze lighting fixtures. Additionally, guests can enjoy a nice terrace tucked snugly beneath the bridge. While the culinary concept draws inspiration from traditional Icelandic flavors, the chefs at Fish Company are celebrated for their innovation and willingness to push the boundaries.

Thus, you can order “Around the World” set that is like a gastronomic passport to far-off lands, where local ingredients transform into exotic masterpieces with spices and herbs from every corner of the globe. For instance, they can whisk you away to Morocco with their intricate creation of seared salted cod served alongside bell pepper, ratte potato, harissa, arugula, and basil pesto. However, if you are a sushi fan, you should absolutely get one of their acclaimed platters showcasing the freshest seasonal pieces, rumored to be the city's best.

7-course Around the World menu — 14900 ISK

Sushi platter, 14 pieces — 5990 ISK

As you can see, Reykjavík's restaurants eagerly invite foodie travelers to share in the pride of the region's bountiful flavors. We hope this guide has provided you with insight to find your own perfect spot for a memorable meal amidst the wonders of Icelandic journeys. And what are your favorites in the city? Please feel free to share them in the comment section below.

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Matthew Allen (Guest) 28 days ago Request content removal

The food in Iceland sounds absolutely divine! I wonder what the inspiration behind the unique flavors and dishes is?

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