Meet Ástþór, but you can just call him Astor if that first spelling throws you for a loop. He’s your go-to guy for everything awesome about Icelandic food and beer. Coming straight from the scenic Vestmannaeyjar, Astor’s not your average guide; he’s got a background in acting, which means he’s all about keeping things lively and fun.

Astor’s seen (and tasted) it all – heaps of Icelandic food and, let’s just say, a significant amount of beer (mostly Icelandic, especially these last few years). He’s a night owl by nature, forever young at heart, and knows Reykjavik’s nightlife like the back of his hand. Looking for the best spots to hang out after dark? Astor’s your man. He is one of the main guides for our Reykjavik Beer and Booze tour, which we highly recommend you check out.

Think of Astor as Your Friend in Reykjavik. He’s here to make sure you get the real deal on the Icelandic food and drink scene, all while having a blast. Ready to dive into the tastes and tales of Iceland with Astor leading the way? Let’s go!

Let’s Ask Your Friend in Reykjavik a Few Questions

If you could choose just one item from Iceland, what would you choose?

It‘s impossible to choose just one.

Would you change anything about Iceland if you could?

Slightly warmer and longer summers.

Summers in Iceland last about three months (June to August), but often, they don‘t seem to arrive until the middle of June and then leave again too quickly, at the end of August. However, we do get 24-hour daylight, which makes this all a bit worth it. If you’re wondering if you should visit Iceland in the summer or winter, check out our blog.

What is your favourite place in Iceland?

Downtown Reykjavík.

What is your favourite Icelandic food?

Photo: Islandsfisk.

Rack of Lamb.

It may not come as a surprise that lamb is a favourite of many Icelanders.

The Icelandic sheep have followed Iceland since the settlers came in the 9th century (back then, the sheep was Norwegian) and have basically kept us alive. Contrary to popular belief, Vikings didn’t sport horned helmets, but many of Iceland’s four-legged adventurers did come with their own natural “horns”! These resilient creatures have evolved into the robust, woolly beings that are central to Icelandic life. They supply the wool that becomes our signature sweaters, while their milk and meat are essential ingredients in numerous beloved dishes. As Icelandic sheep wander the vast landscapes, they become a fundamental aspect of our scenery.

How about your favourite Icelandic drink?

Malt and appelsín.

A staple at Christmas and Easter dinners, the go-to non-alcoholic beverage gracing the tables is a delightful mix of malt and appelsín. Malt, traditionally an ale brewed from malt grains, has evolved into a non-alcoholic version from its slightly boozy origins. Appelsín, on the other hand, is a refreshing Icelandic orange soda cherished by many.

The tradition of mixing malt with sodas began in the early 1940s as a way to extend the more costly malt by blending it with other beverages. At that time, appelsín as we know it today hadn’t debuted. It wasn’t until 1955, with Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson’s introduction of appelsín, that the iconic combination with malt took off. This mix quickly became a beloved tradition, establishing itself as a dinner table essential within five years.

Read more about Icelandic Christmas and Easter Traditions!

What‘s best about Reykjavik?

Travellers performing the cheers gesture after the the tour concludes.

The cultural life.

Despite Reykjavik’s small size, there are almost endless things to do. Countless restaurants, museums, galleries, activities, bars and everything else you’d think to find in a city.

Check out our blogs on the best museums, restaurants and bars in Reykjavik.

What is best about Iceland?

How peaceful it is.

What is your favourite Icelandic music/band/song?

My favourite “band” is, of course, Bartónar – the Male Choir of Kaffibarinn Bar.

Kaffibarinn quickly established itself as the quintessential hangout for Reykjavik’s elite and the epitome of cool since its inception in the early 1990s. If you were someone or aspired to be, this was where you’d spend your nights. It wasn’t just a bar; it was the pulsating heart of the Generation X scene, drawing in everyone who was anyone. Its legendary status was cemented when Damon Albarn of Blur fame started making appearances in the late ’90s, elevating it to near-mythical status. Rumours even flew around that Albarn had bought a small share in the bar, just so he could sip on beer without ever reaching for his wallet—a story that, while intriguing, was later shown to be more fiction than fact… or so they said!

Damon Albarn’s fondness for Kaffibarinn was merely the start of his deeper connection with Iceland. His affinity for the country inspired him to build a home there, where he has spent considerable time embracing the local culture and landscape. In a significant nod to his connection with Iceland, Albarn was granted Icelandic citizenship a few years ago, all while maintaining his British nationality.

Do you have a favourite Icelandic clothing brand?

Kormákur & Skjöldur. The clothing store was founded in 1996 by two friends, Kormákur og Skjöldur and is a tíma capsule shop where you can find quality clothes from Barbour, Filson and Hansen as well as the in-store brand Kormákur & Skjöldur.

The two friends also own the bar Ölstofa Kormáks og Skjaldar on Vegamótastígur.

What is your favourite restaurant?

Hosiló.

Named with a nod to its intimate setting, Hosiló is a small restaurant located next to the Icelandic Bar at Hverfisgata 22. The term “Hosiló” refers to a small room or nook, a description you’ll find perfectly fitting once you enter this cozy restaurant.

When the restaurant opened in 2020, one of the owners described their culinary approach with enthusiasm: “Our menu will feature six to ten dishes, changing with the seasons and the availability of ingredients. In other words, we work with what’s available at any given time, creating dishes that we find delicious and enjoyable to make. Consequently, our ingredients will always be fresh. All of us owners share a background in Central and Southern European cuisine, and our offerings will reflect a certain loyalty to these traditions. However, we’re not limiting ourselves strictly to this influence; there will be various other delightful options available.”

What Icelandic food is most often eaten at home?

Mutton sausages with potatoes and Bechamel sauce

What is your favourite candy?

Freyju djúpur.

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