Consistently excellent restaurants in Downtown Reykjavik

Iceland’s beauty is unparalleled. From fiery, active volcanoes, sparkling waterfalls, rugged mountain cliffs to the beautiful northern lights dancing in the sky, and the capital city of Reykjavik is nothing short of mesmerizing and diverse in her own right.

This diversity applies to the food culture as well. Being inspired by the resources and ingredients that we have available around us. Reykjavik food is fresh and pure with no artificial ingredients. Restaurants get their daily catch from the waters around them and where the meat usually comes from local farmers.

Below, we have listed ten excellent restaurants you will find in the Reykjavik city center that will not disappoint you as they have a constant reputation to excel.

Mama Reykjavik

dahl, mama reykjavík, vegan
Photo: Mama Reykjavik

This is a relatively new restaurant, situated on the corner of the shopping streets Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur. Mama Reykjavík is on the top floor. We recommend their dahl dish “Dahl ala Mama”: Lentil dish that tickles your taste buds. Ingredients include lentils (of course), carrots, ginger, garlic, lime leaf, chilli and lemon.

They also have dishes of the week and delicious desserts. Mama Reykjavik is definitely one of the best vegan places in Reykjavik. If you want recommendations for other vegan or vegetarian dishes, check out our blog on the best such places in Reykjavik!

Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday 9:00 – 21:00, Friday 9:00 – 20:00, Saturday – Sunday 11:00 – 21:00
Mama Reykjavík

Sægreifinn – The Sea Baron

Humarsúpa, sægreifinn

Located by the old harbor, this restaurant serves the most spectacular seafood. You should check out The Sea Baron. Its speciality is lobster soup; creamy and well seasoned, it is something that you should not miss. Maybe try a sample of the Minke Whale too if you are adventurous, and you will not be disappointed.

This restaurant is always a stop on our Reykjavik Food Lovers Tour.
Opening hours: Every day from 11:30 – 22:00
saegreifinn.is

Matur og Drykkur

matur og drykkur
Photo: Matur og drykkur

This classy restaurant is quite a find. It serves traditional Icelandic cuisine with a modern twist. They use first-class produce and bring innovation into the mix. The design, the food, and the beautiful setting will exceed your expectations. Always a great stop for a foodie adventure! We love to get The Codhead and the Icelandic Blue Mussels.

Opening hours: Thursday – Sunday from 18:00 – 22:00
maturogdrykkur.is

Café Garðurinn

This vegan and vegetarian restaurant is located at the top of Klapparstígur, not far from Skólavörðustígur.

You will find homemade vegan and vegetarian dishes, soups and cakes at Garðurinn but their menu changes weekly. 

This little restaurant is on a side street between Skólavörðustígur and Laugavegur shopping streets. A perfect place to go to get a hearty meal after your sightseeing or shopping in Reykjavik’s centre. 

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 11:00 – 18:30, Wednesday 11:00 – 17:00 and Saturday 12:00 – 17:00
Kaffihúsið Garðurinn

Reykjavik Kitchen

Photo: Reykjavik Kitchen

This family-owned restaurant consistently ranks high on the list of tourists and locals alike. The owners pride themselves in providing a friendly atmosphere and good local food. Their main focus is fresh Icelandic fish and meat. Their crème Brulé with fruits and sorbet is also worth trying.

Opening hours: Monday – Wednesday 17:00 – 22:00, Thursday – Sunday 11:30 – 15:30 and 17:00 – 22:00
Reykjavik Kitchen

Þrír Frakkar

3 frakkar, þrír frakkar, fish
Photo: Þrír Frakkar

If a place is buzzing with locals when you visit a new city, then that probably means the food there is pretty good. This traditional restaurant is one of those gems. It is a golden oldie that serves all the Icelandic classics. The restaurant is cozy, and the service is very attentive. If you want an excellent local dining experience, this is the place to visit.

Owned by one of the most famous chefs in Iceland, it does not disappoint. The Lamb fillet and the Baccalá (Salted Cod) are excellent dishes.

Opening hours: 
Lunch: Monday – Friday 11:30 – 14:00
Dinner: Sunday – Thursday 18:00 – 22:00 and Friday – Saturday: 18:00 – 22:30

3frakkar.is

Fiskfélagið – Fish Company

Fiskfélagið
Photo: The Fish Company

This one is a little heavy on the pocket, but it serves excellent fish. Some say it’s the best Sushi restaurant in the world.

Considering that Reykjavik and Iceland, for that matter, is full of options of delicious fish, it takes extra hard work to stand out. This restaurant has done just that. The atmosphere is beautiful, and the food will keep you coming back for more. Its speciality is The Around Iceland tasting menu, but I would personally go for the Sushi Festival (only served for 2+).

Opening hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30-14:30 and 17:00-22:30, Friday 11:30 – 14:30 and 17:00 – 23:00, Saturday 17:00 – 23:30, Sunday 17:00 – 22:30 
fiskfelagid.is

Íslenski barinn – The Icelandic Bar

As the name suggests, The Icelandic Bar serves Icelandic food with a twist. You can shark and fish jerky there, as well as a flatbread with hangikjöt. But then there are their special “hot dogs”, which aren’t hot dogs at all. The Icelandic lobster “dog” is worth a try: hot dog bun filled with deep-fried langoustine, bell pepper jam, lettuce, garlic mayo and Tindur cheese!

Locals and tourists alike frequent the place, and their happy hour is great!

This restaurant is one of the stops on our Reykjavik Food Walk tour. Without being too biased, we love it!

Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:30 – 01:00, Friday – Saturday 11:30 – 03:00. The kitchen is open every day from 11:30 – 22:00.
Íslenski barinn

Fiskmarkaðurinn – The Fish Market

Fiskmarkaðurinn
Photo: The Fish Market

This fine-dining restaurant specializes in fish, as the name implies. It is located in Aðalstæti (the main street) by Ingólfur square, the regular meeting spot for all of our Reykjavik Walking Tours. A stop here is a real treat, and there I would suggest savouring either the Salmon or the Cod.

The service is exemplary, and the food is exquisite. We recommend booking ahead, as it is very popular.

Opening hours:
Lunch: Monday – Friday 11:30 – 14:00
Dinner: Monday – Sunday 17:30 – 23:00

fiskmarkadurinn.is

Grillmarkaðurinn – The Grill Market

Photo: The Grill Market

The Grill market is simply a beautiful restaurant both for its atmosphere, vibes, and of course, the constantly excellent food. I would recommend the tasting menu there (served for the whole table) as it takes you on a journey around Iceland one bite at a time.

I will put this on my top 3 list if you are willing to spend a little to try the best cuisine Iceland has to offer.

Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday 18:00 – 22:30, Friday – Saturday 18:00 – 23:00
grillmarkadurinn.is

Hressingarskálinn

Photo: Hressingarskálinn

This café has a long history in Reykjavik. The name means The Refreshment Pavillion. It first opened in the house, built in 1805, in 1932. It has gone through different owners and focuses, from a café to a concert place to a dance club. McDonald’s was even housed there for a while. But it is back to being a cozy café again. 

You can get everything from breakfast, sandwiches, and soups to main Icelandic courses such as leg of lamb, plokkfiskur, trout and catfish. Their famous cakes should also not be missed. 

Hressingarskálinn is one of the stops of the Reykjavik Food Walk. 

Opening Hours: Sunday – Monday 08:00 – 22:00
Hressingarskálinn

Forréttabarinn

Forréttabarinn
Photo: Forréttabarinn

This restaurant serves starters from around the world and is located down by the old Reykjavik harbor. They offer an exciting twist to traditional dishes at reasonable prices.

The menu keeps on changing, but the quality and taste remain impeccable. We recommend picking out a couple of dishes and sharing them with your family & friends. This restaurant is one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Iceland for its chilled environment and excellent food.

Some noteworthy dishes are the lamb fillet and the delicious langoustine soup (Icelandic lobster is langoustine), but if you are adventurous, you should check out a bite of the grilled fillet of a horse.

Opening hours: 16:00 – 21:00 (the bar is open 15:00 – 22:00).
forrettabarinn.is

Fjallkonan 

Fjallkonan
Photo: Fjallkonan

Fjallkonan has a great variety of dishes, including vegetarian and vegan options. This is a great place to stop for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. Those with a sweet tooth won’t be disappointed with their Ferris wheel full of muffins, cupcakes and other delicious sweets. They also offer a group menu for groups with 8 people or more. 

Opening hours: 11:30 – 23:00
fjallkonan.is

Café Loki

With views over Hallgrímskirkja, this is one of the more popular stops for tourists in Iceland. But don’t let that stop you – their menu is fantastic. They offer traditional Icelandic food and specialize in classic homestyle Icelandic cuisine. 

We recommend getting their tasting platters, so you can taste as much as possible. But don’t miss the Rye Ice Cream, it sounds like it shouldn’t taste good, but you couldn’t be more wrong!

Café Loki is one of the stops of our Reykjavik Food Walk tour. 

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 09:00 – 22:00
Café Loki

Svarta Kaffið

svarta kaffið, soup in bread
Photo: Svarta Kaffi

This place is famous for one thing. Serving homemade soups in a bread bowl. Usually, there are just two soup options to keep it simple for you to choose: Meat or Veg and keep in mind that you can eat the bread bowl, so it fills you up fast. A very hearty dining option, and to put it simply, this is food that warms our soul.
 
The staff is always friendly and welcoming, but keep in mind that this is a pretty small place, so it fills up fast. This Café is a pretty good stop for your wallet too.

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 11:30 – 22:00, Sunday 12:00 – 22:00
facebook.com/svartakaffid

Sæta Svínið Gastropub 

sæta svínið, food
Photo: Sæta Svínið

This fun place, literally next door to Fjallkonan, is always one of our favorite stops on both our Reykjavik Food Tour and Reykjavik Beer Tour.  It serves good food in a lively environment, and the service is always done with a smile.

They have three floors to choose from, so if you want a romantic setting, I would suggest the 2nd floor, but if you like the buzz and excitement, stay on the 1st floor.

There I would choose the delicious Lamb shank, or if you want to share, I would suggest the slow-cooked lamb shoulder.

Opening hours: 11:30-23:00
saetasvinid.is

Messinn

Photo: Messinn

We highly recommend this moderately priced restaurant, and it shouldn’t be missed. The restaurant specializes in seafood and is open both for lunch and dinner. Their speciality is their fish pans, but their plokkfiskur and seafood pasta are excellent as well. 

The restaurant is situated in a basement of a house in Lækjargata, so make sure to look out for it!

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 11:30 – 22:00
Messinn

While there are still many other amazing options out there to choose from, these are some of our top picks, and we hope you find them as amazing as we do!

If you are looking to try some foods while in Iceland, check out our Reykjavik Food Tour