We have given you a few pointers regarding the best restaurants in Reykjavik. Best restaurants in Reykjavik, steak restaurants, vegan and vegetarian restaurants, seafood restaurants, and breakfast places. But it is likely that you, dear reader, will travel outside of Reykjavik to explore our beautiful country.
Iceland has a lot to offer and depending on when you arrive, we recommend you do the Ring Road and explore our island.
South Iceland is one of the largest areas in Iceland. From Hveragerði all the way to Höfn in Hornafjörður, it is about 5 hour’s drive without stopping. There’s a lot to see, so we don’t recommend you do that in one straight line.
There are many noteworthy places to explore in the south, such as Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Jökulsárlón, Sólheimasandur, Fjallslón, Mýrdalsjökull Glacier, Vatnajökull Glacier and much, much more.
The hot spring town Hveragerði is about a half-hour drive from Reykjavik. Despite its proximity to Reykjavik, we recommend you check the town out.
In the summer, spring and fall, you can hike to Reykjadalur and dip in the natural hot spring river there. If you’re not into hikes, you can go to the town’s swimming pool, a favorite of many. People from Reykjavik often travel to Hveragerði to go to the pool.
The Mathöll Suðurlands food hall is worth the visit and has many good restaurants to check out. It’s also good if you’re in a group and can’t decide what food you want.
Breiðamörk 2, 810 Hveragerði
Every day 11:30 – 21:00
Mjólkurbúið – Selfoss Mathöll
In the new town center in Selfoss, you will find a food hall in a newly rebuilt dairy that used to stand in that very spot. It was torn down some decades ago, but the town council decided to redevelop the area and rebuild old houses which had burned down or been torn down from all over the country. One of them was the dairy. There you will find seven restaurants, from pizza to a wine bar.
Eyrarvegur 1, 800 Selfoss
Sunday to Saturday, 11:30 – 21:00
Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki
Not far from Selfoss are the towns of Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki. They are fun little towns to visit and eat good food. While you’re there, you could also see the Ghost Center, where you will learn everything about Icelandic ghosts and ghost stories. Maybe you will even meet a few.
Fjöruborðið – Stokkseyri
It’s hard to miss Fjöruborðið from the street as a giant langoustine marks its position. They are most famous for their langoustine and lobster soup. You can show up unannounced, but it is highly recommended you make a reservation before arriving – it’s just that good of a soup.
Eyrarbraut 3a, 825 Stokkseyri
Mon – 14:00 – 20:00, Thu-Fri 14:00 – 20:00, Sat-Sun 12:00 – 20:00
Rauða húsið (The Red House) – Eyrabakki
This restaurant is in a historical building in Eyrarbakki. You will find quite a few old houses in this small town, most of which have been beautifully renovated recently. The town, home to about 550 people, used to be the main center of trade between Iceland and Denmark.
Like Fjöruborðið, Rauða húsið is unsurprisingly famous for its Icelandic langoustine since lobster fishing has been practiced in Eyrarbakki since 1954. You will also find a variety of other dishes, such as fish, lamb, and vegetarian dishes.
Búðarstígur 4, 820 Eyrarbakki
Wed-Fri 17:00 – 21:00, Sat-Sun 12:00 – 21:00
Hella / Hvolsvöllur
Valhalla Restaurant and Saga Center
At this Viking-themed restaurant, you will find grilled burgers, homemade smoked ribs, pulled pork, sandwiches, and more. In the Saga Center, you can learn everything you can about Njáll, the one which The Story of Brunt Njáll is named after. The center closes at 17:00 in the winter and 18:00 in the summer, so it’s a great idea to check out the exhibition and then have dinner at Valhalla.
Hlíðarvegur 14, 860 Hvolsvöllur
Sat-Thu 17:00 – 22:00, Fri 17:00 – 23:00
The Westman Islands is a place many tourists skip when coming to Iceland, but we highly recommend a visit to the small, volcanic island. Apart from the great Eldheimar museum, where you get to learn everything about the island’s eruption in 1973 and the creation of Surtsey in the 1960s, you can do puffin tours, whale watching, check out the beluga whale sanctuary or, if you are keener on food, check out the great restaurants and brewery there.
Gott is a healthy and creative family restaurant that uses only fresh and healthy ingredients. All sauces, stews, soups, and cakes are prepared from scratch on-site. They only use fresh fish directly from the local fish market. The head chef is a former member of the Icelandic national team of chefs.
Bárustígur 11, 900 Vestmannaeyjar
Sun-Thu 11:30 – 21:00, Fri-Sat 11:30 – 22:00
Vík in Mýrdalur
Next to the Reynisfjara black sand beach and nestling under Mýrdalsjökull Glacier, you find the small village of Vík. Despite only about 320 people living in the town, there are many restaurants to choose from. It is an excellent stop if you are going to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.
Smiðjan is the place for you if you like beer, burgers, ribs, or hot wings. The brewery obviously sells its own beers as well as from other craft breweries.
Sunnubraut 15, 870 Vík
Every day 12:00 – 00:00
Despite being called Halldór’s Café, it is actually a restaurant. It is situated in the oldest part of Vík in a historic house called Bryde’s House. The restaurant has an old-fashioned atmosphere, where you can get soups, salads, lamb, fish, and more.
Víkurbraut 28, 870 Vík
Every day 12:00 – 21:00
Höfn í Hornafirði
When you have driven all the way to Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon, possibly gone on a boat ride on the lagoon, and checked out Diamond Beach, it’s time to head to the next village. Höfn in Hornafjörður (Harbour in Hornafjörður) is at the “corner” of south and east Iceland. But before you leave, you might possibly want to taste the best fish and chips you will have. That’s at least the consensus of many.
Nailed it – Fish and Chips
You can’t go wrong with fish and chips from there, as it is made from the freshest fish. There’s only one dish on the menu; fish and chips.
Jökulsárlón, 781 Hornafjörður
Every day 11:30 – 17:00
The name means Warehouse Restaurant, but the building was built in 1932 from timber from older buildings in the area. You can still see stamps on the restaurant’s walls since fish was sent from there to Spain and other countries.
It has been the home of many companies through the years but was fully renovated a few years ago.
You can find lobster soup, fish, lobster, lamb, and more on their menu.
Krosseyjarvegur 3, 780 Höfn í Hornafirði
Opening hours: Closed until February
East Iceland is the home to many fjords, high mountains, reindeer, The Icelandic World War II Museum, Helgustaðanáma and more.
Egilsstaðir is the largest town in the East Fjords. It is also the home of one of the largest forests in the country (you read that right!) and the Lagarfljótsormur, the Icelandic cousin of the Loch Ness Monster.
A few years ago, Egilsstaðir got its own geothermal baths. The East Fjords are considered a cold spot in Iceland, as it is one of the oldest parts of the island. That means there isn’t a lot of geothermal activity there, but a portion of Urriðavatn has a hot spring. Vök baths are the only geothermal floating pools with an infinite view in Iceland and are definitely worth the visit.
And why is a geothermal bath on a list of the best restaurants? Well, there is an excellent restaurant at Vök baths, so you can have a delicious meal before or after you have soaked in the various pools. You can choose between small courses, soups, salads, and cakes. All ingredients are locally sourced and organic where possible.
Vök við Urrðiavatn, 701 Egilsstaðir
Restaurant opening hours:
Sept 1 – May 31: Thu 17:00 – 22:00, Fri-Sun 12:00 – 22:00
Jun 1 – Aug 31: Every day 11:00 – 23:00 (bistro kitchen closes at 21:15)
North Iceland is home to the Diamond Circle, the Arctic Coast Way, which reaches from Bakkafjörður all the way to Hvammstangi, many fishing villages, beer baths and more.
Mývatn / Reykjahlíð
Mývatn lake is one of the more beautiful places in Iceland. The North Iceland version of the Blue Lagoon is there, Mývatn Nature Baths, smaller and more intimate. You will also find mud pools, craters, pseudo craters, and beautiful lava fields where some scenes from the Game of Thrones were shot, for example. It is also possible to get some of the best-smoked trout in the country in Reykjahlíð (the name of the town by Mýtvatn Lake).
Vogafjós means Coves’ Cowshed. The name is not out of the blue; the restaurant is next to a farm, which the same family has owned for about 120 years. Inside the stable for the cows is a small café, from which you can watch the cows while enjoying your meal.
Vogar, 660 Mývatn
Every day 12:00 – 21:30 (kitchen closes at 20:30).
Akureyri is the largest town in North Iceland and the largest outside the capital area. There are many things to do there, such as visiting museums, going to the local swimming pool, visiting Forest Lagoon, skiing, and more.
Rub23 is a seafood restaurant that offers a variety of fish and sushi plates and meat dishes.
Kaupvangsstræti 6, 600 Akureyri
Every evening from 17:00
Open for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays: 11:30 – 14:00
Hrísey is an island in Eyjafjörður about a 15-minute boat ride from Árskógssandur in Dalvík. Just over 150 people live there, and it’s an incredible bird paradise. Hunting is illegal on the island, and there are no predatory animals.
Verbúðin offers fish and chips, fish soups, vegan options, local beer, and more. We highly recommend you take a trip to Hrísey if you find yourself in North Iceland.
Sjávargata 2, 630 Hrísey
Check their Facebook page for opening hours.
Hvammstangi is the most densely populated area in West Húnaþing County, with about 600 inhabitants. The town is on Vatnsnes Peninsula, known for its large seal populations; it is also the home to the Icelandic Seal Center.
Situated by the Hvammstangi harbor, Sjávarborg restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes all year round. The house was initially built as a slaughterhouse, and the restaurant portion was the slaughterhouse’s freezer for the longest time.
Strandgata 1, 530 Hvammstangi
Mon-Tue 11:30 – 15:00, Wed-Fri 11:30 – 15:00 and 18:00 – 21:00, Sat-Sun 18:00 – 21:00
West Iceland is, in some ways, underrated. It doesn’t take long to travel to there, and in Snæfellsnes Peninsula, for example, you will find glaciers, lava fields, waterfalls, geothermal pools, black and white sand beaches, great wildlife and more.
Coming from North Iceland, the first town in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula you will encounter is Stykkishólmur. It is one of Iceland’s oldest towns, where you take the ferry to Flatey Island or the West Fjords.
The Sjávarpakkhúsið has excellent views over the harbor and specializes in locally sourced food. They work with local fishermen, farmers, and breweries, and sustainability is essential to them. They have been certified with the Nordic swan ecolabel, which means it has adopted a lifecycle approach to its work on the environment and met the stringent requirements of Nordic ecolabelling.
Hafnargata 2, 340 Stykkishólmur
Closed until February – Updates to come.
Borgarnes is for many a town which you drive through. However, it is worth stopping in. It has stunning views; a great history, and the Settlement Center is a great museum to learn about Iceland’s history. It is based in two of Borgarnes’ oldest buildings and is devoted to recreating Iceland’s earliest days, including one of Iceland’s heroes Egill Skallgrímsson (Egill’s Saga is about him).
The Settlement Center Restaurant
The Settlement Center’s restaurant is a family-friendly restaurant that offers, for example, a wellness buffet featuring freshly prepared soups, salads, pasta courses, and homemade bread.
Brákarbraut 13-15, 310 Borgarnes
Every day 11:30 – 21:00
Keep an eye on this space, as we will add more restaurants to our Best Restaurants outside Reykjavik list.