A few weeks ago I returned to Reykjavik for the second time to attend the Arctic Circle Assembly. This time I had a far bigger budget than when I was an undergrad. During my first visit in 2019, my friends and I bought groceries for every single meal and did not eat out at all, but this time it was completely reversed. I simply didn’t have the time or the means to cook, but that’s okay.
Things in Iceland are EXPENSIVE and with the Icelandic Krona being the currency, it’s extremely difficult to understand what things cost in US dollars. If I was to go back again as a tourist, I would definitely grocery shop for lunches (because you’re mostly out exploring anyways) and go out to breakfasts and dinners in order to save a little bit of money.
Below I’m going to break down some of the go-to spots I had while in Reykjavik! I stayed right next to the main street, Laugavegur in Midborg, so I was right in the middle of everything.
Breakfast & Brunch:
My favorites: Vanilla Latte and Waffles with Fruit
Te and Kaffi: 7.5/10
My favorites: Vanilla Latte, Cinnamon Bun, and the Chocolate Croissant
Braud & Co: 10/10
This spot is definitely takeaway only, there’s no seating. However, this place is home to the best cinnamon bun I’ve ever had. If you don’t go you’re missing out.
Others not pictured:
Joe & The Juice: 6/10. Honestly not my favorite spot because it is an international chain + I think the food and coffee are very average. However, I do think whatever you order will taste decent.
Kaffibrennslan: 8/10. A ton of seating and this place was so busy. I got a great vanilla latte and chocolate croissant.
Friðheimar Greenhouse: 10/10
Everything here is made out of tomatoes grown sustainably in-house with geothermal energy. Our tomato soup with endless bread was amazing.
Bæjarins Beztu: 10/10
This is the most famous hot dog stand in Iceland and I simply had to try it. Also, it was my cheapest meal LOL. You can get a variety of toppings and a soda and that’s about it. This stand has been operating since 1937 and is the highlight of all of the downtown walking tours. There’s typically a line but it moves quickly since they only sell one thing!
Public House Gastropub: 10/10
By the title, you would think that this place is an American pub…. nope. It is actually Japanese tapas! They did have a couple of full-sized meals, so I got the steak and it was perfectly cooked.
Duck & Rose: 10/10
This was my first dinner in Iceland and I was starving. I had seen this spot on Instagram and I made a reservation beforehand (recommended). They were definitely understaffed but despite that, the service was great and the food was even better. I got the steak and it was incredible. I was thinking about it for the rest of the trip.
This spot had a really cool vibe, and it definitely got busier as the night went on. I got the pulled pork tacos and they were incredible. However, I definitely do wish the portions were a bit bigger. Typically in the US, I can’t even finish two street tacos but these were definitely tiny.
Mat Bar: 11/10
This spot had incredible reviews so I had to check it out. It was clear that if you didn’t have a reservation, you weren’t getting in. Luckily, they had one last spot at the bar that I was able to snag. I got the burrata as a meal and it was truly incredible. I was so hungry that I didn’t take a photo and I really regret it lol.
One day my friends and I stopped at Sandholt to get some afternoon dessert. I got the chocolate cake, while one of my friends got a cinnamon bun and another got a raisin bun. Even in the late afternoon, this place was incredibly busy!
Even though it was 20 degrees with the wind chill, everyone was walking around with ice cream from Valdis. I got the chocolate and it was extremely rich. The best part about it was that I could walk around and eat it slowly without it melting.