Wednesday, April 22, 2015

9 Places to Eat in Iceland

Now, as well as being filled with a million and one things to do, Iceland is home to many a delicious place to eat. A lot of you have been asking me for recommendations on where to go, so for my final post I've rounded up a list of my favourite places. Obviously we didn't get to experience every restaurant and cafes because we were only there for five days (believe me, I tried), so bear in mind there will be some amazing ones out there that won't be on this list. One I do want to mention quickly that isn't on the list is Lebowskis, named after - you guessed it - The Big Lebowski, who I've heard serve up the most amazing milkshakes and burgers. Sadly nothing there is gluten free so we didn't get to experience it (I don't call my allergy the Life Ruiner for no reason) but I've heard it's well worth a visit. Same applies to Tommi's Burger Joint down at the harbour! Ok, my mouth's dribbling at the thought of all this food I can't eat, so I'm going to swiftly move onto the places I CAN eat and recommend personally:

eldur reykjavik 4 eldur creperie reykjavik 1
eldur reykjavik creperie
A lot of restaurants in Iceland still haven't cottoned on to the whole gluten intolerant thing which obviously presented a bit of a struggle for me, so when we walked past this creperie and saw a 'gluten & lactose free vegan crepes available' sign I thought I might just break down and cry. You can get everything and anything on them - I had peanut butter, Nutella and hazelnuts - from sweet to savoury, to ice cream and back again. You can see by delirious expression on my face that I was very, very happy with mine. They also do takeaway too if you fancy something to eat while you explore!

cafe babalu reykjavik 1 cafe babalu reykjavik cafe babalu reykjavik 2
I think we can all agree that Cafe Babulu is Instagram heaven. It's filled to the brim with quirky little trinkets and details, not to mention board games on every table, and boasts one of the most impressive tea collections I've ever seen. We'd not long had lunch so only popped in for a quick hot drink to warm up our hands, but word on the street has it that their cookies - and food in general actually - are pretty tasty. Make sure and squeeze in a toilet trip so that you can enjoy the Star Wars themed bathroom (who cares if you don't really need when it looks like that?). 

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Ok, I'm about to make a bold statement. This was the best chocolate cake I've ever had. I know, BIG claim. It comes looking all innocent in its pot with a little chocolate square on top, but then as soon as you dig into it with a spoon it erupts with a hot chocolate sauce that melts that square instantly. Cue a wonderful chocolate mess in a bowl (gluten-free too, huzzah!). Rob's not that into cake because he's a healthy little shit, but it was him that actually insisted we go back there the next day so that he could experience their cheesecake again. They've got a huge array of teas and coffees too, so it's the perfect place to escape to when the cold gets too much.

meze restaurant reykjavik
We stumbled upon Meze by accident whilst looking for somewhere quick to eat before we headed off on The Northern Lights Tour. It's got a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and is relatively well priced for Reykjavik. The menu is fit to burst with a huge selection of Turkish food, and the lamb skewers in particular were dee-lish.

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So, the Lobster Hut wasn't the tastiest meal I've ever had (or the healthiest, hel-LO mayonnaise) but the reason I've included it is that it's a nice food-on-the-go alternative to the famous hot dog hut. Again thanks to my body's little gluten problem I couldn't experience one of the hot dogs, so we went here instead to pick up some lobster salad - and a lobster baguette for Rob - to walk around the harbour area with.

laundromat cafe iceland laundromat cafe iceland 3
Of all the places to eat in Reykjavik, this one's probably the most well-known. The whole idea initially was for somewhere people could go to do their laundry and grab a bite to eat/something to drink at the same time, and then it just kind of exploded into a cult thing. There's a play area for kids, board games for the tables and a bar made of books. Shamazing, I know. We went for lunch and both had the fish with veg which was around £15 - quite averagely priced for Reykjavik - but came with a huge portion of potatoes and salad. We struggled to find places that opened before 11am when we looking for breakfast, but the Laundromat opens at 8am and has a huge-ass selection of breakfast-y foods, so it's definitely one that's worth keeping in mind for all times of day.

kryddlegin hjortu reykjavik 2 kryddlegin hjortu reykjavik 1 kryddlegin hjortu reykjavik 3
This was my favourite savoury meal we had here, and we stumbled on it completely by accident. It's incredibly well priced for Reykjavik (well, by any standards, really) and every single thing we tried was amazing. I got the chicken stuffed with goats cheese and rice - I still dream of that rice now, I don't know what they do to it to make it so tasty but my God it was amazing - which comes with free unlimited salad. It's not your usual limited salad bar though, as you can see from my (overflowing) plate above, they've got a huge variety available, from chickpeas and sundried tomatoes, to grated beetroot, to sunflower and pumpkin seeds... everything. It's vegan and vegetarian friendly so there's something for everyone here.

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Durum made for a lovely little breakfast stop on the first day. The food's not particularly fancy, but it's nice and hearty and will leave you full until lunch (or until you pass a cake store, who am I kidding). Rob had the breakfast wrap - cheese, bacon, omelette, fried veg and baked beans, amazing - while I had the 'choose your own toppings' omelette. They're right on the main street and open at 9am AND have free Wifi... win, win and win.

Grillmarkaðurinn (The Grill Market)
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My favourite thing about The Grillmarket was that they had a separate menu for us gluten free-ers, which was the one and only time I came across this in Reykjavik. They work closely with local farmers, who tell them what's in season and it's then cooked using fire, smoke and to give it a fresh, wholesome flavour. The prices are a bit more high-end, but you get what you pay for and in this case what you're paying for is sheer deliciousness. We both had the shellfish soup to start, and then I went for the Icelandic cod with chorizo, tomatoes and caramelised onions whilst Rob had The Meat Gourmet, which is a trio of beef, lamb and duck. It'd be rude not to mention the cocktails too, which were blooming marvellous... although I did end up three-down by the time I'd finished my starter because of this. The decor's been chosen to reflect Iceland nature so, as you can see from the photos, the have lava lamps, low lighting and big basalt columns which add a really nice touch to the whole experience. Bravo, Grill Market!

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Sadly, that brings us to the end of my Iceland series - I hope you enjoyed the posts and that they'll come in handy for any future visits! In case you missed them, you can catch up on my other posts here:

Now, if you'll excuse me I need to go and cry into a family sized bar of dairy milk whilst singing 'Memories'.

Once again, thank you to WOW Air and Airbnb for such a wonderful trip!