Our Favourite Restaurants in Iceland
In a place where subzero temperatures once threatened the survival of crops and livestock, the determination of Icelandic people has allowed them to play god and cultivate food all year round. These days, Icelandic cuisine is known for diversity in terms of ingredients and cooking methods. Icelandic chefs continue to elevate the local cuisine by incorporating contemporary and gastronomic techniques into their cooking, making this country a highly sought-after destination for the adventurous.
Using modern agricultural techniques, combining sustainable elements of climate change and reducing carbon emissions, Iceland is able to keep the pantries of its people stocked while remaining eco-conscious. Due to the boom of greenhouses in Iceland, the local produce is always free of pesticides and grown organically.
These ingredients take Icelandic food to the next level and in many cases make or break the dish.
Here’s our list of top restaurants in Iceland that combine farm-to-table ingredients with the skills of Michelin-star chefs.
Speciality: Scandinavian, European
This restaurant takes traditional Icelandic cuisine and puts a modern twist on it. They only use seasonal and regional ingredients to make sure their customers are getting the freshest and best-tasting food. At first glance, you may wonder how this hotel restaurant differs from the rest. However, you will quickly come to realise that the chefs in Drangar take food seriously and make food that feeds the soul.
Address: Sléttuvegur, 870 Vík, Iceland
Rub 23 Restaurant
Speciality: Japanese, Asian Fusion
Located in the heart of Akureyri lies a bright red restaurant that sticks out like a sore thumb. Rub 23 specialises in seafood but is mostly known for its spice mixes. The owner puts a lot of importance to taste using their own spice blend for each dish. Here, you will find diverse, uncomplicated meals for a variety of people. Rub 23 offers up an array of fish, a large selection of sushi dishes and a fine selection of meat dishes.
Address: Kaupvangsstræti 6, 600 Akureyri, Iceland
Speciality: Scandinavian, European, Grill
A finely crafted menu only comes together with the best ingredients. At Grillmarkaðurinn, extensive knowledge of food allows them to elevate comfort food to a level of sophistication that can only be emulated by master chefs. A lot of importance is put on sourcing the best local raw ingredients and being serious about food, giving Grillmarkaðurinn recognition as one of the best local eateries. The kitchen is spearheaded by Hrefna Rósa Sætran and Guðlaugur P. Frímannsson who have worked together for a long time and respect each other’s creative differences.
Address: Lækjargata 2a, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Speciality: New Nordic
Founded in 2009, Dill aims to deliver unique and memorable dining experiences in Iceland. Founding chef Gunnar Karl Gíslasson is known for their eagerness to explore new ingredients and cooking techniques. Agility is an important trait when cooking in Iceland due to the extreme weather. The moody ambience adds a rustic flair to the modern techniques executed within the restaurant. With a strong emphasis on sustainability, Dill uses every ingredient that comes into their restaurant mindfully to ensure they are not wasting valuable resources.
Address: Laugavegur 59, Reykjavík, 101, Iceland
Speciality: Seafood, European, Scandinavian
A port-side restaurant where guests are able to unwind and breathe in the charming salty atmosphere as they observe ships come into the harbour after a full day at sea. Kopar takes pride in pioneering the usage of new ingredients while staying true to Icelandic traditions, innovating a new line of food that aligns with New Nordic Cuisine. The warm ambience invites you to leave your worries at the door and ease into an evening looking out at the ocean while sipping Kopar’s award-winning Jim Beam cocktail.
Address: Geirsgata 3, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Speciality: Private Dining, New Nordic
At Óx, experience an intimate dining experience capped at 12 people per night. This small scaled eatery should not be overlooked as it hosts larger-than-life experiences. As you get on their website, there is immediately this sense of whimsy and playfulness in their presentation of the menu and the dining experience. Their website gives no information about what is being served, as intended by the chef. This adds to the anticipation of what’s to come and allows the chefs to work with fresh seasonal ingredients. The entire service is very informal making you feel welcome to interact with the staff to find out more about the restaurant’s concept, values and ideas.
Address: Laugavegur 55, 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Matur og Drykkur
Speciality: New Nordic, Unconventional Ingredients
Matur og Drykkur paves its own way when it comes to fine dining experiences. This family restaurant specialises in authentic Icelandic dishes with a modern twist. Located on the grounds of an old salt fish factory, this restaurant aims to make fine dining experiences more approachable. They use locally sourced ingredients and highlight lesser-known cuts. Their cod head may not be to everyone's liking, but they also offer more conventional options for picky eaters. Even then, Matur og Drykkur continues to attract those who are adventurous about food and willing to try things outside of their comfort zone.
Address: Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
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