Where to eat and drink in Reykjavik
Unsurprisingly, fish forms a large part of Icelandic eating. If you’re after a taste of traditional cuisine, classic Reykjavik restaurants like Café Loki are your go-to establishments. The laid-back eatery serves an impressive array of Scandinavian delicacies, from plates of fermented shark meat (Iceland’s infamous rotted-fish signature dish) to homemade rye bread with trout and bean salad. Another popular (if pricey) spot for traditional food – particularly fish – is the celebrated 3 Frakkar, which serves dishes featuring the likes of Minke whale and catfish.
KRÁS Street Food Market is a recent addition to the city’s dining scene. The summer market debuted in 2014 in Fógetagarður Square, seeing some of Reykjavik’s best-known restaurateurs serving up portable portions of their favourite dishes. For less traditional eats, comfort-food cravers should head to Hamborgarabullan, widely acclaimed for frying up the best burgers in the city. Prikid is also known for its burgers – and the fact that it turns in to a hip-hop club in the evenings (naturally). Vegetarians and vegans will find plenty on the menu at Bergsson Mathus. Get great coffee at Café Haiti. For a true blow-out meal, the restaurant at Harpa concert hall – called Kolabrautin – is a must. Not only will you have the best seat in the city (the dining area looks out right across Reykjavik Harbour, and is a beautiful place from which to watch the sun set), but you’ll also be treated to some truly exceptional Icelandic/Italian fusion cuisine, including dishes like Arctic char slow-cooked in anise and Icelandic langoustine spaghetti.
Icelandic water holds almost mystical allure in the drinks trade due to its purity and its unique molecular composition, which makes it, practically, aquatic gold. A number of superb spirits take advantage of this fantastic natural resource – from whiskies such as Flóki to gins (yes, gins) like Martin Miller’s, which is distilled in Britain but bottled just outside of Reykjavik. Don’t leave the city without seeing what the fuss is about, whether it’s with a gin cocktail at cushy lounge Slippbarrinn or a pint of beer at the well-stocked MicroBar – which stocks a healthy selection of Icelandic and international brews – before heading out to experience Reykavik’s legendary nightlife.
The bar-hopping scene is centred around Laugavegur, and Icelanders head out late, so bear this in mind if you’re wondering where the party’s at at 9pm. Local rag The Reykjavik Grapevine is great for nightlife recommendations; you can pick it up all over town.
Restaurant and bar details
Café Loki 28 Lokastígur. +354 466 2828. 9am-9pm Mon-Sat; 11am-9pm Sun.
3 Frakkar 14 Baldursgata. 552 3939. 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-10pm Mon-Fri; 6-11pm Sat, Sun.
Hamborgarabullan 1 Geirsgotu. +354 511 1888.
Prikid 12 Bankastraeti. +354 551 3366. 8am-1am Mon-Thur; 8am-4.30am Fri; noon-4.30am Sat; noon-1am Sun.
Bergsson Mathus 3 Templararsund. + 354 571 1822. 7am-7pm daily.
Café Haiti 7 Geirsgata. + 354 588 8484. 8am-8pm Mon-Thur; 8am-11pm Fri; 9am-11pm Sat; 9am-8pm Sun.
KRÁS Street Food Market Fógetagarðinum. + 354 618 5071. 1-6pm Sat (summer only).
Kolabrautin 2 Austurbakki. +354 519 9700. Open from 4pm daily.
Slippbarrinn 2 Mýrargata. +354 560 8080. 11.30am-midnight Mon-Wed, Sun. 11.30am-1am Thu-Sat.
MicroBar 6 Austurstræti. +354 847 9084. 4pm-midnight daily.