Wining and dining in Reykjavík used to be an expensive business for foreign visitors. The most common complaint from those visiting the country was the size of the restaurant bill presented to you at the end of a meal.
This is no longer the case. With the weakening of the króna dining at an icelandic restaurant is no longer similar to an investment in real estate if your currency of choice is the euro, the dollar or the yen. A set menu lunch at Reykjavík’s top end restaurants can now usually be had for below 20 dollars or 15 euros. VAT and service always included.
This is for instance the case at the Gallery Restaurant of Hótel Holt, Iceland’s most presticious restaurant. Even cheaper is to go for the seafood in the quaint harbour area, be it sushi at Sushi-smiðjan or lobster soup or grilled fish at Sægreifinn.
The gastronomic scene in Reykjavík is incredibly varied and there is something for every palate. If you want a night of top end dining with no compromises in food, wine and service the aforementioned Gallery along with the Vox at the Hilton Nordica, the Grill at the Radisson, italian inspired La Primavera or the Lobster House in central Reykjavík are sure bets.
Seafood is abundant everywhere and most restaurants will present you with a choice of fresh fish, usually caught the day before its served on your plate. Local favorites include the Þrír Frakkar at Baldursgata and the Við Tjörnina beside the parliament building.
If you want dinner with a view nothing beats the rotating restaurant of Perlan but the restaurants Grill and Panorama also offer stunning views of the city centre and the bay.
Contemporary cooking with a twist can be found everywhere but highly recommended are the Dill at Alvar Aalto designed Nordic House and the Orange by the harbour.
The meat of choice in Iceland and nobody (excpect vegetarians) should leave the country without sampling this delicacy. Icelander’s are convinced that their lamb who roam freely along the island’s higland pastures during summer, is to be compared to none. Do not get into discussion with the locals where you contradict this strongly held belief. On the other hand you might become a convict yourself. For a meat extravaganza the best steaks, beef or lamb, are to be found at the Argentína steakhouse.
Ethnic restaurants are abundant and usually good value not least Thai eateries like Krua Thai close to the Harbour and Ban Thai by the Hlemmur. For suberb Indian food try the Austur-Indíafjelagið on Hverfisgata.
Trendy locations are easily found. The bar at the 101 hotel is a classic and the food and service are top class. Other popular watering holes with good food for the trendier crowd include the B5 and Domo, all plain in the centre as well as the Silfur Restaurant at Hótel Borg. If you want high end fusion using Icelandic seafood try the Fiskmarkaðurinn or Sjávarkjallarinn.
For a simple and cheap family style meal you could go the the Laugaás or Askur on Suðurlandsbraut or the downtown Hornið which offers great value pizzas and pastas.