Just got back from a week in Iceland. Keep in mind that we have a 2.6 year old spring onion so our meals are strictly casual lunch/early dinner. Breakfasts were always eaten at our various Airbnbs, except for one breakfast buffet at our one hotel. Hit up Bonus grocery shops to stock up on staples - milk, juice, skyr, couple of chocolate-based snacks for spring onion, cheeses, mushrooms, pasta. Iceland is well-known to be breath-takingly expensive for food and drink in restaurants so self-catering is a good thing to do, no matter your budget. Honestly, I loved the nation’s love of soup and could have subsisted on soup and bread all week (which was also generally the cheapest item on menus). We were both too tired to shop at Keflavik duty-free for beer and wine but we stocked up at a Vinbudin, which was $$$ but not as bad as drinking out.
Friday [Reykjavik]: Late lunch at Kaffi Vinyl. Very friendly, music-centric place, which we loved. Only all-vegan joint in town and maybe in all of Iceland. My Kawai (sic) sandwich with mushrooms, onions, and guacamole on ciabatta was tasty but quite messy. B’s tasty mile high club with portabella fakin’ bacon was huge. We were both stuffed. We stopped by Braud and Co. for one of their famed sourdough loaves. It was warm and good but honestly lacked the sour tang we’re used to from our local favorite bread place. Back at the Airbnb, I passed out for a short while. When I woke, I found the guys enjoying happy hour at Bryggjan Brugghús next to the Maritime Museum. Afterwards, dinner from Fish and Chips Vagninn food truck was a given. And so wonderful. Expertly fried fish and thick-cut chips, kick-ass curry sauce and mushy peas. Only the remoulade was just ok (but still good).
Saturday [Reykjavik]: Lunch at Kaffivagninn was amongst my favorite bites of food. The fish soup there is to die for. In a land of (to my Korean tastebuds) subtle flavors, their soup was so savory and flavor-forward. The accompanying baguette was great, too. B’s fish stew was new-to-us. Instead of being a brothy dish, it was a baked pan of potatoes, cream, perhaps cheese, and fish. Quite delicious but very rich. B had some trouble getting through it, but of course given the prices, he managed to eat it all. The rye bread that accompanied was really good. Presentation of both dishes, which normally I don’t care about, was quite lovely - the care behind the food was quite obvious.
Sunday [Reykholt, Laugavartn]: Lunch at Fridheimar was better in concept than in execution in our opinions. The huge greenhouse operation is impressive but it’s too touristy for our taste. We both opt for the all-you-can-eat tomato soup+bread buffet. It’s good but the soup needs some umami or garlic…some oomph. The breads, particularly the sunflower seeded one, are good. But there’s only so much soup and bread one can eat in one sitting. Still it’s a good deal. B got a Bloody Mary, which he liked but it was a little light on the octane and small to boot. A late dinner after Fontana hot spring spa at Héraðsskólinn hostel was wondrous. We would stay at this gorgeous hotel on our return trip to Iceland. The mid century furnishings, beautiful old rugs, books, piped-in old jazz , toys for kids, the no-shoes policy, the low lights. It was all so fantastic. They kindly let us get food at a late hour. My broccoli soup and bread hit the spot while the guys happily munched on pizza.
Sunday [Skógar]: Lunch at Hotel Skogafoss was nothing special (veggie soup+bread for me, pasta+meatballs which the guys split). Pasta dinner cooked in our fabulous Airbnb just outside Selfoss, which I admit, was pretty damned good (Japanese-inflected with mushrooms sautéed in a soup packet from a miso ramen, butter, tamari, then topped with furikake).
Monday [Suðursveit]: Dinner at Hali Country House Hotel was just ok. I got the asparagus soup and bread while B splurged for the Arctic char. It was sloppily plated with a few boiled potatoes and salad on the side. The fish tasted farmed to me. Breakfast buffet the next morning was plentiful and varied - much better than dinner.
Tuesday [Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Vik]: Lunch at the Heimahumar langoustine food truck after the glacier aquatic truck tour was interesting. The guys split a hotdog and B and I also sampled a langoustine roll. I must say it was OK but much more mushy (both the bread roll and the langoustine itself) then I’m used to with lobster rolls on the East Coast of the US. Also, I felt that the Icelandic love of sauces overwhelmed the langoustine. And there was some sautéed bell-pepper at the bottom of the roll which I found odd. Well, it was ok - it’s hard to be unhappy when you’re staring at a giant gorgeous glacier. A pitstop at the Soup Kitchen in Vik was quite good. This cute spot is in a former east German shipping container. We both got the vegan avocado soup that came with a Parmesan bread roll and it really hit the spot.
Wednesday [Hveragardi]: We fell in love with this little town when we took a detour for the geothermal pool. Afterwords we went to Olverk pizzeria and brewpub. It’s fairly new and the pizza was delicious as were the french fries and beer. Cool industrial-ish interior and friendly service.
Thursday [Stykkishólmur]: Lunch at Sjávarpakkhúsið is our best overall meal in Iceland (but we both still wanted garlic or some oomph). But the experience was quite wonderful. We got the Catalan Fish stew and the huge pot of mussels in white wine broth, both of which came with grilled bread. Both dishes were comfort in a bowl. Place had a hipster vibe, but not in an annoying way.
Friday [Reykjavik]: One repeat meal at Fish and chips vagninn was good but not as good as our first meal there. Perhaps the early hour did not allow for the oil to get hot enough but frankly we did not regret going back. Plenty of room for spring onion to stretch his legs there by the picnic tables.
We are already planning our next trip back to Iceland to check out the west fjords and other regions.
Here are the few food photos I took.