When we talked to people who had visited Iceland before our trip to Iceland, we heard that you had better like fish or lamb because that would be the only food available. Although I like both both lamb and fish and Tara likes fish, we were pleasantly surprised to find that many more options were available in Iceland. In Reykjavik in particular, there were some excellent food choices. I did have lamb multiple times and Tara and I both had fish several times, but we also had chicken, vegetarian dishes, and even a beef-based dish (though beef did seem less common and more expensive).
As stated in the earlier post "Iceland in Winter: Money," food is pricey in Iceland, but there are reasonable deals available and tips are not generally necessary. When you factor the tip into the price in some American cities (especially in Hawaii and Alaska), the difference in food costs is less significant. Compared to the other costs of the trip (flights, lodging, and car rental in particular), the food costs were not so out of line.
Breakfasts at the Iceland hotels are terribly expensive, but we only paid for breakfast on one morning. We enjoyed the complimentary breakfast buffet in the Haust Restaurant for the four mornings after the four nights lodging at the Fosshotel Reykjavik. Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon provided a complimentary breakfast buffet as part of their very adept handling of a power outage in the area over night and into the morning the next day. On the morning after our stay at Hilton Reykjavik Nordica, we had to leave really early to return our rental car to the airport and join the Gate 1 tour's transport from Keflavik Airport back to Reykjavik. We ended up eating breakfast in the previously mentioned Fosshotel Reykjavik's Faust Restaurant, but paid for that breakfast (7,000 Icelandic Krona or approximately $57 US for the two of us) because we were not yet checked-in guests.
Lunch prices varied, but we typically paid between $40 and $50 US for lunch. Dinner prices were only a bit higher, tending to range from around $45 US for two of us to just over $60 for the two of us. We ate lunch and dinner more than once each at the food hall (Hlemmur Mathöll) close to Fosshotel Reykjavik because of its wide selections of cuisines and interesting twists on common cuisines.
The Hlemmur - Mathöll website explains the variety of cuisines available: "Hlemmur - Mathöll seeks inspiration in the famous European cafeteria, where together under one roof ten ambitious food traders and restaurants unite."
Flatey Pizza in Hlemmur Mathöll offers very thin crusted pizzas with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and other interesting flavors (Neapolitan style) that I had not tried on pizza before. For example, several of their pizzas have dates on them, which tasted better on pizza than I imagined. The photograph of Flatey Pizza shows their menu in Icelandic, but they did have a paper menu on the counter with the English translation.
Fuego Tacqueria in Hlemmur Mathöll offers several different types of tacos based on pork, chicken, and fish.
On our last night in Reykjavik, the weather was unpleasant again (wind driving snow), so we didn't want to walk far from our hotel but we still wanted to try something new. We chose the nearby Hamborgarafabrikkan, one of a small chain of "Hamburger Factory" restaurants. We enjoyed our meal there. It was my first time to have a lamb burger and I enjoyed it.
On the morning after our ice caving tour and seeing Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, we stopped for lunch at a small restaurant along the way (where we could also get diesel for our rental car). This restaurant, Veitingasala Restaurant, is #1 of 1 restaurants in Svinafell on TripAdvisor. Although there aren't a lot of other choices in the general area, we enjoyed this one choice that we did have. They featured cod and au gratin that we enjoyed along with some other items off the menu. They also had a large restroom area.
Combining a good place to eat, to use the restrooms, and to fuel up the rental vehicle made this a convenient and welcome stop in an area where they're weren't many alternatives.
It's a relatively lengthy drive from the glacier lagoon back to Reykjavik. On the way, we stopped at the Valhalla Restaurant and Saga Center, which is currently ranked #1 of 1 Quick Bites in Hvolsvollur. We got there at opening time and had the restaurant and museums to ourselves. There was much to like about the place. We ordered dinner at the counter and perused their museums while the dinner was prepared.
The Valhalla dining area is a large dining hall with wood bench seating and wood tables and is reminiscent of viking dining halls. The menu had several different options. One thing that struck us about the menu is that a person looking for alternatives to lamb and seafood would definitely find it here where there were lots of options such as chicken, beef, and sausage. We enjoyed the food, the viking hall setting, the museums, and the really good prices of the food. We're glad we stopped there on our way to Reykjavik.
While we were at the Perlan, we ate at their Ut i blainn cafe. The food was good, but the view was spectacular! The rotating area was not working, but there were few enough people there that we were able to get a seat next to a window with a great view of downtown Reykjavik and the harbor.
We had made reservations for the Ut i blainn restaurant for dinner, but kept having to change the reservation to later nights to accommodate changing Northern Lights plans. We ended up canceling the dinner reservation altogether to attempt to see the Northern Lights on one of the last nights, but the cafe worked out well for lunch.
There are a few dining options in Vik and we ended up eating lunch at The Soup Company. This lunch was a bit pricey, but we enjoyed it and I liked the opportunity to try a tasty lamb and vegetable soup. They also had a good chicken noodle soup and some simple sandwiches we enjoyed.
When departing Iceland, we had a long wait at Keflavik Airport because we got there roughly 4 hours before our flight to avoid taking chances with weather closing the road between Reykjavik and the airport. We ate lunch there at Nord Restaurant. We both had fish entrees and were happy with them. An important note about that eating establishments in that part of Keflavik Airport (including Nord Restaurant) is that they are intended for departing passengers rather than arriving passengers. The vendors scan your boarding passes before taking orders. Arriving guests are diverted away from this area by signage as they leave the gates and head toward baggage claim.