My Iceland itinerary began with the Reykjavik Food Walk. I viewed it as an opportunity to get myself oriented, scope out other ‘must-eat’ places in the city, and try some traditional Icelandic food. The company lets people know upfront that there will be no whale, puffin, or shark to be had on this tour. The idea is to show tourists what the Icelandic people eat on a daily basis, plus a couple of unique foods, rather than watching us squirm at the idea of anything fermented. If you didn’t know, the shark is fermented because it’s skin is naturally poisonous. Hard pass.
Old Iceland Restaurant for Lamb Stew
It came with bread and we were told we could have seconds. Nobody wanted to come across as gluttonous, but I suggest you be the one who goes for it. I wish I had. I also announced to the table that it was better than my mom’s pot roast. Sorry mom.
Osta Budin Delicatessen for Cured Meats & Cheese
- Cured Sheep Fillet (YES)
- Cured Horse Fillet (SORRY, YES)
- Hot Smoked Goose Breast w/ Rasberry Champagne Vinegarette (OH GOD YES)
- Some kind of gouda (YES)
- Some kind of moldy cheese (NO)
- Some kind of bleu cheese (INTERESTING)
Ugh. Yes, I ate horse meat. Just a nibble really. I felt guilty for how much I liked it. I rationalized it by thinking “well if I don’t eat it then they’ll probably throw it away and then the horse’s life was for nothing.” I gave him purpose. This shop was the real deal and I wish I had brought some of the vacuum-packed cured meats home so that I could make my friends accomplices to my crime.
Cafe Loki for Rye Bread Ice Cream
I will preface this by saying I don’t even like rye bread. At least not the kind my dad buys, which I think is Russian Rye and is apparently a lot different than Icelandic Rye. This was like an ice cream cake because it was cold and creamy but also had sweet seeds and an obviously bready texture. It was topped with rhubarb caramel and I would most definitely return here. Cafe Loki is apparently also a good place to have the aforementioned fermented shark if you so wish.
Strawberry Skyr in the park
I had seen it in the hostel kitchen fridge, but I wasn’t ready. Greek yogurt is kind of ruined for me now and no it does not taste like Siggi’s because that’s just “skyr inspired” and it’s just not the same. Patiently waiting for this product to be imported. May have to upgrade to urgently demanding if it doesn’t happen soon.
Baejarins Beztu Psylur for Lamb Hotdogs
I love a good ballpark hotdog, but now those are ruined too. This lamb sausage was atop fresh onions and crispy fried onions and topped with some sort of mayonnaise and their version of ketchup (which apparently includes applesauce?). I enjoyed another later in the week after a night out and was happy to see that it cost me a mere $3.49, which is cheap anywhere in the world but downright amazing in Iceland.
Saegreifinn – The Sea Baron for Lobster Soup
This place had some character. Including an extremely lifelike wax figure of the restaurant’s originator. It also made me realize that I’ve never had properly cooked lobster. In my experience, it’s always been a bit chewy and something I usually pass on. This legit melted in my mouth. I ate all the lobster and then soaked the bread in the soup. Perfection.
Apotek Restaurant for what I’m calling – Apricot Tiramisu
Okay so this restaurant is known for their desserts and they have really fancy names that I can’t remember. I do know it had an apricot mascarpone on the side though. This was so rich and wonderful that it felt inappropriate to eat alongside strangers. If you don’t eat a meal here, at least stop in for their coffee and dessert deal. Please send me pictures of the affair.
Most people visit Iceland for the scenery, but I consider myself to be a very food-oriented traveler. I like to judge a culture by its culinary fare and let’s just say I basically waddled home. Also, shoutout to Kjartan for being an amazing guide. I felt educated on the food scene, history and city life by the time the tour was over. 10/10 would recommend the Reykjavik Food Walk.