Reykjavik has a wealth of great restaurants. There are places to suit all tastes and preferences. This list is for those who want to have a real culinary adventure. This is not the list for people who want to save money when they go out. I’ve written a different list for that. This list is for the absolute best restaurants in Reykjavik if you don’t mind splurging a bit. Whether you are in the mood for classic, Icelandic and Scandinavian cuisine, or something more international, we have come up with a list of some of our favorites when we want to treat ourselves. And if you happen to leave Reykjavik, we’ve also thrown in a few great places outside the city.
The Best Restaurants in Reykjavik
The Lobster House
Icelandic lobster is not really lobster. It’s usually langoustine. It’s really tasty, and there are a number of restaurants that use this wonderful, local ingredient very well. In my opinion, no place is better at this than The Lobster House. Their lobster soup is possibly the best I’ve ever tried, and everything they offer is exceptional. The dining experience is second to none, with very friendly and professional staff. I especially recommend their surf and turf. As I said before, the langoustine is great, and the beef is perfectly cooked using sous vide. The Lobster House is located in an old, wooden building, and the atmosphere is traditional and cozy, but has the right kind of fanciness to ensure a wonderful evening out. Highly recommended, and in my opinion one of the best restaurants in Reykjavik.
Lækjarbrekka is a classic. The building dates back to 1834, and the restaurant has been there since 1981. They specialise in Scandinavian cuisine and use the highest quality ingredients. Their service is very professional, as you would expect from a place of that caliber, and the atmosphere is very nice. A favorite of Icelanders for almost 40 years, Lækjarbrekka never disappoints.
The pricing is pretty reasonable for a place of this kind, and they are very accommodating for groups. They also offer vegetarian and vegan options, so everybody can be included. No list of the best restaurants in Reykjavik would be complete without Lækjarbrekka.
Tapasbarinn (The Tapas Bar) is obviously slightly different, as it is a tapas restaurant. So not traditionally Icelandic at all. But it is really one of the best tapas places I’ve ever been, and it’s one of my favorite restaurants in the world. I love the atmosphere, which is predictably Spanish, and the food is second to none. And obviously pretty Spanish, but at the same time they use the finest Icelandic ingredients. They have an Icelandic menu, which includes puffin and mink whale, so if you’re at all opposed to whaling this is not a whale friendly place. But if you want to try those things you can do it here, in a Spanish fusion environment.
If you feel like having a relaxing night out and taking your time with dinner, eating a wide variety of fantastic, tiny dishes, Tapasbarinn is the place to go. I highly recommend the Journey Into the Unknown, where the chef selects your dishes and surprises you. I always have that when I go to Tapasbarinn. It never disappoints. I’ve never tried the Icelandic menu, since I don’t eat whale. And while I understand the intrigue, I do discourage tourists from doing so, as I don’t think Iceland should be whaling at all. It’s a controversial topic over here, but obviously it’s an interesting thing to try. I’ll leave that up to you.
If you want to go a little further away from Icelandic cuisine, look no further than Austur-Indiafjelagið (the East India Company). It’s the oldest and best Indian restaurant in Iceland. Austur-Indiafjelagið been around forever, and it’s really good. It’s not cheap, definitely fine dining, but the food and atmosphere is worth it in my opinion. If you are a fan of Indian food you will love this. Definitely one of the very best restaurants in Reykjavik.
Matur og drykkur
Matur og drykkur (Food and Drink) is a fairly new addition to the Icelandic restaurant scene. It is quite possibly the best place for traditional but fancy Icelandic cuisine. The emphasis is on seafood and lamb, which is definitely the traditional fare here. Matur og drykkur is located in an old fish cannery plant, and the atmosphere is unique.
There is no shortage of traditional Scandinavian cuisine in Reykjavik. But Matur og drykkur has a sort of a unique standing. It’s very professional, the staff is passionate and it comes highly recommended.
The Best Restaurants outside Reykjavik
If you leave the city, here are a few of my favorite eateries outside of Reykjavik. I admit the list is woefully incomplete, but should provide you with a few ideas at least.
Rauða húsið (The Red House) – Eyrarbakki
The Red House is a legendary restaurant and one of the best places for langoustine in Iceland. It is located in Eyrarbakki village, which is an old harbour town that was at one point the largest port in Iceland. The Red House is located in an old, historic building, and the food is just wonderful. Eyrarbakki is in the south, pretty close to Reykjavik, and if you have the opportunity to visit that area, it is highly recommended.
Strikið – Akureyri
If you find yourself in the largest town in the North, Akureyri, Strikið is a fun place to visit. It’s a rooftop restaurant, so you’ll be treated to a wonderful view, and the food is excellent as well. They have a nice set menu called the History of Iceland, and some other fun things. It’s a nice fusion restaurant that blends traditional fare with modern twists.
Tjöruhúsið – Ísafjörður
Possibly the most unique restaurant in Iceland. Tjöruhúsið serves up whatever fish is available on any given day in whatever style the chef feels like at the time. They don’t have a menu, so don’t ask for it. You sit down at a large table and eat all you want, and you just get whatever they have that day. It’s an unbeatable experience. Ísafjörður is the largest town in the Western Fjords, and definitely worth a visit as the area is just stunning. And Tjöruhúsið is a must visit. Just make sure you book your table in advance, because they are quite busy. Also, they tend to shut down throughout most of the winter, so check their facebook page to see if they are open during your visit.
Pakkhúsið – Höfn í Hornafirði
Höfn is the best location for langoustine, and Pakkhúsið has the best one. This town in the East is the langoustine capital of Iceland, and Pakkhúsið is the best restaurant. It is quite pricy, however, but if you find yourself in the area, it is most definitely worth it. Go ahead and splurge. You deserve it.
Has this been helpful?
I hope this list has been helpful and has given you some ideas for things to do in Iceland. If you need any information, do not hesitate to get in touch. If this has been useful, I hope you will consider booking your tours, accommodation, flights or activities through this web site. It won’t cost you any extra, I make sure to only list the very best partner companies I can find, and it does help me to run this site and market my tours and activities. I appreciate you and hope you have a great visit in Iceland.