Icelandic cuisine has been shaped by the country's harsh climate and isolation from the rest of the world. The traditional food of Iceland includes various types of seafood, lamb, dairy products, and traditional bread. One of the most popular Icelandic dishes is Þorramatur: A platter of traditional Icelandic food that includes smoked lamb, dried fish, pickled herring, liver sausage, and fermented shark.
It could be challenging to find vegan/plant-based food in a country that predominantly consumes meat. That's why, before embarking on our trip, we had to plan out our meals and figure out where to eat. Luckily, we have helpful apps like Happy Cow that provide us with vegan options wherever we go. By doing some research beforehand, we were able to find a good number of restaurants that offered vegan options.
Our airbnb was close to a fast food spot called Aktu Taktu which had a vegan burger meal. It cost $30 and was pretty good! Just vegan meat, cheese, lettuce, and sauce. Simple, yet satisfying!
Grocery shopping is pretty easy when you’re looking for vegan options in Iceland, since almost everything is in English. When in doubt, just ask somebody to translate! Most people are nice and want to help you out 🙂 Bonus and Kronan are cheap grocery stores found all over Iceland and was were we mainly shopped at to save money. They have a lot of vegan imported meats and cheeses from Europe.
For dinner that night, we had a home baked oven pizza from the grocery store and some cheese and crackers for a snack afterwards.
On day two we went to Sandholt and got ourselves two oat lattes for $12. Later in the day we had a wonderful volunteer experience and lunch was included at this whale opportunity put on by IFAW. Came with grilled cheese and tomato soup. A tasty lunch after a great experience. Check out or Iceland Vlog to learn more about what the organization does and ways you can help!
For dinner went we to Glo Cafe and had pesto spinach lasagna and a rice bowl. It cost us $35 for the two plates and $7 for a delicious dessert bar that tasted exactly like Snickers. We haven’t eaten snickers for very long time and this was a nice cruelty-free version of it. Exploring around downtown Reykjavik, we ended up going to The Big Lebowski Bar and had some extremely over priced cocktails that were $40. Great atmosphere, unreal prices.
The next day we used the items we ate our groceries and had a peanut butter toast with cereal. Exploring the southern side of Iceland was unreal! Many that have traveled to Iceland before told us the further away we drove from Reykjavik, the more beautiful this Island becomes. Boy, were they right! Our plan was to stop at the furthest destination we wanted to venture to first and Black Sand Beach was it. (PS most gas stations will have at least one vegan option like a sandwich, fruit, etc.)
Black Beach Restaurant had a vegan turnip soup, which was pretty tasty! The soup was $13 and came with endless vegan bread. On the way back we hit skogafoss and seljalandsfoss waterfalls, plus Kerid Crater. These were so beautiful to feast our eyes upon. We were hungry after exploring around, so we stopped at Olis gas station, which had a vegan burger meal (burger and fries) for $14 each. Sadly some woman a couple years ago mistook the original name, “vega burger” and thought it was vegan.. it was in fact not. After the story made it to the Icelandic news and brought that mishap into the company’s attention, they ended up making the vega burger, a vegan burger! Thank goodness we didn’t make the same mistake.
For dinner, we made ourselves some pasta and drank our Icelandic viking alcohol we got before exiting the airport. This is the cheapest place to buy alcohol in all of Iceland, our little bottle cost us $17. We spoke to some locals about this and they told us that many Icelandic people don't go out to drink, they will drink at home and then go out dancing or to a bar very late at night. There were a couple of bars that we wanted to check out and those didn't even open until 10 pm!
In the morning, we went to Grai Kotturinn and had two coffees and two vegan bagels. This was the most frustrating meal of the trip, because it was overpriced and cost us $50 for a not so filling and not so flavorful meal, but that’s ok! It was still a cute little hole in the wall spot and when you're hungry for food, you gotta do what you gotta do. Ryan had a tattoo appointment so we ate lunch a bit later in the day. We ended up going to Kaffi Vinyl, an all vegan restaurant, and had some delicious vegan food. A mushroom burger and seitan rice bowl for $45 and dessert was $8 for a cupcake.
For dinner we had leftovers of pasta from the previous night.
The next day we explored the tourist attractions and went to Blue Lagoon, Gullfoss, Geysir, etc. For breakfast, we had the same breakfast (boring I know, but hey doing this saved us a lot of time and money)! After our Blue Lagoon experience, we went to Frioheimar and had some delicious tomato soup with bread, we got two for $20. This spot is a beautiful tomato greenhouse and is only open from 12-4, so make sure you plan accordingly. They also have tomato beer, bloody mary's, and other tomato drinks you can try at the bar!
After driving around the northern side, we headed back to Reykjavik and finished eating at some last minute food spots I had saved on my happy cow app that I wanted to check out. We went back to Glo cafe and had two small wraps for $30, which was a bit disappointing because they were rather small and didn’t come with any sides.
We took a stroll downtown and ended up going to Reykjavik Chips which carry some really tasty fries! They have three vegan sauce options including ketchup, mayo, and satay sauce. For a medium size and 2 sauces, it came out to $10. I had a wild sweet tooth and was craving crepes! Thankfully two blocks away was Eldus and Is that had vegan crepe options, I got a chocolate banana crepe with powdered sugar on top, yum! The price was $7.
On the last day of Iceland, we ate whatever was leftover in the fridge from our groceries. At the airport we went to Joe and The Juice and got ourselves some coffee, juice, and avocado sandwiches for $25. We later had a salad and another sandwich for ___ at Mathus. Then on Wow Air, we bought the only vegan options available on this flight which were oatmeal, chia squeezes, and olives for $18.
All in all the trip was not too shabby! The food was definitely expensive, but we planned accordingly in our budget for it. After living in the Bay Area for so long, these prices seemed normal to us. If we went back, we would definitely want to eat more at the fast food joints, because it was cheap and filled us up more than some of the vegan spots we ate at. We hope you got some ideas on food you can eat in Iceland. We made a video that shows you everything we ate so you can get a better visual of what everything looked like.
We thank you for coming along on this journey with us!