If you haven’t guessed, I love food. I also love to save money. Whether you’re on a backpacker’s shoestring budget or rolling in the dough, Iceland has amazing food choices for you!
We fell on the former end of the scale and sought out places that would leave us enough money to fly home while getting the best value. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, just a few of the places that we loved and would try again on a return visit.
The main grocery stores where Icelanders frequent were called Bónus. They had everything you would need to cook your own meals at an affordable price. By the end of the trip we were making delicious homemade pizzas from their ready made dough to save a little cash. Try the kleinur with rhubarb jam and our favorite – tortilla chips cheese! They also had the best price on amazing European chocolate so naturally we stocked up before we left. You can stock up on sandwich stuff if you want to save money during a road trip, but we ended up eating mostly at gas stations instead when we quickly got sick of PB&J.
Bakeries and gas stations
The first stop we made out of Reykjavik we found Almar Bakari in Hveragerdi and made it a point to go again on our second time around the country. It was that good! Besides a huge counter overflowing with fresh-made pastries, we were able to score unlimited soup, bread, and much needed coffee for under $10. Win!
We were always able to find wifi and really good food (including bacon wrapped hot dogs) at gas stations such as N1 – Nesti or Olli’s, but we preferred Nesti because they had more seating and better food choices.
Speaking of hot dogs: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – GET THE HOT DOGS IN ICELAND. They are nothing like the American ones and the cheapest meal you can find. Everything from the lamb dog boiled in Pilsner to the sauces used is perfection. Sometimes they even wrap them in bacon and put potato salad on there and I need to stop talking about this or I will want to buy a plane ticket for this reason alone.
It’s 5’o’clock somewhere
If you learn anything from this post, take advantage of happy hour. A regular beer would cost at least $10 and a cocktail would usually run from $20-30. Yikes! There were signs posting the hours of happiness next to all of the restaurants, so you don’t have to search far. One place we loved was called Tivoli Bar in Reykjavik. They had a happy hour going until 9pm and we even made friends! I had the best cocktail of my life called “My Sweet Fire” with rhubarb liqueur, Brennivín, tabasco, and a smattering of other things – it was fantastic.
We went to Svarta Kaffið two days in a row and could’ve gone more but we felt we should mix it up. This place has the best soup bread bowls you could ask for. They offered a meat and vegetarian option on a rotation during the week and had a bigger menu on the weekend, but honestly you can’t find a better deal than a giant bowl with steaming lamb soup for less than $15.
I stumbled upon this post by Paisley and Fig and knew I had to visit Friðheimar Farm at the end of our road trip adventure (you can read about it here: part one, and part two). Their restaurant was located inside a greenhouse where you could witness exactly where your food was coming from and everything on the menu had something to do with the tomatoes grown there. It was even better than I imagined and we happily stuffed our faces with never-ending fresh tomato soup and all of the bread. They also sent us away with complimentary coffee and tea. Not bad for $20!
So that’s it for the list! Did I miss your favorite place to eat cheap in Iceland?
What restaurant did you really enjoy? Are you obsessed with the Icelandic hot dogs as much as I am?