If you follow me on social media you know what a fan I am of Iceland . From its other worldly landscapes to their love of authentic quality foods it should be on your next weekend trip list. Getting the logistics out of the way, it’s a 2/2.30 hour flight direct from Dublin planning in advance you can get your tickets for pretty cheap and if your like me and wait until 3 weeks before you can still get them at roughly 150 return. It is an expensive place to visit in terms of eating out and accommodation (which is usually kind of basic) but its totally worth it and your not going to be buying too many extras outside of eating out … that’s unless you don’t pack the right gear to keep warm and then you made need to buy some extra woolly socks!
In true NBF style I’m giving you the top places to visit in Iceland for the foodie in you. Now I’m not going to get into all the foods you should try that are traditional Icelandic delicacies because unfortunately minke whale, dried fish and lamb head aren’t really the mass market, and I think its great to try samples of traditional dishes but its more important to indulge in their culinary delights and do as the locals do, lets not be too touristy.
If you are a lover of sushi this is a must. I came upon this place by chance and it is without a doubt my favourite spot in Reykjavík, I also learned it was Russell Crowes too supposedly he ate there every night when he was shooting a movie in Iceland- if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and all that. Not a fan of raw fish? not to worry this place also offers traditional Icelandic tasting menus, plain fish and meat dishes along with some deadly avocado fries and chilli dip. I will warn you the bread they bring out at the start is tasty but the dip they serve It with- an avocado aioli well you may as well just lather it on everything. My recommended dish for this spot is the Surf and Turf 8 piece sushi roll, it is the bomb! There is Wi-Fi which means yes you can Instagram your dinner, but in Reykjavík I recommend staying in a Center Hotels there are a few dotted around and they have free Wi-Fi, the city is small so it means you pretty much have access to Wi-Fi at most corners of the city to keep your Social Media Feeds updated and your mates jealous.
Dinner here is on the expensive side for us but ball park average for Iceland at around;
€30 for surf and turf main.
€56 for a 7 course tasting menu.
A unique food experience in a Green house! Iceland are quiet well known for their use of geothermal heating to support their horticulture. On a crisp cold day entering into balmy Mediterranean climate of the green house scented by fresh tomato plants is a remarkable experience. You will be given a short introduction by the farmer, She will tell you of her journey into tomato farming and the science behind this farming method (its really interesting don’t worry). You will then start your meal around the tomato plants, starter is tomato soup one of the best you will ever have along side fresh baked sourdough breads that are to die for… its self service so you can go wild! Next up there are 2-3 options for main and dinner based around tomato as the main ingredients I highly recommend the cheesecake and tomato and apple pie! This place really makes you re-think tomatoes and how versatile they are.
Not forgetting their tomato cocktails from original bloody Marys, happy Marys to healthy Marys they haven’t left a single thing out. One of the most beautiful things about this place is it is family run and the kids are put hard to work as waiters it’s a really relaxed place with great service, fantastic food and even better story. This is situated outside Reykjavík so you will need to drive but I recommend organising tour guides and booking into Freidhmeir (you can do all this with a tour agency it’s the best way to see Iceland especially if you don’t want to drive yourself on icy roads!) They send you off with recipe cards and a souvenir from their gift store choices from tomato salsa, cucumber relish or tomato syrup and more.
Like the tomato farm this is a real experience, when do you get to visit a restaurant slash farm…. Seriously there are cows in the restaurant! Well they are separated by some glass but it is really quiet cool. The restaurant is family run and the theme is that everything you see on the farm and that grows on the surrounding land is served on the menu. It’s a very old fashioned simple way of life and their ethos is impressive. Their famous gelato made fresh from their dairy cows to their high protein skyr brings in hundreds of visitors daily. You will be greeted by a young member of the family for a quick background on the farm and an honest and hilarious synopsis of what its like running a cow farm in Iceland. When asked how many cows they have on the farm the response was it depends how many burgers are ordered in the restaurant , at least you know its fresh but its really not for the faint hearted.
It is nice to see the Icelandic countryside and to really get lost in time, I highly recommend checking this place out. Situated 1.5 hours outside Reykjavík it is remotely spectacular. The hotel host unbelievable food, their chef really brings the Icelandic food to life and cooking everything to perfection- really recommend his salmon maincourse. The hotel can arrange multiple activates for you like the tomato farm, golden circle snow mobiling etc. The suites are themed by continents all over the world and the hotel is a log cabin style, with the main attraction aside from the food is it’s stargazing and light show. To get to see the northern lights first takes no light pollution like you find in cities, clear skies, and well luck. Therefore Hotel Ranga is probably putting you in the best position to see them, how often is it that we see a sky full of bright stars anymore or even pay that much attention to them. Hotel Ranga have there very own stargazing cabin with removable roof (I know, cool) and their own astrologist to teach you about the galaxies, planets and stars. Alongside using their seriously high spec telescopes.
Things to try; the Skyr mouse with almond crumble dessert. ISNANE!
Time of Year; March (snow) or September (green).
p.s. the Kardashians stayed there.
For the vegan/vegetarian or just the overall health feen, you got to ty this place out for a chilled out casual lunch, just off the main street in Reykjavík. The café is very unassuming you would almost have to be a local to find it, a small door with little signage leading up into a bright clean café setting. You are greeted by a colourful salad bar and instantly fluster from choice. It can be a little overwhelming when you first enter so don’t jump in the queue straight away, check out the specials and do what I do ask the staff what they recommend. The vegetarian lasagne is a must, also their Tex Mex soup. But above all else stopping for a coffee and one of their vegan desserts treats. Free Wi-Fi, good price point.
Price €10-€20 for smoothie and lunch.
A great restaurant that does modern Icelandic food. Kol is situated near the Cathedral so It’s a nice photo op before or after your meal. The restaurant is cosy and dark with a lively ambience. They seem to draw in a young crowd and the place to go before a night out on the town. The cocktails are clever, delicious and like the menu use local ingredients like birch. Now back to the food, they promote local, sustainable foods married with great flavours and skill full display. Check out the Icelandic tasting menu here to get a mix of flavours and don’t miss out on trying their dessert for 2… or one if you are like me.
Their staff are so friendly and helpful, the waitress we had gave us loads of recommendations on our stay.
Looking at spending €50-€55 for 2-3 courses set menu.
Unfortunately, the hotels are basic in terms of facilities so there is rarely a gym accessible which if you are there for a short weekend may not matter with all the range of activities and excursions. But, if you’re like me and love to experience training in different grounds and compare training styles check out the MJöLNIR, the MMA gym where there is classes to try out such as Viking training- this way you can eat more on your trip :)