Are you planning a trip to Iceland’s capital city? Then you need to put this great food tour in Reykjavik on your itinerary!

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Best Food Tour in Reykjavik

No one goes to Iceland for the food. While the island is famous for its staggering beauty, its landscape is due in part to its complete lack of any kind of edible vegetation. There is a reason that their national dish is, after all, fermented shark.

But learning about a nation’s food culture is one of the absolute best ways to understand its people and history, and nowhere is that more true than in a nation that can’t grow anything naturally. Despite this, and in contrast to its bad culinary reputation, Reykjavik has become something of a foodie city, with several Michelin-starred restaurants. So how did it go from a town with terrible food taste to the cultured seaside capital that it is now? That’s where a food tour comes in.

If you follow this blog regularly, you know that I love food tours! From Istanbul to Scottsdale, Arizona, I am apparently on a mission to do a food tour in every country I visit. Little did I know that the food tour in Reykjavik that I went on would be one of the best.

Reykjavik Food Walk

Reykjavik Food Walk was founded in 2014 by a couple of locals passionate about sharing local gems with tourists. Since then, it has gone on to become the top rated food tour on TripAdvisor in the entire world. They believe that the best way to experience Iceland is not to get on a bus and visit the touristy places, but go to where the locals go. That is something I wholeheartedly agree with, which is why I had to check out their tour for myself on my recent trip to Reykjavik.

Fjallkonan and Messinn

We met our delightful tour guide Bryn (short for Bryndis, but none of us English-speakers can pronounce anything Icelandic correctly, so she let us call her Bryn) by Reykjavik’s beautiful Harpa Concert Hall. Bryn was born and raised in Reykjavik, but has spent some time in Europe and the States, so is well aware of what the outside world thinks of her nation’s food.

The first stop of our Reykjavik food tour was at Fjallkonan, located just a short walk from Harpa Hall. The name means “Lady of the Mountain” in English, a common reference for Iceland in medieval poetry. They specialize in elevated Icelandic cuisine, featuring lamb or local seafood in most of their dishes. We got to try samples of two of their dishes. The first was cured Arctic char (very similar to smoked salmon, but less common) served with Arctic char caviar and a yuzu mayo. The second was Icelandic slow cooked lamb served on a traditional flatbread from the Westfjords.

Yeah, we were off to a pretty delicious start.

Reykjavik food tour

Cured Arctic char

The next stop included two more traditionally Icelandic but amazingly tasty samples. Being an island nation, a large portion of Icelandic cuisine is made up of seafood, so it makes sense that that’s what Messinn specializes in.

We got to try arctic char again, but this time it was baked in honey, butter, and lemon. The smoked char was great, but drench anything in honey and it becomes exponentially better. We also tasted “plokkfiskur,” an Icelandic comfort food made with cod, potatoes, cheese, and bernaise sauce.

food tour in reykjavik

Plokkfiskur at Messinn

The Hot Dog and The Shark

Did you know that the #1 rated restaurant in all of Iceland is a hot dog stand? Icelanders loooovvee their hot dogs, and after trying one with all of their chosen toppings on our food tour in Reykjavik, I understand why.

Baejarins Beztu Pylsur has been open since 1937 and has served the likes of President Bill Clinton, the Kardashians, and Justin Bieber. Their hot dogs are 80% lamb and 20% we-just-don’t-ask, which I think is a required component of every truly good hot dog. What makes these really different are the fried onions that go between the bun and the meat and the Scandinavian remoulade sauce that is drizzled on top. I’m not a hot dog kind of girl, but I’d eat one of these again.

icelandic hot dog

When we arrived at Islenski Barinn, Bryn told us that the time had finally arrived – our chance to try fermented shark. Am I weakling? No! Am I willing to try anything at least once?!…Yes, and my taste buds hate me for it. Only three of us in our group were willing to try it. Bryn instructed us to chew 5 times before swallowing. Honestly, the chewing was the worst part. It was just solid enough to not be baby food, with an aftertaste of fish that had been sitting out for a week too long.

food tour in reykjavik

Fermented shark

Traditionally, you’re suppose to follow it up with a shot of Brennivin, an 80 proof liquor created in Iceland. I did pass on that, because my adventurousness does have limits. The one woman who took the shot said it was worse than the shark.

Fortunately, that restaurant doesn’t only serve fermented shark! It’s a pub that also offers wonderful cozy dishes that are perfect for a cold, rainy day in Reykjavik, like the Icelandic lamb stew and local beer that we got to cleanse our palates with.

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Dessert

The last stop of the food tour in Reykjavik was Cafe Loki. Yet another spot for traditional Icelandic cuisine, we were only here for dessert – rye bread ice cream topped with rhubarb syrup and whipped cream. There’s no where else in Reykjavik that serves rye bread ice cream and I honestly have no idea why because it was amazing. The tartness of the rye bread perfectly balanced out the otherwise sweet ice cream. If I could have put a tub in my suitcase to bring back home, I would have.

Cafe loki

Rye bread ice cream

Verdict

This food tour in Reykjavik was the perfect way to learn more about Icelandic cuisine, both in the olden days when it was all various types of fermented seafood, to now, when the city is home to numerous world-class restaurants. We tried a wide variety of foods, from smoked char and caviar to a street vendor hot dog. Every bite was more delicious than the last!

*While Reykjavik Food Walk offered me a discounted tour, all opinions are my own.

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Planning a trip to Iceland? Then you need to check out this awesome food tour in Reykjavik! You'll get to learn all about traditional Icelandic cuisine and try some amazing dishes, from honey baked arctic char, the world-famous Icelandic hot dog, and more! #iceland #reykjavik #foodtour   Planning a trip to Iceland? Then you need to check out this awesome food tour in Reykjavik! You'll get to learn all about traditional Icelandic cuisine and try some amazing dishes, from honey baked arctic char, the world-famous Icelandic hot dog, and more! #iceland #reykjavik #foodtour

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