Food For Thought: A Vegetarian’s Guide To Iceland
Let’s face it, the Icelandic cuisine is known to be… well… damn weird. Fermented shark, sheep’s head, sour ram’s testicles, blood pudding, dried fish, cod tongues, whale, puffin, fish stomach and meat soup. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t feel great after writing that, let alone eating it!
Luckily, Iceland (or Reykjavík) isn’t too far behind the rest of the world in terms of the growth of vegetarianism. Phew!
Here are some useful Icelandic words that may or may not help:
Grænmetisæta – Vegetarian
Vegan – Vegan
Ekki kjöt – No meat
Ekki mjólkurbú – No dairy
Ekki fiskur – No fish
If you plan on exploring outside of Reykjavík, please stock up on veggie goodies while you’re there.
I love this place. It’s the most popular chain of Icelandic supermarkets. The logo is wacky as hell and you should totally buy a plastic bag or two as a souvenir.
They sell a good variety of vegetarian (and vegan) foods, such as soya milk, burgers, sausages, Mexican-style wraps, soya hot dogs, and meatball-y falafel things which aren’t falafel at all. And because it’s the “cheap” no-frills discount store, all these products tend to be around €3/€4 per pack.
There are two other main supermarkets called Krónan and Hagkaup. Krónan is on the outskirts of the city and I didn’t check but I can’t imagine it has anything that Bónus doesn’t, and then Hagkaup (usually around shopping malls) is a slightly more expensive shop so I’m sure that also has vegetarian products, but for a higher price.
Take-Away / Snacks:
I haven’t succeeded in finding any vegetarian street food yet in Reykjavík, but there is a place on Laugavegur (42, on the corner) called Durum where they do some really good falafel for a reasonable price. Kebabhusið, on Austurstraeti, does a decent (falafel) veggie burger too.
Passion Reykjavík is a vegan bakery at Alfheimar 6. There’s Eldur og Is too, at Skolavoroustiger 2, which serves pastries and crepes.
Pylsa / Pulsa, Laugavegur 105 (near Hlemmur Square), serve vegetarian hot dogs, which are supposed to be good but I didn’t try them. I regret it every day. Well, every day I’m craving hot dogs, at least.
Kaffi Vinyl, Hverfisgata 76, has live DJ’s while you enjoy your all-vegan snacks!
And there’s a place near Tjörnin (the pond) that does an alright kebab (more for the post-pub walk home though, in my opinion).
In my opionion, Indian and Asian restaurants are a vegetarian’s best friend in any country you visit.
Shalimar, Austurstræti 4, makes some seriously tasty Indian dishes. You can get it to take out, but it’s also a cosy little restaurant if you want to sit in. The staff are really friendly there too. I had the Saag Aloo Paneer and it was the best thing I have ever eaten. There are plenty of other Indian restaurants but I didn’t try them out, feel free to though!
I’m not going to list out the Asian places because they are literally everywhere. Sushi here, noodles there, not a problem for you.
As for other vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurants, there are:
Gló, Laugavegur 20B
Mandi, Veltusund 3B
Garðurinn (Ecstasy’s Heart Garden), Klapparstigur 37
Piccolo Italia, Frakkastígur 12
Bike Cave, Einarsnes 36
The Laundromat Cafe, Austurstræt 9
Cafe Babalú, Skolavoroustigur 22a
Hannesarholt, Grundarstigur 10
I hope this helped. Enjoy! (Verði þér að góðu)