Slippurinn is a landmark restaurant on the island Heimaey

16 places of Character and Charm to eat for Every Corner of Iceland  

Memorable meals await at these hand-picked eateries, located across Iceland, that can at least claim to wear and tear Michelin tires.  

We start on the Golden Circle, and then move counterclockwise along the southern coast. Reykjavík is covered elsewhere.  

Reserve ahead, especially from June to September.  


Fridheimar greenhouse

Tomatos, the central ingredient at Friðheimar, approximately three meters from harvest to table

Tomato greenhouse 

Friðheimar, Reykholt

In the hotspring-blessed village of Reykholt, vegetables are grown in warm and bright greenhouses. Among farms is Friðheimar, harvesting tons of bright red tomatoes, year-round, in an engineered environment that feels like a tropical escape. Tomato or tomatoe, it’s in every item on the menu, from pasta and fresh salads to cheesecake topped with tomato jam. Tomato ice cream, anyone? 

Ethiopian Surprise  

Minilik, Flúðir

The village of Flúðir, known for agriculture and sunny weather, is home to the Ethopian family behind Minilik. Casual and relaxed, dishes are served on homemade injera with notably large portions. Excellent for vegetarians.  

The Old Dairy Food Hall in Selfoss. Photo by Miðbær Selfoss

The Old Dairy Food Hall is one of many new restaurant buildings in central Selfoss

Food Hall for Groups and Families  

Mjólkurbúið Mathöll, Selfoss  

Selfoss, the largest town along the Golden Circle, has dozens of restaurants to pick from. Make that easier, for groups and families, with a visit to the Old Dairy Food Hall, with eight vendors and the vibes of a lively street food square. The building, modeled after a former dairy factory, is part of an ongoing expansion of downtown Selfoss.  

Lacustrine all around  

Fjöruborðið, Stokkseyri 

People come to dine at Fjöruborðið („The water‘s edge“) for two reasons: delicious langoustine soup and cooked langoustine tails swimming in garlic butter. The latter come in 250gr, 350gr or 400gr-portions. Maybe a glance at the delicious homemade cakes that wait for dessert might help you decide which serving to pick. 


Yellow Star at Blue Lagoon

Moss, Reykjanes Peninsula

The high-end Moss Restaurant is a place that has it all, recognized with a star in the 2023 Michelin Guide. According to the prestigious food-guide the tasting menu - also available in vegan form -- "showcases the best of Iceland’s produce in a series of exacting and visually stunning dishes". The scenery is no less gourmet: lava rocks and bright green rock, overlooking the iconic Blue Lagoon.

‘New Nordic’ Powerhouse  

Slippurinn, Westmann Islands  

Westmann Islands, archipelago off Iceland’s southern tip, is among New York Times’ 52 Places to go in 2024 – for many good reasons. One is Slippurinn, a restaurant pioneering the Icelandic version of ‘New Nordic Cuisine’. Rustic interior and locally sourced ingredients – including foraged plants and seaweed, fish and shellfish, seabirds and fowl – set the visit up for a unique tasting. Chef Gísli Matt, who is the author of Slippurinn: Recipes and Stories from Iceland (Phaidon, 2021), runs the place with his family for four months of the year, late-May to mid-September. Closed rest of the year.  

American Style Diner, Plus Lobster  

Hafnarbúðin, Höfn

Among the many eateries in Höfn, this small harbor diner takes some effort to discover. Bacon, eggs and pancake and cheeseburgers with sweet potato fries; the menu at Hafnarbúðin is familiar ... except the seafood. Locally caught lobster (the small lacustrine) is served in bread dripping with sauce – ask for humarloka, the lobster sandwich.    

New place in the oldest of houses  

OTTO Matur & Drykkur, Höfn  

Judge a place by its bread, and Otto Matur & Drykkur is among the best you can find south of Vatnajökull. The family-run place, with wooden interior, serves a creative menu emphasizing fresh ingredients. No surprise, the harbor place excels in lobster soup and cod.  


Vallanes East Iceland

Vallanes Organic Farm grows its own food with organic labels

Vegetarian Buffet and Barley Pancakes  

Vallanes Organic Farm, Rural Egilsstaðir

Around Egilsstaðir, the largest town in eastern Iceland, are tall trees and fertile farmlands. Vallanes, the leader in organic farming, harvests the bulk of Iceland's production. And who knew barely could be used in such a variety! The restaurant, constructed from local wood, opens for 11am brunch from May to October. Over the peak of summer, check the lunch buffet almost entirely organic and vegan.  

Skriðuklaustur in East Iceland

Gunnar Gunnarsson, the first Icelander to make a fortune as a writer, built the German-style mansion in 1939

Buffet at the Writer’s Mansion  

Skriðuklaustur, Rural Egilsstaðir  

Skriðuklaustur is a landmark destination in the remote East but not entirely for food: Icelandic author Gunnar Gunnarsson built the mansion at Skriðuklaustur in 1939, designed by the German architect Fritz Höger, later donating the property to public ownership. On the first floor is Klausturkaffi, a restaurant popular for its lunch buffet over summer, excellent in value. Outside seating is recommended and the property worth wandering about.  


No need to reserve ahead. The vending machine en route Borgarfjörður Eystri

Wild Vending Machine  

Coke Sjálfsali, Rte 94  

On the mountain road between Egilsstaðir and Borgarfjörður Eystri the peculiar green shed – a vending machine in the wild. Two solar-powered machines serve cold soft drinks and candy. Temporary tattoos are for sale, too. The initiative dates to 2001 as a road stop when the road to Borgarfjörður was in considerably worse condition. Outside seating and don’t forget to sign the guestbook.  

Hafnarhólmi at Borgarfjörður eystri

The harbor in Borgarfjörður eystri makes you stoic like a puffin

Puffins outside the window  

Hafnarhús Café, Borgarfjörður Eystri  

There is no such thing as stopping by around here. Hafnarhús Café is an isolated vendor, overlooking the harbor at Borgarfjörður Eystri. Traffic follows the nesting time for puffins. Hafnarhólmi, the cliffs sheltering the harbor, has a path to the busy bird colony. So, are the puffins there already? Check this livestream of the colony and look out for the three-store Scandi-style building furthest out – that’s the café.  



Casablanca of the North  

Siglunes Restaurant, Siglufjörður 

Gone are the days of herring for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Siglufjörður, the backbone of Iceland’s by-gone herring boom, has reinvented itself as a tourist mecca with the vibes of remoteness and creativity. Siglunes Restaurant is prime example of the town’s gravity: top-notch Maroccan dishes by master chef Jaouad Hbib brings a culinary experience unlike any in this part of Iceland.  

Akureyri Art Museum

Ketilkaffi is at the entrance to Akureyri Art Museum

The Meal at the Museum  

Ketilkaffi, Akureyri  

Not among the largest of places in Akureyri, the small café at the entrance of Akureyri Art Museum is a delightful option for brunch, lunch and cake. The style is Scandinavian, with careful attention to detail, such as vintage spoons with the soup. Best of all, you probably end up visiting the ambitious art museum, too.    

Sjávarborg in Hvammstangi

Guests at Sjávarborg, attempting land-based whale watching

Wine, dine and whale watching 

Sjávarborg, Hvammstangi  $$ 

If there‘s a whale swimming in Miðfjörður, people dining at Sjávarborg are most likely to spot him first. The restaurant‘s incredible ocean view and maritime decor provide a warm welcome to all guests, as opposed to its chilly history of once being a freezer for the town‘s slaughterhouse. Locals and travelers alike enjoy the daily changing lunch buffet, often consisting of traditional home cooking, soups and salad.  


Tjöruhúsið in Ísafjörður

Dinner at Tjöruhúsið starts promptly at 7pm - served with lively commentary

Seafood feast for the adventurous 

Tjöruhúsið, Ísafjörður

No day is the same at Tjöruhúsið. One of the oldest houses in Iceland (built 1781) provides the perfect rustic atmosphere where one can endulge in fish until bursting and where side dishes become mere decoration. For over twenty years now, Chef Magnús Hauksson has surprised guests  with a seafood buffet made from the catch of the day, fried and served in big cast iron pans. Recently, Indian dishes started to enhance the menu on the weekends. Daily lunch buffet from 12-2 pm and evening buffet from 7pm. 

Vagninn Flateyri

Main street Flateyri is a lively place on a summer evening

Traditional plokkfiskur at charming Flateyri

Vagninn, Flateyri

In a yellow tin-clad building with a cowboy-style logo, Vagninn restaurant is as hip as it seems. Open mostly over summer, Vagninn attracts top chefs and musicians to the tiny village of Flateyri. Dishes lean towards the traditionally home-made; at the time of writing their version ofplokkfiskur (fish stew) was a rave. (Follow their calendar for concerts and events.)  




Make the turn. Borgarnes is a cute town, often overlooked by Ring Road travellers

The Ring Road Lunch

Settlement Center Restaurant, Borgarnes 

The Settlement Center in Borgarnes hosts two Saga exhibitions, a gift shop and a restaurant, that is famous for its extensive vegetarian lunch-buffet, composed of a large variety of fresh made salads and soup. Glutenfree, lactosefree, vegan or ketogenic – there is something for every diet on the menu. Guests who are looking for authentic Icelandic dishes can pick between meatsoup and „plokkfiskur“ - mashed fish with potatoes. 

Excellence from local ingredients  

Hótel Búðir, Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The Restaurant of Hotel Búðir serves exquisite meals in spectacular scenery. Their cooking expertise pairs local ingredients such as arctic char, Icelandic sheep and beef fillet with elaborate vegetable sides and fitting wines. For the smaller hunger we can recommend the delicious shellfish soup on the lunch menu.  

Narfeyrarstofa in Stykkishólmur

Narfeyrarstofa is named after an iconic house overlooking the harbor in Stykkishólmur

Scandinavian flair

Narfeyrarstofan, Stykkishólmur

Narfeyrarstofan is one of the oldest houses in Stykkishólmur and situated in the colorful harbor area of town. Here, boats land fish, mussels, scallops and more from the Breiðafjörður bay. These local ingredients then get prepared with modern twists, resulting in witty and inventive dishes, such as dorito fish & chips or miso marinated cod-fillet.  

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16 Places of Character and Charm for Every Corner of Iceland