Best Lunch Places in Reykjavik

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Icelandic bar storefront
Cafe Loki outside view

Possible downside:

Dishes are served family style, which I appreciate, but not everyone does. 

Old Iceland Restaurant

What to expect:

A cozy family-run restaurant. This may be my favorite of every place we ate lunch in Reykjavik. It has a quaint, non-touristic feel when eating there.

What makes it stand out:

Fantastic service and unexpectedly beautiful food.

Order the mushroom soup.

Possible downside:

It has a tiny dining room, so you may not get in without a reservation.

Old Iceland Restaurant- Cod dish
mushroom soup -Old Iceland Restaurant

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur

What to expect:

A walk-up kiosk where you will be served the most popular fast food in Iceland, a pylsur. The hot dogs are made from lamb, pork, and beef. 

They are served with raw onion, crispy fried onions, ketchup, remoulade, and a sweet mustard called pylsusinnep.

There are seven locations in Reykjavik, but the original is near the Harpa Concert Hall. 

What makes it stand out:

This is an iconic location to taste a pylsur in Iceland. You will have bragging rights to say you ate lunch at the same spot as Bill Clinton or Kim Kardashian.

Possible downside:

Hot dogs are not the healthiest lunch choice.

Baejarins Betzu Pylsur stand near Harpa Concert Hall

The Sea Baron – SÆGREIFINN

The Sea Baron is the perfect place to soak in the atmosphere of the fishing culture in Iceland. 

Stop in while you are waiting for your puffin tour to depart. 

What to expect:

A rustic harbor restaurant serving steaming hot soup, crusty bread, and fish kabobs. Wash it all down with a draft Gull.

What makes it stand out:

Famous lobster soup is amazing. You can sit outside by the harbor when the weather lets you.

Possible downside:

Communal seating indoors adds charm but might not be your thing.

Gull Beer , lobster soup, and fish kebob at Sea Baron

GrillMarket– Grillmæðurinn 

Okay, so technically not a lunch spot but depending on where you are traveling from, some people eat lunch more toward the evening. After a full day of exploring, dine at 6pm and call it a late lunch.

What to expect:

A cool vibe and creative food and cocktails. Main proteins focused on Icelandic foods. This is the lunch place in Reykjavik when you want to dress up a little. GrillMarket is the place to go to early if you head out later for dancing and drinking. 

What makes it stand out:

A fun tasting menu experience.

Possible downside:

This option is the most costly one on this list. Eating here may be out of your Iceland travel budget. 

The tasting menu was served rather quickly. At least it was for us, but it may not always be the case. If you like to linger between courses, you’ll be disappointed. 

Dessert Board at Grill Market

Dessert Board at Grill Market

Fish & Chips Restaurant

There are many places to eat fish and chips on Ring Rd. or when touring the waterfalls and beaches. When in town, we tried this place right in downtown Reykjavik on Frakkastigur. It was excellent.

What to expect:

No frills, casual and comfortable atmosphere. You are there for the fried fish and chips. 

What makes it stand out:

The fish is so fresh it melts in your mouth.

Possible downside:

Limited menu. 

fish and chips lunch in Reykjavik

Sandholt Bakery

What to expect:

Amazing pastries, salads, sandwiches, and soups. You’ll find homemade chocolate candies with original flavors, such as blueberry licorice. They have takeaway items for a nice picnic and packaged items to bring home as souvenirs from Iceland

What makes it stand out:

Everything is made fresh from scratch and tastes as good as it looks.

They cater to many dietary restrictions, such as vegan.

Possible downside:

This is a busy place with a small and cozy seating area. Expect that you may have a long wait, 30 minutes on the weekends.

SandHolt Baakery

Picnic by the Sun Voyager

What to expect:

Breathing the fresh sea air while sitting under the inspiring steel sculpture described by the creator as “the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom.”

Grab your picnic from Sandholt Bakery above or snacks from the Bónus on Laugavegur just 2 blocks away. 

What makes it stand out:

The amazing view of the water on Faxaflói Bay, along with great people watching. 

Possible downside:

Picnic weather in Iceland may not always be ideal. It’s often too cold, wet, or windy, so it will eliminate this option entirely.

sun voyager sculpture


What to expect:

Ice cream.

Ice cream for lunch.

Why not? You’re on vacation. It’s filling and provides calcium.

Can you tell I’ve rationalized this before?

Just do it.

What makes it stand out:

Delicious and original flavors such as Turkish Pepper and Rhubarb Skyr.

Six or more vegan choices are available each day.

Possible downside:

Is there truly a potential downside to eating ice cream? 

You may not enjoy eating ice cream when it’s cold outside, but that’s not a thing for most Icelanders (or me!). 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it necessary to make reservations for lunch in Reykjavik, Iceland? 

While reservations are only sometimes required for lunch, booking ahead for popular restaurants is a good idea, especially during peak tourist seasons or weekends.

Is there fast food in Iceland?

Yes, there is fast food in Reykjavik. You can find Dominos, KFC, and Taco Bell, among others. The menus look different from U.S. menus, so a visit will prove interesting. You will not find a Starbucks or a McDonalds in Iceland.

Do I need to tip when having lunch in Reykjavik, Iceland?

Tipping is not customary in Iceland, including for lunch. Service charges are generally included in the prices, but rounding up the bill or leaving small change is appreciated.

Are there any popular lunchtime street foods in Reykjavik, Iceland? 

Try the Icelandic hot dog, “pylsur,” a popular street food option for lunch in Reykjavik. A restaurant called 101 Reykjavik Street Food serves quick soups and fish for takeaway.

Are there any food markets or food halls in Reykjavik for lunch?

Visit the Reykjavik Flea Market for a wide range of food stalls, or check out the Hlemmur Mathöll food hall for diverse lunch options.

How expensive is lunch in Reykjavik, Iceland? 

Lunch prices in Reykjavik vary but expect to spend around 2000-3000 ISK (15-25 USD) for a typical meal per person. This is an estimate and depends on the exchange rate at the moment.

Are there any vegetarian or vegan-friendly lunch options in Reykjavik, Iceland? 

Yes, Reykjavik has vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants like Gló, Kaffi Vínyl, and Veganæs, which offer delicious plant-based dishes for lunch. Many lunch places in Reykjavik will offer one or more vegetarian and vegan options on their regular menus.

What are some must-try dishes for lunch in Reykjavik, Iceland?

Don’t miss out on trying the Icelandic specialty, “plokkfiskur” (fish stew), or the classic “meat soup” when having lunch in Reykjavik. For seasonality, eat fish in the summer and lamb in the winter.

If I am served tap water in Reykjavik, is it safe to drink?

The tap water in Iceland is most likely the cleanest and purest you will ever drink. It comes from aquifers and natural springs.


Water. Accessed 10 July 2023.

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