What local dishes will I find on the menu in Iceland?

Wondering what you’ll be eating while you’re in Iceland? Then get ready to enjoy fresh fish, succulent lamb, tasty Skyr, and some Viking treats too!
Icelandic cuisine is inspired by local ingredients, focusing on daily seafood catches and farm-fresh lamb dishes. At the same time, traditional recipes like dried fish and fermented shark will challenge you to eat just like the Vikings did! Here’s our fun guide to Icelandic food!

For an island in the middle of the Atlantic, surrounded by fertile fishing waters, it’s no surprise that Icelanders love their seafood dishes. There’s just as much national pride in the quality of their free-range lamb too!

Traditional Icelandic cooking made the most of these pure local ingredients for centuries. Every part would be pickled, dried or fermented to get Icelanders through the long, harsh winters. These recipes are proudly maintained, so you can still try a singed sheep’s head or fermented Greenland shark!

But there’s so much more to the foodie scene in Iceland, where you’ll find an incredible selection of restaurants to suit every taste and budget!


Start your day with fresh cinnamon buns or a kleinur (twisted donut)


Want to go traditional? Then have plokkfiskur for lunch, enjoying the classic Icelandic fish stew made with white fish, potatoes and onions


Need a warming dish after a day of exploring? Try a lamb meat stew (kjötsúpa) with all the trimmings. Icelandic lamb is high in Omega-3, and the sheep are grass-fed, so you’re in for a healthy treat!


Fancy a challenge? Then try hákarl – the famously pungent fermented Greenland shark, presented in tiny cubes and washed down with a shot of Brennivín, the local schnapps


Have you heard of Skyr? This Icelandic yoghurt is rich in protein but very low in fat, so you can enjoy its unique taste without feeling guilty! In addition, it takes more than three liters of milk to make one liter of Skyr, so this smooth dessert is rich in calcium.


Try some Hverabrauð. This dark rye bread is baked in the ground overnight by the geothermal heat in for instance Hveragerði where we stay during some of our tours, one of our overnight stops! Also, you can try laufabrauð (leaf bread) at Christmas, a decorated flat bread deep fried in lamb fat

Hot Dogs

Need a late-night snack? Grab a hot dog from Bæjarins beztu pylsur (“The Town’s Best”) near the Old Harbor, which numbers Bill Clinton amongst its fans! Get “eina með öllu” or “one with everything”


Looking for a souvenir? Pick up some harðfiskur. It’s dried fish, usually salted cod or haddock. But, of course, you’ll need some butter to enjoy it!

Wherever you go in Iceland, you’ll find a great range of restaurants, cafés and coffee shops with a fabulous selection of local dishes like these.

But don’t worry if you don’t like the sound of some of them! There are plenty of pizza places, fish and chip restaurants and burger joints as well – Icelanders love them just as much as everyone else!

And vegans and vegetarians can also look forward to a great time eating out in  Reykjavík and around the country. Even here, in a land famous for fish and lamb dishes, the trend towards plant-based menus means a fantastic selection of meat and dairy-free dishes. Just be prepared that in the country side selection is very limited 🙁 But there’s more than Caesar Salad to choose from now!