The Nordic Explorer

The Nordic Explorer

Icelandic foods that Icelanders actually eat

Most traditional, Icelandic foods are very special and are actually rarely enjoyed by locals. However, some traditional dishes are really delicious. So skip the fermented shark (hákarl), the sheep’s head (svið) and the liquor referred to as the black death (brennivín) and try out some of these local specialities instead. You won’t regret it.

Fish and chips

Fishing is a huge industry in Iceland and freshly caught seafood is one of the most delicious treats you can come by in Reykjavík. Fish and chips (“fiskur og franskar” in Icelandic) may be a British concept, but with Icelandic fresh caught cod this dish is absolutely heavenly. Try it with the remoulaðe sauce for an extra unique Icelandic taste.

Where to get it:

Fish and Chips Vagninn at Hlésgata

Fiskur og franskar from Fish and Chips Vagninn. Photo by The Nordic Explorer.


“Einn með öllu” is Icelandic for “one with everthing” and that is exactly what you should order when trying an Icelandic hotdog. A pylsa (hotdog) is served with fried onions, fresh onions and three sauces: sweet mustard, ketchup and remoulaðe, which does not translate but simply must be tried. What makes Icelandic hotdogs especially tasty is that the sausages are made with fresh lamb meat. Hotdogs are considered the unofficial national dish of Iceland and can be highly recommended.

Where to get it:

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur at Tryggvagata 1

Einn með öllu from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. Photo by The Nordic Explorer.

Ice cream

Taking Icelandic climate into consideration it is a bit odd that Icelanders are so fond of ice cream. They even has a pastime called ísbíltúr (direct translation: ice cream car ride), which is basically a social activity where you go for ice cream. Ice cream concepts such as Valdís are very popular and offer a wide selection of ice cream flavours. Try the licorice! More traditional ice cream places such as Ísbúð Vesturbæjar serve soft serve ice cream and combines it with a heavenly selection of toppings and candies. Try the bragðaref, where they stir your ice cream with candy of your choice.

Where to get it:

Valdis in Grandi and in downtown Reykjavík Ísbúð Vesturbæjar at Hagamelur 67

Ís from Valdis. Photo by The Nordic Explorer.

Cinnamon rolls

Traditional Icelandic cinnamon rolls are called snuður and are served best warm from the oven. You can get them in any bakery in town. Go for the ones with cinnamon and eat with caution – they can be quite addictive.

Where to get it:

Brauð & Co. in various locations in Reykjavík

Snuður from Brauð. Photo by The Nordic Explorer.


Plokkfiskur is difficult to translate, but is definitely a traditional Icelandic dish worth trying. Think mashed potatoes stirred with freshly caught fish. The dish is served with a slice of sweet, Icelandic ryebread, which is great for scooping up every last bit of this tasty dish.

Where to get it:

Messinn at Lækjargata 6B or Grandagarður 8

Lobster soup

Humarsúpa (Lobster soup) is absolutely delicious in Reykjavík and a must try dish. Go grab it after a long day of sight seeing. Especially on a cold day this creamy dish is a real life saver.

Where to get it:

Sægreifinn at Geirsgata 8

Humarsúpa. Photo by The Nordic Explorer.

All photos by The Nordic Explorer.

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