Although getting to Iceland is cheaper than ever thanks to low-cost airlines like WOW Air and IcelandAir slashing flight prices and expanding routes to Reykjavik, many travelers are surprised by how expensive the country is once they arrive in the capital city. Thanks to an inflated currency and a reliance on imported goods, things like accommodation, souvenirs, and food are fairly pricey in Iceland. In fact, one of the most common complaints I hear from other travelers who have visited Iceland is that the food is insanely expensive. While it’s true that food is pretty expensive in Iceland, eating in Reykjavik on a budget is possible. Cheap eats in Reykjavik are hard to find, but I promise that the places on this list will not disappoint. Every meal on this list costs under $20 USD per person, which is a steal in Reykjavik, where an average restaurant meal costs around $30-60 USD (or more). Using this guide to cheap eats in Reykjavik, you’ll enjoy a range of traditional Icelandic foods like soups, fish, hotdogs, and more.
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Cheap Eats in Reykjavik
Icelandic Street Food: This restaurant gives the most bang for your buck in Reykjavik, offering free soup refills and free desserts to people who dine there! I got the seafood soup in a bread bowl, which was absolutely perfect after a snowy day of wandering through Reykjavik. The soup itself was delicious, with tender shrimp and scallops in a savory tomato broth. The shop owners were absolutely lovely, constantly offering us more soup or free waffles or cookies for dessert. This is a no-frills establishment, with soup served in styrofoam containers or in bread bowls on paper plates, but the warm ambiance and lovely owners made the dining experience unforgettable. Lamb soup or seafood soup in a bread bowl costs around 1990 ISK, which is just over $16 USD, and it includes all the refills your heart desires. You can get your soup in a normal cup with a side of bread for cheaper if you don’t want a whole bread bowl. They also had a vegan/vegetarian soup option when I visited! Check out this guide for more vegan or veggie options in Iceland!
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur: No list of cheap eats in Reykjavik would be complete without mentioning Iceland’s most famous hotdog. Icelanders love hotdogs, and this stand sells the best of the best. People have always loved these hot dogs, but after Bill Clinton was photographed here, the business really took off, and now there’s almost always a line around the stand! For a full Icelandic experience, ask to have your lamb-based hotdog topped with everything- the toppings include ketchup, mustard, remoulade, raw onions, and fried onions. Yes, it’s super
Brauð & Co: For the best sweet rolls you’ve ever tasted, you have to visit Brauð & Co. For less than $5 USD, you can get one of their delicious bread rolls, served warm. I’m not kidding when I say we came back here every day we were in Reykjavik for breakfast. Even if you’re not eating in Reykjavik on a budget, you need to come here and try one for yourself. I tried three flavors: vanilla poppyseed, cinnamon, and honey granola, and each
Fisherman Fish Shop & Kitchen: Iceland is known for its fresh seafood, but it can be hard to find when eating in Reykjavik on a budget. For 1990 ISK, just over $16 USD, you can get your choice of fresh salmon, arctic char, cod, or haddock with a side and a sauce! The portions were very generous and the fish was perfectly cooked. Even though this restaurant is a bit out of the way in a residential area of Reyjavik, it’s a great way to get high-quality seafood in Reykjavik on a budget.
Eating in Reykjavik on a Budget- Grocery Shopping
I highly recommend eating at these restaurants listed above for the best cheap eats in Reykjavik, but there is another option that budget travelers use to save money on food while visiting Iceland. Lots of visitors staying in Air BnBs or apartments choose to grocery shop and cook their own meals while staying in Iceland. While I prefer to eat at restaurants when I travel, I did enjoy cooking my own food and packing a lunch to bring in the car when we were taking day trips from Reykjavik. Kronan and Bonus are two of the cheaper grocery store chains in Iceland. I love visiting grocery stores whenever I travel to get a feel for the local cuisine, so I enjoyed browsing the aisles to see what kinds of food they have that I wouldn’t find at home. This is also a great way to try some traditional Icelandic foods like rye bread, or, if you’re brave, fermented shark (which tasted horrible to me). Cooking even one meal a day can really cut down on your trip expenses, so this can be a great option for people exploring Reykjavik on a budget. Some easy-to-cook, inexpensive meals include pasta, sandwiches (perfect for bringing on hikes), and eggs with smoked salmon on toast.
Reykjavik on a Budget – The Best Cheap Eats in Reykjavik
Whether you’re visiting Iceland on a shoestring budget or unconcerned about the cost of the trip, I would highly recommend visiting the 4 places listed above. Whenever I go back to Iceland, I will definitely go back to the famous hotdog stand and get a delicious sweet roll at Braud & Co. Iceland is an expensive country to visit because the costs of accommodation, food, and goods are so high, but these tips will help you save a little money on your trip.