A charming outdoor café scene from the Segafredo cafe at Lækjartorg, central Reykjavik (just across from the burn site.)
Here's a recent email from a reader asking for info on a very important topic: food.
Hi, Maria I actually stumbled across your website while looking up information about Iceland for my up-coming trip there. I'm going to Iceland in June with two of my close friends and we're staying at a guesthouse. I was told that the prices in Iceland are high, particularly on foods and beverages. None of us want to spend 50 dollars on every meal, so what would you suggest we do? I was told to go to the grocery store, are the prices there reasonable? Also do you know of any decent restaurants or sandwich shops/coffee shops that won't charge us an arm and a leg for everything? Any information you could give me would be really appreciated. Thanks soooo much! :)
And here's my reply:
Hi Stacie and thanks for writing.
I'd say your best bet is going to be to shop at Bonus, which is a low(er) price supermarket chain here in Iceland. Conveniently, there's one located on Laugavegur, the main shopping street in midtown Reykjavik (find the number 12 on this map then look to the right of it; you'll see a little movie camera that looks like a clover...that's where Bonus is.) Bonus definitely has the best prices in town, so do some shopping there for your basic food needs. You should also buy good bread at one of the bakeries sprinkled about town...fresh bread is always worth it (but buy your toppings, etc at Bonus!)
If you eat meat, you should bust out for a hot dog as often as you can...they're made with good quality lamb meat and only cost 150 kronur on average. Oh, and while you're at Bonus, try out the Skyr.is drink...skyr is like yogurt but it's not...it's also super high in protein and non-fat. Good energy food!
As I've written in my blog, don't bother with eating beef here...the cattle are a little Too Hearty to make for a good meal. Unless of course you find Vitabar and get yourself a bleu cheese burger with fries...a great deal and a good burger. The kebab place just burned up, so you can't get a falafel anymore (not any I'd recommend at least, though I haven't tried any other places) but you should try Icelandic Fish & Chips which is all organic and super tasty too...it's located just to the left of the 7 on this map. There's also a really good Thai place, KruaThai, pretty much at the same location.
My biggest piece of advice is to stop converting from krona to dollars while you're here. It's hard to do, but the krona is so strong now that you'll just freak yourself out if you try to constantly figure out how much this or that costs in bucks. Do this: treat 100 krona like a dollar, 1000 krona like ten dollars and 5000 krona like fifty dollars. Even though at the current exchange rate 5000 krona is more like $85, in general what you get for your money here is of good quality. It's like shopping at Whole Foods instead of Discount Barn, or whatever (though cut the fruit and veg some slack...we're on an island in the arctic, remember!). You can easily feed yourself for 1000kr/day if you have to, but give yourself the freedom to sit down at a restaurant and have a good dish and drink for 2-3000 krona every once in a while. And you don't need to tip. The servers get paid just fine, hourly (1000-1500 kr/hour). And there's no tax added on, so the price you see is what you pay.