For an island such as Iceland, the majority of the cuisine traditionally centres around fish, seafood and hearty meat dishes.
In recent years however, there has been an significant increase in vegetarianism and veganism both globally and in Iceland.
Most restaurants provide vegan options, but the choice can be limited. To ensure a fully meat-free experience, here are a few of our favourite vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Iceland.
The most well known vegetarian restaurant in the capital, and the first raw food institution, is Gló. With four different establishments in the city, it provides many options for vegans and vegetarians. Specialising in raw foods, all the dishes are made from organic ingredients ensuring high quality and exceptional taste. It’s highly recommend that even non-vegetarians sample the vegetarian food.
Iceland’s first all vegan restaurant, combined with a bar and small record store, Kaffi Vinyl, is a great place to go not only for the food but for the ambience. With music being played by DJs (on vinyl) all day and a cosy, friendly vibe, this is the perfect restaurant for leisurely lunch breaks and people-watching. Go there to devour the black bean quinoa burger and peanut noodles and stay for the happy hour, with beautifully made cocktails.
Situated in the basement, this Spanish restaurant has low level lighting, creating a dark and romantic atmosphere – ideal for a dinner date. Whilst Tapas Barinn offers traditional seafood and meat plates, they also have a ‘Tapas from the garden’ menu, catering for vegetarians. There is also a wonderful seven course tasting menu (Icelandic gourmet feast) that can be made up for vegetarians.
Gardurinn: Ecstasy's Heart Garden
Ecstasy’s Heart Garden is a laid-back cafe with a wholesome atmosphere. With only two items available on the menu each day, you can be assured that everything is made fresh and to perfection. Closed on Sundays.
This wonderful restaurant predominantly serves fish dishes, famous for its Icelandic cod, but with some great vegan options such as the delicious pumpkin burger. Presented in the prettiest fashion, these dishes are joy to devour. Warm and friendly, like many places in Iceland, this is a great place for a lunch during the week or a fancier spot for dinner at the weekend. All the food is sourced depending on what is available in that season, ensuring the freshest and most sustainable ingredients. Don’t forget to try their delectable vegan cakes too!
For something a little more laid back, the ingenious Hlemmur Matholl is a food hall located in a former bus station in Hverfisgat has street food stalls inspired by European cuisine. Find everything in here, from bakeries to fresh fruit and vegetables, ice cream to tacos and wine bars to BBQ grills. A perfect pit-stop to refresh whilst exploring the delights of Reykjavik.