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The Best Reykjavik Food Tour (Try Traditional Icelandic Meals)

Finding the best Reykjavik food tour in town is a surefire way to try a variety of traditional Icelandic meals during your travels through Iceland.

After researching different options, I ended up booking a walking food tour with Your Friend in Reykjavik. They have a great reputation and their viking oriented branding is simply amazing. Be sure to check out their website, if for no other reason than to check out their tour guide profile pics.

Since I had rented a camper van and planned to spend most of my two week trip roughing it along Iceland’s south coast, I planned the walking food tour for my last day back in Reykjavik as a way to wind down and splurge on some delicious food.

After spending weeks eating pretty basic meals that I had been preparing myself out the back of my van, being introduced to a bunch of traditional Icelandic food back in Reykjavik was a real treat!

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There are a ton of cool restaurants and shops around the Ingolfur Square area

The tour itself starts at Ingólfur Square in the center of town. I parked my van near the Reykjavik Harbor which was less than a 5 minute walk away. Parking throughout town can be difficult, even in the winter when tourism is at its low point.

Keep in mind, I definitely consider the walking food tour a year round activity for those of you visiting in the winter. Even though you’ll walk outside between stops, the majority of your activity takes places inside of cozy restaurants.

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The Icelandic hot dog definitely lived up to the hype

A nice thing about this activity is the small group size, which allows you plenty of opportunity to ask your guide questions and to socialize with the other group members.

The maximum group size is 12 people but my group only had 4 people on this particular day, which made for an extra intimate experience.

These tours can sell out, especially in the summer when tourism is at its peak so it’s never a bad idea to book in advance once your trip dates are set. You can browse food tour options with Your Friend in Reykjavik at the link.

Once you’ve successfully made it to Ingólfur Square keep an eye out for your group and once everyone has arrived you’ll get started.

Throughout the rest of this post I’m going to highlight the different stops we made, what foods we tried, what I liked and didn’t like and other useful tips to help you decide if a walking food tour in Reykjavik would be a good fit for your travel itinerary. So let’s get started!

You’ll notice some links and advertisements from partner or affiliate sites throughout this post. I typically earn a small commission on any purchases made through those links at no additional cost to you. If you check those out, great. If not, I’m still happy you’re here!

Where is the best place to stay in Reykjavik?

Chances are if you’re scouting out a Reykjavik walking food tour, that you’ll be spending some time in the capital city. During my winter Iceland trip, I spent two nights here and a third closer to the Keflavik International Airport for my last evening in Reykjavik.

If you haven’t booked your room yet, you can browse deals on hotels in Reykjavik here. You could also check out the Reykjavik Lights Hotel, which is a popular option amongst visitors. Another hotel worth considering is the Center Hotels Plaza which sits directly on Ingolfur Square, where this tour starts.

Spending at least a couple nights in Reykjavik will make it easy to knock out some of my other favorite activities like the Fagradalsfjall volcano hike or whale watching in Reykjavik Harbor.

Although I spent some time in Reykjavik, I had a camper van, so I stayed at the towns eco campsite.

Just remember that to get the most of your Iceland trip you’ll need to venture outside of the capital city and renting a camper van is a great way to accomplish this.

Man standing in front of a camper van in IcelandPin
My camper van rental with Go Campers allowed me to explore Iceland’s south coast over the span of two weeks!

During my visit to Iceland I rented a Go Campers camper van. I didn’t have any issues with my rental and the company even provided a free roundtrip airport shuttle to their facility from the Keflavik Airport which made pickup and drop-off a breeze!

What’s included in the walking food tour with Your Friend in Reykjavik?

You should expect to try approximately 10 traditional Icelandic foods during your tour. Your guide will also provide you with context and history around each food that you try.

Our guide Olafur even shared stories about foods that he grew up with, or how he likes to share things like fermented shark with friends, family and guests in recent years.

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Keep an eye out for the sweater toting pig statue near Ingolfur Square

Remember that even though this is a food tour, it doubles as a walking and cultural tour. If you’re just arriving in Reykjavik, this is a great way to get oriented with regard to the city. You’ll also meet a local guide that you can ask any questions that you have!

Keep in mind that the stops you’ll make on your specific tour will vary from what I highlight here. The tour stops vary with day, time and season. They also rigorously review their participating restaurants to make sure the current rotation is up to their high standards.

The Seabaron Restaurant

The first stop on our food tour was The Seabaron Restaurant located near the Reykjavik Harbor. Also known as Sægreifinn in Icelandic, this spot became so popular with locals that it eventually caught on with tourists.

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Seabaron dining room area

Known for some of the best lobster bisque in town (I’m actually allergic to shellfish, so I just had to take my guides word for it) this restaurant is usually overrun during the summer.

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The pickled herring at Seabaron was fantastic

Olafur suggested that this stop can become so busy during certain times of the year that they have to temporarily remove it from the food tour rotation. Luckily this wasn’t the case during February and we were able to get our table and food without any issues.

My group members thoroughly enjoyed the lobster bisque (I watched, anxiously). And while I can’t speak to the lobster, I can speak to their pickled herring, which was melt in your mouth and packed with tangy flavor.

You can check out their current hours or check out the Seabaron Restaurant at their Facebook page here.

Kolaportid Flea Market

After enjoying some seafood at the Seabaron restaurant our group made its way over to the nearby Kolaportid Flea Market.

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One of the many eclectic stalls inside the Kolaportid Flea Market

Olafur led us through the market to explore different stalls and food vendors. Along the way he called out and explained different Icelandic food staples that we could purchase here.

Whether you’re hoping to pick up some fermented shark (more on that later), an Icelandic t-shirt or some hearty Rugbraud, there’s something at this market for everybody.

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Rugbraud is a traditional Icelandic rye bread

If the Kolaportid Market is something you’re hoping to see during your visit to Reykjavik then keep in mind that it’s only open during the weekends. This stop won’t be included on weekday walking food tours so plan accordingly!

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur Hot Dog Stand

The most iconic stop on this walking food tour also happens to be the most difficult one to pronounce. The name Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur translates to ‘best hot dogs in town’ and after trying one, I can totally agree with the name.

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The iconic Baejarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand sign

The hot dog stand we visited first opened in 1937 and has become a Reykjavik staple ever since. By the time we got in line there were already hoards of people queueing up here for a quick lunch, and according to Olafur this was just an average day for what I’m dubbing the busiest hot dog stand in Europe.

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Don’t be surprised to encounter long lines at this BBP hot dog stand

The biggest flex that the Icelandic hot dog has on its peers is the fact that it’s made with lamb, as opposed to the odds and ends mix of mystery meats you’ll typically find in the United States.

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This hot dog was so good I could have easily eaten a second

You can taste the difference in meat quality and then Icelanders really kick it up a notch by topping it with crispy onion, mustard, remoulade and raw onion. If you want a hot dog with mustard only, they call it a ‘Clinton’ after the former U.S. President who once ordered one here that way.

Learn all about the company, the Bill Clinton incident and check out the various BBP locations here.

Icelandic Street Food

Don’t let the name completely fool you, as this stop consists of a really cozy two floor restaurant. The ground floor has more of a cafe style feel to it, and on this particular day, even had a free waffle making stand for guests to enjoy!

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Who doesn’t love free waffles?

While the free waffle making station is a real fan favorite, we had more business to take care of upstairs in the restaurant.

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A bowl of traditional Icelandic lamb soup and bread

Our dish of choice was a very traditional lamb soup with a hearty piece of bread on the side. The meat was juicy and it had completely lent its flavor to the broth, which was great to enjoy via a handful of dipped bread.

The food was great, and on your way out see if you can spot the giant suitcase stuffed with coins from around the world. Bring a coin from your home country and pay homage to Iceland by leaving it here! You can check out the Icelandic Street Food website here.

Taste of Iceland

I must confess that this was my overall favorite stop from this activity. The owner, Einar, was extremely warm and welcoming and hosted us in his shop to taste a wide variety of Icelandic made snacks, jellies and treats.

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We were able to sample a wide variety of Icelandic made snacks, candies and jellies during this stop

During our visit we tried Icelandic black licorice, dried and salted fish, chocolate licorice balls known as little devils and some of the best jams and jellies I’ve ever tasted. Do yourself a favor and pick up a jar of the jalapeño lime jam to take home, you’ll thank me later!

Local goods store in Reykjavik IcelandPin
You’ll find all sorts of great gifts at Taste of Iceland in Reykjavik

The shop is filled with other knickknacks, salts, seasonings and things that make for great Iceland souvenirs. Most importantly, everything in the shop is locally sourced in Iceland. Check out Taste of Iceland on Instagram here.

Dass Reykjavik

For our last stop of the day we stopped at the elegant Dass Reykjavik. This restaurant is centrally located in Reykjavik and puts a modern spin on traditional Icelandic foods.

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These tiny bites of fermented shark were the perfect solution to trying this dish

During this stop we finally got to try some of the legendary fermented shark that I had heard so much about. And unfortunately, it lived up to its reputation of not being the tastiest food you’ll try in Iceland.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that fermented shark doesn’t taste good, after all it takes five months to ferment and if not properly prepared it can be poisonous to eat. That alone should raise a red flag.

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The skyr cheesecake we had for dessert was to die for

Nonetheless, I’m still happy to have tried it. It even came paired with a signature shot of Brennivin, a traditional Icelandic spirit that’s commonly paired with fermented shark to wash away the taste!

We did get to try some lightly salted cod after the shark, which was fantastic. And to cap off our tour we had a taste of deliciously creamy skyr cake for dessert.

What food is Iceland best known for?

One of the most popular Icelandic foods that I consumed regularly during my two weeks in the country was skyr. Skyr is similar to yogurt, made from dairy and is technically a type of cheese. It was originally created as a better way to preserve milk and today is most commonly served yogurt style.

While not as commonly consumed, but most infamous, Hakarl or fermented shark is another traditional Icelandic food worth understanding.

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Taste of Iceland is a great place to pickup some local Icelandic treats

Hakarl is typically prepared by fermenting and curing Greenland Shark over a period of about 5 months. From my experience, the texture and flavor seem fine at first. But as you chew through the little cube of shark you’ll slowly be introduced to the ammonia like flavor it harbors beneath the surface.

I can’t see myself becoming a fan of Hakarl after trying it for the first time. It’s typically served with a potent spirit known of Brennivin or Black Death. Brennivin is typically only flavored with caraway, which is a type of cumin.

Another traditional food you’ll commonly encounter during your time in Iceland is their rye bread known as Rugbraud. While it can be prepared in a kitchen, this bread also has a reputation for being buried near hot springs and cooked by the geothermal heat.

How long does the tour last?

The walking food tour will last about 3 hours. We started near Ingolfur Square and finished near the Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. You’ll spend about 30 minutes at each stop along the way.

Be sure to budget some time after the tour to pop back into Taste of Iceland or the flea market to take care of some souvenir shopping!

Is food in Iceland expensive?

I found that food, especially eating out, is extremely expensive in Iceland. During my two week road trip I tried my best to eat meals out of my camper van. Not only that, but I’d make coffee or tea in the same manner whenever possible.

This shouldn’t be surprising consider the remote nature of Iceland as an island country and its insanely high all around cost of living.

When you consider the cost of this tour against what you’d spend trying to sample each food individually along the way, you realize that not only is this a fun activity, but it’s a great value as well!

You’d spend a small fortunate ordering a whole fermented shark dish out at a restaurant, and chances are you won’t even like it. Being able to sample bites of it during this tour without committing a lot of money or stomach space was great!

When is the best time of year for a walking food tour in Reykjavik?

While warm weather and long hours of daylight will make for a comfortable walking tour experience in Reykjavik, I’m going to argue that this activity is better suited for the winter.

Most of your time spent on this activity will be enjoyed indoors, which means cozy meals with great company in warm restaurants. It’s a great way to beat the cold on a chilly February afternoon like during my visit.

Not only that but the restaurants you visit will be less crowded. Olafur suggested that Seabaron is so busy during the summer that they often skip over it during that time of year.

In reality, this food tour is a can’t miss regardless of which season you’re visiting Iceland.

More information about Your Friend in Reykjavik

Your Friend in Reykjavik offers a variety of culture and food based tours and are sure to have an option that will fit your individual needs.

If you’re strictly interested in walking with a viking through the streets of Reykjavik to learn about Icelandic culture and history, they’ve got a tour just for that.

For the beer lover, consider booking a small group pub crawl or a half day private brewery tour and learn about locally made drinks.

Not only that but Your Friend in Reykjavik offers a sea angling trip where you can have your catch of the day prepared fresh aboard the ship!

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You’ll feel at home when exploring town with Your Friend in Reykjavik

The company boasts a reputation for well educated and knowledgable local guides, with many of them having graduated from Iceland’s prestigious guide school.

Our guide Olafur was living proof of this. He was a fun and warm host who was born and raised on a horse ranch in Northern Iceland.

Being able to spend an afternoon hearing stories about how he enjoyed the foods we were trying as a kid, growing up in Iceland, added a personal touch to our experience that you aren’t going to get sampling these foods on your own.

Not only that, but their branding is incredible. The bio page for all of their guides includes really epic photos of each member dressed up as a viking!

Check out these other great activities available near Reykjavik Iceland!

Looking for more ways to fill out your time in Reykjavik? Be sure to check out the list of activities below from GetYourGuide.

Is a Reykjavik food tour worth it?

A Reykjavik food tour is great because you’ll see the city on foot and learn about the area from a knowledgeable local guide all while trying traditional Icelandic foods.

When you consider both sides of what this experience can offer, it’s a no brainer that you should include it on your Reykjavik itinerary.

Your Friend in Reykjavik also has more traditional walking tours or pub crawl oriented beer tours you can check out as well.

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Enjoying our food during our last tour stop at Dass Reykjavik

At the end of our tour Olafur even gifted us small tokens that contained the Your Friend in Reykjavik symbol. The symbol is said to provide you protection so you can endure bad weather and situations safely.

It was a nice touch to end the tour on and symbolic of the experience I had with Olafur and throughout my entire stay in Iceland.

If you’re looking for other ideas of things to do during your time in Iceland then be sure to check out my posts on the following topics:

What did you think of the fermented shark? Would you try it? Let me know what you think of this Reykjavik food tour in the comments!

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