Iceland has a unique geographical landscape characterized by iconic contrasts like blue ice caves and steaming hot springs. It is surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean and so the Icelandic cuisine is traditionally full of fresh seafood. Icelandic dishes can include Atlantic cod, catfish, shark, and whale. Now for the intrepid vegetarian in Iceland, what can you find to satisfy your palate?
Great news, the Icelandic cuisine has expanded overtime and now includes many styles of food to appeal to diverse groups. Scattered throughout this small but mighty island there are a variety of vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in Iceland. You will certainly have tasty foods to recount and enjoy. So get excited for your trip to Iceland and be prepared for wonderful experiences.
Is Iceland Vegan Friendly?
Is Iceland vegan friendly? Can you easily find vegan food that is nutritious and filling? Yes, you can because most restaurants have at least one vegan dish on their menus. The cuisine can range from fresh salads, hearty soups, pizza, Thai food, vegan burgers and more. The foods in Iceland are extremely expensive so prepare and save in advance to avoid sticker shock.
Budget Friendly Tips
Iceland has to import goods such as food and gas because the geographic location and severe weather. Since items that attract tourists are typically imported the cost is naturally higher than expected. But overall, the general consensus states Iceland is an expensive country to visit. You will save money by packing snacks and planning in advance. But make sure you don’t bring cheese, eggs, meat, or fresh produce. You can read the Iceland Customs policies to find more of what you can or cannot bring on your flight.
Go to your local grocery store to stock up on trail mix, healthy protein bars, bags of nuts, and granola. These snacks will be much appreciated when you travel between landmarks. Then buy food at the grocery store and use the kitchen facilities in your accommodation. Bonus is the most famous grocery store because it is affordable and has a variety of foods. They have vegan veggie wraps, vegan meat, and cheeses to prepare bagged lunches.
When you are driving along roads like the Ring Road make a stop at a gas station like Orkan. The gas stations in Iceland are like an oasis in a desert. They are few and far between so provide a variety of services such as bike repairs and car washing. For your needs, they have a mini produce section and small bites like coffee, soup, pastries, and even smoothies. When you want to experience the vegan and vegetarian cuisine in Iceland you don’t have to look further than Reykjavík. In this gorgeous capital city you are guaranteed to find delicious meals.
Vegan Food in Iceland
Eldur + Ís is the first place you should visit in the center of Reykjavík. This trendy café is warm, welcoming, and designed to make you want to return. You can order freshly made crepes and customize the vegan fillings you want added. The crepe batter is gluten free and made from spelt flour instead of wheat. If you want to enjoy a nice cup of coffee they have non-dairy milk such as almond, rice, and soymilk. Vegan crepes and coffee is delicious to have for breakfast or lunch.
CooCoos Nest should be your next stop because a family-run business prepares these tasty foods. They are conveniently located in middle of Reykjavík and have fun nights like Pizza Thursdays and Taco Tuesdays. Their vegan taco is made with roasted celery root, mashed beans, broccoli mix, and drizzled with a spiced tomato sauce. They have a scrumptious vegan meal for every part of the day.
Gló is another healthy restaurant that should be on your must try list. They emphasize using only fresh products and ingredients in their foods. The menu varies based on ingredient availability so you are guaranteed healthy meals. When they have the lasagna on the menu make sure to try it and other plates.
Ölverk Pizza & Brewery
On a day you venture to the South of Iceland head to Ölverk Pizza & Brewery for lunch. They make great pizza and always have two vegan pizza options. The pizzas are not your usual cheese and tomato sauce. For example, they have a Vegan Nacho Pizza topped with vegan ground beef and cheese, onions, peppers, and cilantro. They also have vegan salad, sweet potato fries, and craft beers. If you want a savory vegan burger go to Smiðjan Brugghús in Vík. The burger is a mixture of quinoa and kale, topped with pickles, tomatoes, onion rings, and vegan cheese. These are great spots to unwind and reflect on your trip thus far.
Vegetarian Options in Iceland
Before you try the plethora of vegetarian options in Iceland buy a cup of Skyr from the nearest grocery store. Skyr is an authentic Icelandic dairy food similar in consistency to Greek yogurt and has 16g of protein per serving. You can have it during breakfast, light lunch, or a snack between meals. Skyr is often served with fruit and granola toppings. It comes in many flavors like plain, apple, vanilla, strawberry, and more. A few of these will offset the cost of breakfast and stave off hunger when on the road.
Popular Vegetarian Restaurants
The Noodle Station in Reykjavík has an appetizing Thai inspired cuisine. It is a family owned business and the soup recipes are safely guarded secrets. When you dip your spoon into the vegetable rice noodle soup broth your body will be filled with warmth. It’s the perfect meal after braving the brisk Icelandic weather. Another great spot for soup is the Soup Company in Vík where they serve a signature Creamy Mushroom soup.
For a robust meal go to Hraðlestin which serves well-seasoned Indian Street Food in Reykjavík. They have many delightful and filling dishes for you to devour. The Vegetarian Thali is perfect for dinner. It has basmati rice, several vegetables covered in vegan curry, and a yogurt sauce called raitha. It’s drizzled in sweetened mango chutney and served with garlic naan bread. They also have vegetarian Yogi Special Pizza made with naan bread as the base. Then it’s covered in raitha, vegetables, cheese, chili, and coconut flavored masala sauce.
When you are ready for dessert head on over to Valdís for some refreshing ice cream and sorbets. They also have vegan ice cream such as strawberry, chocolate, and blueberry. Iceland is teeming with flavorful foods for the adventurous vegan or vegetarian. Book your ticket and get ready to explore.