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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Iceland

Iceland Food and Drink

Icelandic cuisine owes much to Scandinavian and European influences. As New Nordic cuisine has risen in prominence in recent years, so too has the profile of Icelandic food. Many experimental chefs now create modern dishes with traditional ingredients.

Fresh fish is a staple (fish soup and fish 'n chips are highly recommended), and Icelandic lamb is also popular. Sheep are reared locally and the meat is extremely tasty.

Skyr, Icelandic-style yoghurt, is widely available too. A bowl of Skyr, topped with seasonal fruits, makes a satisfying breakfast meal.

Vegetarians and vegans are also catered for, but be mindful that while local greenhouses can produce a limited amount of tomatoes and cucumbers, most vegetables are imported.

If you're an adventurous eater, Iceland won't disappoint either. Hákarl (fermented shark), singed sheep heads or pickled ram's testicles are also on the menu in specialty restaurants.

Specialities

Pylsur: Hot dogs made from lamb, beef and pork with optional accompaniments of fried onions, mustard, ketchup, and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish.
Harðfiskur: A dried fish snack, often made from cod or haddock, is usually dipped in salted butter.
Kjötsúpa: A lamb and root vegetable soup.
Skyr: Icelandic-style yoghurt.
Hangikjöt: Smoked lamb served with laufabrauð (thin, crispy bread) and a holiday blend of Appelsín and malt at Christmas.
Pönnukökur: Thin pancakes rolled up with jam, powdered sugar and/or cream.
Rúgbrauð: A moist and slightly sweet rye bread.
Brennivin: Icelandic-style aquavit.

Things to know

Apart from most hotels, restaurants and bars, alcohol is sold in state liquor stores throughout Iceland and is not available in supermarkets.

Tipping

Service charges are included in most bills and extra tips are not expected.

Drinking age

20.

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