Just booked a trip to Iceland (!) in May - does anyone have any food recommendations? Things I *have* to try or even restaurants? Any advice welcome!
Since you did not mention that you read the travel article on Iceland from a few months ago (and the accompanying comments) I will post the link here:
just to ensure you don't miss it.
Also, I highly recommend that you consult an Iceland-specific travel forum. Here is one hosted by Lonely Planet:
I'm sure there are others available. This ensures that a large number of conversation participants have gone or are going to Iceland versus a general interest food site like Food52 where only a fraction of people have done so or planning to in the near future.
I can't tell from your post whether or not you have used any other sites for your inquiry.
awesome thanks so much! I did miss that post so thanks for the link :)
Agreed with cv! The article I wrote on Iceland (the Food52 one she linked) includes all of my recommendations, but my biggest piece of advice is to go around the entire Ring Road! It's SO beautiful! There's a smaller road called the "Golden Circle" by Reykyavik that's pretty but can't even compare to the sites you'll see along the Ring Road!
As for food, only eat hakaral if you're feeling extremely brave (it nearly killed me, it's so, so bad), and eat lots of lamb! If you want to splurge, definitely go to Dill—and the restaurant above it is an untitled pizza restaurant that's wonderful and has lots of traditional dishes (you'll be eating LOTS of dried cod with butter on it, there's no good way to eat it but just gnaw on it), and above that is a Mikkeller Bar which I returned to three times during my visit—It's not Icelandic, but Danish, but has some of the most amazing beers! Ask for a spontan beer!
Aside from that, restaurants in the city are VERY expensive and don't differ much (I went to a very pricey one called Fish Market that's well known but wasn't really worth it) and there's fish and chips on the pier you have to try! I forgot the name but if you ask about it, people will know, it's very famous! And Iceland is famous for their hotdogs, especially the stand by the harbour. I hope that helps!!
OH and most importantly, eat skyr with some heavy cream on top of it, it's so indulgent and so perfect :) Enjoy!! It's such an amazing country—I have no doubts you'll love it!! Oh and when there's a waterfall that has stairs going above it (Skogafoss), walk up the stairs—I've never seen a view more beautiful in my life! Okay, I'll try to stop now! Happy travels!!
eee! thank you so so much that was so helpful! I've told myself I have to try hakaral because when else will I but ugh, it sounds horrible. Thank you again! :)
The restaurant Dill is worth the splurge. We loved it.
thank you will definitely look into it!
I went to Reykjavik last June...just had 3 days so limited myself to the Golden Circle, but definitely want to go back! It's so beautiful, and the history is fascinating.
On a non-food note: dress warm! It was misty and only reached a high of 50F when I was there, which helped me appreciate why people wear those gorgeous natural-color wool sweaters. Take a hat and gloves.
There's a nice coffeehouse scene in Reykjavik, and even the local bookstore chain serves up good lattes, etc.
I did the touristy thing and ate at Loki, which is right next to the cathedral. They claim to serve authentic food and it was interesting and reasonable. I did have some hakarl, which really smelled worse than it tasted--ammonia-scented cardboard. I think the trick is chasing it with Brennívin, the local schnapps. The other touristy fun thing to eat is pylsur, a red hot dog with various toppings.
Have a great time!
Forgot to mention that I found a blog by a local tour guide, 'iheartreykjavik' which gave a lot of good suggestions on what to see, the culture, and the people. Pack a swimsuit and go to the thermal baths.
sounds great thank you (and the clothing tip is greatly appreciated, have been wondering what kind of clothes I'll need!)
Iceland is an island in the middle of an ocean, so expect weather conditions to change unexpectedly and rapidly.
I suggest you seek out the tourism board websites for Iceland, Reykjavik, and any other cities you might be visiting.
Tourism boards are happy to share tips with things like climate, recommended clothing, transit, key attractions, arts & culture, maybe food specialties, etc. to ensure that tourists have a good experience and tell friends/family/colleagues/others about what a great time they had.
Most tourist guidebooks also have a climate section that shows average monthly highs & lows during the year to provide some idea of what to expect.
Note that each guidebook publishing house has their own style and target audience. Some are pretty middle-of-the-road like Fodor's. Others are a bit more adventurous and offbeat like Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. One or two may feel like they were written by Classics or History majors. No one here knows what style of tourism you like, so you will need to decide yourself if you are to buy one of these guidebooks.
One thing has changed. In the old days, you'd walk around with a guidebook or grab a map at the tourist information center and be instantly recognizable as a tourist every time you whipped it out. Today, you can buy an ebook and download it to your phone. Assuming your attire isn't blatantly obvious, you look pretty much like the locals when you pull out your phone for a quick check about directions and people will walk right by.
What's better? It depends. Sometimes you might want to be inconspicuous. Other times, hey, look like a lost tourist and someone might be happy to help. These days, I use the guidebook on my phone, but carry a paper tourist map in my pocket. If I want help from a local, I pull out the paper map.
Those are basic travel tips, something that might be better discussed on travel-focused websites (like the ones I mentioned earlier). They will also have discussions about practical matters like the possibility of finding a cheap prepaid smartphone SIM so you can get local cellular service during your stay.
I'll leave it to you to research those matters elsewhere as this has definitely veered away from the Food52 Hotline's primary focus.