When I told people I was going to Iceland, I got lots of puzzled looks. After all, end-of-February travel is usually reserved for warm, sunny locales. But, seeing the Northern Lights has been on my bucket list and this year they are supposed to be at their brightest for the next 50 years. So, when I saw a great deal for a long weekend in Iceland, off I went with my friend Carol and along came 2 of her friends.
Food and drink in Iceland is shockingly expensively even with Iceland’s economy in the tank. A cheap beer would easily run you 8 bucks, and a “premium” beer would be $13.50. So, we actually enjoyed our hotel’s hospitality, would included free breakfast and canapés, appetizers and free booze in the evening (It pays to be a gold card member).
But, here are the highs (and lows) of what I did sample:
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur – It’s a famous 77 year old hot dog stand by the harbor serving what’s been called the “best hot dog in Europe.” Bourdain came here for the No Reservations Iceland episode and Clinton ate one of the famous dogs two weeks before his heart attack. The hot dog is made with a blend of beef and lamb in a natural casing. The lamb adds smokiness and the hot dog has a nice snap. I suggest you order it with everything: ketchup, sweet mustard, remoulade, raw onions, and fried onions. For $3 bucks, this is the tastiest, most affordable bite you will find in Iceland.
Saegreifinn (Sea Baron) – they serve lobster soup, a local specialty. It’s a small seafood shack along the water (although there is no view). I thought the soup was similar to a good lobster bisque, but hardly worth the $11. I think the version I had at Fjorubordid was better. I should have gotten the whale kabob while I was there, but I wasn’t that hungry.
Café Loki – I tried the Rye bread and the Rye bread ice cream here. This is the second bread ice cream I’ve had this year and both have been delicious.
Kolaportið – It’s not a restaurant, but the local flea market. The best part is that there is a food section in the back where you can sample some of the specialties without committing to a whole package. I sampled fermented shark, dried fish chips, cod liver pate and something else that I had no clue what it was. The shark tasted like stale tuna jerky that someone had urinated on. The fish ship was tough and chewy. I wouldn’t recommend any of it.
My favorite food in Iceland was Skyr. It’s referred to an Icelandic yogurt, but technically, it’s a very soft cheese. It is thick; a similar consistency to Greek yogurt. I loved the pear flavor and started every morning with pear skyr with granola.