How We Ate Vegan In Iceland
When you first think vegan food, what places come to mind?
Probably not Iceland. The land of Vikings, Puffins, and traditionally, lots of meat.
I certainly didn't think it would be one of my top vegan dining destinations, but thanks to a cheap flight with a built-in several day layover in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, I ended up there this past January and was very pleasantly surprised.
Our Iceland trip came at the end of a 2 week jaunt through London, Paris, Copenhagen, back to London, where we ate ourselves silly with some of the most indulgent and rich vegan food on earth--literally. Since Iceland was a bit of an afterthought, I hadn't even done any research to find places to hit up, so we just winged it.
All things considered, I was shocked to discover HOW widespread the vegan movement is here. Every single little restaurant and cafe we passed had at least one vegan option, alongside the more traditional fare. We didn't starve, it wasn't a struggle, and in fact, there were too many places to hit up, even with an extra 2 days we ended up with to spend in Reykjavik, thanks to a cancelled flight.
Here are my favorites!
Most are walking distance around town, but we did rent a car and ventured outside of the capital city for one day, mostly to sight-see frozen waterfalls and geysers. (Think the real-life Game of Thrones scenery. Definitely worth it)
The Grocery Stores
While I couldn't read a lot of the words, or convert the prices to USD, one thing I could tell was there was an insane amount of vegan food at every grocery store we went to. We weren't shopping at the bougie health food stores either, mostly because we didn't find any. We were in, what I would imagine, was the equivalent of something like a Food Lion here--bare bones type stores.
And even still, soooo much vegan food! Cheese, faux meats (grab some by the brand "Oumph!" which is AMAZING. Vegan pizzas, lasagnas, you name it.
Our AirBnb had a shared kitchen, so we stocked up on bread, cheese, fruits, salad stuff, Oumph meat, and milk, and were able to have breakfasts and several lunches at home.
The first place we stopped for a mid-morning treat on day 1, this was the cutest little coffee shop and bakery. They always apparently have at least one vegan treat available, and I highly recommend the carrot cake with cream cheese icing, if that's an option!
Plus all you can drink hot coffee AND a bathroom decked out in floor to ceiling Star Wars decor, with theme music and all? Clearly, a must.
In this little unassuming music venue slash diner (check their schedule, because they only operate as a restaurant on nights they don't have a show). I had the very best dang burger of my whole life. The best fries too. While Iceland is notoriously expensive, this place was somewhat reasonable, and entirely worth it, no matter what the price was. They had homemade buns with wasabi sesame seeds, a seitan bean burger, pickle relish, the gooeyiest cheese ever (seriously I don't know how it was vegan.) It was just amazing...and I've had a LOT of burgers.
On our last morning, we stopped in here for brunch and some much-needed greens and fresh food, after our carb and beer feast. This is an entirely plant-based restaurant where apparently all the most hipster kids hang out. It's decorated with record players and records you can flip through, and plenty of vegan musts like avocado toast, breakfast burritos, and baked and raw sweet treats, plus coffee with plenty of plant based milk options.
Though we didn't technically eat any solid food here, I did have the best beer in my entire life, in this tucked-away little brewery right off the coast in Vik. It was so tucked away, our GPS struggled to find it, but it was well worth the hunt. Right along the coast, in a tiny town, in an even tinier warehouse brewery, wouldn't you know it, was a fully vegan burger option. The future really is now!
We didn't get the burger, but the beers were insanely good. If I went back to Iceland, I'd rent a car just to go back here. Next time, I'll try the burger and fries too, which according to their menu "are probably made by unicorns, they are just fantastic."
Other places worth mentioning were Glo, which is a well-known chain vegan place where you can grab super healthy grain + protein + veggie bowls, which I did, before we headed to the airport (but forgot to take a picture of, evidently.) We also stopped for Pho one night at a cute little place in a strip mall--not vegan-only, but plenty of vegan options.Have you been to Iceland for the vegan food? Let me know your favorites! I know I only skimmed the surface!
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