Travel Guide, 2015-08-17

An unexpected side of Iceland

My expectations of the Icelandic cuisine were pretty low. It being an island, I thought they would have a small selection of commonly used vegetables, and an occasional whale or shark steak. But during my trip to this beautiful country my perception changed completely.

You might have noticed in my previous post that Iceland’s nature has a lot of hot springs. In these areas there are greenhouses heated with hot water  from the springs, making it possible to cultivate vegetables, flowers and even tropical fruits for domestic consumption. This is the perfect solution for ecological agriculture. Bio is quite asked for over there.


One of the largest industries in Iceland is fishing, let’s say that the salmon was to die for. But raising livestock has grown over the last centuries as well. You’ll mostly find sheep, horses and cattle. I accidentally ate a horse steak, and it was one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten. 


The first night we had dinner at Matur & Drykkur, which is located in the old harbour of Reykjavik. The chefs look like they originate from the Vikings, red headed bearded men who chop meat into pieces with big knives. Their menu is full of local speciality, mostly dominated with meat or fish dishes but they can be quite creative with vegetables as well.


The local cuisine is quite surprising. One thing we tried was a type of bread that’s been baked underground. No, not where the hipsters go to party but literally under the surface. They put a piece of dough in the ground close to the hot springs, this results in some sort of slow baked bread with a sweet flavour.


We’ve tried specialities such as goose hearts and mutton, which sounds disgusting but is actually surprisingly delicious. They also serve all kinds of fish balls or salmon on crackers.


It’s for sure that the local cuisine has a variety of options to choose from. Don’t go for the spaghetti but taste what the locals eat!


Don’t forget that the days can be very long in Iceland, which means you can go for dinner quite late. Locals mostly arrive at restaurants around 10pm. This was yet another surprise for me.

I travelled with Icelandair to Reykjavik. They have 5 flights a week during the entire year. Make sure to check their recent interesting options for all us globe trotters. A flight to the States or Canada with a stop-over in Iceland. You get maximum 7 days to discover this beautiful country before you get to your next destination. We visited quite a lot in only 3 days, this deal is really interesting if you ask me. Especially because their fares are one of the lowest for these destinations. You can book a return ticket to Iceland for €349, this price includes 3 nights at a hotel with breakfast. Enough time to taste all the local dishes!