While in Iceland, I knew I wanted to do a food tour. My trip was only four and half days so I figured a food tour would be the perfect crash course in Iceland's food, culture, and history. And boy, was I right.
As you guys know, I've done a lot of food tours. This was truly one of the best I've ever done – the food was gourmet, our guide was hilarious, and we learned a lot about life in Reykjavik.
I apologize in advance for the hyperbolic nature of this post – but seriously, the food was some of the best I've ever had traveling.
Smurstöðin at HARPA
We began our tour at HARPA, my favorite building in Reykjavik. HARPA is Reykjavik's uber stylish concert hall and concert center.
In the lobby we met Helga, our guide. In addition to being a tour guide, Helga is an artist and architect. She's also a native Reykjavikian – she even knows Bjork and her family!
As we learned on the tour, apparently everyone from “downtown” Reykjavik knows each other. For a country with its president listed in the phone book, that's not all that surprising.
After meeting Helga, we stopped for mini open-faced sandwiches at Smurstöðin. I particularly fell in love with the smoked salmon sandwich, as smoked salmon is one of my favorite foods. SO good.
Snaps Bistro Bar
Next, we headed to Snaps Bistro Bar. Snaps has an adorable French-inspired interior that is outfitted stylishly with Edison bulbs, brass taps and newspapered walls.
At Snaps we indulged in mussels and fries. The mussels were the the best mussels of my life (and I don't say that lightly because I love mussels). They were plump, tender, flavorful, and swimming in butter. Once I finished the mussels, I took my spoon and drank the broth – #noshame.
Also, mussels are meant to be paired with super crispy fries. They just are.
Next stop? Ostabúðin, a gourmet cheese shop and deli. Apparently cheese is relatively new to Iceland. However, Icelandic cheese isn't bad – I particularly enjoyed the gouda.
But the real treat was the super flavorful smoked goose – who knew? I also tried horse, which made me feel guilty because Icelandic horses are the cutest and I love horses in general. Besides, it turns out horse meat is super chewy and not that great anyway.
Then, we randomly stopped at a grocery store where Helga taught us all about how Icelandic people shop. We learned small salmon filets are preferable, as it means the fish was stronger and younger. Dried fish should be purchased intact – small pieces are leftover and of lower quality.
We also saw shark for sale, but apparently it's an acquired taste even for Icelanders. Helga said she wasn't a fan.
Because we hadn't indulged enough, we then headed to Apotek for Icelandic lamb chops. Helga told us most Icelandic lamb is free-range, and is allowed to roam the countryside, eating local grasses and herbs. Which explains why the lamb we had was insanely tender and flavorful.
We capped off our evening at the Laundromat Cafe. Or rather, the bar upstairs.
My travel buddy and I, and the two Canadian girls on our tour, stayed and chatted about Icelandic culture and American and Canadian politics with Helga. Unfortunately, Trump did come up.
Helga kept leaving to smoke, or as she said, “I must go poison myself.”
All in all, I absolutely loved the tour and would highly recommend it. Not only did we eat gourmet Icelandic food, we also got to spend time with a hilarious Icelandic guide who taught us about what life in Reykjavik is like.
More information about the tour:
Tours last 4-5 hours. Wear comfortable shoes and come hungry.
The price is 18.900 ISK, or about $162 USD. However I believe it's worth it as food in Iceland is crazy expensive and you get to try lots of expensive food, like seafood and lamb.
The tours are small, and take a maximum of 14 people. Our tour only had four people, which was really nice.
Would you be interested in doing a food tour in Reyjavik?
A big thanks to Reykjavik Food Tour for offering us a complimentary tour in exchange for a review. They in no way insisted that I write a favorable review, and all opinions are (as always) my own.
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