Skip to content

As you travel in North Iceland, you are never far from the source of your food and the stories behind it. This is a region of vast volcanic landscapes and icy seascapes, where small communities live at one with harsh nature and short summer seasons. For several months a year, nothing grows – humans, animals, and plants have to be tough to live here. But the stern circumstances bring a fresh and pure flavor to the products of nature – the volcanic soils, the clear waters, the long days in summer – everything is packed into a short but intensive life.

Here,  the volcanic land meets the icy ocean along about 1100 km of coastline, making sure that only freshly landed fish is put on your plate. Sheep and horses roam free in nature, ensuring that only the best meat is sourced for your dishes. While being a vegetable is a hard life if grown outside, green food grows sustainably in geothermally heated greenhouses – a natural asset of Iceland’s extraordinary geology, cultivating perhaps the most northern tomatoes in the world. Extensive mountain valleys offer rich pasture for cows, yielding dairy products such as the famous Icelandic Skyr.

Foraging is still a tradition to enrich the diet: berries and mushrooms, arctic moss, herbs and wild angelica. Auk are sought along the seacliffs for their eggs, and meat from wild geese is abundant in autumn.


Local Ingredients

Bread and sweets
Barley is virtually the only type of grain known to have been grown in Iceland, while rye and wheat were imported.
Herbs and spices
From early on Icelanders used plants they could forage in nature. Among them are herbs like wild thyme, juniper berries, as well as wild onions, chives, and garlic. The most used herbs for tea were blóðberg (wild thyme), vallhumall (yarrow), rjúpnalauf (mountain avens), and ljónslappi (lady’s mantle).
Vegetables have a hard life in Iceland. Cold temperatures and short summer growing seasons are a challenge to plants trying to grow and ripen. More and more varieties of vegetables, salads and herbs now enjoy a cosy life in the comfort of geothermally heated greenhouses all year round.
Dairy products
By far the largest quantities of milk and milk products are from cow’s milk nowadays. But ever since the settlement goat’s milk has also been used and is now experiencing a revival.
Berries and rhubarb
It is not so easy to obtain enough vitamins from the traditional Icelandic diet. But berries and rhubarb are best sources. Rhubarb grows in everyone’s garden and in late summer and autumn people flock to pick blueberries either to eat them fresh right away or to keep them frozen for winter storage, or as jams or stewed fruits. Even the lamb leg can be marinated in blueberries in autumn. The wild blueberries are smaller than the cultivated version and three different varieties grow wild. Rhubarb jam has a long tradition; it is boiled with a lot of sugar until it turns into a dark brown creamy liquid. Different berries are also cultivated in gardens and greenhouses.
It sounds simple, but water might be the best special drink to be enjoyed in Iceland. We believe self-confidently that it is the best water in the world – try it and form your own opinion. It is for free even in restaurants and you can drink it from the tap!
Fish is among the most common culinary ingredients in Iceland and stands for a high quality product.
The first settlers brought livestock with them – sheep, cattle, pigs, horses, and goats. While the settlers had to adapt their life to the new home and its harsh nature, sheep became the most important source of meat, while cattle were almost exclusively used for dairy production.

Where to Taste North Iceland - Restaurants

Other (60)

Hlaðan Brekkugata 2 530 Hvammstangi 451-1110
Söluskálinn / sjoppan Hvammstangabraut 40 530 Hvammstangi 451-2465
Gauksmýri Guesthouse Gauksmýri 531 Hvammstangi 831-1411
Teni - Ethiopian Restaurant Húnabraut 4 540 Blönduós 452-4040
Húnabúð ehf. Norðurlandsvegi 4 540 Blönduós 5510588
Harbour restaurant & bar Hafnarlóð 7 545 Skagaströnd 555-0545
Kaffi Bjarmanes Bjarmanesi 545 Skagaströnd 867-6701
Holanes restaurant & bar Hólanesvegur 11, Kantrybaer 545 Skagaströnd 6912361
Hard Wok Café Aðalgata 8 551 Sauðárkrókur 770-6368
Retro Guesthouse Suðurbraut 565 Hofsós 497-4444
Lónkot Rural Resort Sléttuhlíð 566 Hofsós 453-7432
KS Ketilási Fljót 570 Fljót 467-1000
Torgið Aðalgata 32 580 Siglufjörður 4672323
Torgið Gránugata 23 580 Siglufjörður 4672323
Harbour house Café Gránugata 5b 580 Siglufjörður 8541236
Eyja - Wine Bar and Bistro Hafnarfstræti 90 600 Akureyri 853-8002
Bryggjan restaurant Strandgata 49 600 Akureyri 440-6600
Bláa Kannan Hafnarstræti 96 600 Akureyri 4614600
Kvikkí Tryggvabraut 22 600 Akureyri 462-2245
North restaurant Hafnarstræti 67 600 Akureyri 454-5070
Ketilkaffi Kaupvangsstræti 8 600 Akureyri 869-8447
BlackBox Pizzeria Hótel KEA Akureyri 600 Akureyri 787-5959
Serrano Ráðhústorg 7 600 Akureyri 519-6918
Verksmiðjan Restaurant Glerártorg 600 Akureyri 555-4055
Into the Arctic - Norðurslóð Strandgata 53 600 Akureyri 588-9050
Berlin Skipagata 4 600 Akureyri 772-5061
Centrum Kitchen & Bar Hafnarstræti 102 600 Akureyri 6666078
Lemon Ráðhústorg 1 600 Akureyri 462-5552
Orðakaffi - Eat, Drink & More Brekkugata 17 600 Akureyri 661-4638
Sprettur-Inn Kaupangi v/Mýrarveg 600 Akureyri 4646464
Lemon Glerárgata 32 600 Akureyri 4625552
Grillstofan Kaupvangsstræti 23 600 Akureyri 896-3093
Shanghai restaurant Strandgata 7 600 Akureyri 467-1888
Aurora Bar – Café – Grill Þingvallastræti 23 600 Akureyri 518-1000
Indian Curry House Ráðhústorg 3 600 Akureyri 4614242
Kurdo Kebab Akureyri Skipagata 2 600 Akureyri 784-2084
Sjanghæ Strandgata 7 600 Akureyri 562-6888
Gamla Prestshúsið Laufás 601 Akureyri 463-3196
Daladýrð Brúnagerði 601 Akureyri 863-3112
Kontorinn Restaurant Túngata 3 610 Grenivík 789-6919
Mathús Milli Fjöru & Fjalla Túngata 3 610 Grenivík 6206080
Krían veitingastaður Grímsey 611 Grímsey 467-3112
Gregors Goðabraut 3 620 Dalvík 466-1213
Tomman Hafnarbraut 21 620 Dalvík 466-1559
Höllin Hafnargata 16 625 Ólafsfjörður 466-4000
Húsavík Öl Héðinsbraut 4 640 Húsavík 789-0808
Naustið Seafood Restaurant Ásgarðsvegur 1 640 Húsavík 464-1520
Hotel Rauðaskriða Rauðaskriða, Aðaldalur 641 Húsavík 8956730
Heiðarbær Reykjahverfi 641 Húsavík 464-3903
Guesthouse Staðarhóll Staðarhóll, Aðaldalur 641 Húsavík 464-3707
Fossholl by Godafoss Fosshóll 641 Húsavík 464-3108
Guesthouse Kiðagil Barnaskóla Bárðdæla 645 Fosshóll 4643290
Hótel Laugar Laugar 650 Laugar 466-4009
Guesthouse Stöng Mývatnssveit 660 Mývatn 464-4252
Mylla Restaurant Reykjahlid - Mývatn 660 Mývatn 594-2000
Kaffi Borgir Dimmuborgir 660 Mývatn 464-1144
Skerjakolla Bakkagata 10 670 Kópasker 465-1150
Veggur Restaurant Við Dettifossveg 671 Kópasker 849-1118
Skúlagarður Kelduhverfi 671 Kópasker 465-2280
Ytra-Áland Þistilfjörður 681 Þórshöfn 468-1290
Special events and food traditions
Þorlák's Mass, Bolludagur and Þorrablót are unique Icelandic events that are all about certain foods.

Where to Taste North Iceland - Cafés

Other (25)

Hlaðan Brekkugata 2 530 Hvammstangi 451-1110
Kaffi Bjarmanes Bjarmanesi 545 Skagaströnd 867-6701
Sauðárkróksbakarí Aðalgata 5 550 Sauðárkrókur 455-5000
Samgöngusafnið í Stóragerði Stóragerði 565 Hofsós 845-7400
Frida Chocolate café Túngata 40a 580 Siglufjörður 467-1117
Ak-inn Hörgárbraut Hörgárbraut 600 Akureyri 464-6474
Ketilkaffi Kaupvangsstræti 8 600 Akureyri 869-8447
Bakaríið við brúna Dalsbraut 1 600 Akureyri 461-2700
Kristjáns Café Hrísalundur 600 Akureyri 460-5930
Isbudinn Akureyri Geislagata 10 600 Akureyri 461-1112
Berlin Skipagata 4 600 Akureyri 772-5061
Flugkaffi Akureyrarflugvöllur 600 Akureyri 462-5017
Axelsbakarí Hvannavellir 14 600 Akureyri 4614010
Sykurverk Café Brekkugata 3 600 Akureyri 571-7977
LYST - Lystigarðurinn Eyrarlandsvegi 30 600 Akureyri 869 -1369
Orðakaffi - Eat, Drink & More Brekkugata 17 600 Akureyri 661-4638
Kristjáns Café Hafnarstræti 108 600 Akureyri 460-5930
Bláa Kannan Hafnarstræti 96 600 Akureyri 4614600
Freyvangsleykhúsið Freyvangur 601 Akureyri
Holtsels-Hnoss Holtsel 605 Akureyri 866-1618
Mathús Milli Fjöru & Fjalla Túngata 3 610 Grenivík 6206080
Galleri Sol Sólberg 611 Grímsey 467-3190
Skæutaís - Farm Ice Cream Skútustaðir 2b 660 Mývatn -
Skerjakolla Bakkagata 10 670 Kópasker 465-1150
Ásbyrgi veitingar og verslun Kelduhverfi 671 Kópasker 465-2260