Iceland is an island nation most famous for its majestic terrain reminiscent of another planet with untouched mountains and other marvels. Icelandic cuisine is reflective of the environment therefore seafood can be found everywhere. So when you are an adventurous vegetarian in Iceland, what can you find to eat?
Fortunately, Iceland has made a name for itself in the world of fine dining and healthy food. There are many vegetarian restaurants in Iceland and vegan options for you to try. You will definitely experience a wide variety of foods that are nutritious and aesthetically pleasing.
Is Iceland Vegan Friendly?
Icelandic cuisine is typically comprised of lamb and seafood such as fish, whale, shark, and even the friendly Atlantic Puffins. But is Iceland vegan friendly? Short answer, yes Iceland is definitely vegan friendly. But Iceland is notorious for being expensive. Therefore budget accordingly to prepare for the cost of eating at various restaurants with vegan dishes.
Budget-Friendly Vegetarian and Vegan Options
Most people wonder why Iceland is so expensive. Since, the country is so small and has extreme weather conditions many items must be imported from other countries. Therefore, regular purchases like gas and food we expect to be low cost are actually higher in Iceland. Some budget friendly vegetarian options while you are in Iceland include, bringing non-perishable and prepackaged snacks in your suitcase. Please note you cannot bring fresh foods like cheeses, vegetables, and fruits aboard your plane. The full policy for Iceland Customs can be found at this link.
Easy to pack and approved items to bring on planes are granola, trail mix, bags of nuts, and protein bars. These snacks will certainly help when you are traveling to your next destination and in between meals. If you have access to a kitchen you can go shopping at a grocery store and cook at your accommodation. The most affordable grocery store is called Bonus and it has cheap but enjoyable vegan veggie wraps. You can also find items like vegan meat and cheeses to create packed lunches.
If you are already on the road you can also do light shopping at a local gas station. The gas stations in Iceland typically have fresh fruits and light offerings like soup, coffee, and pastries. Some of them even have Subway, a smoothie bar, and a mini café. In Reykjavik, the beautiful capital city of Iceland, you can also find many vegan and vegetarian options. In most restaurants, there is at least one vegan dish for each course of a meal.
Vegan Dishes in Iceland
There are several cafes and restaurants to try throughout Iceland. Quick tasty vegan dishes can include savory soups, organic vegan pizza, flavorful sandwiches, and green salads. A must visit is a cute café in the heart of Reykjavík called Eldur + Ís. The atmosphere is welcoming and you can order fresh crepes made with nourishing vegan fillings. The crepe batter is even made with gluten-free spelt flour. They also have non-dairy milk like rice, soy and almond milk to put in your coffee.
The Soup Company always provides at least one vegan soup. It is located in Vík, a small seaside village in the South of Iceland. For example, they had hearty Indian Vegan soup that was the perfect serving size for lunch. It’s also served with unlimited freshly baked vegan bread. If you want more you can order a panini or fresh salad to have alongside your vegan soup.
When you are in the mood for well-made pizza go to Ölverk Pizza & Brewery in Hveragerði. It’s conveniently located by being only 30 minutes outside of Reykjavik in the direction of the Golden Circle. They have a permanent vegan pizza on the menu but also add a vegan pizza of the month. One time they had Vegan Nacho Pizza comprised of vegan cheese, peppers, red onions, vegan ground beef, and topped with cilantro. They also make great sweet potato fries you can order as a side.
Vegan burgers also exist in Iceland. You can find a yummy vegan burger from Smiðjan Brugghús located in the center of Vík. The vegan burger patty is made of quinoa and kale. Then stacked with onion rings, tomatoes, garlic aioli, pickles, and vegan cheddar on a lovely bun. It is very filling and you will certainly leave satisfied.
Vegetarian Options In Iceland
You can easily find many of the tasty vegetarian options in Iceland cities like the famous Reykjavík and Vík. But before any road trip, you should buy Skyr from the grocery store. Skyr is a vegetarian-friendly Icelandic snack you can get from any grocery store. Skyr is very similar to Greek yogurt, with a light and creamy consistency that has 16g of protein. You can eat it with fruits and granola between meals or have it for a light breakfast. It also comes in flavors like plain, vanilla, raspberry, peach, and apple.
Vegetarian Restaurants in Iceland
After your budget-friendly and nutritious snacks, you can head over to the Noodle Station in downtown Reykjavík. This restaurant is quaint and family-owned. The delicious soup recipe comes directly from the owner’s grandmother and is a family secret. When you arrive be sure to order the Thai inspired vegetable rice noodle soup. The savory broth is heartwarming and exactly what you need in the cold Iceland weather.
Hraðlestin is a fabulous Indian Street Food restaurant in Reykjavík. You can go here for a full meal and be amazed with the seasoning of these enchanting dishes. The Vegetarian Thali includes three vegetables, vegan curries, raitha (yogurt sauce), basmati rice, sweet mango chutney, and garlic naan. Keep in mind each main course you order gives you free naan or a vegan chapatti flatbread. The green salad is made interesting by the mixed vegetables, spiced cashew nuts, and homemade dressing. For dessert, you can enjoy the best vegan ice cream in Iceland at a cozy shop called Valdís. They even have a few sorbet options such as mango and mojito flavors.
If you visit Vík you should go to Soup Company, in addition to vegan options they have wonderful vegetarian dishes. They have a Creamy Mushroom soup that is perfect after a long hike or walk in the frigid weather. You can pair it with bread and the scrumptious Falafel salad.
Now that you know there are delightful vegetarian and vegan meals available in Iceland, you can travel with ease. You will have a lovely meal to look forward to after a trek through the stunning Ring Road and throughout Iceland.