Tourism in Iceland has been increasing rapidly and continues growing. Since 2010, there’s been around 30 percent increase in the number of visitors each year. This year, 2017, looks like being a record season, with government agencies predicting 2.3 million arrivals. Sadly this is changing Reykjavík, extremely quickly.
The cute local bars are torn down to build more hotels and the hipster cafés are replaced by Dunkin Donuts. Tourism changes things and probably what affect all of us the most are the higher prices.
Today Reykjavik dining is insanely expensive unless you know where to go. So today I want to share with you my top recommendations of cheap but good options around the city. I have come to understand the true meaning of the word “budget.” To me, everything is counted in beer. 300 krónur for coffee? That’s half a beer!
Just few steps away from the Hlemmur bus terminal is this small, cafeteria-seating style Asian noodle house called Noodle Station. They have a very simple menu: chicken, beef or vegetarian noodle soups. The owner is Thai, and you can get a glimpse of Southeast Asian seasonings in their delicious soup. The service is fast and the food both cheap and jummy. This place is one of the locals absolute favourites!
Price: 1.500 kr
Every day from 11AM–10PM
Location: Laugavegur 86, 101 Reykjavík
Bæjarins Bestu Pylsur (English: The best hot dogs in town)
By eating at this famous hot dog stand by the harbour you are both saving money and experiencing real Icelandic culture. Every single Icelanders grew up by eating regularly at this famous hot dog stand and the best part is it hasn’t changed since it was opened in 1937. Even The Guardian selected Bæjarins beztu as the best hot dog stand in Europe.
Price: 420 ISK
Sundays to Thursdays 10:00 – 01:00
Fridays to Saturdays 10:00 – 04:30
Location: Tryggvagata, near Kolaportið flee-market
Svarta Kaffið translates as the black coffee, the place is a cozy café which specialises in bread-soups. I used to go there every Sunday, but then prices were raised a bit and now it’s usually packed with tourists. But still, I have to put them on this list, simply because I love the atmosphere, the super friendly staff and their unique tasting soups.
Price: 1500 ISK
Monday – Saturday 11:30AM–1AM
Location: Laugavegur 54, 101 Reykjavík
Nam recently opened in the downtown of Reykjavík and I’m already hooked on their edamame beans and tofuballs! NAM is a modern Asian cuisine. From fresh ingredients serving the food that is quick, exciting and different – but still affordable.
Location: Laugavegur 18, 101 Reykjavík
Price: 1500 – 2500 ISK
Tuesday – Friday 11AM–10PM
Saturday – Sunday 12–10PM
Drekinn is a small shop that has a special place in my heart. Drekinn has been open for more than 40 years as a small convenience shop. It carries both basic grocery goods and generously-priced fast food. A full dinner at Drekinn will rarely cost more than 900-1500 ISK. The combo meals are the best steal, which include a grilled sandwich, hamburger or cheeseburger with fries and a beverage. Next to that they sell a lot of random things like electric cigarettes, vaping supplies, socks and a big selection of soft drinks! What a great combo!
Price: They fill you up for only 900-1500 ISK
Monday to Friday 90:30 – 11:30
Saturdays to Sundays 11:00 – 11:30
Location: Frakkastígur 15, 101 Reykjavík
Here you will officially get the best Shawarma in town! First, when you look at Mandi from the outside, you’ll think that it’s just a small candy shop. However when you enter the small shop, you’ll smell the delicious middle eastern food they cook there all day. The staff working there is always super friendly and greet you with a smile. They’re service is fast and I think they are open 24/7, at least I go there both sober and not-so-sober during weekends!
Psst…while there you should also buy they’re hummus!
Price: 1500 ISK
Location: 3 b, Veltusund, 101 Reykjavík
Bread & Co
Bread and co opened quite recently and is one of my favourite bakeries in Reykjavík therse days. It’s maybe not the cheapest one, but at least it’s cheaper then a breakfast buffet at some restaurant. The bakery emphasizes on high quality Icelandic ingredients. Everything they do is in front of you with open glass doors, and guests can watch the process, asking the bakers themselves about the ingredients and their origins. Their pastry is simply delicious and a nice option for breakfast in Reykjavík.
Price: 500 – 1500 ISK
Every day from: 6AM – 5AM
Location: Frakkastígur 16, 101 Reykjavík