Eat Like a Local: 10 Must-Try Foods in Iceland

Must-try food in Iceland, Lagoon car rental
Icelandic Skyr, with blueberries.

When you travel to Iceland, you dive into a world of unique landscapes and vibrant culture, but it’s the food that truly captures the essence of this Arctic wonder. Icelandic cuisine is a direct reflection of its environment: pure, fresh, and intriguing.

From hearty stews to delightful desserts, Iceland offers a culinary adventure as fascinating as its glaciers and geysers. So, get ready to taste your way through our 10 must-try foods in Iceland!

2. Hákarl – Fermented Shark

First up on our culinary tour is hákarl, one of Iceland’s most infamous dishes. Made from Greenland shark, which is cured with a particular fermentation process and hung to dry for several months. As a result, Hákarl has a strong ammonia-rich smell and a fishy taste.

It’s often washed down with a shot of Brennivín, also known as black death. Adventurous foodies you can try hákarl at the Þorrablót midwinter festival and take a bite of this challenging but yet iconic Icelandic dish!

3. Plokkfiskur – Fish Stew

Comfort food at its finest, plokkfiskur is a must-try for anyone visiting Iceland. This traditional fish stew, made with fresh local fish, potatoes, onions, and covered in a creamy roux, embodies simplicity and comfort.

Traditionally served with rye bread, this dish can be found in many of Reykjavik’s cozy diners. It’s the perfect meal to warm you up after a day of exploring Iceland’s majestic landscapes.

Plokkfiskur, Icelandic fish casserole.
Creamy fish casserole called Plokkfiskur.

4. Icelandic Lamb Soup – Kjötsúpa

No visit to Iceland would be complete without savoring a bowl of kjötsúpa. This hearty lamb soup, loaded with root vegetables and tender chunks of lamb, has been a staple in Icelandic diets since the Viking days. It’s particularly popular among locals and tourists alike during the chilly Icelandic months. For the best kjötsúpa, head to any traditional Icelandic restaurant in Reykjavik and enjoy a bowl by the fireside.

5. Skyr

Skyr, a thick, creamy dairy product similar to yogurt. It is a huge a part of Icelandic cuisine and has been for over a thousand years. High in protein and low in fat, skyr is enjoyed with breakfast, as a dessert, or as a snack. You can have it plain or topped with fresh berries and a sprinkle of sugar. No matter how you choose to enjoy it, skyr is a delicious and healthy Icelandic staple you shouldn’t miss.

6. Rye Bread Ice Cream

For a truly unique Icelandic dessert, try rye bread ice cream. This unusual treat is made by blending sweet rye bread with creamy ice cream, resulting in a rich, caramel-flavored delight. It perfectly represents the innovation of Icelandic cuisine. You can find this dessert at ice cream shops around Reykjavik, and it’s a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Pusla hot dog Iceland, lagoon car rental.
Pylsa, or Pusla, is the unofficial national dish of Iceland.

7. Icelandic Hot Dog – Pylsur

You might not expect to find hot dogs on a list of Icelandic must-eats, but pylsur is no ordinary hot dog. Made primarily from Icelandic lamb, along with pork and beef, these hot dogs are topped with raw white onions, crispy fried onions, ketchup, sweet mustard, and remoulade.

For the authentic experience, visit Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur in Reykjavik, a popular hot dog stand beloved by locals and tourists alike.

8. Lobster Soup

If you love seafood, the Icelandic lobster soup is a delicacy you can’t pass up. Known for its richness and depth of flavor, the soup is loaded with fresh, succulent lobster and seasoned to perfection. The best place to indulge in this luxurious soup is at the seaside restaurants in Reykjavik, where it’s served fresh and piping hot.

9. Harðfiskur – Dried Fish Jerky

Harðfiskur, or dried fish jerky, is another Icelandic snack that’s both nutritious and delicious. Traditionally, it’s eaten plain or with a smear of butter. You’ll find harðfiskur in most grocery stores or at local markets. It’s a great snack for those long drives exploring the Icelandic countryside with your rental car.

Brennivín, Icelandic snaps, Lagoon car rental.
The Icelandic snaps, also known as Black Death.

10. Brennivín – Icelandic Schnapps

Finally, no list of Icelandic foods would be complete without mentioning Brennivín. This clear, unsweetened schnapps is made from fermented potato mash and is considered Iceland’s signature spirit. It’s typically served cold and in small shots. Brennivín pairs wonderfully with many Icelandic dishes, especially hákarl.


Exploring the unique and delicious foods of Iceland is an adventure not to be missed. Each dish tells a story of Iceland’s history, culture, and environment. With an Iceland car rental, you can easily travel from one culinary hotspot to another, discovering the rich flavors of this beautiful country. So, pack your appetite and prepare for a tasty journey through the land of fire and ice!

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