The Top 18 Restaurants in West Iceland

By Jonathan Duffy, Arctic Meta

One of the most fascinating and exciting aspects of travelling is getting to sample the local cuisine. It’s a way to get to know a country and its people on a whole new level. Experiencing the sights, smells and tastes of each plate in a new land can create a deeper understanding of what makes the people of a country tick. 

Iceland is known for its natural beauty. People come from all over the world to witness its many waterfalls, glaciers, volcanoes, black-sand beaches and remote highlands. While they are here, many visitors are astounded at the unexpected surprise of a vibrant food scene. It’s understandable that many wouldn’t think of culinary brilliance when they think of Iceland, especially due to the nation’s historic relationship with food. 

The early settlers almost starved to death several times. The otherworldly landscapes are visual wonders, but for the first Icelanders, these lands weren’t the most fertile spaces for growing groups. The local population struggled for generations until the economy was given a bit of a boost after the second world war. Imports began to become more frequent, and the country was able to expand its tasting palette

Modern-day Icelandic cuisine is a thrilling mixture of traditional and contemporary ingredients. Today’s Iceland has harnessed the power of volcanoes to help heat greenhouses, and regular trade has made it possible for locals to develop their taste buds even more.

Many people visiting Iceland focus on the Southern parts of the country, but there’s a whole world of wonders waiting to be explored in the country’s west. The west of Iceland is a place of untold opportunity and is also home to some of the best restaurants in the country. So before you go west, here’s a list of some of the best restaurants this part of Iceland has to offer. 

The Best Restaurants in Borgarnes

Borgarnes is one of the first major towns on the way from Reykjavík to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It’s a popular place for people to stretch their legs, take a break or grab a bite to eat. The journey to Borgarnes involves travelling through a 6 km tunnel that delves underneath the Hvalfjörður fjord. The town is quite a central hub for people in the area and, as such, has many great food options for hungry travellers.  

Grillhusið

Source: Grillhusid.is

Grillhusið is a chain of restaurants available in a few different locations around Iceland, including Borgarnes. It’s like a traditional grill house which means that the menu is filled with a huge assortment of snacks, burgers, mains, side dishes, salads and pastas. The American influence is quite evident here with items like cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers and chicken wings that can take the edge off a small hunger while also offering some substantial mains for those with a bigger appetite. 

One of the biggest benefits of visiting a place like this is that because the menu is so large and varied, most people should be able to find something they would like to dig their teeth into. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 11:30 to 22:00

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian. 

Blomasetrid / Kaffi Kyrrð

Source: Blomasetrið

Kaffi Kyrrð is a beautiful café that’s part of a homestay called Blómasetrið. This place is a great stop to make if you would love to take a breather and sample some delicious cakes while having a refreshing coffee or cup of tea. The owners have created a very calming space that also doubles as a gift shop showcasing some local crafts. 

Kaffi Kyrrd’s motto is that they want to have all of their customers leave feeling much better than when they entered, and this attitude has made it a popular stop for tourists and locals alike. 

They are very proud of their vegan options, so don’t hesitate to ask what’s on offer, and they also boast a coffee you’ll never forget, called a (s)expresso. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 09:00 to 19:00 (Tuesdays 09:00 to 22:00)

Dietary Options: Vegetarian, Vegan. 

Englendingavik

Source: Englendingavik.is

Englendingavík is a more traditional restaurant in the sense that it offers a full lunch and dinner menu, but its setting and menu options are worth experiencing for any traveller. The restaurant is situated in a traditional corrugated iron-clad building, and the interior is decorated with design touches and furnishings that are reminiscent of the early to mid-20th Century in Iceland. Many Icelanders would feel a sense of comfort and nostalgia when coming here. 

Their lunch menu does offer a reasonably priced brunch as well as soups, burgers, lamb shanks and many other delicious items. 

Their dinner menu is a nice fusion of traditional Icelandic cuisine and international favourites like burgers, spaghetti and bruschetta. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 12:00 to 21:00

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian. 

La Colina Pizzeria

Source: La Colina Pizzeria

When travelling, it’s pretty safe to say that, in a pinch, pizza is usually a safe bet if you’re unsure of restaurant options, and La Colina Pizzeria doesn’t disappoint. The atmosphere is unpretentious and charming, complete with the red chequered tablecloths you would expect to see on an outdoor terrace in Italy. Their menu is quite expansive, offering many different combinations of toppings, and local businesses like this one usually try to be as accommodating as possible. 

This is a great place to visit if you want to just enjoy some delicious pizza and drinks while you recount your travels of the day. Many visitors actually consider it to be the best pizza in Iceland. They don’t stay open too late, so it’s more of a lunch/early dinner option. 

Opening Hours: Saturday to Wednesday 09:00 to 19:00, Thursday and Friday 09:00 to 18:00.

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian. 

The Settlement Centre – Landnámssetur Íslands

Source: The Settlement Centre

Borgarnes is home to a museum that is dedicated to the experience of the first settlers. It is situated within two of the oldest buildings in the town and also has an onsite restaurant. 

The Settlement Centre Restaurant offers delicious daily meals and snacks with an aim to provide something that almost everyone can enjoy. It is situated on the spacious second floor of the museum, which makes it a great lunch stop for all who get hungry when they learn. They really do try to cater to as many different types of dietary requirements as they can and boast some great vegetarian options on their menu as well as a ‘wellness buffet’ that also includes lactose and gluten-free soups. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 11:30 to 21:00

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free.  

Hvanneyri Pub

Source: Hvanneyri Pub

Hvanneyri is a ‘no-frills’ pub that aims to provide great drinks, hearty meals and entertainment. Their menu is varied, including fish, meat, soups, salads, waffles, cakes, desserts and, of course, incredible pints. 

Once the kitchen is closed, this venue often becomes a party hub for locals and tourists, with musical acts brought in from other parts of the country and abroad to entertain those lucky enough to be in town. 

Opening Hours: Varied depending on the time of year. 

The Best Restaurants in Akranes

Akranes is another one of the larger towns in Iceland’s west. It sits on the Hvalfjörður fjord and offers impressive views of the water and surrounding slopes and canyons. It’s a very peaceful town, and the surrounding areas are sparsely populated. Akranes is also home to the highest accessible waterfall in Iceland called Glymur, which cascades down a massive 198m drop. 

Grjotid Bistro/Bar

Source: Grjotid Bistro Bar

Grjotið Bistro Bar is not the kind of establishment most people would expect in such a sleepy part of the world. The prime word to describe the cuisine on offer here is ‘fusion.’ Their menu combines two of the best international favourites, Asian and Mexican. They offer things like Mexican spring rolls; they also have coconut shrimp and burritos. 

For those who might not want to be as adventurous, they also offer burgers. Their entire lunch and dinner menu are very reasonably priced for Iceland, and they even have a vegan burger!

Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 11:00 to 23:00 Friday and Saturday 11:00 to 01:00 

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian, Vegan. 

Galito

Source: Galito

Galito is a family-style restaurant that has an upmarket look but prices that are on the reasonable scale. They have a wide variety of options available on the menu, so they’re a great option if you have many different tastes to cater to. 

They have simple favourites on offer as well as some decadent options like a truffle bearnaise steak sandwich. Their menu has main courses, pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and even vegetarian and vegan pastas. This place is a must for those who want to have a lunch or dinner with a bit of decadence like a luxury camembert, portobello burger while also catering to less illustrious tastebuds. 

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 11:30 to 21:00, Friday 11:30 to 22:00, Saturday 12:00 to 22:00, Sunday 17:00 to 21:00.

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian, Vegan.  

The Best Restaurants in Snaefellsnes

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the closest part of Iceland’s west to Reykjavík. Geographically the west of Iceland is much older than the rest of the country, so many places here have a huge variety of the landscapes available in Iceland, and this is the reason that Snæfellsnes is often referred to as ‘Iceland in Miniature.’ This is an area of the country that has a great sample of all the things you could see here but in a relatively small area. 

Bjargarsteinn Mathús

Source: Bjargarsteinn.business.site

Bjargarsteinn is a family-run and owned restaurant that has a very busy history. The building was originally built as a family home in Akranes in 1908; it was bought by a church in 2008 that sold it to a company that moved the house to Borgarnes. It later sat abandoned with a for sale sign on it until the current owners stumbled upon it and decided that it would be the best base for their family restaurant. They moved it to its current location overlooking the water and turned it into the beautiful venue it is today. 

Since 2015 they have been offering an affordable menu that feels like it was curated by a Michelin chef. They specialise in local ingredients, particularly seafood and regularly change their menu depending on the popularity and availability of ingredients. 

Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 18:00 to 21:30 

Dietary Options: Fish/Seafood. 

Sjávarpakkhúsið

Source: Sjávarpakkhúsið

Sjávarpakkhúsið is an incredible restaurant that combines a great atmosphere, a love for the sea and sustainability into a very unique experience. Their menu focuses on using ethically sourced local and seasonal ingredients to minimise carbon emissions. This part of their philosophy is so important to the owners that it has enabled them to receive status as a Nordic Swan Ecolabel Restaurant

Situated in an ideal location overlooking the Stykkishólmur Harbour, one of their greatest menu specialities is fresh seafood. They also have some classic side dishes with a twist, like rosemary french fries, as well as desserts, cocktails and an impressive wine list. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 18:00 to 23:00, Bookings essential. 

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian. 

Fjöruhúsið

Source: West.is

Fjöruhúsið is an adorable and cosy café that’s nestled into a hill, overlooking a quiet inlet of the bay. It’s a popular rest stop for hikers because it isn’t far from a frequently visited hiking trail. 

Their menu offerings are popular with visitors who crave home-cooked meals. They specialise in fresh bread, pastries, waffles, refreshments and seafood. Many travellers claim that Fjörhusið has the best fish soup in the area. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 11:00 to 18:00

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian. 

Narfeyrarstofa

Source: Narfeyrarstofa

Narfeyrarstofa has had many uses since it was constructed at the beginning of the 20th Century. It was originally a home for the local pharmacist’s widow to retire in. Later in life, it became a cosy café, but in 2001, two Icelanders bought the property and set their sights on turning it into a gourmet restaurant. 

Like many of the other restaurants in this part of the country, they are very proud of their seafood, and the menu reflects this love. They are also known for their fish soup, scallops, cod, lobster and monkfish. They don’t just stop with the seafood offerings; they also have some beautiful meat dishes and pastas. 

All of their food is impeccably served in an environment that is gorgeous but unpretentious and perfect for reflecting the adventures of the day. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 12:00 to 23:00 (booking recommended)

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian. 

Fosshotel Hellnar Restaurant

Source: Visitorsguide.is

The Fosshotel Hellnar restaurant is connected to a hotel, but you are welcome to dine there even if you’re not a guest. They pride themselves on offering incredible Icelandic dishes with modern twists using primarily locally sourced ingredients. 

Their location overlooks an ocean cliff, and out in the bay, orcas can be regularly seen frolicking in the waves. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 18:00 to 21:00 (booking recommended)

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian. 

Nesbrauð

Source: West.is

When you’re on the go, sometimes a humble bakery is all you need to tie you over, but Nesbrauð is more than just a humble bakery. This local business has a fantastic selection of breads, including delicious sourdough. They also have a great selection of baked goods and sandwiches. 

This is a great spot to stop for a coffee and a snack as you catch your breath from all the magnificent scenery of the west. 

Hraun

Hraun restaurant is located in Ólafsvík, just on the top side of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It looks like a large version of a traditional Icelandic summer house; this is the local version of a log cabin. 

The menu at Hraun has a focus on European and Scandinavian cuisine in a very warm, cosy and friendly environment. This kind of restaurant is often a favourite among Icelanders who are taking a summer break in the area because it offers great food at a reasonable price in a charming space. 

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 11:30 to 21:00, Friday to Sunday 11:30 to 22:00

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian, Vegan. 

Stapinn Café

Source: Stapinn Cafe Facebook Page

Stapinn Café is a nice mixture of fast food restaurant, café and international bar all rolled into one. It’s a quirky building that looks dwarfed by the volcanic rock mountain it sits beneath. In the quiet town of Arnarstapi, this is the kind of place a lot of locals frequent for some holiday comfort food. Their menu features staples like grills, burgers and soups, and they even offer takeaway if you are looking to enjoy some food in the comfort of your accommodation or sitting by the harbour. 

They have a nice deck to enjoy the midnight sun if the weather is nice or if you would like to rug it up next to one of their outdoor heaters while nursing a nice cold local beer. 

Opening Hours: Monday and Tuesday 09:00 to 20:00 Wednesday to Sunday 11:00 to 20:00

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian, Vegan. 

The Best Restaurant in Reykholt

Reykholt is one of the few geothermally active hot spots in the western part of Iceland. Because of this, it’s home to a lot of greenhouses used to grow local produce. For Icelanders, this town is quite significant because it was the home of Snorri Sturluson, a mediaeval writer who was the author of the most detailed collection of Norse folk tales called ‘The Sagas.’ Much of what we know about the beliefs of the Viking settlers of Iceland has come from Snorri’s work. 

Fosshotel Reykholt

Source: West.is

Much like its sister hotel, ‘Fosshotel Hellnar,’ this Restaurant is attached to a country hotel, but all visitors are welcome to dine; bookings are advised because the hotel will always cater to its guests first. Their menu is similar to Hellnar, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients, so the menu here does change and will sometimes be completely different from other Fosshotel restaurants around the country. 

They have a complete range of starters, mains, soups and desserts and aim to have something for all tastes. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 18:00 to 21:00 (booking recommended)

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian. 

The Best Restaurant in Mosfellsbaer

Mosfellsbær is known by locals as ‘the green town’ due to its lush green surroundings. It’s only a 15-minute drive from Reykjavík, so to most visitors, they probably wouldn’t consider it a country town, but to people that live in Reykjavík, you might need to pack a lunch for a trip there. Luckily you don’t have to because they have a great restaurant on offer. 

Blik Bistro & Grill

Source: Blik Bistro & Grill

The best way to describe Blik is to say it’s part country club, part sports bar, part reception venue, part local favourite. It’s a large building with an incredibly impressive view of Esja, the large mountain that overlooks Reykjavík. 

The menu at Blik has a lot of variety and covers just about all food needs, from charcuterie to snacks, to mains, pizzas, burgers, sides and, of course, drinks. This is a venue that many locals frequent, so the prices are competitive, and there’s often entertainment or events throughout the year. 

Opening Hours: Everyday 11:00 to 22:00 (kitchen closes at 21:00)

Dietary Options: Fish, Vegetarian, Vegan; they also have a Keto burger. 

Conclusion

There are so many fantastic options for feasting when visiting the west of Iceland. The best way to sample them is to just dive right in.

Keep an eye out in the future for the newest hot addition to the accommodation scene because it won’t be long till the luxury cabins of Panorama Glass Lodge will be ready to receive their first guests. This is a fantastic part of the country with so many things to see that staying in accommodation that capitalises on the views while also providing privacy will create an unbeatable experience you’ll never forget.  

Enjoy a Night Under the Stars