One of the world’s most expensive cities for travel, Reykjavik can be heartbreakingly costly. And while prices have mellowed since Iceland’s economic crash several years ago, the capital city can still make Paris seem like a budget-friendly destination. With that said, seasoned travelers know that every destination—no matter how pricey—holds some value travel gems, you just have to know where to look. And that’s exactly what we are going to show you. Here are our favorite Reykjavik dining spots that will give you that much coveted value edge on your next trip to Iceland.
Bill Clinton, James Hetﬁeld of Metallica and Anthony Bourdain all love Iceland’s most famous wiener, and for good reason, it is delicious. But it’s just not foreign celebrities who love these hot dogs, locals are huge fans of Bæjarins Beztu too, often referring to them as the Icelandic national food. The hot dog will set you back about $3 and it can be topped with ketchup, fried onion, sweet mustard, raw onion and/or remoulade, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish (Tryggvagotu 1, Reykjavik 101, Iceland +354 864 7839).
This mellow gastro pub inside the KEX Hostel is a favorite among locals and the backpackers who call this place home during their stay in the city, and not just for the local beer on tap. Saemundur i Sparifotunum prides itself on its seasonal menu fueled by local ingredients—and Icelandic staples, like succulent lamb, fresh ﬁsh and dairy products, as well as cheeseburgers made with free-range Icelandic beef and Isbui cheese (Skulugata 28 | T561 6060, Reykjavik, Iceland).
When you can find a spot in Reykjavik that offers a weekday three-course lunch special for roughly $12, well then you just have to shout it out to as many people as you know (or put it into a travel story). Even if Krua Thai wasn’t a great value spot, it would be still be popular, as it dishes up all the popular Thai dishes that we’ve come to love, like panang curry and pad thai (Skulugata 28 | T561 6060, Reykjavik, Iceland).
With its nice selection of seafood and sea birds, plus a sweet nautical decor, 3 Frakkar is the spot to come for authentic Icelandic cuisine. While certainly not the cheapest spot on the list–main courses average about $30–the portions are a good size and are usually complemented with vegetables, potatoes and rich sauces (Baldursgata, 14, Reykjavik, Iceland 552 3939).
Fish lovers take notice, Icelandic Fish and Chips is for you, especially if your budget is more economical than luxury. While the ﬁsh on oﬀer changes daily (yes, it’s that fresh), regular oﬀerings include cod, haddock, ling, wolf ﬁsh, Pollock and red ﬁsh. Pair the ﬁsh with a side of oven-grilled potatoes and one of the many varieties of ﬂavored mayonnaise, and you have yourself a delicious plate of awesomeness (Tryggvagata 11, Reykjavík, Ísland 511 1118).