Are you wondering where to eat in Reykjavik during your stay in Iceland’s capital? Where can you find the best cheap restaurants in Reykjavik? Read on to discover the best affordable restaurants in Reykjavik.
Photo above by Ilya Mashkov
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Iceland is a relatively expensive place to visit because it's an island with a tiny population that relies heavily on imported goods and raw materials.
Thankfully, eating cheaply in Reykjavik is more than possible, though it takes some navigating and prior knowledge to find the best deals. Many of the best places to eat in Iceland are in Reykjavik, and many are affordable.
If you’re on a budget or, hell, just broke, there are still some Reykjavik restaurants that balance delicious menu options with affordable prices.
These options will certainly help you enjoy your stay in Reykjavik without becoming lightheaded with hunger.
Reykjavik has something for everybody, especially traditional Icelandic cuisine. However, it won’t cater to you if your favorite dining establishments happen to be McDonald's or Burger King, which you'll not find in Iceland.
International cuisine is prevalent and varied, while traditional Icelandic food is readily available and authentically prepared.
If fine dining isn’t your cup of tea, the numerous street vendors will surely tempt you with an easy to prepare snack without pulling too hard on the purse strings.
Check out our hand-picked suggestions for the 10 best cheap places to eat in Reykjavik below.
Best Places to Eat in Reykjavik
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina
Mandi is a corner shop and small restaurant in the center of Reykjavik, with a menu designed for the traveler on a budget.
Since opening in 2011, it has consistently delivered on its promise to provide authentic Syrian food for a reasonable price.
It serves a wide range of shawarma, falafel, and hummus dishes that are affordable, filling, and delicious.
There's some casual seating within Mandi, but you can also order meals to go.
Despite being a small fast-food venue, the family-run business has a reputation for warmth and hospitality.
It also caters to larger groups for great value, making it a perfect place to consider for those having a wedding, party, or similar event in Iceland’s capital.
No doubt, due to its centrality in the city, Mandi tailors much of its business to those spending a night out in Reykjavik’s bustling bar scene.
It's trendy among locals, who know it as a reliable place to fill the stomach and stave off a hangover.
Because of this, however, it's not always open during the day, so check the opening times below to ensure you don’t miss out on your affordable and sumptuous falafel wrap or chicken shawarma.
- See also: Nightlife in Reykjavik
Address: 3b, Veltusund, 101 Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
9. Devito’s Pizza
Photo by Jordan Nix
Devito’s first opened its doors in 1994, offering the people of Reykjavik a chance to indulge in quick and easy, delicious pizza slices.
Back in the day, Devito's was housed in an outside compartment only a few square feet (meters) in size, providing just enough room to shield their customers from the harsh Icelandic elements.
In 2004, Devito’s moved up the road into its current premises at 126 Laugavegur, just off Hlemmur Square.
Advantageously situated in the direct eye line of the city’s commuters, Devito’s does a healthy business, especially on the weekend nights when patrons sit inside in a hungry bid to sober up.
Address: Laugavegur 126, Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Friday - Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
8. Krua Thai Cuisine
Photo by Raphael Bernhart
This choice is not quite to the glorious standards of Ban Thai, but cheaper, and therefore has earned itself a place on this list.
Having lived on a Thai island for a few months, I hold a special place in my heart for the country’s delicacies, and, I must say, Krua Thai does not disappoint.
One of the best things Krua Thai offers is a large variety of menu options. Patrons can choose from classic dishes like Thai-style Panang, Pad Thai, Tempura, and spicy noodles.
The restaurant also has takeaway and delivery options and happily accepts walk-ins without prior booking.
Given the reviews, Krua Thai has an excellent reputation for its friendly customer service.
Address: Skolavoroustig 21a, 101 Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 11.30 a.m. - 9.30 p.m.
Saturday: 12 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Sun: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
7. Icelandic Street Food
Photo by Erik Mclean
If you're unsure what to eat in Reykjavik, there's no better place for affordable local cuisine than Icelandic Street Food.
This casual-feeling Reykjavik restaurant's claim to fame is that it’s the first place to serve traditional Icelandic food using the approach of fast-food restaurants.
The menu is simple, but whatever you order, you can't go wrong. The restaurant serves its scrumptious traditional lamb soup and shellfish soup in bread bowls, making them filling meals.
You can also choose their tasty fish-stew with rye-bread on the side, which is about as Icelandic as a dish can get.
As a sweet treat, they serve typical Icelandic pancakes and hjonabandssæla, a cake whose name translates to “Marriage Bliss.”
Icelandic Street Food is a family-owned operation, which adds to the authenticity of the culinary experience.
They even use recipes from the founder's grandmother, and Icelanders know nothing is as delicious as food made by an amma (the Icelandic word for grandmother).
The restaurant is in an extremely convenient location, downtown, and it's within walking distance of all Reykjavik city-center attractions.
You don't have to walk far for drinks and entertainment after your evening meal. Conveniently, right next door to Icelandic Street Food, you'll find the Icelandic Craft Bar, where you can try some excellent craft beers. Afterward, you can then head downstairs to the Secret Cellar comedy club, which has free comedy shows every night of the week.
Icelandic Street Food is a lovely spot for lunch in Reykjavik, a nice dinner meal, or even a tasty treat between meals. You'll be hard-pressed to find local delicacies of this quality at the same reasonable price anywhere else in the capital.
Address: Laekjargata 8, 101 Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Daily: 11:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
6. Bio Borgari
Bio Borgari is a new burger joint in Reykjavik, adding further passion to the nation’s penchant for sizzling beef patties.
Unlike other fast food outlets across the city, Bio Borgari specializes in offering a healthier alternative, using only organic products or those that have been sustainably farmed.
In 2015, two cuisine-loving brothers, Vifill and Ýmir, looked to find a new burger restaurant.
The brothers’ commitment has paid off 2 years later, with a new Reykjavik restaurant formally opened for business.
In true organic style, the brothers were responsible for almost every aspect of the new establishment, from the ingredients used and the cooking methods employed to the restaurant’s interior decoration.
This attitude towards health and entrepreneurship comes from the brother’s childhood; "Using ingredients grown organically, for us, is the default way to show nature and the resources that Mother Earth has. We can not just take; we must also give back so we can create balance, be constructive and live in harmony with the environment.”
- See also: Iceland's Troubled Environment
Address: Vesturgata 12, 101 Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Monday - Wednesday: Closed
Thursday - Friday: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.
5. Grandi Matholl
Photo by Markus Winkler
It prides itself on its diverse dishes and its traders' authenticity and seeks to rejuvenate Iceland’s street-food industry.
At Grandi Matholl, you can get everything from traditional Icelandic lamb and smoked meats to Vietnamese delicacies, revitalizing soups and juices, to gastro-style takeaway food.
There's also an ever-changing pop-up truck, where up-and-coming chefs with a passion for street food bring a brand new flavor to the hall.
There's a range of prices throughout Grandi Matholl, though most are reasonably priced for Reykjavik.
The food hall is particularly recommended to groups and families with diverse dietary desires or requirements. No one will have to compromise, and everyone can grab a plate from their favorite menu.
Address: Hverfisgata 76, 101 Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Daily: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
4. Cafe Babalu
Photo by Ziko van Dijk
Cafe Babalu is known for its eccentric and eclectic interior decor, surprisingly delicious cheesecakes, and hospitable staff and atmosphere.
The cafe has 2 levels, leaving plenty of seating room. The decorations make the establishment appear smaller, leaving a cozy, some-might-say claustrophobic atmosphere.
Cafe Babalu is instantly recognizable from its bright yellow paintwork, artistic exterior, and second-floor balcony.
People traveling to and from the Hallgrimskirkja church, Reykjavik's most iconic landmark, will almost certainly pass it, making this an excellent stop-off for a light lunch.
The cafe also serves sandwiches, soups, and coffees.
- See also: Gay Iceland | All You Need to Know
One drawback of Cafe Babalu often cited is its small menu. Visiting the cafe more than 3 times during your visit will most certainly exhaust it. However, that’s not to say your enthusiasm will diminish. Quality over quantity, after all.
Cafe Babalu is also known as an LGBT-friendly cafe. Glenn Barkan opened the cafe in 2004 after moving to Iceland to marry his long-term boyfriend.
Address: Skolavoroustigur 22, 101 Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday - Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
3. Hlemmur Matholl
Hlemmur Square is the central bus station of Reykjavik, and for years the space was barely utilized.
Finally, in 2017, a long-awaited food hall was introduced and met with great enthusiasm: Hlemmur Matholl.
Hlemmur Matholl food hall provides a range of different flavors from 10 vendors, many of which you can purchase at a reasonable price.
For example, Brauo & Co. is an artisan bakery that serves a range of rolls and cakes, La Poblana focuses on Mexican tacos, Bahn Mi provides Vietnamese street food, and Jom Fruin serves Danish-style open-faced sandwiches.
If traveling on a budget, you are likely to be using the bus service anyway, so why not break up your travels with a delicious bite to eat? The vendors will have something for all members of your party.
Address: Laugavegur 107, 105 Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
2. Noodle Station
Noodle Station is a top-rated stop-off for guests and locals alike, serving large and cheap portions of one of Asia’s signature dishes, noodle soup.
More than anything, Noodle Station is an authentic, family-run restaurant whose owner, Charin Thaiprasert is of Thai heritage. According to urban legends, his noodle soup recipe has been in the family for generations.
The soup at Noodle Station quickly became a national treasure upon the restaurant’s opening in 2009 and is available with either beef, chicken, or vegetable. There are also, of course, a handful of secret ingredients.
One minor issue with Noodle Station is the establishment’s size. Given its popularity, finding a seat to eat your soup can be easier said than done.
Address: Laugavegur 103, 101 Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 12 a.m. to 9 p.m.
1. Ramen Momo
Ramen Momo is dedicated to providing some of the best food in Reykjavik, with such culinary treasures as ramen, dumplings, and many other delicious delights.
Regarding taste, texture, and presentation, Ramen Momo is authentic to its roots and was founded by Kunsang Tsering and his wife Erna Petursdottir in 2014.
The venture paid off, making waves immediately across the city, and even finding some diehard fans abroad (The Washington Post gave the restaurant a glowing review).
The 4 main dishes Ramen Momo serves are as follows: ramen noodles, udon noodles, momo dumplings, and steamed bun sandwiches.
Conscious of both the environment and healthy eating habits, the restaurant boasts the only organic noodles in the city. They always make their noodles in-house from locally sourced ingredients.
Ramen Momo will even offer a price discount for those who bring containers to the establishment, thus saving plastic and reducing costs.
One point should be made clear with Ramen Momo; this is a tiny noodle station with indoor seating for only 8 people.
There are sometimes an additional 2 seats outside, but all in, Ramen Momo is something of a standing-room, grab-and-go option.
That does nothing to deter anyone from the reasonable prices. One could order a Tonkotsu soup with Ramen noodles and pork for 14.55 USD (1890 ISK). Alternatively, one could buy a Kimchi Salad for less than 7.70 USD (1000 ISK) or 8 pieces of Japanese pan-fried Gyoza for 13 USD (1690 ISK).
In 2017, the couple opened Ramen Lab Reykjavik, a store that furthered the franchises’ devotion to Asian fusion by selling organic noodles, soups, and Japanese cooking utensils. These include wooden spoons, origami paper, ceramic bowls, and traditional chopsticks.
Address: Tryggvagata 16, 101 Reykjavik
Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Friday: 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Like many capital cities, it can be tough to decide where to eat in Reykjavik. Though Reykjavik, and Iceland in general, hold a reputation for high prices, you'll be able to find fantastic value food options if you do your research.
The list above provides our hand-picked suggestions for some of the best places to eat in Reykjavik. We’d love to answer your questions or hear about the experiences you’ve had with some of the best cheap eats in Reykjavik options in the comments below.
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