Monday, 3 April 2017

The Reykjavik Food Walk Tour Iceland

Iceland is a country known for it's 'worse' food options, think rotten shark, 'black death' vodka and boiled and singed sheep's head, so it was with a little trepidation that I booked a Reykjavik food walk tour of the city with Mr W on our recent visit.  

Of course, I needn't have worried as I also knew that Iceland is known for its amazing fresh fish, seafood and tender lamb too. 

The Reykjavik Food Walk tour is an authorised food tour by the Iceland tourist board and is run by local foodie enthusiasts.



We met our tour guide, in front of Harpa the concert hall at the harbour.  You can't miss it if you are a tourist as it's pretty spectacular. Our guide was spectacular too, and you couldn't miss him either, Kjarnan, was tall with a great long red beard, and round Harry Potter glasses. 


our guide Kjarnan
So after our introductions, the small group departed from Harpa to our first stop at The Icelandic Bar.

Now before the tour, I had prepared myself. Information sent out from the company gave us the weather information which was very handy as Iceland's weather is notorious for being very changeable.  I also came hungry as the food tour is approximately 4 hours in length and includes a number of stops at local restaurants.  


lamb soup

At our first stop at the Icelandic Bar, we tried the lamb soup. It is the type of soup that grandmothers pass down through generations and consists of root vegetables, chunks of lamb and a gravy. Sometimes with this type of soup barley or oats are added although this variation did not have any. The soup was totally delicious, full of chunky piece of tender lamb. It reminded me a little of the Welsh soup Cawl. Accompanying the soup we were given lots of lovely bread. 

Lambs roam freely in Iceland and you will find lamb on most restaurant menus. If you go to Iceland and you eat red meat be sure to try the lamb dishes.

After our lamb soup, we moved to our next stop at Osta Budin.




Osta Budin deli

Osta Budin is well-known as an excellent delicatessen in the centre of Reykjavik, It also has a highly recommended restaurant attached which is number 3 on Trip Advisor for restaurants in Reykjavik.


meats and cheeses in Osta Budin

Here we had a chance to try a selection of meat and cheeses. Kjarnan explained to us these are local cheeses and cured meats, and there may be one or two things that are slightly unusual here. So what did we get that was unusual... smoked goose and cured horse that is what?! Now I'm an adventurous soul and years ago I tried horse in Franch so as the saying goes, in for a penny, in for a pound and I tried the lot. The horse tasted a little like beef, I wasn't too keen on the texture though as it was soft, the goose, however, was delicious and reminded me of smoked turkey.  The cheeses were very good, all different - a blue cheese, a harder Gouda-style cheese which was particularly tasty and a soft brie style cheese. Apparently, they only use cows milk to make cheese in Iceland and Kjarnan stated they are missing a trick here.

The little deli is a treasure trove of local delicacies and I would certainly recommend a visit if you are in Reykjavik.


Hallgrimskirkja

The next stop was Loki, a well-known restaurant that serves Icelandic food near Hallgrimskirkja, the iconic church for which Reykjavik is known.

Now rye bread is found everywhere in Scandinavia and Iceland too, and the ice cream we were to try on this foodie stop was made of rye bread. 

Rye bread ice-cream 

They make the ice-cream by caramelising the rye bread to get the right sweet flavour and it certainly showed in the taste.  With little chunks of rye bread in a smooth creamy ice-cream, it was an interesting flavour and had a great texture. Topped with whipped cream and caramel sauce I would definitely recommend trying it if you have a sweet tooth.  Loki is also a place good for trying the more unusual and traditional Icelandic foods as mentioned previously.

Before our next stop, we had a little history lesson from our guide, all about Norse gods. Kjarnan really knew his history and was a well-read and knowledgeable guide. I had to throw a little curve ball in here and asked him a question - was it true that many Icelandics believe in elves? At this point, Kjarnan laughed at me as said that is a load of nonsense, so that put me right. I told him I saw an 'elf school' on the travel show Travel Man and Kjarnan said that the owner of the school is, how can I say, a little unhinged!


Mr W and the infamous Icelandic hot dog

Onto our next stop. Now as food in Reykjavik is so expensive, the next item had to be the famous Iceland hotdog, the cheapest and most popular street food in Iceland. The stall we stopped by was well-known as Bill Clinton stopped here on his visit to Iceland. and is called Bæjarins Beztu Pylsu, which translates to best hot dogs in town.  We were told to have it with 'the works' this consisted of a ketchup sweetened with apple sauce, a sweet brown mustard, crispy onions and a remoulade that was sweet and a little sour. These hotdogs are made with lamb and were incredibly yummy. Were they much different to the hot dogs you get in the UK? Probably not but I think the extras all added to the flavour and they are a cheap street food for the Icelandics, as a sandwich can cost £10 in a cafe. These hotdogs were around the £3 mark.

Seabaron

Next stop was the Seabaron, a well-known restaurant on the harbour and at this point, we were getting full! 

Icelandic seafood soup

Here we were given a bowl of Icelandic seafood soup. The seafood soup reminded me of Tom Yum soup from Thailand, and we were told this is because coconut milk is added to this recipe. The soup was rich and tasty but did not really have any seafood in it except for a very small piece of lobster. Lots of bread accompanied the soup.

The Sea Baron is a rustic restaurant and here you can have the infamous rotten shark or hákarl which is actually fermented shark, not rotten shark. One to try at a later date! We also learnt here from our guide that beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989.

Just before our last stop, we were given a Skyr dessert. Now Skyr is made with curds from milk and is thought of as yoghurt but is actually made like a cheese. The dessert though tasted like a thick creamy yoghurt and was lovely.

Mr W trying Skyr

Our last stop was Apotek, a fine dining restaurant. It used to be a pharmacy in the past. Here we were given coffee and dessert. The dessert was outstanding, a beautifully presented concoction of chocolate, raspberry and lemon. The menu here looked really interesting and this would be a place for a special occasion meal for sure.

beautiful presentation at Apotek

Finally, before we left we were given a parting gift of a bar of chocolate called EITTSETT, which has a layer of liquorice on the top. As I am not a fan of liquorice I kept this as a gift for my son.

We both thought the Reykjavik Food Walk was a really great introduction to Icelandic food from street food to gourmet food. Our guide was funny, interesting and really made the tour entertaining. Vegetarians are catered for, and other dietary needs so be sure to contact them in advance to explain any issues. As Mr W doesn't eat much red meat he was offered vegetarian options. 



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The Reykjavik Food Walk costs 13900 ISK, which is about £100. Yes, it is costly but everything in Iceland is. If you are a foodie though it is certainly worth doing. If you want a laugh, learn about the history of this beautiful country, and orientate yourself to Rekyavik do it! The best thing though is that you won't go home hungry. We really loved Iceland, it is a beautiful country and the Reykjavik Food Walk was a brilliant afternoon in the capital city. 
Highly recommended.

Why don't you check out some of the highlights of the food tour below from my travel blog Fly Drive Explore? If you want to find out more about Icelandic food read Kavey Eats A Guide To Icelandic Food




The Reykjavik Food Walk
Austurstræti 17, 
101 Reykjavík 
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24 comments

  1. Wow what a great experience! Some of that food looks absolutely amazing!

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    1. It was a fun experience and finding out about the history of the food was great too.

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  2. That ice cream sounds really unusual - I'd love to give it a taste! Sounds like it is worth the money to me!

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    1. The ice cream was really amazing, it tasted so good, and had some texture too.

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  3. WOW this looks like an amazing way to spend 4 hours! The puddings look delicious :) x

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  4. The Rye Bread ice cream looks incredible as does the selection of cheeses! I would love to try that ice cream though x

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    1. The ice cream was superb and really different too.

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  5. Now this is my kind of tour!!! It looks amazing, I am super jealous!

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  6. It sounds like a bargain. to me, considering how much for you got - and I know everything in Iceland is expensive anyway! When I went I tried puffin and the horse too, and whale! Didn't try the rotten shark though, it smelt way too bad!

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    1. Yes when you consider you get a tour and it was a long tour too and so much delicious food then it did feel like value for money. A sandwich cost me £9 in a cafe, everything is at least double UK prices.

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  7. Sounds like a great tour to do if you're into your food. I'm jealous that you got to visit Iceland, it's my dream to go there some day.

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    1. It was amazing, we are gong back in the Summer now!

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  8. So many amazing sights, flavours and experiences! How cold is it as that always puts me off a little :)

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    1. It wasn't as cold as Krakow and in the Summer the weather can be really lovely

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  9. This certainly looks like a fab experience. I might have to add it to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. What a great experience, I think I need to go on a food tour!

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    1. I adore food tours! They are so much fun and you get to taste amazing food too - what's not to love!?

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  11. Wow I like the sound of Iceland. The tour sounds fab.

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  12. Wow, that Hallgrimskirkja building is stunning. I so want to go to Iceland but we have booked Lapland now......maybe next year

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    1. That church was beautiful. Iceland is really worth visiting Kara

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  13. The food looks much better than I thought. I'd heard it wasn't very good. A food tour sounds like such a good idea x

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    1. The food in Iceland was amazing Kerry. Lots of independent restaurants

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  14. I'd be in my heaven there as I'm a pudding type of girl, I always look at the sweet menu before the main!

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  15. Everything looks really yummy. I have always wanted to visit Iceland

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