Budget Restaurants in Reykjavik
Finding a highly rated, cheap place to eat in Reykjavik is more challenging than finding a cheap place to eat in America. There are not cheap alternatives like most people are used to, which came as a surprise to me even after doing hours of research. Here are the average prices that we saw based on a lot of price comparisons:
Cheapest possible sandwich: $10.00 from a convenient store
Cheap eats: $15 - $20 per meal
Typical bar food: $20 - $40 per meal
Typical restaurant: $30 - $60 per meal
The cheapest option for eating in Reykjavik is the same as in the US, cooking it all yourself! We went to the grocery store day 1 and purchased our usual breakfast foods and snacks- eggs, bread, cheese, pretzels, and chips. We also actually brought nuts and bars with us from home which we ate for lunch each day. This easily saved us a couple hundred each.
For eating out, we recommend the following best budget meals in Reykjavik (in no particular order):
Icelandic Street Food
Top cheap eats in Reykjavik recommendations:
Icelandic Street Food
Icelandic Street Food is one of the newest restaurants to the cheap eats scene in Reykjavik and you have to check it out! The simple, rustic décor, passionate owner, and enthusiastic tourists created a lively atmosphere here! The owner walked around and spent time talking to all of the guests (including us), making sure we were enjoying our meals and overall experience. He walked around offering customers free samples of an Icelandic classic- fermented shark! My sister tried it... never again, but certainly a fun experience! AND there are FREE REFILLS on soup! That is right, free refills at this cheap dinner option in Reykjavik. You have to be in the mood for soup when you eat here though since that's everything on the menu- lamb soup and seafood soup. They also have free brownies and carrot cake for desert!
I tried to convince the owner he has to start an Instagram account, but that is still in the works. The owner cares about his customers and the experience and that is something to truly value in a town of not so great service and overpriced everything. He's also opening a bar next door that we look forward to hanging out at on our next trip to Iceland! His dad owns a bar down the street as well, clearly it runs in the fam! Click here for their official website.
You would never guess when you walk in that Mandi's has incredible Middle Eastern food to offer! Located right in the city centre, it simply looks like a little convenient store with counter seating around the perimeter of the small space. I ordered the Chicken Kebab and my sister ordered the Fish Kebab (Catfish). Both were great portions with the meat and fish seasoned and cooked perfectly in spices. We also ordered fries- always a good idea. Mandi's in downtown Reykjavik is a great cheap option for a quick bite! We also noticed this seems to be where a lot of locals stop to grab food. We ate there on a Friday night, the small space was filled! Click here for their official website.
This is another great, cheap seafood alternative located near the harbor. Despite being a burger joint, a meal will still run you about $20 USD. As it was nearing the holidays, the small place was decked out with Christmas decorations. We sat at the bar which is a great spot to watch the small team behind the counter crank out food to keep the line moving. There also seemed to be a consistent stream of locals coming in here as well, always a good sign! Click here for their official website.
We consistently saw this pop up on review sites and cheap eats lists, so we knew we had to try it! There was consistently a long line, and it appeared to be all fellow travelers. The portions were large and definitely delicious ramen, but the downfall was how disorganized it was when we were in there. They ran out of chicken and the staff did not seem to know how to prep more. The cost is about $18.00 per bowl . Overall we stand by the reviews we read, t's a great cheap eats spot in Reykjavik! Click here for their official website.
We stumbled upon this café one evening and recognized the name from cheap eats lists. They serve sandwiches, wraps, and also full entrees that won't cost as much as they do in other sit-down restaurants. The environment inside is simple and clean, but there is not as much of an atmosphere as you'll see at some of the other places on this list. I ordered the chicken wrap and my sister ordered the salmon entrée. She found the dish to be incredible. The salmon was cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth. The potatoes and vegetables that accompanied the salmon were seasoned and cooked deliciously as well. The chicken wrap was a relatively standard wrap costing about $15.00, the salmon entrée $26.00. Click here for their official website.
This eclectic café has one of the most unique atmospheres for budget eats in Reykjavik! I personally thought this was also one of the best soups I had in Iceland. I ordered the Lamb soup costing you about $16.00. There are no free refills on soup at Café Babalu. The inside space is cozy, warm, colorful, and filled with both locals and tourists. Click here for their official website.
This soup restaurant will definitely come up on every search for top budget meals in Reykjavik. The line is almost always out the door during peak times, but they turn tables very quickly. Unfortunately they do run out of soup and when it's gone, it's gone. We were sad to find this was the case after we were already seated. They were out of the meat soup and the other soup was a vegetable soup that did not appeal to us for around $16 a bowl. We therefore did not end up eating here, but really wanted to try it! Click here for their official website.