The vegetarian’s guide to Reykjavik

Not too long ago Iceland was a difficult place for you to travel as a vegetarian. Most restaurants served lamb, fish or seafood, and vegetables were an expensive import. Things have changed though and life’s a lot easier if you’re a vegetarian, especially in Reykjavik. More vegetables are grown in Iceland now using heat from the island’s volcanoes, so you’ll find more variety along with a growing number of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants.

Most restaurants in Reykjavik will have at least one vegetarian option on the menu, which is usually pasta, an omelette, veggie burger or salad. If you’re looking for a bigger choice then try Klapparstígur’s Cafe Garðurinn. This is Reykjavik’s only totally vegetarian restaurant and has a small menu with two different dishes each day. You’ll find things like coconut vegetable curry, spinach lasagne or couscous and roasted vegetables.

Health food restaurant Gló has a couple of branches in Reykjavik. At least half their menu is organic and they have four different dishes each day, one chicken, one vegetarian, one raw and one soup. They also have a salad bar and it’s great if you love desserts, with specialities including their raw cakes. The Lifandi Markaður organic grocery store on Borgartún has a deli and juice bar, and does a couple of different vegetarian dishes each day, like stews, curries, quiches and salads.

If you want to try traditional Icelandic food without the shark and sheep’s head, then try Bankastraeti’s Lækjarbrekka. It’s a beautifully restored house that was built for a Danish merchant in the 1830s. The restaurant specialises in local cuisine and although the menu isn’t all vegetarian they always have a couple of dishes that are. They use a lot of Icelandic produce so you’ll find things like smoked barley with tomato and broccoli, or potato and chickpea croquettes.