What are the best restaurants in Akureyri? Or the most popular local cafés? Where in Akureyri do you find the top restaurants and what food is special to Akureyri and the North of Iceland? If you are planning a visit to Akureyri and looking for what to eat, you are in luck, because you are in for a culinary treat!
I visited my hometown (yup! I was born in the North), Akureyri earlier this week. It was a true turbo trip as we literally stayed for less than 24 hours in town. The purpose of the trip was business and I am really excited to tell you more about that later … soon!
My parter in love, crime and a lot of eating, Dan from Wake Up Reykjavik joined me and we definitely made the most out of our short time in the capital of the North! We drove 759 kilometres, had a brief meeting, enjoyed the hot tubs in Þelamörk and ate at four different restaurants.
Here in this post I will share with you all of my best recommended restaurants in Akureyri. However, I’ll only begin with those that I visited for this short stay and I’ll keep on adding to the list with my next visits. I’m expecting another trip in the next few weeks so stay tuned!
UPDATED 24.05.’17 !!!
I’ve been so lucky to visit my beautiful hometown again already and this time it was even a special trip, solely about food and restaurants! I’m working on a really, really exciting project here in Akureyri which I’ll tell you more about later. I have done more research on the restaurant scene in Akureyri and now I have tried most of the ones that I am excited about.
I have updated previous recommendations and added new ones!
– Restaurants in Akureyri –
BRYNJA ice cream shop
Alright, this tiny little local ice cream shop simply has to be on the top of this delicious list of places to eat in Akureyri as this is always the first place I visit when I enter the town.
It is basically an amazing home made & secret recipe MILK ice cream, served extra cold! Just remember to ask for the old ice cream! Since I remember myself, this has been my most favourite ice cream in all of Iceland. And without any further hyping-up, I’ll leave it as that!
You simply have to visit.
Price: Brynja is an ice cream shop and ice cream is definitely not expensive. But warning: Be prepared to spend more money than you planned for as you may keep visiting again and again! x)
Rub 23 is a beautiful and unique, fine dining restaurant in down town Akureyri – Focusing on Asian / South American fusions of ingredients from Icelandic fishermen and farmers. Although serving steaks and a good selection of different cuisines, the signature is seafood & sushi.
Personally, I have to say that I was surprised with the quality of Rub 23. We went for their “Ultimate Food Festival from chef Einar and the team” as their first tasting menu is called and everything was absolutely amazing! We decided to visit Rub 23 as this is the locals favourite. We asked a few friends and colleagues from Akureyri before our trip where to eat and almost every single one mention this as the go to place for a brilliant meal.
We enjoyed six cuisines and were incredibly HAPPY and full afterwards. If you want to treat yourself with a fine dining meal in Akureyri, I can easily recommend RUB.
Price: It’s a fine dining restaurant and is priced like one. The price is the same as in Reykjavik. Fine dining restaurants in Iceland are quite expensive but Rub 23 is definitely worth it if you want to enjoy a great dining expereince!
“The friendliest place in Iceland!”, this is the heading of the most recent review Kaffi Ilmur has on Trip Advisor right now, as the moment of when I am writing this. Maybe that says it all?
Kaffi Ilmur is currently the #1 restaurant in Akureyri on Trip Advisor and is located in a super romantic & authentic building in the heart of Akureyri. If you will find yourself walking the main street of Akureyri, you cannot miss it. And just stepping inside will feel like going 100 years back in time and a selection of beautiful home made cakes will welcome you.
The building is from the early 1900s and today the granddaughters of it’s first owner, Ingimar run the restaurant in his old home. Kaffi Ilmur opens really early and closes late. And the restaurant is a mix, with a great café with home made cakes and pastries on the first floor but they also serve larger cuisines like seafood & lamb soups on the second floor. Plus, they serve their famous lunch buffet during the day which is what most local visit for!
I personally only had a cheese platter here so I’ll share with you more details after my next visit 🙂
Fantastic lamb soup! Every single family in Iceland has their own recipe for lamb soup and this one definitely does the job. Yummy! Delicious soup, good bread and again, the atmosphere in this Akureyri gem is what makes the restaurant absolutely unique. My only regret is that I haven’t yet had the chance to try their homemade cakes … however, they look amazing and I must believe the looks speaks for itself!
Price: Cakes and pastries are for just less than 1000ISK, coffee goes for approx. 500. All of this is very basic and a common price for cafés in Iceland.
So, let me explain my experience like this:
Usually, I walk into businesses like restaurants, bars, hostels, shops etc. and I think and discuss with my friends how I would or could improve the business. Wether it would be minor improvements with service, cuisines or presentation or if I see any large potential changes that could make the business significantly better.
And it doesn’t happen often but after my lunch experience at Akureyri Backpackers I simply knew that they are doing everything right.
The location is perfect. The interior and atmosphere is clever & unique. The price was reasonable and even though we only had a classic brunch, the food was great. And for future guests, it seemed to us like they just might have awesome parties at night as well haha! We were really fond of the overall concept and that is why I definitely want to recommend Akureyri Backpackers, wether it’s only for their food and great resturant or for a budget accommodation as well.
Price: Not expensive!
This time I got to visit another of the locals most favourite restaurants in Akureyri. Along with Rub 23, Strikið is the best fine dining restaurant in town.
The setting at Strikið is outstanding. Although being right in the heart of Akureyri the restaurant is hidden in a “penthouse-like” lounge on the 5th. floor. Not only is the restaurant stylish but they also have an incredible balcony where you can enjoy the best of summer and my mind immediately started to imagine the craziest parties under the midnight sun that could and probably do take place there when the weather is nice.
I was so lucky to get to have a word with the head chef, Garðar which got my completely sold with his passion. The kitchen focuses on Icelandic food and local ingredients. I can’t wait to visit again and enjoy their set menu.
This time I had the fresh catch of the day which was salmon and Tanja & her friend had a lobster tempura sushi roll. Everything was beautiful and tasted heavenly. I definitely recommend Strikið and when the sun is out it should be your no.1. destination in Akureyri!
Price: I imagine they must be priced as most fine dining restaurant during the evenings but their lunch was really not expensive at all. I was very happy with the quality vs. price.
Bakaríið við Brúna
… or simply a local bakery!
Friends and family from Akureyri had all recommended this local bakery. I’ve been to this place probably hundred times when I was younger but I hadn’t visited for a long time. There are a few bakeries in Akureyri but I can confirm that “Bakaríið við Brúna” are very good in what they do!
An outstanding selection of unique pastries, breads and cakes – Pizzas and the soup of the day is served in a home made bread bowl! Pretty cool and a really photogenic cuisine.
The location is a little off as they are located just outside of the main city centre but Akureyri is a small town so it’s just about 15 minutes walk and it’s hidden right behind the town mall, Glerártorg.
Símstöðin café / restaurant / juice bar ?!
Símstöðin is another restaurant that is located as much in the heart of Akureyri as possible – Right across the street from Café Ilmur and almost next doors to Akureyri backpackers. You won’t miss it! I don’t feel like I should be placing it on this list as something that you simply “must do” while in Akureyri but I can easily imagine that this might be one of the most frequently visited restaurants for locals. And if I would live here, I would definitely be a regular. Let me explain …
Símstöðin doesn’t look very unique to me and what they do seems to be exactly the same as a few other restaurants do in Reykjavik for an example. However, they are the healthy, not too expensive quick serve restaurant in town! They have a nice selection of fresh juices and smoothies, they have healthy sandwiches and super delicious “Gló styled” healthy cuisine buffet.
… They actually have pizzas and cakes / pastries on the menu as well. So they have a big variety on the menu.
Price: Not an expensive meal. But an healthy meal, woo-hoo!
Believe it or not but there are 48 restaurants in Akureyri … a small town of 18.000 people. So both you and I have a big mission ahead of us to crusade a list of the best restaurants in Akureyri! I will continue to visit my home town regularly so I’ll keep this list updated and don’t hesitate if you have any suggestions!
For your information, here are other Akureyri restaurants that I know will find their place on this list in the future: The cocktails at Múlaberg, Götubarinn bar, Örkin hans Nóa seafood restaurant and the Akureyri hot dog stand. And hot dogs are the same everywhere in Iceland … except in Akureyri!
Until next time, I wish you happy eating 🙂