On our first night in Reykjavik, having made no food-related plans, we asked the front desk lady at our hotel for some recommendations. Eateries in Reykjavik can get busy (it was a Saturday evening) and EXPENSIVE. Actually eating out anywhere in Iceland is not cheap, so we were curious to see what a local would recommend. She clearly read our minds and immediately suggested a ‘food court’ instead of a proper restaurant. Being big London food markets fans we were totally up for it and headed to Hlemmur Mathöll.
Located at the edge of the city centre and very close many hotels, it is the perfect place to grab a first meal in Iceland after a long (or in our case rather short) flight.
We immediately felt at home when entering the venue. It is very similar to many trendy food markets we have in London except that it is fully covered and weather tight. It was barely 5 degrees and windy that night, and we were only in September, but it was lovely and toasty inside.
Hlemmur Mathöll isn’t huge but it has enough options to make pretty much anyone happy. You can grab tasty soups, Asian food, organic food and much more.
I fancied a first taste of Icelandic food and went for an open sandwich with roast beef and egg on rye bread. It was delicious and very satisfying for the smaller appetite I had that night.
Andrew ordered a burger. It may not sound very Icelandic but actually, throughout our journey across the country, we saw these a lot on menus, even in the most remote places. He was one happy chap!
Hlemmur Matholl has also many bars but alcohol is expensive in Iceland; as it is the case in most Scandinavian countries. It was our first night in the country too, and with a busy day ahead of us we stayed reasonable and shared a beer. I don’t know much about beer myself but Andrew is a bit of a beer snob and thought it wasn’t the best. I still drank my complete half – you know me.
For dessert, we shared nitro ice cream. You read that right! The flavoured cream is poured in a Kitchen Aid and nitrogen is added to turn it into iced deliciousness. We went for salted caramel and liquorice, a very random mix I have to admit, but both flavours were excellent!
So if you are on a budget for your Iceland trip but do not want to compromise on flavours and food quality, check out Hlemmur Mathöll. With its very European food market atmosphere and many options, you won’t be disappointed!