Eating Vegan in Iceland
Posted in: Travel
I recently heard a fellow vegan say that it was difficult to eat vegan in Iceland if you go outside of its capital, Reykjavík. I am here to tell you that this is not true! A few months ago, I took a road trip around the western and southern coasts of Iceland, and let me tell you, you will not go hungry if you leave the city!
The Keflavík International Airport may be your first stop for food. The convenience store, 10-11, has to-go items that are vegan. The to-go sandwiches have “vegan” spelled out right on the label. (Also, side note: You can pick up a portable WI-FI hotspot here. This is what we used to access Google Maps and to figure out where to eat—even when we were “in the middle of nowhere.”) There were several decent places in the airport that had vegan offerings. The restaurant, hjá höllu, has vegan pizza and sandwiches clearly labeled. There are also salads, smoothies, and juices. More sandwiches, juice, etc. can be found at Joe and the Juice. If you couldn’t tell by the name, Joe and the Juice has coffee beverages, too! The drink that I had my heart set on could not be made vegan, but many of the other drinks can be made vegan. Mathús House of Food carries to-go items. Some of the food here can also be found at 10-11. There are sandwiches labeled vegan. There are a couple other spots in the airport that also looked promising, but I did not check them out.
Okay, let’s get to the real food. Vík í Mýrdal (or just Vík) is a remote seafront village in south Iceland. While here, we had one of the best vegan burgers at Smiðjan Brugghús. And the fries were out of this world! The Soup Company was another awesome restaurant. It always has a vegan soup of the day. When I went, it was an Indian soup. It also has all-you-can-eat bread. Based on other vegan blogs I found, the bread is indeed vegan. If you are skeptical, feel free to ask the restaurant before ordering. There is butter you can get with your bread, but I assume that is not vegan. The bread tasted awesome on its own and dipped in soup! The supermarket, Krónan, mentions its vegan-friendliness on its website. It had to-go sandwiches that were labeled vegan, as well as the VEGO brand vegan hazelnut chocolate bar. I may or may not have had a VEGO bar and a banana for breakfast.
We also spent time in a little town called Borgarnes. The roads were not the greatest due to the weather, so we didn’t explore much. There are a few restaurants, and the one was a pizza restaurant, but I didn’t check to see what was vegan. We got all our meals from the grocery store instead. I believe there are two supermarkets in this town, Bónus and Nettó (and some small specialty stores), and both have vegan options (besides produce, of course). We shopped at Nettó. The selection was overwhelming! So many vegan meat and cheese options! More Violife and Oatly brand products than I have ever seen in the United States. Lots of other vegan goodies, too. Even found some bread that was labeled vegan. We were pleasantly surprised that this tiny town had so many vegan options in its supermarkets.
We did stop in Reykjavík for one meal. Tons of vegan options here, of course. Even all-vegan restaurants. But I just wanted to mention the restaurant that we visited. The chain restaurant, Gló, is sometimes labeled a vegan/vegetarian restaurant, but I learned that it also has meat options. Just beware if you end up eating there. It is super-duper vegan friendly, though. It looks like one of the locations may be all-vegan, but not the one we visited. We got a Mediterranean wrap and Indian bowl. The cashier may ask if you want to add “oumph” to your meal. I never heard of this, so I declined. I Googled it later and learned that it’s sort of like tofu. It’s a versatile, 100% plant-based protein. So, try it! The location we visited also had a bakery inside the restaurant, called Brauð & Co. I only saw one item labeled vegan, but there may have been more. I did not purchase anything here. Just snapped a photo of the beautiful pastry-looking thing.
This was my second visit to Iceland, and certainly not my last. If you can get around on your own and have access to the Internet, you will have a very delicious trip across this beautiful country! I found that vegan items were better labeled than they are in the United States—both in supermarkets and on restaurant menus! Enjoy!