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Put Reykjavik Iceland on Your Wish List

As we start to wind down 2016, it might be a good time to reflect and think about what you’d like to see and do in 2017. This blog post caught my eye today called the “10 Places You Need To Visit In 2017” and #1 on Joana’s list was Reykjavik Iceland:

Maybe you already know that Reykjavik can be truly expensive but it looks so damn worth it!
This city full of colorful rooftops is surely in my travel wish list for 2017.
Is there any reason not to be in yours?

I visited Iceland for 1 week in 2013 with my high school buddy and can confirm, yes it is truly expensive and yes it is worth it!

Reykjavik Iceland - passport

Iceland Stamps on my fresh passport (September 1 to September 7, 2013) Keflavíkurflugvöllur = Keflavík International Airport


Save on Downtown Reykjavik

Because it was a buddy trip, we often cut corners on accommodation.  We just need a place to crash, nothing fancy. So, for the first time, we stayed in a hostel.  It worked out pretty good and it was right in the heart of downtown Reykjavik.

Staying in downtown was interesting. You always felt like you were in the middle of all the action, tapped into the pulse of the city. One of the things I liked most about it was random encounters with locals. Iceland is a friendly place. Strangers would literally just start having friendly helpful conversations with us on the street sometimes. We’re from Eastern Canada, so we are used to that sort of thing. But it felt weird and awesome to be on the receiving end, far from home.


Friendly Locals in Downtown Reykjavik

My buddy and I were doing our bewildered tourist thing, just paused on the sidewalk standing around trying to figure out what we should do for supper. Then a local walking by chimes in, “oh you guys want a really good place to eat, you should check out the Grillmarket, it’s just down here”.  So after a few questions and some back and forth we decided to check it out. I’m glad that friendly Icelandic eavesdropper helped us out with that. It was amazing.

I can think of a few other examples of friendly Icelander experiences we had but let’s stick to the food story for now.


Splurge in Downtown Reykjavik

Since we were going all cheap on our Icelandic accommodations, we decided it was time to go full out on an Icelandic food experience. Just reading the description on the Grillmarket website (Grillmarkaðurinn in Icelandic), you know they are cooking up something memorable:

Our aim is to work closely with local farmers.  We buy most of our produce direct from the farm.  They tell us what’s in season, then we cook the product our own special way and the customer gets to enjoy the end result.  Through our cooking we strive to highlight the origin of each product while using fire, smoke, fire logs and coal.  The outcome is an unexpected and exciting culinary treat for our customers where our Icelandic heritage and the modern age meet.

We bought the Taster’s Menu which is a sampling of MANY things for 2 people.  Our Icelandic food adventure begins.


CRISPY TRADITIONAL DRIED FISH AND SQUID – The dried fish comes from Tryggvi in the Westfjords.



Bread, butter and a little lava salt.



MINKE WHALE STEAK FROM HRAFNREYÐUR – Tender steak of whale with deep-fried mushrooms.


iceland - duck salad

Duck salad – Crispy cooked leg of duck from reynir at Hlíðarberg.


I Should Have Worn Stretchy Pants

OK, just so you know, theses are NOT stock photos from the restaurant website.  These are all actual photos from my vacation. See, here I am in the restaurant enjoying the duck salad above.


So by this time, the 2 of us have shared quite a bit of stuff. Are we done yet? No, not yet. They are bringing even MORE food for us to try out!


GRILLED PORK RIBS – Brushed with Grillmarket dressing and then gently grilled, served with honey and drizzled with chili cracker powder.



Grilled salmon with broccoli and fennel salad.



LAMB T-BONE – Crispy potatoes with garlic, carrot salad and bearnaise sauce.



Rib Eye Of Beef – The beef is slowly cooked to make it tender and then grilled just before serving.

Alright, we have reached dessert, I hope you have room for this (we barely did).


Potluck dessert – Includes The Grillmarket chocolate served with mascarpone sabayone, warm caramel and coffee ice cream


Is Iceland on Your Wish List Now?

Thanks for making it all the way to the bottom. The food was as amazing as it looked. Was it pricey? Yep. Was it worth it? Yep! I’ve only been to Iceland the 1 time and I need to go back. What you have just witnessed here is 1 evening in that beautiful country. I have so much more I could share in writing, pictures and video. Have you been there? Want to go there? Have an Iceland question for me?  Just let me know in the comments.

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