Eating in Akureyri
Although less than a fifth the size of Reykjavik, Akureyri is home to a burgeoning culinary scene which would entice even the most ardent foodie. With Icelanders becoming more and more well-traveled, their refined tastes have demanded more variety back home, and it's no longer unusual to find spicy Indian curry, a perfectly poured latte, and freshly caught seafood all within a block of one another. If you have a taste for something, there's a good chance Akureyri has it - with an Icelandic twist of course.
Located right along the main avenue and within easy walking distance of most accommodations, Rub23 focuses on fresh ingredients from local fishermen and farmers. And whether you have a taste for sushi or a tender cut of beef, this trendy yet laid-back spot can fit the bill. For those a bit more daring, we suggest sampling their unique take on surf-n-turf. The bright red exterior ensures you that you can’t miss it, but keep in mind this also means that an open table can be hard to come by without a reservation.
For something more lowkey, Bryggjan offers tasty, quick bites without all the frills. Here you can grab a juicy burger or one of their specialty brick oven pizzas for around twenty bucks - not a bad value considering Iceland's generally steep prices. If you want the most value for your dollar, swing by during lunch hours for the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. Beyond the bargains, its allure also lies it its location: the restaurant is housed within one of the oldest houses in Akureyi, at 144 years and counting!
The most gastronomic experience in town (along with the most stunning views) can arguably be found in the heart of the city center at Strikid. Located on the top floor of an office building, the cozy décor and friendly service welcome guests while the diverse cuisine both dares and delights their taste buds. On a warm and sunny evening, it’s also the perfect place to take in the scenery along with a cocktail or two. As for the menu, expect combinations ranging from coconut chili steak to mango date chicken.
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Cafés & Coffee Shops
If its delightful blue siding and colorful red roof don’t lure you in, the scent of freshly baked bread coming from within Bláa Kannan surely will. Situated in the town center, this Akureyri staple serves outstanding coffee, delicious cakes, as well as a variety of light fare all day. At nighttime, the atmosphere shifts to a more relaxed coffeehouse vibe, perfect for those seeking a place to chat or a nightcap after a day of skiing on the nearby slopes.
Located in one of the oldest homes in Akureyri, Kaffi Ilmur is as much an appetizing stop as it is a historic one. Once a saddler’s shop, the property became a goldsmith's before the original owner’s descendants restored the property, converting it into a two-story eatery. Upstairs the cafe serves healthy, wholesome lunch options intended to delight and fuel its customers. Downstairs, visitors can find more traditional Icelandic and savory treats as well as drinks. If you are lucky enough to have a sunny day, we recommend the outdoor tables which are pleasantly sheltered from the chilly sea breeze.
A local favorite for brunch, Berlin Akureyi is a small but charming café just a short stroll from the main square. With delicious coffee and daily fresh baked goodies at a reasonable price, it’s an idea locale for people watching or mingling with the locals. For early-birds, it is one of the few places in town open at 8 AM - perfect for getting a solid start to a busy day. If that isn’t reason enough to swing by, the friendly staff and willingness to accommodate dietary restrictions (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, etc.) should do the trick.
Bars & Nightlife
Although it may be Akureyri’s trendiest bar, it certainly doesn’t look like it from the outside. Don’t let the traditional exterior full you though. With its perfect location on the main shopping street and outdoor beer garden, Götubarinn is a haven for live music and craft brews alike. And while you may not be looking to stay out until 3 AM (when this venue normally closes) rest assured there are still plenty of cozy nooks to have a conversation or listen to some jazzy tunes on the house piano.
You might not notice right away, but Icelanders love their soccer and beer. It's not surprising then that Ölstofa Akureyrar, a downtown bar, offers an English pub feel with over forty types of beer and as much live coverage of British soccer matches as you can stand. If sports aren’t your thing, don’t worry: it’s still the perfect spot to chat with mingle with locals and visitors alike. And if you happen to br traveling solo, there's always a friendly face willing to start a conversation.
Though definitely not the most spacious place in town, there is a good chance it is the liveliest. With a great selection of international and local brews, along with friendly staff who know their way around a whiskey selection, you’re sure to find something to delight your taste buds at R5. And while the design may look like a cross between IKEA and 70s backwoods bar, this dive has certainly heard its share of travelers’ tales and local folklore.