r e y k j a v i c r e s t a u r a n t
g u i d ec r o w d e d w o r l d
It might be a cliche to say so, but no visit to Iceland is complete without the devouring of at least one pylsur (like Terry, you can take home as many as you like). For budget travellers, hot dogs are a cheap way to fill up, and you can find them anywhere -- service stations on lonely roads out on the lava plains in the interior, or little stands in the heart of the city on pulsing weekend nights. At least one budget travel authority went so far to report: "Pizza, bagels, and hot dogs -- yes, we are talking about Reykjavik. Winter in Iceland brings a welcome drop in airfares, but the restaurants remain expensive." The author, Valur Gunnarsson, goes on to write: "Whether it's due to the cost of importing or the lack of competition, nothing comes cheap in Iceland." Hot dogs are however available for only about 200 Kronurs, and they taste far better than what their monetary value would imply.
According to the Icelandairwaves 2006 site: "Icelandic hot dogs are like none you've ever tasted (eds. note: for starters, they are usually made of lamb, not pork or beef). Just because they are the favorite foodstuff to grab after last call doesn't mean they aren't worth savoring. Get one with crunchy onions. In fact, get one with everything. It's the goo that makes it good."
Elaborating further on just why Icelandic dogs are so good, Lennart Regebro (a Scandinavian hot dog enthusiast) says: "There is one thing that only Icelanders have gotten right when it comes to the hot dog. They put the onions in the bread, glue it there with mustard and remoulade, stick the sausage in on top of this and top it off with ketchup. (The people who really know what they do use SS Mustard and Gunnars Remulaði). Gluing the 'topping' to the bread makes the icelandic hot dogs easy to eat, even with large amounts of onion. The meat in itself is usually quite bland, but this doesn't matter much since it's usually cheap. 100 Icelandic Kronas ($1.40) for a hot dog with 'everything' is a common price. (Thanks to Kári Davíðsson for the brand of remoulade)." If you want to compare Icelandic dogs with those of the Scandinavian countries, go visit Rennart's site.
Aðal Braut: Víkurbraut 31 | 240 Grindavík | Sími: 426 7222 | Web: adalbrautin-e.ecweb.is/fyrirtaekid/.
If you travel around Iceland, sooner or later you will find yourself dining at a gasoline station such as this one, which might be the only place serving hot food for miles and miles around. It is pretty much the classic Icelandic gas station, serving classic Icelandic road food: think hot dogs, sandwiches which fall apart in your hands, fries and little tubs of ketchup and mustard. Featuring a grill, ice (this being Iceland after all), candy and Cola... what more could you want if you were in Keflavik? This is Iceland food at its most basic and while it might be junk and bad for you, it tastes so good and fills you up!
Bæjarins Beztu: Pósthússtræti | 101 Reykjavik | Sími: No phone.
The hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur are often said to be the Icelandic national food (see my comments above for confirmation of this!) Bill Clinton has dined here, as has Metallica singer James Hertfield.
Facing the harbor in a parking lot, this tiny but famous fast-food hut is famous for serving the original Icelandic hot dog; one person serves about a thousand hot dogs a day from the window. Ask for AYN-ah-med-UTL-lou, which will get you "one with everything": mustard, tomato sauce, rémoulade (mayonnaise with finely chopped pickles), and chopped raw and fried onions.
This is one of my favorite places to refill when doing the runtur on weekends. The last time I was here, I joined the queue with two Australian girls I had been hanging out with -- one of them only five-foot-tall but kind of cute, and I had the feeling she liked me. It was about 3am; the sky was white (this being late June). Gulls wheeled raucously overhead. A wind blew. Abruptly, while I was standing there, the guy serving the hotdogs announced that there were only five left (and there twice that many people in the line!) They had sold out! Out of desperation or merely a desire to flirt with foreigners, this stunning blonde Icelandic girl grabbed me from behind and said: "Are you going to fight for me? Are you going to fight to get me a hot dog before they are all gone?" And as she wrapped herself around me she added something like: "We Icelanders are so crazy, aren't we?" I have to concur with that. And if you want to see crazy Icelanders at their craziest, visit the lines on weekend nights at Bæjarins Beztu... either under a swirling aurora or milky Midnight Sun, you can't go wrong.
Brautarstöðin Grill: Ármúla 42 | 108 Reykjavík | Sími: 588 3090 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brautarstöðin is a combination of a fast food restaurant, ice cream shop and the typical Icelandic ,,sjoppa" (candy store). The fast food is fast and rather good and the price is also rather good. The atmosphere is brilliant, lots of magasines and newspapers, plastic bugs on the walls, nice pictures of trains everywhere (Brautarstöðin means in english; The Train Station), and usually there is a movie, TV show or more..
Nonnabiti is the top manufacturer of what more advanced cultures call submarine sandwiches. It closes later than most restaurants here, which means 2 a.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. weekends, so it's a favorite of pub crawlers. (Get a dollar off before 1:30 p.m.) The big, greasy boats have a unique taste due to Nonni's sauce, which he invented--only he and his wife, Björk (no, not her), know the recipe. Try the lamb or fish boat ($10), or a holiday boat, with smoked pork, if you're in around Christmas or Easter. Hafnarstr誥i 11, 011-354/551-2312.