It’s 1.45am. You’re drunk, stumbling down a damp Reykjavík street wearing someone else’s coat, shouting incoherently about the Danish. What you really need is something to eat, to soak up the alcohol and bring you back into the harsh folds of sobriety. See below for our top picks of late night food in Iceland’s capital.
See also: Culture Tours in Iceland
Heralding from Syria, the individuals behind Mandi—Iceland’s premier Arabian eaten—have introduced the Icelandic population to new realms of gastronomic pleasure.
Masterfully-crafted shawarma wraps, an advantageous spot on Ingólfur Square and no end of smiling customers has long cemented Mandi as one of the Icelanders’ favourite choices for grabbing a bite.
Depending on your tastes, Mandi’s shawarma wraps can be filled with chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, lamb and falafel, all of which is marinated in delectable Arabic spices.
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Prepared quickly, these chunky and nutritious meals are bagged ready for takeaway, or for chomping down in Mandi itself. Do note that the dining area is small, comprised of little more than ten bar stools, but the room quickly fills with customers. At the weekends, tipsy patrons of Reykjavík’s nightlife often find sitting to eat in Mandi a welcome respite, so expect company.
One mighty recommendation is Mandi’s hummus. Paired with their delicious pita chips, this quick snack is one of the most flavoursome choices on offer and, more often than not, is purchased extra alongside a wrap to complete the Mandi taste experience.
Lækjartorg Food Trucks
Moving from Austurstræti to Bankastræti, or vice-versa, on a Friday/Saturday night will reveal a gypsy camp of food trucks, each offering different tastes and cuisines for revellers.
See also: Nightlife in Reykjavik
Bitabíllinn hamburgers have a bad rap given their flat shape and greasy meat. I, however, have always considered this the correct burger form, reminiscent of Burger King, McDonald’s or Iceland’s very own Aktu Taktu and Block Burger. Bitabíllinn is true to what a burger should be; sloppy, dirty, naughty, served with a side of delicious self-loathing perfect for the next hangover.
The Lobster Hut, another staple of Austurstræti, should not be confused as a must-eat spot for lobster, but will undoubtedly appease those looking for a fresh bite of shellfish late into the evening. The Lobster Hut, particularly, has a reputation for providing Iceland’s tastiest, but unhealthiest salad, given its abundance of sauce.
Another common sight is the iconic Vöffluvagninn, otherwise known as The Waffle Wagon. Serving up warm, Belgian-style waffles, patrons can choose between the traditional Icelandic style—whipped cream and strawberry jam—or American stylings with Nutella and maple syrup. Without a doubt, one of the more sumptuous, soul-enriching choices one can make on their way back home.
Undoubtedly a guilty pleasure, Nonnabiti is famed for its packed sandwiches and generous helpings of secret Nonni-sauce. Given the shredded meat, condiments, thick bread rolls and abundance of veg, we only recommend Nonnabiti after dancing—never beforehand!
Visitors to Nonnabiti are in two minds; some claim it to be reasonably priced, the perfect blend of Subway, Togos and Quiznos, while others find it too unhealthy or expensive for their liking.
One thing is for sure; you’ll make up your mind after trying it!
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur Hot Dogs
The iconic Icelandic hot dog is a must-eat for visitors to Iceland, not just for its novelty, but for its instantly recognisable taste. Expect queues around the corner as visitors to this good island line-up for their own sample at Bæjarins Beztu, the capital’s iconic hot dog stand.
See also: Top 10 Things to Do in Reykjavik
Remoulade, lamb sausage, fried and raw onions, mustard and ketchup all culminate into an authentic late-night snack that is difficult to beat, and even harder to compare. As a cultural hangover of the American occupation of Iceland during the 1940s, Icelanders have adopted and transformed this culinary staple, one that now acts as a foodie’s intermediary between both cultures.
If you’re looking for a more thorough write-up of these bunned sausages, please read Icelandic Hot Dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur | Review.
Located on Ingólfur Square, Hlölli is the ultimate guilty pleasure following a drunken night out. Because of its prominent position on the west side of town, locals often argue the pros and cons of Hlölli when compared to the similar outlet, Nonnabiti.
Hlölli hs been in business for more than thirty years and is considered a staple of the city’s fast food scene. Bread is baked fresh each day, and toppings and fillings are sourced locally. Aside from that, Hlölli’s secret sauce adds a curious, yet lip-smacking mystery to every meal, drawing customers back week after week, night after night.
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According to a review on Tripadvisor, Hlölli is considered “the unofficial hangover cure in Iceland”. Given the drinking sessions I’ve engaged in since living in Iceland, plus the semi-successful, food based remedies that have followed, I’m disinclined to argue with this conclusion.
The Deli & DeVito’s Pizza
Pairing these two pizzerias could be considered somewhat controversial, like combining anchovies and pineapples on an open Italian pie.
However, the similarities between The Deli & DeVito’s Pizza outweigh the differences; both offer full pizzas and cheap single slices, making them equally convenient when walking through town, and both offer a wide variety of choice.
See also: The 7 Best Pizza Places in Reykjavik
Regarding their location, DeVito’s can be found by Hlemmur, the city’s major bus station, while The Deli is found further down the city’s main shopping street, Laugavegur.
DeVito’s is a touch more expensive at 750 ISK a slice, as opposed to The Deli’s 550 ISK—970 ISK for two slices, 1350 ISK for three—but they do offer more sauces and a more comfortable area in which to eat. The Deli may top the board, however, thanks to its full-on devotion to Italian cuisine; alongside pizza, they offer pasta, baguettes, lasagna and paninis.
What are your favourite late night snacks in Iceland? Do you have any particular recommendations? Make sure to contribute your own thoughts and questions in the Facebook comments below.