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That Girl Away

Hi friends! As promised: this post is all about how you can save money on food while you’re in the most expensive city in the world: Reykjavik. Or at least it’s about how I never paid more than $20 for a meal while in the most expensive city in the world.

Let’s get straight into it, shall we?

Money Saving Tips: 

  1. Buy the breakfast at whatever hostel or hotel you’re staying at. It will likely be a lot cheaper than what you’d get elsewhere. Places also open on the later side in Reykjavik, so you might also not have many options. I paid $11 USD each morning at my hostel to have a croissant, juice, and yogurt with granola. This ended up being a wise choice. Even though $11 for breakfast might sound like a lot to Americans, even New Yorkers, you won’t find a $2 croissant truck on the corner, so $11 for lots of choices is worth it.
  2. Drink the free coffee and skips the cafes: I’ll assume that most hostels and hotels have free coffee in the morning. At least mine did. I also brought a reusable travel mug with me so I’d always be able to take it with me when I was done eating and wanted to leave. I think I often spend a lot of money when I travel in cafes that are cute and whatever, and this time, I just didn’t care. I was honest with myself that I don’t really like the taste of coffee so it wasn’t worth it to spend $6 on a latte everywhere I could. I did, however, go into one coffee shop while I was there, a local chain called Te and Kaffi – and I ordered a cappuccino (not sure if I ordered nut milk or not) and I saved 40 krona by bringing my own cup. Score!

These are really my only two tips when it comes to saving money in Iceland on food. So, let’s see how I did during my four days in the Most Expensive City on the Planet:

Day 1: I arrived later in the day so I didn’t eat breakfast.

Lunch: I spent $13 on an Indian curry bowl with lots of fresh veggies and spices, and rice, etc. at this vegan fast-casual joint a few blocks from my hostel called GLO. Thirteen dollars is pretty standard for what you’d pay for a bowl in NYC, so I was surprised and happy when the charge came through on my card.

Dinner: I’d seen a vegan YouTube couple go to this vegan place called Veganese a couple of months ago and I’d started following them on Instagram (the restaurant). The couple said it was complete junk food but it was the food highlight of their trip. My digestive system was a little thrown off by the time difference and the extra gluten that I’d been consuming after 1.5 months off gluten so I went easy on myself with a bowl of the “seitanic chili” and a slice of bread with vegan cheese on it. I took the crispy seitan pieces off the top of the chili (those are straight gluten) and the chili was really good! I was happy. I had a few bites of the bread and tried the vegan cheese, too, but since I was trying to be nice to my digestive system, I decided that fake cheese wouldn’t help much. But the chili was ace! I think most of their food would’ve been amazing, although greasy and fried, if I’d been able to try it. This was the second most expensive meal I had while in Reykjavik and it cost $18.49.

Day 2:

Breakfast at the hostel: Yogurt with fruit, granola, and jam, orange juice, and a croissant. Total: $10.93.

Lunch: I was on the Golden Circle tour this day and although I’d intended to bring food with me, I couldn’t find anything to take to-go that wasn’t full-on bread, so at one of the site stops I bought a veggie and cheese sandwich that I ate very slowly. I also bought chocolate milk because chocolate milk is always my go-to when I need to stay full. This sandwich and milk cost $10.98.

Snack: We visited a farm/ice cream shop/hotel/restaurant and I decided to just try the ice cream because the cows that were in the barn directly next door looked pretty so happy so I thought it would be pretty fresh and GMO-free. I couldn’t find the charge on my card but I think this ice cream cone cost something like $5-$6.

Snack #2: We stopped at a bakery on the way back into Reykjavik and I bought a brownie that looked pretty dense and like it was probably GF. It cost $3.63. I ate part of it but I was too full to finish it and then by the next day it was pretty dry.

Dinner: After relaxing a bit and touring through the Icelandic Punk Museum (as you do), I stopped into this vegetarian restaurant called Gardurinn. Their menu is very, very limited. They make one soup and one dish every day. You can buy a full-size serving of both, one or the other, or a half size of both of them. I ordered a half size of both dishes as I was pretty hungry. The soup that day was some kind of carrot/potato soup, I think, a piece of bread with homemade hummus, and a plate with some Morrocan potatoes, side salad, and a piece of spinach quiche.  The half servings were MORE than enough. This meal cost $18.49, which beat out Veganese’s total by $.10 but it was totally worth every penny.

Day 3:

Breakfast at the hostel: Yogurt with fruit, granola, and jam, orange juice, and a croissant. Total: $10.93.

Lunch: As I mentioned in my post about Kattakaffihusid, their menu is entirely vegan, so I chose to eat lunch there. My stomach had been feeling a bit better and I was quite hungry, so I got avocado, tomato, and cheese toasted on some bread. It was delicious. Then I topped that off with some vegan tiramisu. This was all very healthy, obviously. This meal cost $18.25 and all the money goes back to helping rescue cats, so I think it was definitely worth it.

Dinner: I was determined to find a veggie Icelandic hot dog before I left and the tour guide from the walking tour that I’d taken (thanks, Eric!) had told me the name of a place that served them called Hlemmur Food Hall, to a counter at a place called Skal!. I sat at the bar seating (my favorite place to sit) and ordered a vegan Icelandic hot dog and a side of crushed potatoes. It was delicious and it cost me $13. I was in heaven.

Day 4:

Breakfast at the hostel: I feel like a broken record. Yogurt with fruit, granola, and jam, orange juice, and a croissant. Total: $10.93.

Lunch: I didn’t want to eat at any of the same places twice, but I gave up after walking around for a while and decided to go back to Glo because it was easy. I ordered the vegan burrito and it wasn’t spectacular, but it was way better than any vegan/vegetarian burrito I’ve had in the states. It cost $8.02.

So, there you have it. That’s how I managed to spend under $150 in four days on food – vegan and vegetarian food, for that matter – in the most expensive city in the world. I spent $141.65, to be exact.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was proud of myself. 

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