Roll call of flavour: A taste of the Westfjords

They say the best way to get to know a place is to eat it.

The distinctive taste of the fruit, the warmth of traditional sweets and the aroma of free-range meats infused with local herbs will tell you amazing stories of heritage, culture, survival, creativity, and love.

The cuisine of the Westfjords is distinctly Icelandic but with a few twists here and there which every foodie will discover to their delight. Free-range lamb and some of the freshest fish you will find in the world dominate the menu. Fresh local herbs like the Arctic thyme, local kelp and sea salt; Icelandic barley and wild Icelandic mushrooms elevate the experience. The baked goods are distinctive, coupled with homemade jams like rhubarb and blueberry. And in the autumn, wild berries are plentiful and find their way on to the table in myriad preparations.

As the saying goes: think global but eat local! In that spirit, here’s a count of some of the finest eateries in the region – in alphabetical order 🙂

Cafe Dunhagi in Talknafjordur

More than just a café, this place is a cultural centre that specialises in local cuisine. Located in one of the oldest buildings in the fjord, the cafe boasts of a wonderful collection of old photos that tell of the people, their lives and their grit to survive. Plus, the hostess simply loves telling stories – so it’s the perfect place for a flavour of local culture and history amid nature with a variety of music (the hostess loves good old country music but you’re sometimes welcome to be the disc jockey).

Various fish, lamb and vegetarian preparations spiced with the freshest local herbs and accompanied with homemade breads and desserts; they also have a great selection of wines and beers. So be it coffee, lunch or dinner, any time spent at Café Dúnhagi is time well spent!

Sveinseyri, Tálknafjörður
+354 662 0463

Heydalur – Organic, Local Food in Mjoifjordur

An old barn that has been reborn as a restaurant, as part of a wider hotel and farm-stay accommodation centre, the Heydalur menu features lamb from the farm next door, wild blueberries and mushrooms from the valley, home-grown fruits and vegetables, and locally caught trout and salmon. Most significant is the location- a detour off the main road in the middle of nowhere!

Come, let Stella and Gisli’s cooking do the talking. And while you’re waiting for your food, they have a geothermal hot spring that is perfect for a dip and complimentary for guests. Say hi to Kobbi the African grey parrot while you’re there!

Heydalur 401 Ísafjörður
+354 456 4824

Jötunn in Arnardalur

In the somewhat unlikely surroundings of an old barn on a rustic farm, with spectacular views of Ísafjörður town just over the fjord, you will find Jötunn—a hidden gem and new addition to the local food scene.

True gourmet food, served with warmth, imagination, and a sense of humour. The menu is extensive, and the sushi is regarded as a particular highlight.

+354 546 6666

Kaffi Nordurfjordur in remote northern Strandir

A lovely restaurant with stunning harbour & mountain views, serving fresh fish & soup and other traditional Icelandic delicacies.

Nordurfjordur is one of Iceland’s remotest villages and one might expect that it’s lone restaurant might perhaps not try too hard.
But their standard remains excellent and a meal here is an unmissable stop on any journey to remote northern Strandir.

524 Árneshreppur
+354 451 4034

Kaffi Sol in Onundarfjordur

This place is a favourite with the locals and with good reason – great views of one of Iceland’s prettiest fjords and a taste of local specialities.

Lump sucker fish with rye bread; smoked lamb and flatbread; and Icelandic crepes with rhubarb jam are just some of the goodies you can find at this little cafe.

Season time is mid-May to mid-September.
Neðri Breiðadalur, 425 Flateyri
+354 866 7706

Waffles at Litlibaer in Skotufjordur

For some of the most memorable waffles in Iceland, walk into Litlibær in Skötufjörður – the nicest place to enjoy an afternoon cuppa coupled with a little tour of the property for a touch of history.

Built in 1895, this warm and welcoming turf roofed farmhouse was lived in until 1969 and is today taken care of by the National Museum of Iceland and, together with the well-preserved ruins around the house, will give you an insight into life back then.

The charming hosts serve up some truly memorable waffles, blueberry cakes and other desserts that you can chase down with coffee. The views are some of the best and you may be lucky enough to watch some seals frolicking in the fjord.

Open from mid-May until mid-September. If you’d like to visit out of season, we can check if it’s possible to arrange a time in your itinerary.

Stukuhusid, Patreksfjordur

In the heart of Patreksfjörður, overlooking the fjord, this local restaurant is a great place to dine in the southern Westfjords.

Pride of place is accorded to the speciality of the day with freshly baked bread and assorted goodies – all homemade, of course, along with jams made of rhubarb and fresh berries. For starters, you have a choice of salmon or the soup of the day. Main courses offer a selection of fresh fish of the day, fillet of lamb or rib eye with roasted potatoes, vegetables and pepper/béarnaise sauce. There is an assortment of light dishes for a quick meal, and they also make their own chocolates.

The season is from roughly 1st June to September 30th, though September has shorter hours.

Aðalstræti 50, 450 Patreksfirði
+354 456 1404

Fish at Tjoruhusid

Many claim that it is Iceland’s best fish restaurant, and we’re not about to disagree. A family-owned setup in one of the oldest wooden log houses in Iceland, dating to 1781, there is atmosphere in spades here. They stand out for the fact that they only serve the catch of the day (which explains the absence of a pre-decided menu).

During peak season, especially for dinner, they offer a buffet with a delightful fish soup and a variety of fish including cod, plaice, halibut, red snapper and wolf fish, served with different kinds of side dishes. Be sure to sample the traditional Icelandic plokkfiskur (creamy fish stew).

The delicious food and the rustic charm of dining there is not something you’re likely to forget soon. They have flat prices for buffets and lunchtime and in the evening. Booking is advised. Tea, coffee, and chocolate complimentary.

Neðstikaupstaður 1, Ísafjörður, Iceland
+354 456 4419
Open from around Easter until October (exact dates are random). Since they’re usually full, reservations via phone, Facebook or email are a good idea!

A note of caution though: Dates and timings change from year to year and the restaurants could be closed on certain dates, so it’s best to double check and also book in advance.

In addition to the above, we offer extremely honourable mentions to:

  • The wonderful “French” café at Rauðasandur in the south of the Westfjords
  • Café Riis in Hólmavík, for its cosy atmosphere, local beer, and great pizzas
  • Galdur Restaurant at the Witchcraft and Sorcery Museum in Hómavík, for its quirky surroundings and homemade fare
  • Víkurskálinn in Bolungarvík for having taken an old petrol station and turning it into a fun diner with brilliant burgers
  • Einarshúsið in Bolungarvík for its enormously filling pizza and its fascinating history
  • Simbahöllin in Þingeyri for its Belgian waffles and its great coffee

We can customise any of our trips to add in local insights on food. So if you want to taste your way around the Westfjords or Iceland, just send us an email and we’d be happy to share our favourite places with you!
After all, the holiday of your life is only scripted on a full stomach.

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