Celiac.com Sponsor (A1):



Celiac.com Sponsor (A1-m):


0
Pegleg84

Gluten-Free In Iceland

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Hey all,

 

I just got back from 10 wonderful days in Iceland, and thought I should report back on the gluten-free food situation.

 

Overall: pretty great! Staple foods in iceland is fish, fish, lamb, more fish, potatoes and veg. Mostly grilled, not a lot of deep-fried stuff. Bread tends to be served with meals, but usually on the side.

 

Gluten-free knowledge: everyone speaks English, so communicating isn't difficult, and most good restaurants know what you mean when you say "gluten-free". Reykjavik is probably the best, but we found great places in Akureyri and the middle of nowhere Westfjords too.

 

So, a few reccomendations: (keep in mind I can't do dairy or soy either, and my man is a strict vegetarian, so we mostly stuck to veg-friendly places)

 

Self-catering: Bring what you can with you, if possible. You will be able to find gluten-free pasta, etc, but it will likely be twice as much. Unless you're lucky enough to be passing by Silva, then baked goods are probably going to be a rare treat. I saw corn/rice crackers a few places. For fresh things, produce is slim pickings, and also quite pricey since much of it has to be shipped in. Smoked and cured salmon can be found packaged and ready to eat. Avoid things that have to be frozen (I brought ice packs for my cooler, but didn't find a freezer to put them in), though if it's cold out you can just put it outside and it'll chill pretty fast.

Bonus is the "discount" grocery store, some of which have gluten-free stuff but not all. Netto is more well stocked, and more expensive, but more produce and gluten-free stuff available. Here's a really great "food buying guide" http://www.iheartreykjavik.net/2013/07/the-ultimate-guide-to-food-shopping-in-iceland/

 

Reykjavik

Glo - fantastic mostly-vegetarian restaurant downtown. They have a few locations in the Reykjavik area. Cafeteria style, where you pick a main, and can have 3 salads. All their salads are gluten-free (no CC worries), and mains are labeled as gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. Oh, and great gluten-free crackers. We ate there twice, and the food is fantastic. Pretty cheap for Iceland, too.

 

Sea Baron - little fish place down on the harbour, where you pick a skewer of fish and they grill it up for you. Just tell them you're gluten-free.

 

Kol - this was the nice shmancy place we went to, a more modern take on Icelandic food (without the touristy whale gimmicks). We were tremendously underdressed and lucky to get a table. Gluten free was no problem, and they were able to switch out the buttery potatoes for another veg. Best lamb I'd had in... ever?

 

Reykjavik Chips - French (or Belgian) Fries. Just fries. Nothing else in the fry fryer but fries. Pick a mayo-based sauce. So good! it's a little takeout place packed mostly with students looking for a (relatively) cheap snack and a beer.

 

 

Akureyri - for Iceland's 2nd largerst "city", it's pretty small, and plan ahead if you're there on a Sunday, but they've got some good stuff:

 

Silva - about a 15min drive south of town, this place not only serves fantastic vegetarian and gluten free food, there's also a spectacular view of the valley. We ate here twice! Had the flat-bread "pizza" one night, and soup the other, but the real draw is the excellent gluten-free crackers, and fresh gluten-free bread! So good! I would have bought a loaf if we weren't travelling.

 

In town, if you don't have a strict non-meat-eater in tow, then the place to go is Rub 23, which is known as one of the best restaruants in town and in the country. They do sushi (I got some takeout. it was pretty good), as well as various meat and fish with your choice of rub. I didn't get to have the full experience here, but their gluten-free reputation is pretty good. 

 

On the main floor of the Kea Hotel, Mulaberg Bistro also looked promising in the gluten-free department (their soup, first thing on the menu, was listed and Gluten and Dairy free), though we didn't eat there it was probably where we would have gone for a more upscale dinner.

 

 

Westfjords - if you're brave enough to risk the crazy driving, it's worth it.

 

Isafjordur - we planned to have dinner at Tjorhusid, known as the best place in town and one of the best fish places in the country. I'd emailed them to check on their gluten-free capabilities (possibility of CC from the skillets they use, but they can do the fish without flour), but we didn't make a reservation so arrived to find outselves out of luck. Very unique place down on the harbour, long communal tables, smelled fantastic, but not this time.

 

Heydalur - instead, we had dinner at the country hotel we were staying at. Delicious! In the morning, they even made me gluten-free pancakes for breakfast, which I couldn only eat one of because they were so filling! Very gluten-free conscious, and vegetarian/vegan friendly too.

 

 

We also stayed in Stykkisholmur, which has a handful of nice restaurants, though the meal we ended up having was mediocre and dissappointing in comparison to the rest of the trip (go to Narfeyrarstofa for drinks, but the food does not live up to the pricetag)

 

Drinking!

is expensive, so choose your booze wisely. You can get wine and spirits from all over, but if you're looking for local, try the liquers (sweet but not too sweet) and schnapps from Reykjavik 64, be brave and have a shot of brennavin (carraway-flavoured schnapps, strong stuff but not as bad as it's "black death" reputation), or enjoy some really good local gin (try the barrell-aged, a bit of a golden colour). There's also local vodka, if that's your thing. I saw gluten-free beer at a grand-total of 1 bar, but it was gluten-removed, so no luck there. Everything is pricey, but they take presentation very seriously, so you'll get your precious cocktail or shot of gin in a lovely glass.

 

Coffee! It's taken quite seriously on the Island, and even machine-espresso isn't that bad. Reykjavik Roasters is the place to go in the city (they also have very nice nut bars as a gluten-free treat!). Some of the best coffee I've had, perfectly fine black if you can't have soy milk. (I saw almond milk at the grocery store, but no cafes had it). Te and Kaffi is the Starbucks substitute, available all over the country and pretty good. Anywhere with an espresso machine will make you a good cup of coffee.

 

 

 

So, that is my 10 kronor on Iceland. We were on the road much of the time, so I was snacking a lot for lunches, and only self-catered for a couple days. Overall, stick with fish and grilled lamb and you should have no problem. For vegetarians, things might be a bit tougher. There seemed to be a lot of "nut loaf" rather than tofu, but I'm not sure how many of those are gluten-free or not. Soup is another good option - fish soup if you can do dairy, meat soup in broth if you can't.

 

As far as I can tell, no glutening. Probably a bit more butter in a few things than I should have had. Plan ahead and contact restaurants/hotels in advance if you you have questions, but there's nothing to stop a Celiac from eating perfectly well.

 

Have you been to iceland? Add your suggestions!

 

Cheers!

Peg

 

 

 

 

 

 


~ Be a light unto yourself. ~ - The Buddha

- Gluten-free since March 2009 (not officially diagnosed, but most likely Celiac). Symptoms have greatly improved or disappeared since.
- Soy intolerant. Dairy free (likely casein intolerant). Problems with eggs, quinoa, brown rice

- mild gastritis seen on endoscopy Oct 2012. Not sure if healed or not.
- Family members with Celiac: Mother, sister, aunt on mother's side, aunt and uncle on father's side, more being diagnosed every year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter


Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):


Thank you, Peg, for this outstanding report.  Iceland is on my bucket list of places to go and this will help immensely!  I am glad you had such a nice time.

 

I really need to learn how to pronounce those names, though.  Icelandgirl needs to do a tutorial on Iceland-speak!  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Great info - we were there a few years ago, pre-diagnosis, and really want to go back so I will definitely try your suggestions.  

 

Icelandgirl - one of the things I mourned when I got my diagnosis was this wonderful sort of flatbread that wasn't crispy but was fairly thin.  I remember we bought it just at a corner small grocery near the center of Reykjavic.  Any chance you know of a gluten-free version of that bread.  It was wonderful!  Or at least what it was called, so my kids can try it?

 

Amazing, amazing country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Lol Gemini! I would love to do that.

Nikki...it sounds like you are describing flatkokur. Yum...my favorite with butter and cheese. My mom is headed to Iceland on Thursday...going to see if she can find out about gluten free ones. I've never found anything comparable here..even when I are gluten.


January 2014-Celiac

August 2014- Hashimoto's

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."

Bob Marley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Let's face it...anything is good when you slather it with butter and cheese........ ;)

 

Peg...I take it you rented a car and traveled around on your own?  Do they drive on the left or right?  Silly question but islands generally drive on the left in many places and I just was curious as I want to rent a car and explore independently.  I do fine driving on the left in Britain.  Travelzoo also does some nice packages to Iceland, in case anyone else is interested in going there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Yes, we drove around for 5 days. They drive on the right side. The paved roads and signage are really good, especially since you go up and around mountains all over the place. The dirt roads are trickier, especially when there's a cliff down to the ocean on one side, a blind hill in front of you, sheep on the side of the road, and so much spectacular scenery that you don't know where to look. No off-roads unless you have a 4x4 though.

 

The (gluteny) bread looked fantastic, and reports from my man is that it was equally delicious (jealous). Didn't see any of this flat-bread you speak of, but did pick up some nice corn "flatbread" crackers for the road.

 

All I can say is GO! Even if you just hang out in Reykjavik and go on a couple day tours. GO!


~ Be a light unto yourself. ~ - The Buddha

- Gluten-free since March 2009 (not officially diagnosed, but most likely Celiac). Symptoms have greatly improved or disappeared since.
- Soy intolerant. Dairy free (likely casein intolerant). Problems with eggs, quinoa, brown rice

- mild gastritis seen on endoscopy Oct 2012. Not sure if healed or not.
- Family members with Celiac: Mother, sister, aunt on mother's side, aunt and uncle on father's side, more being diagnosed every year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Thanks - that flatkokur may be it!  I look forward to hearing if there's a gluten-free version.

 

And as for a car, I recommend an SUV even if you're staying on the road.  We rented a little Opel and it was a bit frightening up on the windy mountain twists and turns.  We suddenly understood why everyone in Reykjavik seemed to be driving SUVs.

 

Wow - I love this thread.  Definitely makes me want to book that next trip!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Oh, man...nothing I like better than a challenging drive!  :lol:   Last October, my husband and I drove through the Hardknott Pass in England, which is considered the most difficult road in Britian.  It was spectacular!  I did not think it as bad as some said but we had a beautiful travel day and the road through that pass was better than many roads here in Massachusetts.  LOL!  I am used to sheep in the road and tricky driving from my British trips, though.  If anyone is interested in a trip to the Lakes District in England, I have a recommendation for a gorgeous flat to rent there that is very reasonable.  Very near to good gluten-free restaurant food and a grocery store with gluten-free supplies.

 

OK...you guys have me all revved up for a trip.  Does anyone know if there are any issues to know about if I travel in the fall or spring?  I generally do not like to do summer travel so spring or fall would be better.  Personally, I wanted to go in the winter to see the Northern Lights but my husband is becoming weather wimpy as we age so I have to pick a warmer time for travel there.  I cannot go this fall but next spring would be the next window I have.  May is a nice travel month......I need input from icelandgirl on weather patterns in Iceland!  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Hey Gemini!

I haven't lived there since I was 8 and have always Gome back I'm the summer...so I consulted the expert (mom) and she said fall. Early fall especially. If you go too late it starts getting dark so early. I still remember walking home from school at 3 in the afternoon and it was dark out.

Also...take me with you??


January 2014-Celiac

August 2014- Hashimoto's

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."

Bob Marley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Nikki...is this what you had?

http://www.gaedabakstur.is/is/vorur/flatkokur/ommu-flatkokur-5-i-pk

Anytime anyone would come to visit I'd ask them to bring me these and some Iceland in cheese. Sigh...I'm hungry.

Field trip anyone?


January 2014-Celiac

August 2014- Hashimoto's

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."

Bob Marley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Hi Eloise...it's a beautiful, magical place. I hope you get to visit. Snow wise it depends on the winter. It can snow quite. Bit but where I live in the states it can snow quite a bit too.

This site has nice pics...

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/iceland


January 2014-Celiac

August 2014- Hashimoto's

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."

Bob Marley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Hey Gemini!

I haven't lived there since I was 8 and have always Gome back I'm the summer...so I consulted the expert (mom) and she said fall. Early fall especially. If you go too late it starts getting dark so early. I still remember walking home from school at 3 in the afternoon and it was dark out.

Also...take me with you??

Oh crap!  That means I have to wait a full year before going???????  :rolleyes:   Autumn is my favorite time of year to travel anyway so I will defer to the experts! 

 

I have been to Scotland so remember the shorter days there so I am sure days are even shorter in Iceland.  Maybe September travel would be good and of course, I would LOVE to have you come with me!  ;)   We should arrange a celiac tour of Iceland...........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Oh crap!  That means I have to wait a full year before going???????  :rolleyes:   Autumn is my favorite time of year to travel anyway so I will defer to the experts! 

 

I have been to Scotland so remember the shorter days there so I am sure days are even shorter in Iceland.  Maybe September travel would be good and of course, I would LOVE to have you come with me!  ;)   We should arrange a celiac tour of Iceland...........

First let me apologize for the horrible auto correct spelling errors. Lol!

Fall is my favorite time to travel too. I did London in the fall one year and loved it.

A celiac tour of Iceland would be amazing!


January 2014-Celiac

August 2014- Hashimoto's

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."

Bob Marley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Nikki...is this what you had?

http://www.gaedabakstur.is/is/vorur/flatkokur/ommu-flatkokur-5-i-pk

Anytime anyone would come to visit I'd ask them to bring me these and some Iceland in cheese. Sigh...I'm hungry.

Field trip anyone?

YES!  That's it.  Thanks so much - Now, if I can only find a gluten-free version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Hi Eloise...people from Iceland are called Icelandic. We have our own language as well...Icelandic. In the summer it's light all the time but in the winter it's quite dark.

The Northern lights are magical and amazing aren't they?


January 2014-Celiac

August 2014- Hashimoto's

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice."

Bob Marley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join eNewsletter

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

0


Join eNewsletter