This Christmas my husband and I went to visit my parents in Canada; we decided to fly there with Icelandair and take advantage of the extended stop over on our way back (read about my experience flying Icelandair.)
After only two days in Iceland, I can quickly tell you that I am in love with the country! The people are so nice, the landscape is out of this world beautiful, everything is so stylish, and the food is scrumptious! I was a little worried about the trip because I had no idea what the food situation would be like there, what oil they use, and how they would react to my food allergies. Let me just say that I ate very well 🙂
My Food Allergies in Reykjavik
Everyone was very accommodating about my food allergies in Reykjavik and made me feel very safe in their hands. For some, it was the first time they heard about anaphylaxis and seen an allergy card, for others it was nothing out of the ordinary. We ate at three restaurants, had breakfast from a bakery, grabbed a latte at a local coffee shop, and bought snacks at a grocery store. Here is a brief outline of our culinary experience!
Day 1: Caffein recharge
Before we could start wandering the city of Reykjavik we needed a little caffeine boost. We both had lattées, and they hit the spot. But I have to say the lattée we had at the airport from Joe & The Juice woke my tastes buds up like for real and was uber yums (could be that it was 7 am)!
Day 1: Lunch
The first day we wandered the town of Reykjavik and saw this restaurant and thought it was too cute! When lunch time rolled around, we looked at other places, but our hearts and tummies took us back to Ostabudin. The lunch menu is very simple with only five dishes on offer. I had the fish of the day but was not able to have any of the sides that came with it. Instead, they made me other sides and a salad. I had so much food!
I presented my allergy card, and they were able to make me something special without hesitation. It was so great to see a restaurant take my allergies seriously and present me with something so thoughtful to eat.
The food and service were both fantastic and both get a 5/5
Day 1: Dinner/Room Service
After a long day of wandering Reykjavik and floating in the hot springs at Fontana, our jet lag got the best of us and we decided to try our luck at the hotel. Room service always makes me nervous and is a tricky thing to do with food allergies. Instead, I went to the restaurant and spoke directly to them about my allergies. It was there I learned that the primary oil used in Iceland is sunflower oil (allergen). I wasn’t able to eat most of the items on the menu, so they made me a mixed salad with approved veggies and chicken.
Again, a restaurant that was so accommodating and it was an opportunity to educated the waitress on food allergies.
The food was good and gets a 3/5, the service was super and gets a 5/5
Day 2: Breakfast
Rarely do I eat anything from a bakery and the same applied here. My husband had a sandwich, which was delightful. I tried Skyr an Icelandic yogurt that is similar to Greek yogurt, only it’s a little smoother and is full of protein. I had the girls behind the counter help translate the ingredients because I never eat anything without being 100% sure it is allergen free. They also made a good lattée ;).
Day 2: Trip to the supermarket for hiking snacks
We saw a ton of Bonus stores and just had to check them out. It had a selection of imported foods with English packaging, which was very helpful for reading ingredients, and a selection of Icelandic foods. I was able to get a fair amount of snacks that I had eaten in the past and were allergen safe. I wanted to be double sure everything we picked would be ok because we would be hiking and sightseeing, which is a terrible time and place to have an allergic reaction.
Day 2: Dinner
This place was fantastic! It is very tiny, so I recommend making a reservation. We found it when we were wandering Reykjavik, and it looked nice and cozy. The menu has a fair amount of choices. Once again I chose the fish of the day. When I spoke to the waiter about my allergies, he reassured me that the chef would be very careful, and he had seen an allergy card before. The food took a little longer to come out because they had to use a clean space; I have no problem waiting for something like this!
They did something similar to the other restaurant where I had a different set of sides. My husband ordered the same dish as me, and he also got an allergy free one, this is the first time this has happened. On top of the delicious meal, they had dessert I could eat! A delicious crème brulée that we shared. I couldn’t eat the garnishes, so they put them on a separate plate for my hubby to enjoy!
The food was yum-o-la and gets a 4.5/5, the service was superb and gets 5/5
Overall eating with food allergies in Reykjavik was a great experience. Everyone we encountered was so nice and made sure that I felt safe in their restaurant. I would recommend all the places we ate. Also, make sure to bring an allergy card with you because not everyone knows the severity of food allergies and it is up to you to advocate and educate.
PS. I seldom take pictures of food at restaurants, so I have no evidence of what I ate. 🙁 I do this because I want to enjoy the experience of the food and company without the distraction of technology.
? ? About the pics… sorry for the quality they were taken with my iPhone. For more pictures you can subscribe to my Instagram @allergy_girl_eats
Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!