The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At In Iceland

There are certain trips that you expect to revolve around local cuisine: Italy, France, South Africa. Well, safe to say that when planning my trip to Iceland, I at no time envisioned myself in a week-long food coma. Yes, I had been urged to try the dairy products; and I’ll admit Icelandic yogurt and ice cream has ruined dairy products for me forever. Yes, I’d watched at least a dozen reaction videos of travelers tasting Hákarl or fermented shark, a taste that you really, really only need to experience once in your life.

But despite my lack of original enthusiasm, our series of delicious dining experiences definitely solidified Iceland in my mind, as a foodie mecca.

      1. Friðheimar
        Reykholt, Iceland
        Great Big Hunk of World Awards For: Most Unique Experience, Sustainability-Friendly Business
        Friðheimar was one of the first meals we had while in Iceland and it really set the bar high. Due to Icelands generally cold, and often unpredictable temperatures, much of the countries crops are grown within geothermal energy supplied greenhouses; and Friðheimar lets you dine right in the heart of one. The restaurant also holds a Vakinn certification, which is an Icelandic system that recognizes businesses that maintain high standards of business ethics and environmental service.

        Unsurprisingly, dining in a greenhouse that produces tomatoes all year round, means that the entire menu is tomato focused; yes, even the desserts. The entree portion of the menu is only three items long: Unlimited Friðheimar tomato soup, served buffet style with unlimited bread, sour cream, cucumber salsa, butter and fresh herbs; A spinach and ricotta ravioli topped with tomato sauce and served with a fresh tomato and cucumber slice; and a grilled tortilla with fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella. Naturally, I wanted two or all of these options; and my boyfriend and I actually ended up each getting an a entree and splitting the tomato soup. #NoRegrets

        The soup was delicious, but it was the olive bread that really stuck out to me; I won’t lie, we ended up refilling our soup bowl about three times. I’ll never turn down a good ravioli, and this time was no different. Though a spinach and ricotta filling isn’t anything too uncommon, it still managed to taste like something I hadn’t tasted before. The sauce, as expected, was very well seasoned and while I could’ve done without the cucumber garnish, that raw tomato on the side is one of the best tasting tomatoes I have ever had. Did I mention there is a basil plant and scissor on your table, so that you can add it to your dish as you please? While we’re at it, let’s say thanks for that portion size; no New York upscale, five-ravioli entrees here.

        The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At in Iceland | www.agreatbighunkofworld | Iceland Eats | #agbhow

        Splitting a dessert for the table was so necessary; one, we were all way too full for our own; and two, because when do you have the opportunity to try tomato-based desserts? I was leaning towards the ice cream, which gives you a taste of two ice creams made from two different tomato varieties, but the vote landed us with the green tomato and apple pie. While the presentation gets an A+, the topping reminded me more of a granola than an apple pie crumble; but the filling was warm and paired perfectly with the whipped cream which tasted like it was just made that day.

        Friðheimar is a learning opportunity, experience, and meal in one; and I would go as far as to say that it was my all-time favorite meal of the trip.


        2. Hraun
        Ólafsvík, Iceland
        Awards For: Hit with the Locals, Best Burger, Most Accommodating Staff

        Word of advice: If you’re unsure of where to eat, ask a local. During our lava tube tour of Vatnshellier on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, we had an amazing tour guide. Aside from being witty, knowledgeable, and able to sneak Marvel references into his tour spiel, he also provided us with a few dining recommendations, about a half hour from us from his hometown of Ólafsvík. Originally, we had planned to stop there on our way to checking into our Airbnb cabin but found out it wouldn’t open for another hour and a half when we arrived. However, a nice women from the bakery across the way let us know that it was “definitely worth the wait.” Spoiler alert: It was most definitely worth the wait.

        Hraun has a pretty extensive menu, and includes items like freshly caught fish, fish and chips, pizza; and many, many burgers. I had heard that Iceland serves up a pretty mean burger, and decided on a burger that was topped with bbq sauce, bacon, and gouda. This burger didn’t last long before I inhaled it; and for someone who never really finds fries necessary, I gobbled those down too. I don’t know what it is that restaurants in Iceland season their fries with, but I would pay for the recipe. We had also gotten two orders of “Nacho Dip” which in my head was tortilla chips and cheese, but at Hraun, is tortilla chips with a combined mixture of cheese, cream cheese, and salsa – and it actually works.

        Props to the waitresses at Hraun who were also super accommodating, letting us sit in the restaurant and read the menu even ten minutes before they had officially opened.


        3. The Laundromat Cafe
        Reykjavik, Iceland
        Awards For: Best Atmosphere, Best for Breakfast

        Our first couple of hours in Iceland involved landing at 5:30AM, getting our rental car at 7:00AM and driving straight to the Laundromat Cafe at 7:30AM. The Laundromat Cafe gives off such a quirky, happy-go-lucky vibe, but I’d say avoid this spot if you’re one of those people who aren’t too fond of wonderful things like world peace, Bernie Sanders, and breast feeding. After all, this spot pretty much bleeds liberalism. Decorating the walls are various posters, maps, and photographs of laundromats all around the world.

        Despite being quite popular, we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves other than two smalls groups. I guess landing an hour earlier than scheduled has its perks.

        The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At in Iceland | www.agreatbighunkofworld | Iceland Eats | #agbhow

        I could’ve ordered every item on the menu and been happy, but in the end we all went the same route – “Six dirty breakfasts and six coffees.” The dirty breakfast includes sausages, hand-cut bacon, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, a grilled tomato, and a honey, nut, and granola topped greek yogurt. So it’s essentially everything you could ever want in a breakfast. And to top it off, each dirty breakfast comes with a small bread basket which includes that delicious brown bread that they’ve come to be known for.

        The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At in Iceland | www.agreatbighunkofworld | Iceland Eats | #agbhow


        4. Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
        Reykjavik, Iceland
        Awards For: Most Affordable Icelandic Meal

        I know, this stand barely constitutes a restaurant, but you’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard of Bæjarins. Though hotdogs are a common quick food all over Reykjavik, these are apparently “the best hot dogs in town”; after all, it’s in the name. It also happens to the cheapest meal you’ll have while in Iceland. It’s no secret that food and alcohol prices are ridiculously steep in this country; and when I say steep, I mean they sell a six pack of Budweiser (aka beer water) for about 25 bucks.

        The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At in Iceland | www.agreatbighunkofworld | Iceland Eats | #agbhow

        I’ve eaten many a dirty water dog while home in New York, but I’m actually pretty picky when it comes to hot dogs. Can you really be too safe when it comes to random combinations of meats? But there was nothing stopping me from getting my hands on one of the best hot dogs in Reykjavik. Little tip: When ordering, order “one with everything.” A friend of mine asked for one hot dog with just ketchup, and received a nod from the cashier before she handed him a hot dog…with everything. But you won’t regret trying the classic toppings- the ketchup like sauce, mustard like sauce; and fried onions make for a very tasty combination. I even went back for a second.

        The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At in Iceland | www.agreatbighunkofworld | Iceland Eats | #agbhow


        5. Reykjavik Fish Restaurant
        Reykjavik, Iceland
        Awards For: Friendliest Staff, Minimalism

        We actually only ended up at Reykjavik Fish Restaurant after waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more at Reykjavik Fish & Chips before realizing that nobody was going to come assist us in ordering or seating. While Reykjavik Fish & Chips might need to take some pointers on service, we were greeted at Reykjavik Fish Restaurant by the most friendly employee who quickly gave us the run down – order at the counter and then grab a seat wherever we pleased.

        The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At in Iceland | www.agreatbighunkofworld | Iceland Eats | #agbhow

        The “menu” at this restaurant is a handful of items written on a blackboard and I was glad to finally come across a menu that wasn’t thirteen pages long. I had already had my heart set on fish and chips, and so barely glanced at the other options before ordering. While the breading of my fish and chips could’ve used a little a lot more salt, the fish was still perfectly flaky and the portion size was large enough that it filled you up, but not too large that you felt sick to your stomach.

        I also stole some of a friends salmon, which was came atop a mixture of roasted carrots and beets. While I don’t think I’d have ever thought to mix together those two particular vegetables, it actually makes for a delicious conversation.

        The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At in Iceland | www.agreatbighunkofworld | Iceland Eats | #agbhow

        Want to remember this? Pin it for later!

        The 5 Best Restaurants I Ate At in Iceland | www.agreatbighunkofworld | Iceland Eats | #agbhow

</ola

Advertisements

The Haunted Orphanage of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania ft. Jennie Wade House

Considering how saturated the market is when it comes to haunted attractions and ghost tours, I was a bit skeptical when my friend suggested we book one of these tours during our short trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylavania; But for $15 per person, what did we have to lose? We booked our tour with Ghostly Images of Gettysburg due to their Orphanage/Jennie Wade House combination tour.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Bill who would be leading us through both the orphanage and the Jennie Wade House with about a dozen others guests. Right off the bat, I was glad we had been grouped with Bill as he wasn’t merely reading off a script but was extremely knowledgable on the history and backstories of both locations as well as the Civil War.

Considering the era, the role of most women was stay-at-home mom. If they did have a job, they most likely were not paying a livable wage. During the Civil War, if a father were to lose his life in battle, many children would be turned over to orphanages as it was believed their mothers lacked the financial support to provide for them. One of the these Civil War era orphanages was the orphanage we would be visiting this day. The orphanage was originally opened by a woman whose husband had lost his life in battle. Rather than give them up, she opened an orphanage where she cared for many parentless or abandoned children. Eventually though, she remarried and her and her children moved to a new home out of the orphanage.

Unfortunately for the children left behind, as well as those who had yet to arrive, the new mother of the house, Rosa Carmichael, didn’t share the original owners love for children. Rosa would apparently inflict cruel and unusual punishment on the children; these punishments included being shackled into the basement, being locked in an outhouse in the middle of winter, and at times being put into the pit.

The Haunted Orphanage of Gettysburg | Jennie Wade House | #agbhow | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | Top Things to Do in Gettysburg

The pit itself is really just a deep alcove in the cellar, but as we each climbed in, I couldn’t even bare think about young children sitting their for hours or days in the dark, and all alone. If this orphanage is truly haunted, and many feel it is, it’s easy to see why.

At one point, Bill told us that there is actually a family currently living in the floor above the old orphanage, which is where the bedrooms of the children and house mother would have been located. Bill then said what were all probably thinking, “I have no idea why anyone would want to live there.” To this comment one of my friends whispered, “cheap rent.” If that is not #facts.

The Haunted Orphanage of Gettysburg | Jennie Wade House | #agbhow | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | Top Things to Do in Gettysburg

In the cellar, you’ll find a few toys scattered throughout. These aren’t remnant of the past, but were actually put their by current owners. Some people have reported feeling a presence when playing with the toys, as if someone is trying to play with them. A few have even mentioned feeling a hand touch them. I didn’t personally have an experience, but Bill noted that oftentimes the toys will be rearranged or found in places not last seen, such as this one pink bear which was seemingly out of place, laying atop a barrel on our arrival.

IMG_1501

Once we left the orphanage, we had a ridiculously cold but quick walk across the street to the Jennie Wade House. Oddly enough, this wasn’t the house that Jennie actually lived in. She, at the time, was living across the street but had headed to her sister’s house where they baked bread and packaged it with water for the soldiers. Unlike most families who had holed up their cellars or fled the city, Jennie felt a need to be active in aiding those fighting. Unfortunately, this selflessness also led to her demise.

Bullets had already riddled the house an Jennie and her family had suffered a few close calls – and on the final day of the battle, Jennie lost her life when a confederate bullet shot through their roof. Almost 8,000 soldiers died while fighting in the Battle of Gettysburg; But only one civilian.

The Haunted Orphanage of Gettysburg | Jennie Wade House | #agbhow | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | Top Things to Do in Gettysburg

The middle photo is of Jennie Wade.

We explored two floors of the Jennie Wade house, which surprisingly housed more room than you’d think when viewing the house from the outside. Bill pointed out specific areas of the house that typically experience more activity in movement and in photographs than other parts of the house. And “introduced” us to certain ghosts – such as a ghost believed to be a young girl aged about 6.

The Haunted Orphanage of Gettysburg | Jennie Wade House | #agbhow | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | Top Things to Do in Gettysburg

It doesn’t seem like it from he outside, but the house is actually pretty large in terms of amount of rooms.

In many spots, Bill would shut the lights and allow us to take photos to potentially snap some paranormal activity; and while I didn’t get much, I did get a few small orbs, as well as some video footage of one of what seem liked a few mini small orbs floating by.

The Haunted Orphanage of Gettysburg | Jennie Wade House | #agbhow | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | Top Things to Do in Gettysburg

This tour definitely surpassed my expectations and was entirely different than what I ha expected. If you’re someone looking for a scary house to walk through, while teenagers dressed up grab at you every five minutes – maybe wait for the Halloween attractions. But if you’re someone who has even questioned the paranormal, and has an interest in history, even those parts that may seem a bit dark, then I think this tour is right up your ally.

 

The Haunted Orphanage of Gettysburg | Jennie Wade House | #agbhow | A Great Big Hunk of World | www.agreatbighunkofworld.com | Top Things to Do in Gettysburg