Globalization has catalyzed the rapid spread of cultures to every corner of the globe, and that’s great news for food lovers, who will always welcome more variety. Known for its hypnotizingly picturesque landscape of magnificent mountains and sparkling hot geysers, along with its charming petite seaside turf houses, Iceland also boasts gastronomic diversity. Today, we’re talking Indian food, the spiciest cuisine in the world. Iceland is unsurprisingly a very cold country with an average annual temperature of 1.75°C (35.15°F), so it’s a great idea to spice things up a little. Indian food such as delicious cheesy curries, chewy rotis, tasty bread, flavorful biryani rice, crunchy crackers, and juicy meats are all served delicious at the best Indian restaurants in Iceland. Read on to learn more about them!
1. Gandhi Indian Restaurant
Taking top spot as the most popular Indian restaurant in Iceland is Gandhi Indian Restaurant. It boasts the most options in its menu, with several variations in chutneys, curries, meats, snacks, beverages, bread, and desserts. Specialties include mango chutney (a very tart and fruity sauce) and pulao rice (aromatic basmati rice lovingly cooked with herbs and spices). You can indicate the level of spiciness to your chef—in case you want your food on the milder side, at the true authentic level, or hot enough for a gastronomic daredevil. The restaurant is tucked comfortably inside traditional Icelandic architecture. If you must choose only one Indian restaurant in Iceland, this is your best bet.
Gandhi Indian Restaurant
Address: Pósthússtræti 17, 101 Reykjavík
Website: Gandhi Indian Restaurant
Opening hours: 5:30pm - 10pm (daily)
Hraðlestin is famous in Reykjavik, for serving mouthwatering Indian food masterfully cooked by Indian chefs with spices straight from India—for 16 years. With a charming blend of traditional and contemporary interior design in its four locations, you will feel nice and snug as you indulge in its dishes. A signature dish is chicken thali, a platter-like dish where coriander chutney, chicken dishes, vegetarian dishes, raitha, basmati rice, and garlic naan are served in their own special compartments on a round metallic plate. Coriander chutney is a rich, creamy sauce with a rather spicy and sweet character. The chicken and vegetarian dishes are also generously drenched in their own quirky curries, where you can dip the chewy naan bread. The raitha is a yogurt-based condiment to help cool off the heat in your tongue. The restaurant offers vegetarian and vegan options as well.
Address: Hverfisgata 64a, 101 Reykjavík | Lækjargata 8, 101 Reykjavík | Hlíðasmári 8, 201 Kópavogur | 1st Floor, 103 Kringlan
Opening hours: Hverfisgata: 5pm - 10pm (daily) | Lækjargata: Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 10:30pm; Sat - Sun: 5pm - 10pm | Hlíðasmári: Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 10:30pm; Sat - Sun: 5pm - 10pm | Kringlan: Mon - Wed: 11:00am - 6:30pm; Thu: 11:00am - 10pm; Fri: 11:00am - 7pm; Sat: 11:00am - 6pm (closed on Sun)
3. Austur India
Austur India is a bit different from the rest since it has many dishes that combine tradition and creativity from all over India. It also features seafood dishes, which are uncommon in Indian cuisine. One dish has edible crispy bread acting as a rice bowl, meats are served in the style of Japanese teishoku on an oval plate, and basmati rice is sometimes presented on banana paper instead of a plate. The place even offers kali mirch lobster, which translates to black pepper lobster. Coupled with a romantic, mellow dimly lit ambiance in the interior and a relaxing exterior, this restaurant’s take on Indian food since 1994 is contemporary, fresh, fascinating, and most importantly, delicious.
Address: Hverfisgata 56, 101 Reykjavík
Website: Austur India
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 6pm - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 6pm - 11pm
4. Bombay Bazaar
The degree of spiciness here is tamer, but the flavor still packs a resounding punch. The menu is less flamboyant, with traditional recipes solely originating from Mumbai, India’s second-largest city. The restaurant caters more to the Icelandic palate rather than authentic Indian taste due to its milder spiciness, but tastes are still enjoyable and rich. If you’re visiting this restaurant, which is slightly far from the main city center of Reykjavik, you need to try the lamb curry, turmeric rice, vegetable pakoras (which are fried fritters made of chickpeas and potatoes), as well as the triangle-shaped samosas.
Address: Ármúli 21, 108 Reykjavík
Website: Bombay Bazaar
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11:30am - 2pm, 5pm - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 5pm - 9pm
Rounding off the Indian restaurants of Reykjavik is Shalimar. It has a charismatic entrance that resembles an Italian pizzeria and serves a wide range of thalis—with basmati rice served with meat or vegetarian curries in a bowl, along with crackers or naan bread. The cozy establishment offers a wholesome package of Indian comfort food with a Pakistani twist due to different meats like sausage and various curry recipes.
Address: Austurstræti 4, 101 Reykjavík
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11:30am - 10pm; Fri: 11:30am - 11pm; Sat: 4pm - 11pm; Sun: 4pm - 10pm
6. Indian Curry House
Curiously, this restaurant is the only one that serves Indian cuisine in Iceland outside of the capital. It is a hidden gem located in the town of Akureyri, with funky interior design and classic Indian cuisine. It serves the usual thali, the most popular of which is fried tidbits and naan bread, but as the name implies, the place excels in its curry, especially lamb curry, which is a testament to the country’s extremely high-quality sheep farming. The restaurant serves special courses during the weekdays and also has a wide range of vegetarian options. The best part is that if you love fluffy basmati rice, you can have as much as you want at no extra cost. The venue is extremely popular among Indian tourists—although some initially questioned the quality of their own cuisine in a foreign European country. Many said that eating at this small establishment made them feel right at home.
Indian Curry House
Address: Ráðhústorg 3, 600 AkureyriI
Website: Indian Curry House
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 11:30am - 1:30pm, 5:30pm - 9pm; Sat - Sun: 5:30pm - 9pm (closed on Mon)
Indian cuisine in Iceland—an unexpected but welcome surprise
The first thing that comes to mind when people think about good food in a European country will probably not be Indian food. Despite this, people in Iceland cook them very well and have their signature Indian dishes on offer for you to enjoy, whether you are a local or a tourist. So make a reservation, and get ready to embark on a fascinating, tasty Indian adventure, right where you least expect it—here in Iceland.
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