Does Iceland Have The World’s Freshest Tomato Soup?

by joeheg

If I were a Twitch streamer, I’d tell my watchers that for our Iceland trip, “I’m going in cold.”  That’s mostly true, since despite using a travel agent and having an itinerary of places to visit, I did almost zero research before the trip. I learned what we saw the day before and that’s only because I needed to plug them into Google Maps (which works excellent in Iceland, mostly thanks to the Wi-Fi hub we had in the rental car.)

However, I read about a few places that both Sharon and I decided we needed to visit. The first one was in Reykjavik, which we hit on our second day in town. The next was a stop during our drive around the Golden Circle. In fact, there were two places on our Golden Circle day that weren’t part of the “Big Three” sights. That’s why we didn’t spend as much time at Gulfoss as we might have wanted. We needed to get to lunch before the place closed.

Reykholti, Bláskógabyggð
IS-806 Selfoss

Friðheimar is, first and foremost, a tomato farm. As their side hustle, they serve lunch in the greenhouse every day between 12 noon and 4 PM (1200 to 1600).  We arrived around 3 PM.

a sign in the grass

Walking from the parking lot to the greenhouse, it looked exactly as you’d expect a farm to look.

a building with a large white silo

We really didn’t care how it looked as long as the food was good. More importantly, we wanted some tomato soup after the cold and rainy time we’d had over the past several hours.

Walking in, it was obvious the restaurant wasn’t an afterthought. This was a restaurant in a greenhouse.

a large indoor restaurant with tables and chairs

When seated at our table, the server asked us if we’d like to hear about the farm. We said yes and he told us all of the information with the enthusiasm of someone who’s told the same story to loads of tourists day after day. But it was still interesting to learn about how the greenhouse is kept warm year-round through geothermal heat warming water pipes that run throughout the area. Since they are located so close to Reykjavik, most of the produce is picked and arrives at the markets on the same day.

On a final note, the plants are pollinated by bees that live in hives kept in the greenhouse.

boxes on a shelf in a room

The menu was very tomato-centric but also offered other produce grown on-site, including cucumbers and basil.

a menu on a table

The drink list also had several interesting options.

a menu on a table

We knew we were there for the soup, which also included unlimited bread from the bread buffet. Sharon decided to try the Red Tomato Beer and I went with the Bloody Mary, which they served with a slice of cucumber.

a plate of soup and bread on a table

We wanted to taste the soup, so we opted out of the flavor sticks. This was also when I discovered that Sharon never heard of adding sour cream to tomato soup. Who’s the strange one as I’ve always known that to be a thing.

The bread buffet had several types including asiago cheese, olive and plain served with fresh butter.

The soup was delicious. In retrospect, I probably would have been better off not to get the Bloody Mary as washing down tomatoes with more tomatoes was overkill.

When we were finished with the meal, I paid at the bar. Only the other Americans who didn’t know any better waited at their tables for servers to bring them a check.

We were then invited to walk around the greenhouse.

a train tracks in a greenhouse

a group of plants in a greenhouse

Apparently, tourists are the same everywhere, as they had to remind people not to touch the plants.

a sign on a vine with tomatoes growing on it

Was the soup life-changing and, equally as important, was a soup buffet worth $20? I don’t know but it sure did hit the spot after walking around in the wind and rain all afternoon. The soup was delicious and tasted fresher than any I’ve had but my experience in tomato soup comes from a can of Campbell’s.

Was it worth it to arrange our day to have lunch here? I’m going to say yes. Not because the soup was so incredible but more because of the whole experience. It was something you can’t do anywhere else and isn’t having interesting experiences what traveling is all about? I’m not going to rave about the soup for the rest of my life but I will remember eating here. That’s exactly what this meal was, a unique experience.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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