Minke whale

Visiting Iceland? Help us keep whales OFF the dinner menu

Almost all the meat from minke whales slaughtered in Icelandic waters is eaten by visitors to the country under the mistaken belief that this is somehow a 'traditional' dish. In fact most Icelanders never eat whale meat and tourist demand just encourages further cruel hunts. Staggering isn’t it? As part of our anti-whaling campaign, WDC encourages visitors to Iceland to avoid restaurants that serve whale meat and to take a whale watch trip instead to meet these amazing whales in the wild.

Icelandic menu featuring whale meat

In 2009, a staggering 40% of tourists visiting Iceland admitted that they had eaten whale meat. By 2014, that figure was reduced to 18% of visitors, thanks to a major outreach campaign by WDC and other organisations. However, the sad fact remains that minke whaling in Iceland is still conducted almost totally to service tourist demand, under the mistaken belief that they are eating a 'traditional' dish.  Icelanders themselves almost never eat whale meat, and so tourists are unwittingly propping up commercial whaling - a cruel and unnecessary industry that should be relegated to the history books. 

WDC asks all tourists thinking of visiting Iceland to make a positive choice and avoid eating whale meat. Whilst the number of venues offering the meat has declined in recent years thanks to greater awareness, minke whale meat is still widely available in restaurants and supermarkets both in Reykjavik, the capital and elsewhere.  Whale meat is also widely offered as part of a 'traditional buffet' offered to tourists at certain venues but may not be labelled as such, so extra care should be taken!

Whale watching is massively popular in Iceland and the whale watch industry is worth an estimated ten times more than whaling - yet we still receive reports of tourists walking off whale watching vessels and straight into restaurants that serve whale meat. WDC is positively encouraging tourists to this amazing country to get out to see the whales with a responsible, local whale watching operator and asks that visitors consider the inhumane way in which these magnificent and intelligent creatures are killed before they are served up, and the impact that whaling has on the whale watching industry.

Check out the current list of 'Whale Friendly' venues below and look out for this sticker in restaurant windows - supporting these venues sends out a strong message to those venues which still persist in serving whale meat that tourists want to support the Icelandic whale watch community and want to avoid eating whale meat.

We are also calling upon tour operators - particularly those based in the UK, US and Germany, as these are the countries sending most tourists to Iceland - to pass on this important information to their clients. We have produced a flyer asking tourists not to consume whale meat in Iceland which we are asking tour companies to distribute to their clients BEFORE they travel, so that they have the necessary information in advance. 


'Whale friendly' venues in Reykjavik

BAN THAI   Laugavegi 130 ofan við Hlemm, 105 Reykjavik   www.banthai.is

BERGSSON MATHÚS   Templarasund 3, 101 Reykjavík    www.bergsson.is

BORG RESTAURANT   Pósthússtræti 9, 101 Reykjavík   www.borgrestaurant.is

BUNK BAR & CAFÉ   Laugavegur 28, 101 Reykjavík    www.bunk.is

CAFÉ HAITI   Geirsgata 7b, 101 Reykjavík    www.cafehaiti.is

CAFÉ RETRO   Grandagarður 14, 101 Reykjavík

FISH RESTAURANT   Skólavörðustígur 23, 101 Reykjavík    www.fishrestaurant.is

FORRÉTTABARINN   Nýlendugata 14, 101 Reykjavík    www.forrettabarinn.is

GARÐURINN   Klapparstígur 37, 101 Reykjavík

HÖFNIN   Geirsgata 7a, 101 Reykjavík    www.hofnin.is

HORNIÐ   Hafnarstræti 15, 101 Reykjavík    www.hornid.is

ICELANDIC FISH AND CHIPS   Tryggvagata 11, 101 Reykjavík    www.fishandchips.is

ITALIA   Laugarvegur 11, 101 Reykjavík   www.italia.is

KAFFIVAGNINN   Grandagarður 10, 101 Reykajvík   www.kaffivagninn.is

KRYDDLEGIN HJÖRTU   Hverfisgata 33, 101 Reykjavík   www.kryddleginhjortu.is

KRUA THAI   Skólavörðustígur 21, 101 Reykjavík   www.kruathai.is

KRÚSKA   Suðurlandsbraut 12, 108 Reykjavík   www.kruska.is

LÆKJARBREKKA   Bankastræti 2, 101 Reykjavík

MAR RESTAURANT   Geirsgata 9, 101 Reykjavík   www.mar.is

MESSINN   Lækjargata 6b, 101 Reykjavík

NORA MAGASIN   Pósthússtræti 9, 101 Reykjavík

NÚÐLUSKÁLIN   Skólavörðustíg 8, 101 Reykjavík   www.nudluskalin.com

RAMEN MOMO   Tryggvagata 16, 101 Reykjavík

SVARTA KAFFIÐ   Laugavegur 54a, 101 Reykjavík

REYKJAVÍK FISH   Tryggvagata, 101 Reykjavík   www.reykjavikfish.is

ROSSO POMODORO   Laugavegur 40, 101 Reykjavík   www.rossopomodoro.is

SHALIMAR   Austurstræti 4, 101 Reykjavík   www.shalimar.is

SLIPPBARINN   Mýrargata 2, 101 Reykjavík   www.slippbarinn.is

UNO   Hafnarstræti 1-3, 101 Reykjavík   www.uno.is

101 HARBOUR   Ægisgarður 2, 101 Reykjavík   www.101harbor.is



'Whale friendly' venues outside Reykjavik

BLÁA KANNAN   Hafnarstræti 96, 600 Akureyri

BRÆÐRABORG   Aðalstræti 22b, 400 Ísafjörður

CAFÉ HVALBAKUR   Hafnarstétt 9, 640 Húsavík   www.gamlibaukur.is

COOCOO´S NEST   Grandagarður 23, 101 Reykjavík   www.coocoosnest.is

DJ GRILL   Strandgata 11, 600 Akureyri

FABRIKKAN   Hafnarstræti 87-89, 600 Akureyri   www.fabrikkan.is

FOSSHÓTEL HÚSAVÍK   Ketilsbraut 22, 640 Húsavík   www.fosshotel.is

GAMLI BAUKUR   Hafnarstétt 9, 640 Húsavík   www.gamlibaukur.is 

HÓTEL FRAMNES RESTAURANT   Nesvegur 6, 350 Grundarfjörður   www.hotelframnes.is

KAFFI ILMUR   Hafnarstræti 107b, 600 Akureyri   www.kaffiilmur.com

KAFFI ÍSÓL   Austurvegi 1, 400 Ísafjörður

KRUA SIAM   Strandgötu 13 – 600 Akureyri   www.kruasiam.is

KUNG FU STICKS   Brekkugata 3, 600 Akureyri   www.kungfu.is

LÁKI HAFNARKAFFI   Nesvegur 5, 350 Grundarfjörður

RESTAURANT GALDUR   Höfðagata 8-10, 510 Hólmavík   www.galdrasyning.is 

SALKA COFFEE HOUSE   Garðsbraut 7, 640 Húsavík

SÍMSTÖÐIN   Hafnarstræti 102, 600 Akureyri

VITINN RESTAURANT   Vitatorg 7, 245 Sandgerði   www.vitinn.is 

VIKING SUSHI   Smiðjustígur 3, 340 Stykkishólmur   www.seatours.is 

Source and for more information

Glossary of phrases that you might see on a menu that indicates a dish contains whale

Hvál/Hvalur  -  whale

Hvál biff - whale meat

Hval rengi - whale blubber soured with milk

Grillaður Hvalur - grilled whale

Hrefnusteik - minke whale steak

Hrefnukjöt - minke whale meat

Grafið hrefnukjöt - raw minke whale meat

Reykt hrefnukjöt - smoked minke whale meat

Súr Hvalur - pickled whale

Hrefnu-Carpaccio - minke whale carpaccio (raw thin slices of whale meat)

hrefnuvöðvi - minke whale muscle

Hrefnuforréttur - minke whale appetizers or starters

Sur rengi - pickled whale blubber