I belong to a coffee club and we try out different cafés/bars in Reykjavík. Uppsalir turned out to be a very cozy café/bar with a fire place and a very relaxed atmosphere and I will definitely be visiting it again. It has got Icelandic paintings on the walls of puffins, sheep etc :)
Uppsalir is next to the restaurant Fjalakötturinn and serves light food as well as drinks. It is in a lovely part of Reykjavík, in the oldest street of the city, Aðalstræti. Next to it is the Reykjavík 871 +/-2 Settlement museum (see my tip) and Hotel Centrum.
I met up with VT-member Sarah (Toonsarah) and her husband here for lunch when they were visiting Iceland in February 2011. It is a lovely place for a small VT-meeting as it is very central so to speak - in the oldest part of Reykjavík.
I also went here with VT-member Jonathan Barker.
Uppsalir is open from 11:30-23:00 weekdays. On weekends from 11:30-1:00.
This little coffee shop is a short walk away from the main tourist information office. The building is bright yellow & is easy to find. Stofan was recommended to me by Harpa in the tourist information office. It is one of those coffee houses I could relax, enjoy a hot chocolate and read the "Lonely Planet guidebook to Iceland". I was here as it was raining outside, and I had some time before meeting a friend. The coffee house is furnished with traditional (antique style) arm-chairs & settees, as well as coffee tables and dining tables. The staff were friendly, and the walls were decorated with photos of Reykjavik.
Favorite Dish: I had the hot chocolate topped with fresh cream.
On my first evening with my friends in Reykjavik, we visited this restaurant, just before 7pm. I had not had anything to eat since lunch-time. The staff offer "2 drinks for 1" from 5pm-7pm, and we were able to take advantage of this special offer. I had a delicious dinner of fish & chips with salad and sauces. The guide book recommends this place for people aged 30+
The staff were friendly & spoke good English. We also met a Canadian couple.
Favorite Dish: I had the fried fish & chips. The fish was cooked in batter, the chips delicious and served with salad, tomato & tartare sauces.
The Perlan is a new building on top of a hill on the outskirts of Reykjavik. The building serves as a cafe, a classy revolving restaurant, a gallery & a museum with a collection of models from Iceland's history.
On this occasion I went with Regina (from VT) & her friend Helga for a coffee and to see the views. We spent some time on the viewing balcony outside the cafe area. The views overlooking the bay & down-town were amazing.
Favorite Dish: We had a cup of freshly ground coffee.
For lunch we sometimes grabbed a snack from one of the many food vans. We got excellent mozarrela sticks from the van in the main square in the old town. There was also a food van called Rio on Laekjargata. The very friendly Brazilian girl there sold us cheese and ham pastry plus chicken drops - chicken and veg surrounded by mashed potato and breacrumbs. 500 Isk for a snack plus a drink promotional opening offer.
This restaurant is situated on Laugavegur which is a street with lots of restaurants. We were lured in by the menu which advertised soup in bread. In fact they were doing a special where you could get soup in bread and a pint of gull beer for 2200Isk.
The restaurant was offering two kinds of soup: meat soup or cauliflower cream soup. I had the meat soup. It comes inside a thick crusty loaf of bread. The inside of the bread is scooped out and placed next to the soup filled bread bowl. It was delicious. There were several other things on the menu. My husband had chicken schnitzel with salad. We were full after the main course but some people had some rather tasty looking cakes, too.
The food was excellent. The service was pleasant, friendly and efficient. I would strongly recommend it. We sat inside but there was a little beer garden out the back.
Favorite Dish: Definitely go here for soup in bread.
Noice big cafe/pub with covered heated area in a side passage for smokers. It looks lik ethey have live music on certain evenings.
Each table has a bell to call the waitresses, which is nice.
Menu is eclectic and with a big selection from burgers to pasta to soups with local stews as well. We tried one pasta dish with scampi (they call it lobster but it's scampi) and the fish soup. They were both very tasty and the portion size was good.
Beer on tap is Viking and the prices are reasonable (almost half of the prices of restaurants around the area).
Favorite Dish: Scampi pasta was bursting with flavours!
Hamborgarabúllan or Hamborgarabúlla Tómasar literally means The Hamburger Joint. There are now 4 restaurants with this name and they are very popular here in Reykjavík. They are owned by a guy we call The Hamburger guy, or Tommi, who opened the first hamburger place here in Iceland in 1981, which was a revelation really as we had no hamburger places here back then. Then later on came Mc Donalds but in 2010 they left us again after the crizis hit Iceland.
The restaurant at Ofanleiti is a very small and a very cozy place and so are the other ones. The service is excellent there and you are made to feel like you are at home. Kids love going there and it is all in all a very popular restaurant here in Iceland - it is a restaurant with a soul.
I added the website to the restaurants and there you can read an interesting interview with Tommi, the owner of the restaurants. He is a colourful character and a man with a big heart and soul. He only choses the best quality meat for his hamburgers and they are of a high standard. Tommi has opened two Hamburger joints in London, one in Shoreditch and one in Marylebone. The one in Marylebone is about to move to another place.
Cafe Loki is a small restaurant across the street from the Hallgrimskirkja. The building is two stories and you have to take a set of stairs to the main part of the restaurant which is on the second floor. The first floor is also set up as a restaurant but I don't know if/when they use it. When you walk in, there is a bar/counter to the left, and there is seating for about 20 people there. There are nice picture windows looking over the front of Hallgrimskirkja and the Leif Erikson statue and the place has a nice cafe vibe to it.
We actually came here on a tasting tour with Reykjavik Excursions (we booked the "A Taste of Reykjavik Tour" which stops at two restaurants during the tour for authentic tastes of Icelandic food). Here at Cafe Loki we were presented with samples of Icelandic pancakes sprinkled with sugar (they are more like French crepes than American pancakes, but more substantial than crepes), slices of rye bread topped with Plokkfiskur, a mashed fish and potato concoction, and slices of rye bread topped with smoked trout.
I normally would not have tried the fish dishes as I'm not a big seafood person, but not wanting to be rude, and wanting to expand my horizons out of my comfort zone, I tucked in and was very pleasantly surprised. All the dishes were excellent, especially the smoked trout, which was actually very sweet and not fishy. If we had had more time in Iceland, I would definitely have come back to eat a whole meal here.
Favorite Dish: Everything was good, but I really enjoyed the rye bread topped with the smoked trout. The bread was very moist, almost dense, but sweet, and was complemented by the trout which also had it's own sweetness. A dollop of cream on top helped to cut some of the sweetness.
In Iceland you can buy whale meat in at least 4 restaurants in Reykjavík, that I know of. This is mink-whale which is smaller than the big whales, and the meat is like a steak, red and tender and with a hint of fish flavour. I used to eat it when I was younger. The whale-meat is considered to be very healthy, no fat and rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
I add this tip as I have had several enquiries about at which restaurants whale meat can be bought. I have been to Lækjarbrekka on three occasions with VT-members who had a whale dinner and they found it to be excellent. One VT-member had the smoked and cured puffin as well. The ambiance at Lækjarbrekka is lovely, exquisite food and service and the restaurant is very elegant as you can see from the photos.
The house where Lækjarbrekka restaurant is located is one of Reykjavík oldest houses built in 1834. It is the only house which survived the fire in 1977 almost intact. It used to house the oldest bakery in Iceland, Bernhöfts Bakery. The whole row of houses here are called Bernhöftstorfan.
Favorite Dish: In this case this would be the whale meat as that was the reason for our visit to this particular restaurant. Lækjarbrekka is very well located in the very center of Reykjavík and on two occasions we picked it out as we were waiting for a Northern light tour with Iceland Excursions and their agency is very close to Lækjarbrekka.
This restaurant is located in one of the most beautiful old houses in the old center of Reykjavík. This yellow painted house was built in 1863 and was called Bryggjuhúsið in the olden days. Back then the entrance to the old harbour into Reykjavík was through this house.
The restaurant has room for 700 people, making it one of the largest restaurants in the center of Reykjavík.
There is a bar called Píanóbarinn in the restaurant, with life music on weekends.
The restaurant changed owners in 2012.
We used to come here and dance back when there was a disco here, but nowadays I just enjoy sitting here on the veranda sipping on my Coka Cola or my coffee.
The only thing putting a shadow on sitting out on the veranda is that right in front of the restaurant is the final stop for many of the excursion busses, as one can see on my last photo. So there is a lot of noise here and the busses block the view from the veranda. A big minus for otherwise a very lovely restaurant in one of the most beautiful buildings in the old center of Reykjavík.
On the webpage of the restaurant one can read about the history of this beautiful building.
Bryggjan café is an excellent café in the same building as The Maritime Museum. It is spacious and the view of the harbour is fantastic.
I have visited this café both during the day and at night for a concert. I prefer visiting it during the day because of the ocean view... as visiting it at night was kind of scary. The main entrance at night, when the museum is not open, is on the west side of the building. And it was dimly lit and next to you is the ocean, easy to fall in, not something one wants to do...
There is a lovely veranda and sitting here on a sunny summer day is a delight. This area is becoming more and more alive, and there are so many plans for this harbour area, I have big hopes for it.
Favorite Dish: We only had coffee here, my friend had Swiss mocca and I had regular coffee. The service was excellent, the woman working there treated us like old friends and allowed us to stay longer while she was tidying up. We were a group of 5 people and she just served us the coffee pot and left it on the table. Much appreciated.
There is Wifi at the café and you get the password for it at the counter.
The café is only open until 17h and rents the café out for concerts and happenings some nights.
Cafè Milano is the place where the locals meet up when they do not want to go down town to a cafè. Many of us, I included, live in the suburbs and do not want the hazzle of finding a parking spot down town and having to pay for parking. So this cafè has been a good meeting place for some of us for the past decades.
It is an elegant place, a bit on the expensive side, so I only go there if I want to have a private conversation and be in peace.
Cafè Milano is only a cafè, not a restaurant, and they serve a whole range of cafè and tea and cakes, sandwiches and rolls.
Opening hours: Mondays-Thursdays 09:00-22:00, Fridays 09:00-18:00, Saturdays 11:30-18:00 and Sundays 12:00-18:00.
They have a catering service as well and rent out their cafè for private parties.
I just loved going to Volcano house. All their furniture is made of teak, a Scandinavian design from the 1960's, which reminds me of my childhood :) A very nice atmosphere and friendly service. There is a play area for kids and there is a section of the café where there is a geological exhibition with different kinds of rocks found in Iceland. I have added a special tip on the geology exhibition at the Volcano house. And for sale are different types of pumice and candlesticks and jewellery from lava. And they are always expanding and making the café more interesting.
The café is family run, 4 siblings from Vestmannaeyjar run this café. All the cakes are home-made and yummy from what my friends, who tried them, say. I have met my coffee-club there and one VT-member and her husband, and we had a very good time. The view is also very nice as there are big panorama windows here.
There is a volcano theatre in the café, one film is on the volcanic eruption in Vestmannaeyjar islands when all the inhabitants had to flee the island in 1973, I remember that vividly. The film lasts from 20 minutes. And another film on Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption in 2010 which the world remembers as that caused flights around the world not being able to set off and caused a lot of problems to millions of travellers, including me. That film also lasts for 20 minutes. I watched that movie and it was awesome - highly recommended. The film starts on the hour and are in English and Icelandic, but at 09:00 and 21:00 they are in German.
Volcano café also has a booking service for travels in Iceland.
The café is open from 09:00 - 23:00 every day of the week.
I give this café my best recommendations :) and especially recommend it to guests visiting Iceland.
Favorite Dish: When I go to cafés I just order tea, but they had a menu with cakes and pies, which my friends had, and recommended.
We'd heard about the soup bowls made of bread so decided to try here on a cold evening before going out on a Northern Lights tour.
Son had a meat soup and I had a vegetable soup served in the hearty bread bowls! The soup was tasty and it was a bit of fun to eat the tasty bowl as well. Although we did have a moment of giggles when we suddenly wondered if weren't actually meant to eat the bowl...oops, too late!
If soup isnt for you there was quite a large menu of burgers, wraps, salads etc. They sold alcholic drinks and also an excellent selection of teas which is quite unusual and all food and drink were very reasonable prices (for Reykjavic!).
The two young waiters were welcoming and friendly and happy to chat, explaining the bowls were made in local bakery fresh each day.
Favorite Dish: Soup - good soup, tasty bowl!