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Your Essential Guide: The Best of Reykjavík 2009

Your Essential Guide: The Best of Reykjavík 2009

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Published July 8, 2009

We love the great city of Reykjavík. We really do. In fact, we love it so much, we named our paper after it – and most of us choose to live here for extended periods at a time. It really is an excellent little city, all things considered. Of course it’s lacking in many things a city will need. Decent public transport, actual neighbourhoods, a variety of ethnic eateries, clubs for late night partying on weekdays and about a million people, to name but a few. But we still swear by it, and if you’re reading this, chances are you do too.
This past winter, as we replied to the millionth enquiry about this thing or the other to do with Reykjavík-life (people really like asking us for advice), we got to thinking: we should just make up standard answers for everything. We should compile a list of THE BEST OF REYKJAVÍK – hell, we should make an issue devoted to it.
    And here you have it. We’ve been working hard for the past few months, compiling our list for you folks to read, verify, distrust, totally disagree with, argue over, send in angry rants about and generally enjoy. It’s totally unscientific and heavily contestable and should be read as such: for entertainment purposes only. We still hope it serves as some sort of guideline in enjoying the fair city.
    Here’s how we did it: In April, we advertised an e-mail addy – bestof@grapevine.is – that accepted our readers’ thoughts on the matter. Using your suggestions and arguments (and some of our own, and our friends’) for guidance, we then assembled a large panel of tasteful folks that represent pretty much every gender, income bracket and affiliation to discuss. Below are the results. Enjoy, and remember to send us your suggestions at bestof@grapevine.is for consideration in our 2010 edition.

Best Burger:
Hamborgarabúlla Tómasar
Hamborgarabúlla Tómasar – Búllan – was pretty uncontested when we asked our team to judge the best burgers. “The burgers are juicy and meaty,” “the place has character” and “Reykjavík’s most authentic burger experience” were some of the phrases uttered in our discussion. See also on our restaurant pages.
Runners-up: Drekinn (“not so excellent, but dirt cheap”), American Style (“consistently high quality”).
Best veggie burger:
Drekinn
The vegetarians in our panel argued about this one for a long time before finally settling on Drekinn, saying “they’re mighty tasty, and the cheapest ones on offer”).
Best blue cheese burger:
Vitabar
Plenty of Reykjavík restaurants offer up blue cheese burgers, but none of them even come close to matching Vitabar’s classic “Forget-me-not” burger, a local favourite for many, many years. Loaded with blue cheese and garlic, delightfully complimented by a glass of house draft, the “Forget-me-not” is a Reykjavík must-try for serious burger aficionados. See also page 20.
Best slice:
Deli
Getting a good slice of pizza on the go can be an utter ordeal. If you’re not careful, you’ll frequently wind up paying good money for a cardboardy wafer that has been sitting in a heater box for a week. Not at Deli, however. Their slices are consistently awesome and fresh, the topping selection is intriguing and tasteful and, best of all, they’re really cheap. Deli is also Reykjavík’s Best-kept pizza secret
While “Best kept pizza secret” isn’t your standard category, we felt obliged to invent it and slap it on Deli. Everyday after 15:00 their tasty take-out pizzas drop dramatically in price – you can enjoy a gourmet pizza dinner at home for practically nothing. This information should be shared with the universe.
Best drunken slice:
Devitos Pizza
Yes, we have a category for drunken slice. Yes, Devitos Pizza really kick ass at that category, and have consistently done so since the oldest of us started drinking. Look no further for your drunken slice of greasy Shangri-la. See also page 20.
Runner-up: Pizza King came a pretty close second to Devitos in this category. Both offer pretty much the same pizza for the same price, but Devitos have been doing it longer, are more consistent in quality.
Best Pizza
Choosing best the best all-round pizza for Reykjavík was a hard task. We love our pizza, and we feel really strongly about it one way or the other. The obvious contender for the throne was Eldsmiðjan – Reykjavík’s most celebrated pizza joint – and we had actually gone ahead and ordered our photographer to photograph it. But as we discussed the topic, us panellists slowly came to the conclusion that while, yes, Eldsmiðjan serves some pretty awesome pizza and features some pretty novel toppings, they just haven’t been very consistent as of late. Most of those present had in the past few months gotten a cold or otherwise unsatisfactory pie from Eldsmiðjan, and this is unacceptable when you’re paying the hefty Eldsmiðjan price for it.
So in the end, we went with Devitos on this one, too. The reasoning? “It’s always damn good. And cheap. If I order a pizza with my choice of toppings from Devitos, I can count on it being awesome, every time.” So consistency wins, this time around.
Best place to go for ice cream:
Ísbúð Vesturbæjar
No contest on Ísbúð Vesturbæjar for this category; even if there are a bunch of swell places selling ice cream in the Reykjavík area, Ísbúð Vesturbæjar is Reykjavík’s most beloved for a good reason. And has the long lines to prove it. See also page 20.
Best bakery:
Mosfellsbakarí
Icelanders tend to take special pride in their baked goods, and most visitors will agree that they are pretty awesome (the snúður in particular). That said, choosing the right bakery to fit your needs can be a gruelling task. Our panel threw around a bunch of names of adequate to awesome bakeries, before finally settling for Mosfellsbakarí, deeming it “ambitious, using only the best materials, yet they’re modestly priced.” Their selection and inventiveness is also admirable.
Runners-up: Sandholt (“good, but too expensive”), Bakarameistarinn Suðurveri.
Best Indian food:
Austur-Indía félagið
As verified once again in Sari Peltonen’s review a couple of issues back, Austur-Indía félagið is the place to go in Reykjavík for Indian food if you can afford it (not that there are many to choose from). This is due to their consistency in quality, great service and darn tasty food.
Best Thai food:
Ban Thai
You can actually find a lot of great Thai food in Reykjavík, but out of all the decent-to-awesome restaurants at hand, Ban Thai must surely score the title this year. Even though the service at Ban Thai may get a little flaky, the food is always to die for and the place also offers a very pleasant dining atmosphere that puts you right in a comfortable Thai sorta mood. It’s really Reykjavík’s only “fancy” Thai restaurant. Ban Thai has remained a true Reykjavík treasure for the longest time, and is truly one that should be celebrated.
Runners-up: Krúa Thai (“Excellent food”), Núðluhúsið (“Often good, always really cheap”).
Best coffeehouse:
Kaffismiðjan
Kaffismiðjan is a delightful addition to Reykjavík’s ever-growing collection of coffeehouses, and its steadily growing flock of regulars is even hesitant to tell others about it, in fear of losing their precious seats. Indeed, one of our team begged us not to put Kaffismiðjan in the best of, saying, “it’s crowded enough as is!”
Best coffee and cake:
Tíu dropar
When it comes to Best of Reykjavík, basement hangout Tíu dropar on Laugavegur actually deserves to win several categories and even have some made up in their honour. They offer a unique atmosphere, are priced modestly and are absolutely the best establishment in town to hang out with your kids if you have them (they are very tolerant of children). The classic interior style, friendly service and delicious foodstuffs on offer (not only cake, they also do sandwiches and soups) all add up to win Tíu dropar a permanent place in local hearts.
Best coffee to-go:
Kaffifélagið
Kaffifélagið has been a Grapevine favourite since they opened on Skólavörðustígur a couple of years back. The small coffeehouse always delivers an excellent cup of Italian-style coffee, and downtown regulars can spring for a clip-off coffee card to save on each purchase.
Best sushi:
Sushismiðjan
By the harbour, Sushismiðjan offers sushi that is well on a par with – or better than –other sushi places in town. It is in the price department that they truly excel, imploring one panellist to proclaim: “For a quick take-out, or a short lunch, you can’t beat Sushismiðjan.”
Runners-up: Fiskmarkaðurinn has some really good lunch deals on their excellent sushi, and the sushi train at O-sushi is a formidable contender in the taste department, although the quality lacks in consistency.
Best vegetarian:
Á Næstu Grösum
Choices are sadly very limited for vegetarians, and even worse for vegans, in Reykjavík. Most restaurants do provide one or two courses, but mostly as an afterthought, or what’s even more common: something from the kids’ menu. Á Næstu Grösum is an all vegetarian restaurant right in the city centre that features a friendly atmosphere and fair prices. There is always at least one vegan soup on offer and the daily special portions are big and always satisfying. There is even some organic wine on offer.
Runners-up: Krúa Thai (“veggie selection is too small, but you can get tofu in everything”), Garðurinn (“the cakes are great”).
Best hangover meal:
Truck at Grái Kötturinn
This was a very heated topic amongst our crew, in fact our jury wound up hopelessly deadlocked, OJ trial-style. People take their hangover meals very seriously in this town (after all, Iceland is a nation of not-so borderline alcoholics) and feel very passionately about their favourites. In the end, most votes went to the fabled “truck” at Grái kötturinn, a hefty plate of bacon, eggs, pancakes, syrup and the like, all fried to perfection. “Greasy enough to make the most vicious hangover seem like an afterthought,” one patron noted as we took another sip from our beers.
Runners-up: Prikið was pretty much a vote away from getting the prize; their “truck” is just as greasy and probably a bit cheaper. They also offer the “Bruce Willis”, a hangover milkshake to end all hangover milkshakes.
Best soup:
Lobster soup at Sægreifinn
The lobster soup at Sægreifinn is without doubt a firm Reykjavík classic. Cheap, plentiful and creamy, this budget lobster meal delivers in every department. Sægreifinn’s quaint charm and enticing harbour location enhance the experience greatly.
Best place for a fancy meal:
Gallery Restaurant at Hótel Holt
There are actually lots of formidable fancy restaurants in Reykjavík, places to dine when you’ve just got paid and haven’t a care in the world. It is with pride that we exclaim: Reykjavík is a great place for fine dining. However, in this category, Gallery Restaurant reigns supreme due to their interior, service, consistence and ever-present high standards – “I’ve yet to be let down by Gallery,” proclaimed one panellist. Go there if you can afford to.
Runners-up: Fiskmarkaðurinn offers a unique spin on Icelandic seafood that is usually of the highest order, Dill came in very strong this winter but suffer for their pricing policy and La Primavera has been the place for high-end Italian dining for ages.
Best place to go for a date:
Ítalía

The romantically inclined could do well to invite the object of their affection for a night at Ítalía. During our debate on the subject of romantic restaurant, our panellists pointed out that “while they’re not the best nor the cheapest, Ítalía has a distinctly cosy feel that’s especially suited for a date,” adding that “you’re very unlikely to be disturbed by encounters with friends or family at Ítalía.” As we settled on the choice, one added as an afterthought: “Italian food gets you in the mood”
Best place to go for fries:
Hressó
The fries at Hressó are tasty and dirt cheap – and the portions are huuuuuge – making the place an ideal site for some casual, everyday French fry eating. If you’re in the mood, you can also get food to accompany those fries that’s pretty solid and fairly priced.
Best newcomer restaurant:
Saffran
We’ve written a bunch about Saffran in our latest issues. Frankly, we’re kinda obsessed by the place. Cheap, healthy food that actually tastes pretty darn awesome has already garnered Saffran a lot of success, at this point we’re crossing our fingers that they’ll open up a downtown franchise soon. Restaurateurs should note Saffran’s success (and Santa María and Segurno’s similar momentum last year) and get the clue already: if you open a cheap restaurant that offers good food, people will love you. Open it and they will come. Kudos, Saffran.
Best goddamn restaurant of 2009:
Segurmo at Boston
This restaurant has become a firm downtown favourite in the relatively short time it’s been up and running. In fact, the way some people swear by it, you’d think they were practically raised there. But it’s all for a good reason. Segurmo head chef Númi Thomasson really knows his stuff, concocting a fresh, brand new menu every week that will mainly consist of modestly newfangled takes on Icelandic classics. Their vegetarian dishes are also of the highest order. Best of all, the food is priced to fit the budgets of even the most lowly student or freelance worker. So we went: cheap + tasty + varied + fresh + novel + accessible = our best goddamn restaurant for 2009. More in our restaurant pages.
Best family restaurant:
Hornið
Proudly providing Reykjavík with top-notch Italian dining since the late seventies, Hornið is the Grapevine’s choice for bringing the whole family out for dinner. They offer delicious dishes that are fit for everyone’s taste, whether it be grandma, the spoiled teen sibling or your average kindergartener. And the atmosphere invites for cosy conversation and extended sitting.
  Best place for seafood:
Við Tjörnina
Best place for dining out with friends:
Tapas Barinn
Best place to grab a bite:
Santa Maria
Santa María – Reykjavík’s only Mexican restaurant – was a revelation when it opened its doors a year and a half ago, and they show no sign of letting up. Put simply, Santa María’s take on Mexican food is authentic and delicious, and the prices remain absurdly cheap (even though they’ve slightly raised them). This leads us to infer that there is absolutely no better place for a cheap, tasty sit-down meal.
Best brunch buffet:
Vox
The brunch buffet at Vox comes for a price, but it is the most extravagant, tasty and awesome one up for offer in the whole of Iceland. Treat yourself to it, won’tcha?
Best restaurant chain:
Serrano
Chain restaurants in Iceland are mostly imported from the US (in fact, Iceland’s KFC is way better than any KFC you’ll get abroad – promise), so it might come as a surprise that the absolute best restaurant chain in Reykjavík is 100% local (even though the food is international). The good people of Serrano specialize in huge and tasty burritos that come in all sorts of flavours and supposedly rather healthy, too. Our folks were pretty much in agreement that Serrano is king of Reykjavík’s restaurant chains, their argument boiling down to this: “Serrano rules.”
Best all-day hangout:
Hressó
Hressó is one of those places that have long since earned an undefined “Best of” status in our hearts. We go there almost daily, the coffee is always good, the staff is nice and it’s an excellent place to hang out. Hressó is a true 101 Reykjavík haven, doubly so if you’re unlucky enough to be a smoker, in which case their heated patio rules very profoundly.
Best restaurant to take your kids:
Lauga-ás
There were a couple of contenders for the title of best kid-friendly restaurant, but Lauga-ás ultimately won the prize due to the fact that they have both an excellent kid-menu and play area, and their food and service is also well fitted for the most discerning adult. In fact, they’re one of Reykjavík’s oldest running restaurants, and have won lots of acclaim and respect through the years. Reccommended, not just for kids.
Runners-up: Potturinn og Pannan (“very kid friendly”), Tíu dropar (“for lunch, this is the absolute best place to take your children”).
Best must-try dining experience:
Bæjarins Bestu
This really goes without saying. If you’re visiting Reykjavík, and you’re not a vegetarian, getting one with everything at Reykjavík’s most beloved and established establishment, Bæjarins Bestu (“The town’s best”), is imperative.
ACTIVITIES
Best pool (all-round):
Laugardalslaug
Going to the pool is a popular Icelandic past time, and pretty much anyone you’ll ask in Reykjavík has a particular swimming pool they cherish. Our team debated this one for a while, before settling on Laugardalslaug as the best all-round Reykjavík pool experience. The reasoning was that while Vesturbæjarlaug is charming and fun, and Árbæjarlaug offers an excellent view, Laugardalslaug offers the best facilities for your all-round pool needs: a wide variety of hot tubs, a sauna, a kiddie pool and even a slide (unfortunately, temporarily out of order).
Runners-up: Vesturbæjarlaug, Árbæjarlaug.
Best pool (for hot tubbing, lounging):
Sundhöll Reykjavíkur
Downtown Reykjavík’s very own palace of pools, Sundhöll Reykjavíkur, stands out in the local pool landscape. Sundhöll is the only local indoor swimming pool, but it’s the outdoor hot tubs, excellent architecture and novel dressing booths that earn it a special place in poolgoers hearts. Unfortunately, they’re closed for renovations ‘til August. But go there then. More on page 22.
Best art museum:
Einars Jónsson museum and sculpture garden

Located on top of Skólavörðuholt, next to Hallgrímskirkja, The Einar Jónsson museum and sculpture garden is one of Reykjavík’s true gems. Whether you venture inside to view a selection of Jónsson’s magical sculptures (and his penthouse apartment) or just hang out in the garden, by some more of those awesome sculptures, a visit to the Einar Jónsson museum does not betray. It’s also a great place for midnight picnics. More on page 12
Runner-up: Listasafn Reykjavíkur, Hafnarhús, offers a permament Erró exhibit, as well as hosting nicely curated shows by top of the line local and international artists from time to time. A must see for any artsy visitor to Reykjavík.
Best gallery:
Gallery Kling og Bang
There are a lot of fun galleries making the rounds in Reykjavík these days (well, actually a lot less than a couple of years ago), but after careful examination we decided that the shows Kling og Bang have offered lately, and the loose and fun ways they tend to run their gallery, really warrants them the title of Best gallery for 2009.
Runner-up: i8 has a ready stable of great artists on hand, and Gallerí Ágúst have been hosting some really accomplished and interesting shows this year.
Best place to spend a rainy day:
Borgarbókasafnið
Borgarbókasafnið is unparalleled as a rainy-day hangout. You can spend (days, even) browsing through their huuuuuge selection of books, comics, DVDs and music that is yours to enjoy at the premises (or take home, if you spring for a library card). If you get bored of all the cultural artefacts (which you won’t), you can even venture to the top floor to enjoy the always-amusing Reykjavík Museum of Photography.
Best place to rent DVDs: Laugarásvideó
Laugarásvídeó’s selection of DVDs is so good that it’s almost a problem. Probably the best video store in Europe, if not the whole world. We state this very seriously.
Best biking tour:
Grandi-Nauthólsvík
Ride your bike around Reykjavík. It’s really fun, if the weather delivers, and it’s sorta healthy, too. Our experts recommend this course of action: start off in the general Grandi area of Vesturbær, cycle your way along the coastline. You will eventually wind up at the Nauthólsvík geothermal beach, but not before running into plenty of interesting stuff to look at and take in, stopping for a breather every here and there and generally enjoying your day immensely. For optimal results: wear a helmet and pack a picnic in your backpack to be consumed in Nauthólsvík.
Best place to go for a walk:
 Laugardalur
Laugardalur just smells all sorts of lovely, and walking through there will make you feel really lovely, too. This is can in part be traced to all the trees and plants they’ve got growing there, especially in the local botanical garden. It’s also a beautiful area, and if you get bored of walking, there are plenty of distractions to distract you.
Best romantic walk:
Öskjuhlíð
For romantic walks, nothing really beats Öskjuhlíð. It’s beautiful and serene, it smells nice, and it’s got woods with plenty of secluded groves if you suddenly feel like making out. You’ll enjoy the company of rabbits, birds, trees and scores of elderly couples out for romantic walks of their own.
Runner-up: If the weather’s right and the sun colours the sky, walking alongside the shore at Sæbraut can be truly magical.
Best place to go for a jog:
Elliðaárdalur
This beautiful valley/natural haven in Reykjavík is the best place for a lot of things (in fact, Grapevine’s old editor deemed it “Best place to get married” not so long ago). If you’re looking to jog and have some time on your hands, Elliðaárdalur is without a doubt the place to go.
Best gym:
World Class, Laugum
Our experts agreed that World Class Laugar offered the best all-round gym going experience at affordable prices. Equipment is plentiful and diverse, they offer spa treatments and specialist saunas (for a price) and you get access to the Laugardalslaug pool. It might feel like a gigantic hamsterwheel at times, but it’s still our favourite.
Best place to play basketball:
Klambratún
There’s nothing like shooting some hoops in the summertime, and the courts at Klambratún (or Miklatún, as some call it) are an excellent venue to do just that. Our team agreed that it was indeed the best place to shoot in the summertime: it’s central, you’ll often find a formidable opponent waiting to be challenged and there’s not a great chance of disturbing any neighbours.
Best place to go fishing:
Elliðaárdalur
For fishing within Reykjavík’s limits, it’s pretty much either Elliðaá in Elliðaárdalur or sneaking a pole down to the old harbour. And, frankly, Elliðaárdalur offers a beautiful, peaceful location and you can catch salmon if you’re lucky. The permits are affordable, too.
Best place to enjoy a Zen moment:
Grasagarðurinn Laugardal
There’s really nothing more to it. Go there, open your nostrils and enjoy sweet moments of Zen.
Best place to cheer up:
Húsdýragarðurinn
Some people like revelling in their misery when The Blues attacks. That is fine all fine and well, and gives ample opportunity to enjoy some good old depressing music. Sometimes, though, you’ll wish for a speedy recovery so you can get back into the happy rhythm of life, and what better place to do so than at Húsdýragarðurinn – Reykjavík’s very own petting zoo. Animals are awesome, and funny.
If the baby seals don’t cheer you up, and the piglets don’t cheer you up, and he sheep don’t cheer you up, and none of the other animals do…. you probably don’t stand a chance.
NIGHTLIFE
Best place to drink like a pro:
Grand rokk
Not only is Grand rokk one of the city’s most beloved (and longest running) live venues; it is also the perfect bar for grabbing a stool and drinking all your senses away. Life got you down? Not interested in conversation? Just want to forget it all? Grand rokk’s the place for you, as it has been for all of us during some point or the other.
Runner-up: Live Pub is an excellent place to lose ones head, but suffers from the fact that “at any moment, a group of your friends might drop in to partake in some karaoke.”
Best bar for a wild night:
Kaffibarinn
You want it. Most of the time, Kaffibarinn has it. Enjoy.
Best cheap bar: Nýlenduvöruverzlun Hemma & Valda
The unassuming grey wooden house on Laugavegur by day, where cappuccinos are sipped and children sit alongside their parents, assumes a completely different character in the evenings when it plays host to raucous musical events with patrons young and old spilling out onto the sidewalks and carrying on in merriment. It’s a good scene. Plus, at Hemmi & Valdi the prices are right for a wonderful night. Yes, that rhymes.
Runner-up: Kaffi Zimzen has some seriously appealing drink specials going almost every night of the week, but their patronage can get kinda scary. Always a bride’s maid…
Best all-round bar:
Karamba
The new kid on the block, Karamba has been serving up the good times and giving the kids a place to jump and dance along with some wicked live music and DJ’s for only a few months now, but it has cemented a place in our hearts. If you’ve been there you’ve most likely developed a soft spot for the colourful little space and über friendly staff. If you haven’t been there, you just don’t know yet how much you love it. But you do. More on page 22.
Best club:
Jacobsen
Things are saucier in the dark. Jacobsen is pretty dark. So logic would dictate that Jacobsen is pretty saucy. If you’re looking to hook up while enjoying the tunes of some consistently wicked DJ’s, head over to Jacobsen. Also, their smoking area is seriously chill. It makes going outside to smoke significantly less of a pain in the ass.
Best place to hook up:
Vegamót (6-10) /Hressó (solid 5) / Dubliners (0-4)
OK, this is kind of a sketchy category, but our panellists did discuss the subject at length, so we thought we’d include the results for fun and/or pleasure. Note that our panel featured both men and women of varied ages, and that the findings are meant to work regardless of gender.
As one of our people remarked, Vegamót is “the place where conventionally attractive people that put a lot of effort into their appearance go to hook up. They’re ready for action, but you have to look the part, too.
For your average hooker-upper, Hressó was generally considered the best place to find love. “At night, Hressó has a good, honest, often surprisingly attractive clientele, and most of them are looking for some good, honest hook-ups.”
If you’re really determined to get some action, why not try Dubliners. “The late-late night patrons of Dubliners usually don’t have a lot of standards, which will pay off if you don’t either.”
Best place to get physically assaulted:
Hafnarstræti
If you want to get your ass kicked and possibly risk your life, look no further than Hafnarstræti. Violent assaults and brutal beatings are for some common at Hafnarstræti, which makes us geeky pacifists dread walking there past a certain hour. STOP THE VIOLENCE! Unless you like it. If you do, go inflict some on yourself and leave the rest of us alone.
Best place to watch sports over a beer:
Bjarni Fel
Sports bar Bjarni Fel shows all the major matches, they’ve got beer, comfortable seats and the bar is named after Iceland’s very own Football Legend. What more do you need?
SHOPPING AND COMMERCE
Best place for grocery shopping:
Krónan
Grocery shopping in Iceland generally isn’t a fun experience compared to some neighbouring countries that don’t have to import such a ludicrous proportion of their foodstuffs. It’s usually super expensive, the selection is sub-par and often the vegetables look old and tired. However, some careful planning and research (and absolute avoidance of the “clock stores”) can make it a more bearable process.
The Grapevine panel found that, while a bit more pricey than the Bónus stores, Krónan was still the place to go for groceries all things considered. You will wind up paying more for your food, but the place is nicer looking, the selection is better, they have an organic aisle and the vegetables are generally in much better condition than in other budget grocery stores.
Runners-up: Bónus, for their ultra low prices and accessibility, Melabúðin for running a super-charming old-school Icelandic store that features a butcher’s table and packs lots of gourmet stuffs. Honourable mention goes to Kjötborg for offering the best service in the known universe (as seen in an excellent documentary of the same name).
Best downtown institution:
Mál og menning
Mál og menning’s contribution to downtown Reykjavík culture and atmosphere is truly a great one, so much that it has long since gained status as an institution of 101 Reykjavík. The bookstore that also sells you coffee, and also gives you tourist information (if the staff is in a good mood – which it usually is), and also allows you to loiter and browse for as long as you like, and also stays open until ten every night, well, that’s a bookstore we love. More on page 12.
Best place to buy screws:
Brynja
Hardware store Brynja has been serving denizens of 101 Reykjavík for ninety years now, and is yet to fail us. Their friendly, knowledgeable staff makes shopping for hardware of all sorts a joyous experience, and the fact that they sell most items “by the piece” (as opposed to forcing you to buy a whole bag of screws if you just need the one) solidifies its status as Reykjavík’s top hardware store. More on page 14.
Best place to shop for touristy stuff:
 Handprjónasambandið
No tourist need leave this island without an authentic hand-knit Icelandic sweater thanks to the dedicated members of Handprjónasambandið. Not into sweaters? Beautifully crafted gloves, hats, and blankets make some great souvenirs too – way better than the kitschy figurine collecting dust on your mantle since your last vacation. Seriously, what were you thinking?
Best place to get a trendy haircut:
Rauðhetta & úlfurinn
Our panel agreed that Rauðhetta & úlfurinn is the best place going for a trendy unisex cut, even though it comes with a price.
Best place to get a cheap haircut:
Rakarastofan Vesturgötu
Dudes that require a gentleman’s cut for a modest price need look no further. This establishment has been serving the local community for ages; they’re classy, they’re old-school, they rule if you want that particular style.
Best place to shop organic:
 Yggdrasill
So you’ve been thinking of living a healthier life. Yggdrasill will help you go organic. This small shop on Skólavörðustígur has health-conscious alternatives to nearly every ingredient of every food you consume on a daily basis. Need some almond flour? There ya go! Running low on wheat germ? They’ll top you up! Craving some soy whipped cream on your gluten-free, fig tart? Check out their cooler section for a good time!
Best place to get ingredients for ethnic foods:
Mai Thai
Mai Thai is to ethic foodies what Dutch coffee shops are to potheads. Heaven. If that pan-Asian recipe you’re toying with calls for some ingredients that you’ve never seen on the shelves of Bónus, or maybe never even heard of, chances are you’ll find it at Mai Thai. Editor’s tip: the Japanese seaweed snacks are like a less-evil crack. Get yourself a habit.



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Best Of Reykjavík 2014 (Photo Gallery)

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Once a year, we like to take a step back and celebrate our little city. It’s not that Reykjavík is a city without problems, or that it’s a place that doesn’t have plenty of ways in which it could improve. This probably goes without saying. We at Grapevine spend a lot of time being critical, after all, and by and large we’re a bunch of cynics. But once a year we like to set all that aside and appreciate the things that make Reykjavík a pretty great place to live. As ever, our BEST OF REYKJAVÍK! issue is about big-upping

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Best Of Reykjavík 2014: Shopping & Commerce

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Once a year, we like to take a step back and celebrate our little city. It’s not that Reykjavík is a city without problems, or that it’s a place that doesn’t have plenty of ways in which it could improve. This probably goes without saying. We at Grapevine spend a lot of time being critical, after all, and by and large we’re a bunch of cynics. But once a year we like to set all that aside and appreciate the things that make Reykjavík a pretty great place to live. As ever, our BEST OF REYKJAVÍK! issue is about big-upping

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Best Of Reykjavík 2014: Activities & Fun-Times

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Once a year, we like to take a step back and celebrate our little city. It’s not that Reykjavík is a city without problems, or that it’s a place that doesn’t have plenty of ways in which it could improve. This probably goes without saying. We at Grapevine spend a lot of time being critical, after all, and by and large we’re a bunch of cynics. But once a year we like to set all that aside and appreciate the things that make Reykjavík a pretty great place to live. As ever, our BEST OF REYKJAVÍK! issue is about big-upping

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Best Of Reykjavík 2014: Reykjavík Institutions

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Through compiling our second annual best of list back when, we reached the conclusion that some of these places are so firmly established as local favourites that naming them “best of” anything is sort of redundant. Furthermore, we thought having to compete with local favourites was almost unfair to all the new places trying to make their name. There will only ever be one Ísbúð Vesturbæjar, and it will probably remain Reykjavík’s favourite ice cream joint for as long as they don’t mess up horribly. That shouldn’t mean we can’t get excited and dish out props to other ice cream

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Best Of Reykjavík 2014: Dining & Grubbing

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Once a year, we like to take a step back and celebrate our little city. It’s not that Reykjavík is a city without problems, or that it’s a place that doesn’t have plenty of ways in which it could improve. This probably goes without saying. We at Grapevine spend a lot of time being critical, after all, and by and large we’re a bunch of cynics. But once a year we like to set all that aside and appreciate the things that make Reykjavík a pretty great place to live. As ever, our BEST OF REYKJAVÍK! issue is about big-upping

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Best Of Reykjavík 2014: Drinking & Nightlife

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Once a year, we like to take a step back and celebrate our little city. It’s not that Reykjavík is a city without problems, or that it’s a place that doesn’t have plenty of ways in which it could improve. This probably goes without saying. We at Grapevine spend a lot of time being critical, after all, and by and large we’re a bunch of cynics. But once a year we like to set all that aside and appreciate the things that make Reykjavík a pretty great place to live. As ever, our BEST OF REYKJAVÍK! issue is about big-upping

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