They say that adversity breeds creativity; that adage has certainly held true for Reykjavík restaurants. When we first started to put together the Best of Reykjavík issue it was slim pickings, but over the years, decision making has increasingly become a less-straightforward affair. This has really been one of our most challenging dining editions to put together, as we were spoilt for choice both in terms of quality as well as consistency. Restaurants old and new have a post-pandemic energy about them, and we’re delighted to once again grace their tables. We’ve chomped, chewed and gulped our way around this fine city, all in the name of bringing the very best that Reykjavík has to offer you, dear gourmands.
Despite living on a tiny island in the North Atlantic, far from the homelands of Rubiaceae (that’s coffee plants to you non-nerds), Icelanders sure love their coffee. This is perhaps best demonstrated by the dominance of Reykjavík Roasters, with their numerous locations around the capital. This ubiquity is no bad thing, however. As you’d expect from the name, RR roasts their own beans and makes a mean cup of joe, as well as serving up some tasty baked goods. In addition, the cafes are cosy and quaintly decorated, without veering into twee-territory.
Unsurprisingly, given the name, the interior of Kaktus is full of various plants and succulents—but don’t expect the service to be prickly. This cosy cafe is the perfect spot to meet a friend for a chilled catch up, or settle in with your laptop for a productive work session. The soups and sandwiches are also great and very reasonably priced.
Hygge embraces its namesakes spirit and is indeed a cosy, neighbourhood coffee shop with earthy interiors and a Zen vibe. There are ceramic pieces by Birgitte Munck made even better with their selection of baked goods by Sandholt alumni Þórey Lóvisa. Expect good coffee, a broad choice of teas—we are suckers for their cold Matcha latte (it’s not on the menu, but if you ask nicely, they may just oblige)—and housemade kombuchas. With several comfortable nooks, it’s also a great space to work from.
2021: Reykjavík Roasters
2020: Reykjavík Roasters
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