Situated on the ground floor of the Intercultural Centre opposite the National Theatre is the aptly named Café Cultura – a restaurant/bar with a relaxed feel.
The cosmopolitan bistro-style menu focuses on simple fusion food and includes variations of popular international dishes. The current menu consists of: sandwiches, falafels, hamburgers, soups, salads and light meals including pasta dishes, Quesadillas, Indian or Chinese style chicken, and Spanish Pintxos. The menu of the day can be found written on the board above the bar.
The lively music aside, the place was fairly quiet when my friend and I stopped by for an early meal one Friday evening. As we took our time choosing from the diverse menu, we ordered the Pan Catalan as a starter, which our friendly waiter brought to us just moments later. The slices of toasted baguette were drizzled in olive oil and topped with a flavourful mix of tomatoes and herbs. A serving of crunchy mixed lettuce and mint came with the well presented and delicious appetizer – perfect for two.
The vegetarian options on the menu are a little limited and vegetable lasagne is not something I would usually order, but Cultura’s variation with layers of bell peppers, zucchini, crunchy celery, carrot, and creamy béchamel sauce topped with mozzarella was a good choice from the menu of the day. Accompanied by a mix of fresh salad, at 1,190 ISK it made for a nice summer-ish meal.
My friend opted for the Greek Chicken Souvlaki Sandwich at 1,230 ISK. The toasted pita was filled with fried chicken, feta, crisp salad and onion – all covered in a tangy yogurt sauce. Served with a rich portion of fries, my hungry companion could barely eat fast enough. “When food is this good you have to enjoy it,” he replied when I jokingly threatened to focus my review on his table manners.
It is refreshing to see adequate rather than impossibly huge sized portions being served. While the dessert menu of Cultura brownie, Apple cake and Blanco y Negro was tempting, we decided to skip it for another time.
Come by Café Cultura for its no fuss approach to fresh and well presented food. At an average price of 1,200 ISK for a main course, Cultura is an affordable option for a light meal in downtown Reykjavík.