The restaurant Garðurinn, or as it is called in English, Ecstasy’s Heart Garden, is a small and friendly family-operated vegetarian restaurant, located on Klapparstígur, a little side street from Laugavegur. It does not exactly protrude when you pass it, but if vegetarian is your choice, you should probably keep an eye out for it.
The menu is rather simple. It consists of the day’s special and the soup de jour, both of which are changed every day. The week’s selection is available every Monday in advance. The restaurant offers an half n’ half option, that is, a small bowl of soup and a small dish of the day’s special, for a very manageable 1150 ISK.
When my lunch date and I sat down for a power lunch (every lunch should be a power lunch, shouldn’t it?) at the Garden, the day’s selection was tofu in coconut milk and Turkish bean soup. Both dishes were excellent, and although I am always a little sceptical of tofu that I have not prepared myself, I feel confident in giving this dish the thumbs-up. The home baked spelt bread that followed the soup was a good, but the hummus really stood apart. Afterwards, we had a strong cup of coffee and some very good cakes, one chocolate and an equally good carrot cake. That is something of an achievement really, since both cakes were made from spelt, but still did not taste dry or dull, as spelt sweet bread often tends to do. Among the dishes available that week were: Persian vegetable and fruit dish and carrot soup (Thursday), vegetarian curry, and bean and vegetable soup (Friday), Mexican burritos w/ pinto beans and vegetable soup w/ basil (Saturday); no shortage of exciting options obviously.
The service is extremely friendly, as it usually is in family run places. The dining area is small and decorated with photos of Sri Chinmoy, with relaxing yoga music coming from the speakers. I guess it would be easy to describe the atmosphere as new-age, but that would be over-simplifying things. Mostly, this is just a good restaurant.
The only real complaint is that it is only open until 17:00 each day, except for Sunday, when it is closed all together.