Have you ever craved a smoothie when out and about in sunny Reykjavík? Well, we have. So we formed a panel of true smoothie connoisseurs and set out on a hunt for the best Reykjavík has to offer.
A couple of disclaimers: first, for the benefit of vegans and health gurus, the Icelandic definition of smoothie almost always includes dairy products, either in the form of ice-cream or skyr. Second, for juice lovers: the panel has made a distinction between “smoothie” and “juice,” whereby juice involves taking away the pulp of the fruit while smoothie means a blended assortment of fruit that retains the pulp. Thus, juices were ignored for the purposes of this research.
Nat Kitchen offers a wide range of smoothies, all freshly made, including vegan options. You can opt for fruit-based smoothies with no added juice or milk of any kind, or you can go for a more “spicy” experience, including coffee, cocoa, and oats. The Grapevine panel tried the “Morning Buzz” and the “Hulk,” and we were mildly impressed. This is the only place we found on our quest that offered smoothies made from many ingredients that complement each other, and give the beverage a unique taste. We were, however, not impressed by the slow service.
Lemon Juice Bar
Lemon Juice Bar offers a more limited selection of smoothies. All Lemon’s smoothies contain plenty of skyr, which puts them on the line between smoothies and milkshakes. If you are super into skyr, however, this is the place to go. We tried the “Icelandic Flirt,” and asked for the “Hawaiian Flirt” to be served without skyr to make the smoothie vegan. The “Hawaiian Flirt” tasted like plain mango, without any hint of the advertised pineapple or apple; the “Icelandic Flirt” was overpowered by blueberry skyr, which made it taste like a yogurt drink. On the positive side, all of Lemon’s smoothies are made right in front of you, and the staff is up for accommodating your crazy vegan requests.
Gló only offers two smoothies, both pre-bottled. Thus, we had to be content with options of raspberry and green smoothies. Both of them contained coconut milk, which the Grapevine panel felt overpowered the smoothies. But hey, at least they are made in Iceland at the Gló headquarters.
This charming location inside the gas station next to BSI mostly appeals to travellers passing through Reykjavík. While their smoothies are freshly made, the panel struggles to call them smoothies as their main ingredient is skyr ice cream. This made one of the smoothies taste like marshmallows. They’re not the healthiest option, but might appeal to the kind of person who wants to be able to say “I just had a smoothie,” when, in fact, that was an ice cream. The smoothie was even still cold after 30 minutes in the Icelandic sun—and if that’s not ice cream, we don’t know what is.
In conclusion, the panel is quite shook about the state of smoothies in Reykjavík. Expecting a delicious fruit extravaganza, the panel instead encountered a selection of milkshakes labelled smoothies. That is, with the exception of Nat Kitchen, where you can get the pure fruit experience.
However, the panel remains positive that Reykjavík will one day offer a premium range of smoothies. We are determined to keep looking for smoothies in Reykjavík that live up to the healthy, tasty promise that the word “smoothie” entails.