What’s up, Silja?
I’m working on what will hopefully become Iceland’s next constitution—and the first one written from scratch by Icelanders, although we’re getting a lot of pointers from abroad after our interactive method of work garnered the attention of the global media. This is a 9–5 job, with a lot of work at night and on weekends, as we’re only given four months to do it. So my spring and summer are taken up entirely by this process, although I’m trying to finish up a couple of articles for publication.
On a weekday morning I’ll normally grab yoghurt and some fruit to go and get my coffee at work after riding my bike from Vesturbær to Kringlan, where our offices are. If I get up early, a stop at Café Haiti by the port, Kaffitár on Bankastræti, or Kaffismiðjan on Kárastígur are a welcome variety. Café Haiti and Kaffismiðjan probably do the best coffee, but the odds of running into someone I know are greater at Kaffitár.
Working right by Kringlan, Portið has become my go-to spot for off-site lunch. But during my regular work-week (at the University of Iceland) the fantastic restaurant Dill at the Nordic House is my absolute favourite. Limited options (one salad, one soup, one main course, pick one, two or three) but they’re all good and the slow food approach really appeals to me (they’re as far as I know the only restaurant in Iceland to grow some of their own ingredients right out back).
If I’m at home I’ll take a walk along Ægisíða; on a good day you can sit on a sheltered bench and look out at the sea. Keep walking around the airport to Nauthólsvík and dip your toes in the sea, and then come back around Öskjuhlíð and you’ll have gotten a taste of the Reykjavík outdoors.
After work I enjoy getting a coffee or a drink and doing some people watching at Austurvöllur. My favourite is Íslenski barinn—if you get a seat out front in nice weather that’s where you can get the most sunlight. Inside there are a plethora of Icelandic historical and literary mementos and handicrafts, and of course the nostalgic nationalist décor makes it obvious that the place took on its present character after the crash. Look around and you’ll see men everywhere—the pictures, the books, but all the handicrafts are women’s work. I always think somebody needs to do a gender analysis of the place.
HEAT OF THE NIGHT
Uno is my present favourite place to eat. Reasonable prices and quick service. I also just tried Grillmarkaðurinn and I am in love. Chef Hrefna Rósa does amazing stuff at Fiskmarkaðurinn, but her latest restaurant is a real experience. Great ingredients, crispy vegetables and wonderfully fresh fish.
The molten chocolate ball dessert is to die for! The location is a newly rebuilt house in the middle of downtown, so it’s great to start your evening there or come by after hanging around Austurvöllur earlier in the day.
Ölstofan is my nighttime hangout. I keep trying to go to other places, but that’s always where I end up. Not the place for those looking for music or dancing, but on the rare occasions I feel like dancing I’ll go to Boston.