We put on our walking shoes and paid a visit to cafés we found interesting one way or another. It was quite a feat to choose only eight because they all have something special to offer.
All of these cafés have received a 4-5 star-rating from travelers on TripAdvisor, so they are a safe bet. Most cafés in Reykjavik have free internet, but some café owners prefer that you speak person to person, which for some is a blessing.
Going to Café Babalu is like going to your grandmother’s home for hot chocolate or coffee. The decorations are old fashioned and some are quirky, but the whole experience is warm and friendly. People love to play chess here or various board games which are on offer. The café is run by New York born Glenn Barkan and a lot of tourists stop by as it is very close to Hallgrímskirkja church, a popular tourist attraction.
You can’t get any closer to nature in a café than at Café Flora, situated in the heart of the Botanic Gardens in Laugardalur valley. Some of the food on offer is grown with love and care right outside the café. You can sit inside a glassy greenhouse or outside in the garden; birds chirping. A short distance away is Reykjavik’s Family Park and Zoo, a very popular destination for those who travel with children.
Elda Thorison Faurelien from Haiti started Café Haiti from scratch with her husband, in a former fishing hut down by the old harbor. Her coffee is imported from Haiti, burnt and milled on the spot. Elda knows the ropes as she was raised working with coffee beans in her native country. Live music and local artwork is often displayed on the premises, and when you’re sitting out on the veranda, the fresh sea air nurtures the soul.
If you want to meet philosophers, artists, poets and deep thinking people and experience echoes of the sixties, go to the quiet Mokka Café. The interior is almost the same since the café was opened in 1958 by the couple Guðný Guðjónsdóttir and Guðmundur Baldvinsson, and the café is still run by their family. Most of the coffee is Italian and while sipping it you can enjoy the artwork on the walls which is changed every 4-6 weeks.
Close to one of Reykjavik’s more popular swimming pools, Vesturbæjarlaug, on the west side of the city is Kaffihús Vesturbæjar. A few television celebrities decided to open a neighborhood café and it got a flying start. They collected used furniture from friends and family and the café was an instant hit. Go there if you’d like to meet locals, hear tunes from vinyl records and get that classic feel.
If you are searching for a café in the center of Reykjavík, Stofan Café (The Living Room Café) is the obvious choice, just a few meters away from the central tourism office. The café is in an old house on two floors with a stone and wooden interior and a striking wood structure that compliments it. The cellar is a quiet area of the café and it’s a great place for reading or studying or snuggling up beside a loved one after a long downtown walk.
Memories: The place once housed a popular antique store called Aunt Frida.
A mix of old chairs, tables and big windows attracts the many who pay a visit to Reykjavík Roasters, located close to Hallgrímskirkja church and not too far from the main shopping street, Laugavegur. The owners are proud of their hand-brewed coffee from Colombia and their big roasting machine expresses that fact. The coffee is brewed to different strengths—a real treat for coffee nerds.
The Sandholt bakery is run by a fourth generation baker, so expect a lot of tradition and experience. There is a big glass window in front of the kitchen and baking area so you are welcome to watch the food and pastries being prepared. There’s also a large selection for take away. Sandholt is on the main shopping street and a favored among the staff from neighboring shops.