If I’m ever in a situation where a last meal request comes into play, there’s one place I’d like my meal delivered from–Seabaron in Reykjavik, Iceland. I’m admittedly not a big foodie. In my 9-5 life I’m actually a vegetarian, veering off my meatless ways only when I travel. However, novice taste buds or not, I know when something is good–damn good, like the lobster soup at Seabaron. If there is something crazy in this soup that involves bowels, or dangling animal parts or anything else that might turn a herbivore off, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. I just want to savor in the memory of its warm buttery goodness.
We went to Seabaron after a morning of touring Reykjavik via bicycle. The bike tour ended at the harbor where Seabaron just so happens to be located. It was the perfect meal to warm-up with after biking all over town in the cold. In addition to soup, the tiny eatery also offers kebab-style shrimp, potatoes and a variety of fresh fish that can be quickly slapped on the grill. Really, for a light lunch, the soup is plenty as it comes with a basket of freshly baked bread. It’s also relatively inexpensive compared to some of the other places to eat in Reykjavik. If memory serves, I’m pretty sure a big bowl of soup and a drink was under $7 USD.
We loved it so much we made a pit-stop to Seabaron on our way out-of-town to slurp down one last bowl. On this visit, the owner and mastermind behind the famed soup just so happen to be there. Like everyone we met in Reykjavik, he was so hospitable, bringing the soup right to our table and chatting us up like we were old friends (even though there was a slight language barrier). If only I could have snagged the recipe from him!
Another favorite of ours is The Laundromat Cafe. I guess we’re creatures of habit because we also went there twice; once for breakfast and again for dinner. The cafe is a functioning laundromat and the best execution of this concept I’ve seen. The laundromat is housed on the lower level of the cafe complete with an awesome playroom for kids full of books, games and toys. Seriously though, I was tempted to settle in and get to work on a puzzle. Upstairs the decor is eclectic and cozy; colorful books with titles from around the world line the bar.
The food is hardy and the servings plentiful. If you’re not too hungry, you could probably easily go splitsies for dinner. They even have vegetarian options including a really good veggie burger! Breakfast and the cappuccino in particular are what really won us over.
Another great breakfast spot/coffee shop is the Grái Kötturinn (Grey Cat in english). This gem was conveniently located in the basement of the apartment we rented and right across the street from the National Theater. The Grey Cat and the apartment building are owned by a couple from Reykjavik who studied art in New York then returned home. The cafe and the flat we stayed in are adorned in some really cool funky art made by the owners.
Aside from enjoying the art, it was pretty nice to wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, sizzling bacon and waffles everyday. Which also made it next to impossible to not go downstairs and nosh away.
Every blog, guidebook and travel show about Reykjavik raves about one place in particular that every visitor must try, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. Maybe it’s because I usually don’t eat meat but unfortunately, I was not impressed with the oh-so-talked about hotdog. Then again, I was also not three sheets to the wind when I tried it (which is how I’ve heard this particular dish is best served). Hotdog fan or not, it’s definitely worth a try and its a quick eat on the cheap. It’s probably best to hit it up after a pub crawl.
For stocking up on random essentials for our apartment, we found Bonus to have a good selection and decent prices. We even snagged a variety of coffees and candies to bring home to family. Granted it may be the equivalent of Family Dollar in the U.S. but no one back home has to know that. It is here that I also discovered my new obsession…Skyr! It’s a thick, delicious Icelandic yogurt. It’s starting to make its way into the U.S. but unfortunately not to Texas yet.
Finally, there are a couple of things we didn’t try in Iceland but couldn’t help be fascinated by. We will certainly muster up the courage to give these dishes and places a try the next time we’re there. The first, Texasborgarar. There’s really no excuse for not trying this one. In fact, it’s kind of sacrilege that as Texans we didn’t go in and at least try something. I mean come on, a Texas burger in Iceland!
The next, another famed dish of Iceland, Hakral–aka rotten shark. I knew from the get-go I’d be out on this one but thought for sure we’d be able to convince Shades or Bryan to give it a go. No such luck. Black death we tried, and the name holds true–that drink is a beast. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Just try it.
Cheers and happy eating!
What are your favorite Icelandic eats?