OK, this is a really hard one, because Reykjavík has so many excellent cafés, and almost all of them serve great coffee.
That said, and bearing in mind that these are totally subjective, here are my favorite places to get a good cup of coffee. Or at least those that pop into my mind first.
4. Súfistinn. The cafe upstairs in the IÐA bookstore, in Lækjargata. I like it primarily because of the view — it’s got huge big windows that overlook the Bernhoftstorfa [a row of old buildings that were saved from demolition a couple of decades ago, that include the restaurants Lækjarbrekka and Humarhúsið] and it’s really airy and bright. However, it’s been “discovered” since I first started going there, so it tends to get a little crowded.
3. Kaffitár in Borgartún. OK, all the Kaffitár cafés [Kaffitár is an Icelandic coffee manufacturer] serve really good coffee. However, I particularly like the Borgartún one because it’s got a fantastic patio out back that very few people know about. It faces south and is sheltered from wind, so on sunny days in summer it’s a great place to catch some rays.
2. Te og kaffi in Eymundsson, Austurstræti. I’d almost forgot about this one because I only recently discovered it. Te og kaffi is the other Icelandic coffee manufacturer that has its own set of cafes, and it also serves up consistently good coffee at all of their outlets. However, this place is so great because, like the one above, it has a wonderful patio where you can sit outside on sunny days. It’s got a really laid-back atmosphere and these surprisingly comfortable patio-furniture sofas that are great for hanging out. Bonus: if you’re there on Saturday afternoons in the summer you can listen to the live jazz being played in the Jómfrúin courtyard below.
1. Cafe Haiti. This was a little hole-in-the-wall place down by the harbour when it first started, and quickly gained a reputation for excellent coffee and lovely service [the woman who runs it is actually from Haiti]. She imports the coffee directly from there and it is addictive. They’ve recently moved to larger premises, in the refurbished tackle workshops down by the old harbour [near the Sea Baron and where the whale-watching tours leave from], so you no longer have to drink your coffee standing up.
Incidentally, all of the bookshop cafés in Iceland allow you to take magazines from the racks and read them in the café, as long as you return them.
Over to you. Which ones are your favorites?