In this second part of my article about the Grandi area in Reykjavik, I will focus on food and drinks. In fact, some of the best eateries in the city are found in this neighbourhood, which used to be an industrial area that serviced the old harbour.
One of the best things about the Grandi area is that most of the restaurants there opened in the past few years. This means that they are usually quite stylish and contemporary. Another perk of going to Grandi to eat is that it is a little less busy than the city centre.
I was born and raised a stone's throw from the area and am currently living on its periphery. In what follows, I will tell you about my favourite places in the area, starting with casual eateries.
Flatey is one of the most popular pizzerias in Reykjavik. They are very serious about their goal, which is to create pizzas as close to the real thing as possible. This means that most of the ingredients are imported from Italy, including the wheat flour. However, the toppings are a bit more creative than what you find in Italy. Some of the most popular pizzas on the menu have extremely unconventional toppings, such as dates, honey and boiled potatoes. Flatey is very busy in the weekends, so I recommend calling in advance to see if there are tables available.
Photo: Grandi Mathöll@Facebook.
Grandi Mathöll is a food hall (the fancy term for a food court!) that consists of eight different restaurants. You can either enjoy your meal in the common area or order for takeaway. Grandi Mathöll is a fantastic alternative if you’re grabbing lunch or casual dinner. If you belong to a group whose preferences are quite different, it’s a great idea to sit down at a food hall, since everyone should be able to find something that they fancy. There is another fantastic food hall in the city center, called Hlemmur. Try that one too if you have the time.
I was pleasantly surprised when I tried Lamb for the first time a few days ago. This eatery offers amazing wraps and salads full of greens and quality meat. Although the name implies that the main focus is on meat, I've heard vegetarians and vegans praise this place for their ambition on creative and fresh vegan options.
Photo: Coocoo's Nest@Facebook.
I absolutely love Coocoo’s Nest and regularly go there for lunch or brunch. During lunch, they offer superb sourdough sandwiches, soups and salads. My pro tip is to order half a sandwich and half a salad/soup instead of having just one course. They allow you to do that, you just have to ask. Their brunch, which consists of staples such as eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine, is also really good. The place is very popular so it’s sometimes a bit hard to get a table. Sadly, it’s not possible to book tables in advance.
Photo: Hamborgarabúlla Tomasar@Facebook.
This iconic burger joint has been a local favourite since it opened almost two decades ago. The burger shack is located in a this bizarre building by the old harbour (pictured above) and serves classic hamburgers and fries. Its founder, Tómas Tómasson, has been in the restaurant business for ages and is now a member of Iceland’s parliament, Alþingi. If you're hungry, try the 'offer of the century'.
Brikk is the bakery I go to when I’m craving something sweet. Although their main focus is on sourdough bread and Icelandic-style mayo-based salads, their pastries are out of this world! I recommend the Nutella bun.
The tarte-au-citron croissant. Photo: Hygge@Facebook.
This brand-new café/bakery really hits home run with their extremely fancy croissants. The ones I’ve tried are a tarte-au-citron croissant (filled with lemon curd and topped with a dollop of meringue) and the chocolate ganache croissant. So delicious and so extravagant that you almost feel like you don't deserve them!
Granólabarinn serves amazing granola bowls (pictured above), healthy sweets, salads and smoothies. If you want to opt for something healthy and fresh, Granólabarinn is the place you're looking for.
Photo: Luna Flórens@Facebook.
Lúna Flórens is a cozy little café/bar with a fantastic cocktail menu. Since the place is really small, the atmosphere feels intimate somehow. The aesthetics are also very interesting, with plenty of dried flowers and raffia chairs.
Photo: Matur og Drykkur@Facebook.
Matur og Drykkur celebrates Icelandic culinary traditions and focuses on curious local ingredients that are often overlooked. The restaurant has been featured several times in the Michelin Guide. Booking a table in advance is recommended.
Héðinn is the most recent addition to Grandi’s culinary scene. This restaurant, which is on the ground floor of the brand-new Grandi Hotel, focuses on seasonal ingredients and simple recipes. It’s the perfect place for celebratory dinners and boozy weekend brunches.