It felt a little surreal pulling into the parking spots outside FossHotel Reykjavik. In realizing we just completed driving the entire Ring Road, we high-fived and sat there for a minute. Huge moment. Big feelings. A lot of love for this country.
We had a blast in Reykjavik. It is expensive and colorful and welcoming and full of good European meets Viking energy. I was enamored with: the colorful street and sidewalk art, Hallgrímskirkja and the beautiful city views it affords, Langoustine soup, Lebowski Bar, and Harpa.
Here's a look at all my recommendations.
Happy Hour Crawl / Drinks on Laugavegur:
On and around the main strip of Laugavegur Street there's a ton of cool places to hang out. I highly recommend taking advantage of the various happy hours since drinks are $$$. The best happy hour was at Bravo, a chill space with comfy nooks and window seats, plus they had our favorite Einstock beers on draft! The divey cellar space at Koffin was also fun, it felt like a true local haunt. Kaffi Brennslan is where we had the grilled ham + cheese and waffle pictured, they also have a good selection of bottled beer and wine by the glass. Lebowski Bar at night is a must. Funky decor, good energy, a fantastic DJ, dancing, AND they have an entire menu dedicated to White Russians. I had the Pink Russian (2100 ISK) which adds strawberry liqueur and strawberry syrup to the classic vodka, Kahlua and cream. That plus a beer cost $30. Drink prices are no joke. Bar 11 had solid live music in the basement, and we noticed all the decor was dedicated to the only beer on draft: Tuborg. The owners must really love that beer! Finally, the Bjorgardurinn (Beer Garden) is a sleek industrial space located on the bottom floor of FossHotel Reykjavik (our lovely accommodations) and worth a trip off Laugavegur for the unique and worldly beer selection.
Lunch: I think lunch or afternoon snacking is best enjoyed at any of the following: Kaffi Brennslan, Cafe Babalu and others - the aforementioned cute and cozy coffee houses that serve soups, sandwiches, waffles, cakes, beer and wine. / Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur - the famous hot dog stand!! / Vöffluvagninn - the liege waffle food truck.
Dinner: The best meal of our entire trip was at Messinn. We strolled in early on a Friday evening with no reservation and they were fully booked. Luckily we were able to make a late reservation for Saturday night. We had Cream of Lobster Soup (1.850 ISK) with cognac, and really fresh, beautiful pan-fried fish entrees: Ling (3.600 ISK) with chili, ginger, carrots, fennel, shrimp, brandy, arugula, lemon + butter and Fish Cheeks (3.400 ISK) with cherry tomatoes, lettuce, lemon + garlic butter.
We had a light lunch at Rok on our last day. I wish we'd discovered this gem earlier! We weren't very hungry and only ordered cocktails and two small plates. One of the more dynamic bar programs I came across in Reykjavik, I had the Hrutur (2.290 ISK) with Brennivin (Icelandic Schnapps), bjork liquor, pomme verde liquor, basil syrup and fresh basil. The cured salmon + avocado on brown bread and the sliced beef, caramelized onion + melted brie crostini were artfully composed and very, very good! Rok is open every day from 11:30 am - 11 pm. Whether brunch, lunch or dinner, it should be a definite on your list for a full meal.