Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik is a starting point for pretty much all the attractions this country has to offer. No matter what tours you schedule or what your itineraries include, make sure you start the day right: with a full breakfast in Reykjavik. Chances are your trip will take hours, if not all day, so you want enough energy to enjoy all the attractions.
Fortunately, there are numerous options to find a delicious breakfast, even an early one, in beautiful Reykjavik. You’ll run into one bistro after another, not to mention bakeries and restaurants on the clean city streets. Each of them has its own unique atmosphere and recipes. It’s highly recommended to try both touristy places and more local oriented offerings.
Best Places for Breakfast in Reykjavik
Originally established as a bakery, Sandholt Reykjavik has quickly become a top meeting spot for both tourists and locals. It’s easy to tell why – it offers a plethora of dishes for fancy tourists, as well as local dishes for those who want to enjoy a more traditional Icelandic experience. Located at Laugavegur 36, this bakery is in the heart of Reykjavik.
Once inside, you’ll enjoy a cozy atmosphere, which perfectly contrasts the typical outside temperature. You’ll feel like spending hours in there. The place has just been renovated, so almost all the facilities are new. Despite this major refurbishment, it still carries the traditional Icelandic style.
As for the food at Sandholt Reykjavik, you’ll have all kinds of options. Everything is cooked fresh every morning on the spot. You can have salty bakery dishes, as well as sweeter alternatives and sweets – excellent for kids or those who love sugar, or even those too excited for adventures to get much sleep and need that extra boost to get going. Top your breakfast with a freshly brewed coffee and you’re ready to go!
Sandholt Reykjavik is open seven days a week from 7am to 9pm.
The Coocoo’s Nest
Located at Grandagarður 23, The Coocoo’s Nest will be a bit tricky to find. It’s just one of the numerous restaurants and cafes established in the Old Harbor area of this beautiful city. This is a central point though, so it’s a primary choice for both tourists and locals alike.
If you’re in Reykjavik during a weekend, it’s a wonderful location for breakfast in Reykjavik. Why? Simple! Every weekend day has a different menu. No two menus are the same. The diversity is even more exciting if you plan to visit The Coocoo’s Nest at night. You’ll find everything, regardless of your preferences – from tacos to pizzas.
The Coocoo’s Nest is still ideal for breakfast though. At night, it can get quite busy. Mornings will be busy in the summertime too, yet you won’t have to wait too long. If you feel overwhelmed with the menu, try the local sandwiches and breakfast burritos.
On a negative note, The Coocoo’s Nest does not currently take reservations, no matter how large your group is. On a positive note, the staff will do everything in their powers to make you feel welcomed.
The Coocoo’s Nest is open Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 10pm, Sunday 11am to 4pm, and is closed Monday.
Easy to find due to its proximity to Hallgrímskirkja (Frakkastígur 26a), Rok Restaurant is one of the most attractive places for breakfast in Reykjavik, mainly due to its location. Basically, those who attend the nearby church will spot it as soon as the service is ready. It’s located inside a black house with a turf roof – and is highly impossible to miss. From this point of view, you’ll find many locals there, as well as traditional dishes.
The menu in Rok is cost efficient, yet the dishes are also smaller than in other similar places. The idea is pretty simple – they want you to try more dishes. And you should! Most people go for a couple of smaller plates, a tapas-style approach. Some people will get as many as five plates. Make sure you leave some room for dessert though.
Although it sounds a bit strange, the concept at Rok is easy to understand – as a tourist, you want to try out as many different foods as possible. Iceland isn’t right down the street. It’s isolated, and many don’t get a ton of opportunities to visit. You can’t do that if you get everything in one heavy meal, so just mix together a few small plates and get a wide ranging experience.
The breakfast provides a series of choices. If the weather is nice, you should take a seat on the patio. It has wind shielding and an incredible view to people watch and enjoy the clean Icelandic air.
Rok Restaurant is open 11:30am to 11pm seven days a week.
Established at Skólavörðustígur 40, Kol Restaurant is also close to Hallgrímskirkja – the big church that you can’t miss even if you wanted to. The restaurant is large and has many tables, so you can find a spot even when it’s packed with tourists and foodies. It’s busier at nights though, so breakfast should never be a problem.
Kol is better known for the amazing seafood dishes. Try out the fish of the day offer – the freshest thing in the menu. Going there with your family? Enjoy a shared seafood starter. The burgers are not to be overlooked either – large, puffy and tasty.
If you’re a gourmand, go to Kol in your first day. Chances are you’ll want to return, so you don’t want to miss this opportunity. If you’re in a hurry, you can ask the staff to get your breakfast on the go. However, the place has a swarming energy in the morning and can fuel you with a positive vibe for the whole day.
Kol Restaurant is open from 9am to 10pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 11pm Saturday and Sunday.
Mat Bar is quite new when compared to other restaurants, but it becomes a good choice for breakfast in Reykjavik. It’s located in a small building on the corner of Bergstaðastræti and Hverfisgata at Hverfisgata 26. It’s excellent for a quick breakfast or coffee. However, its small size is a drawback. Basically, there are times when the place is packed. Go there early to avoid problems. If you want to come back at night, you should make a reservation on the official website.
Just like in other Icelandic restaurants, the focus is on small plates. No matter how much you hate breakfast, chances are you’ll have more of them – an excellent idea to try out more dishes. Most people opt for two to five plates, depending on how hungry they are. You can also share.
Mat Bar is an even better idea if you only want a quick espresso shot for energy. As for food, you should opt for everything in the cheese-related menu. Leave room for dessert too – you won’t regret it.
Mat Bar is open from 12pm to 11pm Wednesday to Friday, from 4:30pm to 11pm Saturday and Sunday, and closed Monday and Tuesday.
If you’re up for a quick Indian breakfast in Reykjavik, Hraðlestin is probably your best choice. There are multiple restaurants in the area, so find the one closest to you. It doesn’t work like a restaurant, but more like a fast food. However, each restaurant has tables inside, so you can sit down. The takeaway is also available. Despite being rated as a fast food, the food is cooked on the spot, so it’s fresh and healthy.
Hraðlestin is quite new when compared to other restaurants in the area, but it certainly doesn’t compromise on quality. It comes with one major advantage though – Wednesdays come with an expanded menu covering a plethora of vegan dishes.
As for the best things in the menu, you shouldn’t miss the chicken 65 and chicken madras dishes. All in all, this place is ideal if you plan a long tour and you don’t have time to waste. Your breakfast will be ready in a few minutes only.
Hraðlestin is open from 10am to 5pm seven days per week.
Conveniently located at Laugavegur 2, Sakebarinn is a great choice for those who like sushi. It’s different from your average sushi restaurant because the fish is fresh – caught not more than a few hours before your breakfast. There are multiple sushi restaurants in Reykjavik, but this one stands up in the crowd due to its central location. Most tours start in the area too. Everything is done on the spot. If you’re in a rush, this isn’t the right place for you. Make sure you get there early and give the staff enough time to cook your breakfast – it’s definitely worth the wait.
It’s hard to make a good recommendation when it comes to Sakebarinn, especially if you love seafood. Everything in the menu is tasty. Given the light profile of this meals, you can have a pretty large breakfast without feeling heavy.
Sakebarinn is open from 11am to 11pm seven days per week.
Kopar Restaurant is the kind of location (Giersgata 3) that will provide both a fulfilling breakfast and a great view over the ocean. It’s located at the old harbor and its windows overlook the ocean – what else can you ask for? Sure, it’s a bit more expensive than other random restaurants, but you get what you pay for. Over the past years, Kopar has become a leading restaurant. It’s packed during evenings, yet you should have no problems finding an empty table in the morning. Ask to sit down upstairs for an even better view.
Kopar is the kind of restaurant where you need to go early. If you have a long trip or tour coming, you should start breakfast early because it will take a while. It’s not the type of fast food where you can get your food in 5 minutes.
It’s hard to make a recommendation about the food. Sandwiches and breakfasts are quite fulfilling. If you go there with more friends, ask for cod tongues and muscles, as well as shared dishes. However, in terms of seafood, the offer is limited in the morning as shipments are still incoming.
Kopar Restaurant is open from 11:30am to 2pm and 5pm to 10:30pm Monday through Friday, and from 5pm to 11pm Saturday and Sunday.
As a short final conclusion, finding a place for your breakfast in Reykjavik is definitely not hard. What’s really challenging is the wide diversity of restaurants. If this is your first time to Reykjavik, you’ll feel overwhelmed, hence the necessity to do your homework.
Make sure you have a good plan though. Some restaurants can get your food ready within minutes, so you can show up late. Some others are fancier, so you can’t go there just half an hour before your tour or trip begins.
If you want a traditional breakfast topped with Icelandic accents, chances are Sandholt Reykjavik is your best choice. It’s the first mention in this chart for an obvious reason – fresh bakery products in a beautiful setting.