One of the most common complaints I hear from the guests on my tours is the lack of breakfast places in Reykjavík that are open before 8 am. Many of my guests are coming straight from the airport after a transatlantic flight, some at 4 in the morning (Hello Wow Air!), so I can understand their frustration. Icelandic people tend to eat their breakfast at home on weekdays and in the weekend brunches are more popular than anything. Which would explain why we don’t have things like a Pret A Manger or Starbucks breakfast rush all over town.
But don’t despair, there are actually a few places in Reykjavík where you can enjoy an early breakfast and below you’ll find a few of them.
Opens: 7:00 every morning
Bergsson Mathús will always have a special place in my heart because that is where I once had lunch next to Antony Hegarty from Antony and the Johnsons (You are my sister is one of my favorite songs ever – maybe because I have two sisters that mean a lot to me). I can’t promise he’s always there but I can promise they always have breakfast available. A simple bread with ham, cheese and jam along with soft boiled egg goes for around 990 ISK but you can also get a fuller breakfast including yogurt with granola and freshly squeezed orange juice.
Opens: 6:30 every morning
Sandholt Bakery is one of the nicest bakeries in town and they have a sizable seating area that is full almost every morning. You can both just pick things from the daily selection and enjoy that with a cup of coffee or you can order things like croissant with cheese and jam and Greek yogurt with granola from their breakfast menu. This bakery specializes in sourdough breads and they are amazing. It’s not the cheapest bakery in town but totally worth the splurge every now and again.
Opens: 7:15 on weekdays – 8:00 in the weekend
Grái Kötturinn or the Grey Cat is one of those legendary Reykjavík places that have been featured in every guide book from here to the moon.It’s also allegedly Björk’s favorite breakfast place (I mean, the internet doesn’t lie!) if that gives it any special meaning to you. According to their Facebook page they define themselves as a American/British Breakfast and brunch place and their menu reflects that. I’ve never eaten here myself but people tell me it’s good but maybe a tad bit on the expensive side.
Kaffitár in Bankastræti (Laugavegur)
Opens: 7:30 every morning except Sundays (9:00)
Kaffitár is one of the two main Icelandic coffee chains with the other being Te og Kaffi. Their location in Bankastræti opens early every morning and they offer items like porridge, breakfast sandwiches and a selection of croissants and such. Then of course they have lots of yummy coffee. This coffee shop is not the biggest in Reykjavík and it’s not my favorite but that has more to do with the setup than what they have to offer. I sometimes go there for take-away though.
More options worth considering
If your hotel doesn’t offer breakfast you could consider going to another hotel and just purchase breakfast there. I know for example that Hotel Reykjavík Marina offers a breakfast buffet that you can enjoy even though you are not a guest at the hotel. You don’t need to book in it advance so you can just show up and pay on the spot. If you want something quick on the go you can also go to 10-11 supermarket (in Lækjargata or Barónsstígur) that is open 24 hours. That would probably be my last resort – it’s not particularly interesting to be honest but you can get yogurt, basic bread, fruits and such.
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