Friday, December 8, 2017
By the harbor in down town Reykjavík you will find a neighborhood locally just called Grandi. It’s a quarter filled with gorgeous food, beautiful design and interesting museums. It’s the hippest neighborhood in Reykjavík in my opinion.
So, the hippest neighborhood in Reykjavík I’m talking about lies close by the old harbor in down town Reykjavík. As I said, it’s commonly known as Grandi, and only a few years ago there wasn’t much to do there at all. This part of town has seen massive development the last years and is in fact still in the development stages, so there’s more to come.
Some of the shops and restaurants in this neighborhood are actually located in old fisherman’s huts, where fishermen used to live during fishing season. The area is therefore loaded with history and used to be a really lively place in the past, as it is now. However, many who remember those glorious fishing days do not appreciate the changes to this quarter in recent years. Us, young folks, celebrate it, especially seeing that this part of town was quite dull and boring a few short years ago.
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite things to do, see, eat and experience at Grandi. This area contains numerous more places that are worth a visit so I urge you to just walk around and breathe in the hippest neighborhood in Reykjavík. It’s not a big area so you can easily experience everything on my list, and more, by foot.
Food, glorious food
Authentic Italian in middle of Reykjavík
First on my list of restaurants at Grandi is Flatey Pizza, serving one of the best pies in the whole of Iceland. Their taste is authentic Italian and the sauce is truly out of this world! I recommend going for the Diavola or the Parma. If you’re feeling adventurous you could also go for the pizza of the week which is always something experiemental.
One flew over the Coocoo’s Nest
Now, I’ve mentioned Coocoo’s Nest before, simply because they have a lovely brunch going on during the weekends. But it’s also a great place to visit any time of the week because the atmosphere is cozy and the food is wholesome and tasty. Don’t be surprised if you can’t get a seat though because this place is immensely popular.
Traditional Icelandic cuisine
Kaffivagninn is one of Iceland’s most notorious restaurants, offering amazing views of the harbor from the porch. The regulars are a bunch of loud and funny men and women who can tell you a story or two if you’re not in a hurry. On offer is a selection of traditional Icelandic and Scandinavian dishes which will not disappoint.
For your sweet tooth
Can’t control yourself around these cakes
Cake shop 17 sortir is one of my favorite shops in the whole of Iceland. The reason is simple – I love cakes and 17 sortir offers some seriously delicious pastries and cakes. You will not be able to control yourself when you step in here and take a look at the selection they carry. It doesn’t hurt that the cakes are all so beautiful. I guess one little bite wouldn’t hurt, but the thing with 17 sortir is that you can’t just have one bite!
The coolest ice cream parlor in town
Almost next door to 17 sortir is one of my favorite ice cream parlors, which I’ve raved about before. I’m talking about Valdís – the coolest ice cream parlor in the hippest neighborhood in Reykjavík. It’s one of the most popular ice cream parlors in Iceland, even when it’s freezing cold! Try the Ferrero Rocher ice cream, the Tyrkisk Peber one or Pistachio. Better yet, try them all!
Like stepping into a painting
Now we head over to café Kumiko, a Japanese inspired coffee shop which looks more like a work of art than a café. I’m serious! The first time I stepped in this café I was afraid to eat the cakes because they were just so beautiful. Don’t worry – they taste amazing as well. And the coffee, man, oh man. It might be a bit pricey but it’s so, darn good!
Omnom nom nom
And you can end your sweet streak at the Omnom Chocolate Factory and Shop. For those of you who haven’t realized it yet, I’m a huge fan of Omnom. It’s an Icelandic chocolate brand that offers handcrafted chocolates that are to die for. And you can take a tour of their factory as well! How lovely!
Hip design in the hippest neighborhood in Reykjavík
Prize winning designer
You will find the design shop STEiNUNN at Grandi. The woman behind that brand is designer Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, who is one Iceland’s most respected and talented designers, having earned many prestigious awards such as the Nordic fashion award Ginen and the Söderberg Prize. Her fashion is informed by the land and cultural traditions of Iceland and her studio is well worth the visit.
The newly opened MINØR shop is also a place I urge you to visit. It houses collections from various designers, from warm hoodies to cool baby wear. The atmosphere in the shop oozes cool and it’s a great chance to pick up some unique, Icelandic pieces to bring back home.
Inspiration from Icelandic roots
You can also check out some Icelandic fashion designs at Farmers Market, also located at Laugavegur. The Farmers Market design concept and inspiration draws from Icelandic roots, combining classic Nordic design elements with chic modernity. In short: I can’t go into one of their stores because I end up spending huge amounts of money!
If you’re in the market for some high quality shirts, suits and men’s coats, Suitup Reykjavík is the place to be. You can in fact get everything custom made at Suitup Reykjavík if you’re staying in Iceland long enough. You can also buy some stylish accessories at this place if you’re feeling fancy and sleek. So, suit up!
Time for a museum walk
Guaranteed northern lights sighting
If you’re getting tired of hunting the northern lights, you can stop by the Aurora Reykjavík museum. It’s basically a museum dedicated to the northern lights where you can watch a northern lights exhibition and buy all sorts of aurora related merchandise. It’s really a place worth visiting, even if you’ve already managed to spot the northern lights.
The history of Iceland
To finish of your tour of the hippest neighborhood in Reykjavík, you can stop by the Saga Museum and learn about the history of Iceland, all from the time of the earliest settlers. I must say that I find the Saga Museum to be one of the better museums in Iceland and I highly recommend you pay it a visit – especially on rainy afternoons where there’s nothing better to do than to stay in side.