First off, can I get a “Hallelujah” for the app Happy Cow? Thanks to that, I find it incredibly easy to be a vegan abroad. And vegan is pretty much the same word in every language: (Italian: vegano, German: vegan, pronounced weegan.) Happy Cow lets me experience local cuisine with a vegan twist, and as a traveler that loves to immerse in the culture, that’s priceless. And what’s better is all these places are great to bring your meat eating friends as well. These’s something for everybody! Here’s the top five vegan cafes I found in Reykjavik, Iceland, and they’re all within walking distance of each other!
This was the first place that we went. The front desk of our hotel decided to disappear for hours so we couldn’t check in or even drop off our luggage, but dragging it down there over the icy sidewalks was worth it. At first, I was confused why it was on Happy Cow, because I didn’t see anything vegan other than french fries. But the waitress said they had “vegan toast”. So I thought, ooooo yayyyyyy dried bread hold the butter, sooooo excited. I ordered a big smoothie and fries to go with my “toast”. So I waited and she brought out this.
And the look on her face said it all. She knew I would be surprised. Here we have “toast” which is actually a beautifully toasted thick slice of bread covered in hummus, eggplant, a fig spread, and peanuts, next to a deliciously dressed salad. My jaw dropped. The flavors were unexpected, but meshed together perfectly. Found out I dropped a pretty penny for this super secret vegan toast, but it was worth it! Under the bar is a wrap around bookcase arranged with by color. The cafe gets its name from once being an actual laundromat.
2. Cafe Babalu
They had a great vegan carrot cake with a light vanilla frosting. I also tried the chili which was thick and came with tortilla chips. My friend got tomato soup and a grilled cheese. The atmosphere is great and big surprise if you have to use the bathroom. If you’re a Star Wars fan, I’ll just let you find out for yourself. The art inside has little gnomes climbing around, a Pac Man tea kettle and many other little things that make this cozy cafe come together.
3. Eldur og Is
Translated this means “Fire and Ice”. I actually stumbled upon this place while I was wondering around with a friend looking for another cafe. It said “Vegan Crêpes” and my vegan sixth sense picked it up. Never had a crepe before this, so I picked dark chocolate and dug in. It was so good! And my non-vegan friend got gelato. There’s a really nice painting in the back with a woman and the hidden folk. Out of respect you can’t take a picture, but it’s a nice piece of art to be admired.
Being a vegan since 2009, I can tell you I’ve had more french fries than I’d probably like to admit. Reykjavik Chips are fries worth getting excited about. Vegan satay sauce on top a nice big cone of fries! YUMMY! They’re slogan is “Where fries are twice as nice” which makes sense since I went back a second time!
Supposedly named after the famous Sesame Street song by the Cookie Monster, this is an adorable cafe with some real Icelandic ambiance. It’s a little off the main street, and I’ve learned through my travels that the most authentic places will have people talking in the local language all around you. I got a macchiato with soy milk and some warm vegan apple pie. That food can be found in the feature image. All the cafes on this list are pretty small, but I found they were never too busy or cramped. It’ll make you feel right at home in the small city of Reykjavik.