Iceland Mag

3 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

7 early-bird coffee shops in down-town Reykjavík

By Sara McMahon

  • Kaffitár on Bankastræti opens at 7:30 am on weekdays. The coffee is delish. Photo/Pjetur Sigurðsson

Most “Reykvíkingar” are not what you’d call “early birds.” They go to bed late and enjoy a good lie-in on weekends, which means the city doesn’t really come to life until around noon. For those in need of caffeine and food before that time, here is a complete list of “early-bird” cafés within the city centre.


1. Kaffitár is a franchise you’ll find all over the city. The one in Bankastræti opens at 7:30 am on weekdays. The coffee is delish, and they’ve employed many of Iceland’s coffee barista champions, so you know you’re being served an award-winning cup of coffee each time. They also serve sandwiches and other light snacks to go with your coffee.
Mon–Fri: 7:30 am until 6 pm
Sat–Sun: 9 am until 7 pm

2. Te og kaffi run a chain of coffee shops all over town. The one in Lækjartorg square boasts huge windows, making it ideal for people-watching, and the coffee is pretty good. 
Mon–Fri: 8 am until 6 pm
Sat–Sun: 9 am until 6 pm

3. Grái kötturinn, which translates as The Grey Cat, is a small, friendly diner situated in the basement of an old house on Hverfisgata, just across from the National Theatre.
It serves a large, traditional American breakfast and lunch, the most popular meal being the “Truck.”
Mon–Fri: 7:15 am until 3 pm
Sat–Sun: 8 am until 3 pm

4. Bergsson mathús serves what is best described as a healthy brunch, accompanied by their very own freshly baked sourdough bread. And their coffee is not too shabby either.
The atmosphere is relaxed and family-friendly, but it does tend to get very busy around noon.
Mon–Sun: 7 am until 7 pm

5. Prikið is a little bit of everything: restaurant, bar, nightclub, and one of Reykjavík’s oldest coffee shops. Located on busy Bankastræti street, it is the ideal place for some breakfast and some people-watching to go with it. The place serves a classic American breakfast, as well as tasty burgers and, of course, coffee and “uppáhellingur,” which is normal filtered coffee, with “ábót” (free refill).
Mon–Fri: 8 am until 1 am
Sat–Sun: 12 pm until late

6. Sandholt Bakery on Laugavegur is popular among locals because of their mouth-watering sourdough bread, pastries, and chocolates. The space was recently expanded into an empty space next door, making room for a lovely little café that’s ideal for an early breakfast or a tasty lunch.
Mon–Sun: 6:30 am until 9 pm 

7. C is for Cookie, Týsgata 8. This cosy and colourful café serves good coffee and even better cakes. Located on the corner of Óðinstorg square, it is the ideal place to drop by if you are travelling with children, seeing as the square was recently transformed into one large playground.
Mon-Sun:  7:30 am until 6 pm. 

Related content

Editor's Picks