A few times during our week in Iceland, when we were out and about in the countryside, we brought picnics and lunched al-fresco. However, we also found some great places for inexpensive and tasty lunches in the city.
Svarta Kaffi was one of the first great lunch spots we found in Reykjavik - we liked the atmosphere here so much, we visited again on our last full day in the city. It is very easy to find, right on the main shopping street of Laugavegi. It is a lovely little bar overlooking the street below - we found it a great place for people watching. If you get a seat by the window, you could sit for hours, sipping your drink and watching people pass on the street below. We were tempted in by the "soup in a roll" signs. This seems to be their speciality and was what most people were ordering. We had Indian meat soup served in the most enormous crusty bread roll. It was perfect on a cold, windy day - very warming and extremely filling - I had to leave most of my bread. The soup was not the best I have ever tasted, it was a little under seasoned for me, but my husband enjoyed his very much. They have a good selection of local beers and the atmosphere is so relaxed and friendly; the staff are so attentive and welcoming that I would recommend this place highly.
Harpa is the big new conference centre right by the harbour - you can't miss this building made entirely of glass. Inside, on the ground floor is a lovely cafe/snack place. It is modern with funky pink seats and low tables, but they have a wonderful selection of sandwiches, cakes, pastries and desserts. We had lunch there on a windy Saturday, it was very delicious.
Just across the road from Harpa is Baejarins Beztu - quite a contrast. This place is just a tiny red kiosk by the side of the road but is a local institution. Bill Clinton came here once when he was in Reykjavik - they are very proud of this and have a picture on the wall. This will definitely be the cheapest meal you will have in Iceland, but taste and flavour are in no way compromised. I am not the biggest hot dog fan but I was wowed too! Just ask for a hot-dog with everything, it comes with crunchy fried onions and a couple of different sauces and is delicious. The texture and flavour of the sausage were superb - this is a must visit place. It seemed to be open pretty much twenty four hours a day, any time we passed by there was always a line, but service is fast and you don't have to wait for long. There is only one small bench, so you will probably have to stand as you eat your hot dog - this doesn't matter, it is so tasty and delicious nobody minds!
Laundromat was our other top rated place. It is in the old town, not far from the harbour and is fantastic. The decor is funky, unusual and really cool - all bright colours and shelves and shelves of books - amazingly they are arranged not by author etc. but by colour. The atmosphere is laid-back and relaxed and the place was full of quirky, cool people. The food is lovely and the milkshakes are divine. They have free WiFi too. Downstairs there is a working launderette, so you could, if you wanted to, do your washing and have a coffee upstairs. They also have a young children's play area down in the basement. We loved this place, cool, fun and wonderful food - a fantastic combination.