Svarta Kaffi and My Walk Through Reyjavik, Iceland

I had landed in Iceland the night before – sick.  After a great dinner at the Hotel Holt Gallery restaurant and a tour that night, then an Icelandic horse ride that next morning,   I was exhausted and hungry. Prior to landing I had been in the the U.K. where the illness started.  I had been on a mission to find Chicken SOUP.  My quest was unsuccessful. Now, in a new country, I was hopeful that maybe this country embraced the clear soup I used as penicillin for what ails me.

Elena, the receptionist (and a very nice person) at the Hotel desk directed me to a restaurant that is known for their bread bowl soups – Svarta Kaffi.  She outlined the shortest walk to the restaurant on a map.

Clutching the directions and not caring how touristy I looked,  I ventured into the cold in search of soup.


Town of Reykjavík

Up and down the side streets I walked, …soup…must have soup…. I came upon some artwork and stopped to admire it  – but only long enough to snap this picture.

Pretty Wall Reykjavik, Iceland

Pretty Wall Reykjavík, Iceland

I pressed on…trying to pronounce the names of the streets and, when I simply couldn’t figure them out…making the names up.  As I forged on, I came upon a view of the water.   I wish I felt better, I would have liked to go whale watching or at least get closer to the water.  Unfortunately, with limited energy, the search for soup is priority.


Ocean View on the Streets of Reykjavík, Iceland

This walk seemed like an eternity (it was only 15 minutes).   Just as I considered other options…. there it was.

With a sudden surge of energy, I climbed the stairs (it is on the second floor).  The decor was not fancy but the atmosphere was warm.


Svarta Kaffi, Reykjavík, Iceland

Once seated in the Svarta Kaffi, the waiter announced there were two soups today –  one vegetarian, the other meat – neither was a clear broth.  Trying to hide my disappointment I ordered the South American Meat Soup.  I was promised  heat, my second preference for curing a cold/sinusitis/ear infection.  Within minutes the hot steaming bread bowl was before me.


It tasted as good as it looked and  hit the sweet spot of meat to soup to vegetable ratio.   Medium heat was perfect for me and the dark bread was a happy surprise.  If I couldn’t have my broth, this was a superb substitute!

Full and satisfied, I marvel at the irony of this café’s name –  Svarta Kaffi (translation – black coffee) which is known most for its bread bowl soup.  I was grateful this budget friendly family owned café was there to comfort and heal me on my Icelandic journey.

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