My travel companion and I arrived in Iceland just shortly before we were set to start a tour of the island, and we started off at the Hilton, located in Laugardalur district, not far from the Reykjavik Botanical Gardens, Zoo, and National Stadium. After sleeping most of the day (we were awake over 24 hours!) we got up in the afternoon and wandered down to the gardens. I don’t have many photos to share of the gardens themselves, as I didn’t find them especially beautiful – but I did find Cafe Flora beautiful!
Located in the Botanical Gardens in Reykjavik is Cafe Flora, which has a large patio area, a small covered gazebo, and an indoor space which reminded me very much of a greenhouse – very light and open – and filled with plants! Thankfully there was a small English translation on the menu once we found one, and I ordered beetroot cured gravlax (salmon) with dill mayo and Knäckebröd/knäckerbrauði. (1200 Kr) (OK.. not all of the menu translated..)The bread was a flat, grilled bread that kind of reminded me of a panini bread.
Knäckebröd is a Swedish crispbread, which is easy to keep fresh for a long time. (Check out some recipes here) About the bread, Barbara Elisi writes: “In Sweden, there is a very old tradition for knäckebröd, for the Vikings were essentially fishermen (and explorers) who needed bread that would hold for weeks, sometimes months, while sailing away in search of fish and adventure. Having the men almost always gone, besides making Swedish women so strong willed and independent, made also them to create amazingly tasty and forever crunchy crackers. Maybe in the hope that this wonderful bread would have preserved their men healthy and would have favored their willingness to come back to their crafty home bakers.” How cute!
The bread was perfect to support the salmon, though the real star of the meal was the delicious dill mayo. YUM!
The dish also had (mustard?) seeds, radishes, and a few sprouts for topping. I had an iced latte to drink – though I probably should have had a warm drink instead, it was chilly out!
It was so chilly actually, that the cafe had a small basket inside with fuzzy fleece blankets to wrap over your shoulders or wear on your lap if you chose to dine outside (which we did..)
My companion, on the other hand did go for a warm cafe au lait, and ordered her meal from the child’s menu; meatballs with tomato sauce and pasta. (950 Kr)
Laugardalur og Háaleiti, Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 553 8872
Ok.. there was one part about the gardens that I found even more delightful than the cafe – a cute little sod house! Stay tuned for more shots of Iceland in upcoming posts!