Sometimes when you’re abroad and hungry, you just want something that’s familiar and that you know that is hard to mess up so horribly that you can’t eat it. In those cases, pizza is usually a safe bet but it always helps to know where to go to limit the probability of the almost impossible
For your convenience: a few places in downtown Reykjavík to get decent to delicious pizza.
Flatey pizza recently opened in the old harbor area, right across the street from the Maritime Museum, and it’s already becoming quite popular. They claim to be an authentic artisan Neapolitan pizzeria (they may very well be, I’m just not an expert so I can neither confirm or deny this) and have their San Marzano tomatoes imported straight from a farmer in Italy. The pizzas, that are simple but delicious and topped off with fresh mozzarella, are baked at 500°C in a wood oven which makes them bake in one minute or so.
We went there with a friend shortly after they opened and tried three different pizzas from their menu. They were all really good and we walked away pretty satisfied with a box full of leftovers.The prices were fair for Reykjavík standards and the place looks pretty nice. The staff was a little clueless though (we had three different people come take our order and they were all either covered in flour or tomatoes) but for now, I’m putting that down on opening jitters and I’m sure they’ll improve.
Make sure you ask them about the pizza of the week. None of the three people that came to take our order mentioned it to us so we ordered from the menu and got really jealous when the next table got theirs. It looked amazing!
Hverfisgata 12 (The secret pizzeria)
Hvefisgata 12 was the place to go when it opened a few years ago and it continues to be popular with locals and visitors alike. They’re known for their unique take on gourmet pizza (I’m not sure Italian pizza snobs would call it a pizza though) and their newest addition is brunch pizzas on the weekend. Think egg, bacon, truffle mayo and all kinds of odd but yummy toppings.
What I like about Hverfisgata 12 is the atmosphere. It’s a fun place to meet friends and share some good food at the beginning of a great night out. They have a reasonable variety of cocktails and beers and the place itself is nice looking. There’s a craft beer bar on the floor above the restaurant and it’s ideal for post-munch beverages. The prices are pretty normal not too fancy but not fast food Reykjavík restaurant prices I would say but maybe a little on the pricier side.
I know a lot of people that love this place and go there often but for me personally, my experience has been a bit hit and miss. I’ve either been really happy or not impressed at all but my most recent visits have been good.
Devitos pizza is in a completely different category than the other places on this list as it’s more of a hole in the wall kind of place with decent fast food pizza. They made a name for themselves years ago as the best pizza in Reykjavík but we have to keep in mind that most of their patrons were ordering their pizza at 3 am on the weekends when even the sole of your shoe would taste pretty good. The pizza was good though and still is pretty decent for what it is.
They have good lunch offers and they’re one of the few places left in Reykjavík that still offer 18″ pizza. I used to go there quite a bit for lunch when I worked close by and my favorite combination was pepperoni, banana and cream cheese. Weird? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely!
One of the best thing about Devitos is that they’re open to 2 am every day so if you’re hungry after returning from a northern lights tour or something you can get your pizza fix.
Hornið is, if I’m not mistaken, the oldest pizzeria in Reykjavík or at least the oldest Italian restaurant. It’s been around since 1979 in the same location and owned by the same people. The family and I went there for lunch a couple of weeks ago and the owner was there greeting regulars and doing his thing which I always appreciate. It’s located in a nice old building and has big windows perfect for people watching.
The Reykjavík Grapevine nominated Hornið the best pizza in Reykjavík in one of their best of issues last year (or earlier this year – I can’t keep track after they started publishing multiple issues a year) but I personally don’t agree with that. Although it’s not the most inspired pizza joint in town they do a decent calzone and thin crust pizzas and the portions are generous. They also get an extra point for surviving almost 39 years in Reykjavík which is no small feat!
If you would have asked someone 10-15 years ago about the best pizza in Reykjavík, Eldsmiðjan would have come up at least 8 out of 10 times. It was one of those legendary places, back when we only had one or two really good restaurants in each category, and people often waited a long time to get their wood oven fix. A few years ago it was bought by a company that owns several chains of restaurants and most everyone agrees it has gone down in quality since.
However, if you just take it for what it is, a chain of fast food wood-oven pizza restaurants, it’s actually not that bad. You know, if your expectations are moderate and you just want food, not an experience.
Honorable mention: Sourdough Pizza Night at Coocoo’s nest
Although I’ve never personally tried them, I’ve heard great things about the sourdough pizza nights at Coocoo’s Nest (Wednesdays and Thursdays between 19:00 – 22:00). Coocoo’s Nest is a cute little family-owned restaurant in the old harbor area that has been around since 2013. I’ve had their bread and soups a few times and they were very good but the place itself is a bit on the smaller side so it can be difficult to get a table. On my list of things to check out.