Cafe Babalu

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 32 reviews )
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Skolavoroustigur 22a, Reykjavik, Iceland

Serves meat, vegan options available. A comfortable walk-up cafe in the city center with a rooftop deck. Offers crepes and lasagna on the menu, as well as cakes and cookies. Cafe drinks including coffee, tea, beer & wine. Has a vegan carrot cake for around 700 kr and chamomile soy latte. The owner seems to be a transplant from New York City who uses his own recipes for everything made there, including New York Cheesecake & chocolate cake (with dairy and egg). Has Wi-Fi. Kitchen closes at 10pm. Open Mon-Sun 11:00am-11:00pm.

Category: Lacto, Ovo, American, Western, Beer/Wine, Non-veg

Reviews (32)

First Review by Sarah P

great little cafe - Edit

I loved the vibe of this place. They only had one meal option (vegan chili), but it was really tasty and welcoming in this chill. The vegan dessert was carrot cake, which was fantastic.

Pros: 1 or 2 vegan options, more vegetarian options, lik

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Warming place for vegan coffee and cake - Edit

Cafe Babalu was practically opposite my airbnb, and thus my first stop in Reykjavik. The coffee was decent and huge (offers both soy and oat milks). The vegan carrot cake (the first time I've ever tried carrot cake tbh) was delicious – sweet and (again!) huge, with layers of icing. Best shared in my opinion, unless you're the bottomless-plate-of-cake kind.

Staff were friendly and fluent in English (and possibly other languages), which was very helpful (note: Icelandic is hard. Even the basics). As other reviews have noted, vegan chili and soup also on the menu, though I haven't yet tried these.

*Went back for the vegan chili – delicious! And very filling.



Updated from previous review on 2017-05-31

Pros: The hours: Babalu is open until late, Atmosphere: this place has it in spades, Staff are multilingual

Cons: Need to ask for itemised receipt, The smell: it's that of a mixed (veg+meat) kitchen

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cute place - Edit

This place has a cute atmosphere. I had the chili which was more like kidney bean soup but it was good.

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Vegan in Iceland - Edit

Delicious food. Friendly staff. Very quick service. Gets busy at lunch time but that is because it is good.
Vegan carrot cake was amazing. Big portion.
Things like tomato soup were not vegan, could so easily be made vegan. Only downside I found.

Pros: Delicious, Friendly, Fast service

Cons: Limited vegan options

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carrot cake has been improved greatly! - Edit

The former reviews saying the carrot cake was stale or not up to standard I found to be incorrect at this time! They have clearly taken on board the recommendations from previous reviews :) the carrot cake was a huge helping, very dense and tasty.

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The carrot cake is vegan, but stale - Edit

So put this to bed once and for all: the carrot cake is indeed vegan. However, it came stale and frankly wasn't all that good, kind of bland. For $10 I expect alot more, even in overpriced Iceland. I'd try C is for Cookies around the corner: they had 3 vegan desserts when I walked in, including a apple pie, baked oatmeal and yes, carrot cake.

Pros: vegan

Cons: stale

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great Chili! - Edit

Very cozy setting and delicious chili!!

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Best carrot cake in Reykjavík - Edit

It's an upcoming trend to serve vegan carrot cake in Reykjavík now but the one in Babalú is still the best in town. They might as well have the largest assortment of tea amongst cafés in Reykjavík.

Pros: has a student discount, the restrooms, the cozy atmosphere

Cons: it can be difficult to find a table during busy ho, WiFi is slow sometimes

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Quirky cafe close to the city center - Edit

Stopped here for the "famous" vegan carrot cake (alhough it was delicious and reeeally sweet, so much frosting!, I'm a bit sceptical if it was fully vegan, as someone before me pointed out on this site). The coffee was ok, I got the last from the termos so I thought it tasted weird but my bf and I traded (they probably would have allowed us a new cup it we would've complained).

Crazy kitchy interior which I thought was fun to look at, someone could just get a headache :D (For Star Wars fans: Check out the toilet...;)) They also have seats and an outdoor terrace upstairs.

Just came for the coffee and cake, although they seemed to have vegan/veg chilli too.

Pros: Supergood & big vegan(?) carrotcake, Fun cafe with flexible opening hours, Unique and quirky

Cons: Not so pro coffee (but ok), Not sure if the 'vegan' cake was vegan

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Only at the carrot cake - Edit

We came here specifically for the vegan carrot cake and were really impressed with it. Seating upstairs. Not sure if there were other options for food besides the cake.

Pros: Carrot cake

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A bit disappointed - Edit

Well, maybe my expecations where too high, because this cafe was recommended to me by several people! They were raving about the nice atmosphere.
To be honest, yes, it feels cosy there, but you could also say that it could need a good clean and some renovation...
Vegan options are limited, I had the chili which tasted rather bland.
Next time I'd rather stop for some coffee and cake.
Staff is nice, location very good, opening times great, here you will get some food even later in the evening.

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Good lunch option - Edit

This is a nice warm cafe just off the main shopping street. It's a cafe so it doesn't have a big menu but they're very vegan friendly and I think everything is vegetarian. The vegan chili and a slice of vegan carrot cake is a good choice for lunch on a cold day. The staff was friendly and we got our food right away.

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Not positive on how vegan the frosting is... - Edit

This place is definitely cute and worth a stop but Im pretty sure the frosting on their vegan carrot cake is Italian Buttercream... which contains egg whites and butter. I used to be a cake decorator for years (when I was just vegetarian) and Italian Buttercream has a very specific mouth feel, taste, and overall shine unlike any other frosting. I'm lucky enough to live in a city that has multiple vegan bakeries and in the past 5 years of being vegan, I have not had any frosting that came even close to resembling Italian Buttercream....

Basically, I would absolutely ask if the frosting on the "vegan cake" contains eggs or dairy next time... because I'm pretty positive it does. At least on the batch I had...

But hey, its cute and worth a stop either way!

Pros: Cute, fun

Cons: May not be vegan

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Quirky Coffee Shop - Edit

I just stopped into use the wifi and drink some coffee. The service was friendly and the Star Wars bathroom made me laugh. The vegan carrot cake looked good, too bad I wasn't hungry!

Pros: Friendly Service, Atmosphere, Location

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Cool atmosphere - Edit

Little place with a nice vibe. Not too much vegan options but I enjoyed the chili and cake. The lady at the counter also helped me locate another vegan friendly place within walking distance.

Pros: friendly staff, nice vibe, large portions

Cons: minimal options

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Quirky place with good carrot cake - Edit

Want a quaint, quirky place to grab a cup of coffee and vegan carrot cake? Then head to Cafe Babalu. It's a small cafe with mismatched coffee mugs and a Star Wars themed bathroom.
Updated from previous review on Monday April 06, 2015

Pros: Vegan carrot cake, Star Wars themed bathroom, Cheap coffee

Cons: Limited vegan offerings

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Fine cafe - Edit

Nice and cozy. It sometimes fills up but also has a second floor. I cozied up in on the booths with a coffee and a slice of the vegan carrot cake. Both were wonderful.

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A warm geek friendly cafe with vegan carrot cake! - Edit

A great place to stop in for a bowl of veggie chili with a generous serving of corn chips and warm up with a soy latte before heading back out to explore. There's more seating upstairs. Help yourself to water and self-serve drip coffee after ordering. Order at the counter and then they bring you out your treats.

It's a warm comfy and cute place to hang out down the street from the landmark Hallgrimskirkja cathedral.

Be sure to check out the wonderful Star Wars themed restroom and have a slice of the wonderful vegan carrot cake!

Pros: Carrot Cake, Geek Friendly, Soy Latte stop

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Great place! - Edit

Very cozy café where you can feel really comfortable.
I have been there a few times and always enjoyed my visit. Even more after I figured out that there is a 'upstairs' with much more space and a small library and board games. Usually it is the best to go upstairs, because downstairs it is full of people most of the time.
The food is quite good, and the prices are decent; there are not that many vegan options though.
Coffee is absolutely fine; first you can choose which cup you like (they have a smorgasbord of different cups) and then you'll can refill it for free (which is quite common is Iceland).
Moreover, the free Wi-Fi is pretty good.

Pros: cracking opening times, nicely arranged, tasty and rather inexpensive

Cons: limited vegan options

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Beautiful little place. - Edit

Very Vegan friendly, nice staff, quick service and quite reasonably priced compared to the rest of Retkjavik! Recommended :)

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Open Sunday morning... - Edit

Not exactly bursting with vegan options, but on a slightly rainy, chilly Sunday morning, when the rest of Reykjavik is asleep, this place was perfect. The carrot cake is delicious, as everyone says, but maybe a bit much on the icing for breakfast. The apple crisp my wife ordered was a better choice. The barista in training made us an excellent couple of soy lattes, and I hope the owner keeps her on board! Also, the atmosphere of this place is great. The walls are covered with over the top kitsch (cuckoo clocks and stuffed toy animal deer heads) and the Star Wars themed bathroom is absolutely ridiculous.

Pros: open Sunday morning, Star Wars bathroom, Damn good coffee

Cons: not many vegan options

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All about that cake... - Edit

As other have mentioned- if you're vegan, this place is ALL about that cake. DAMN, it is good. You pay for it thought- I think a slice cost me about £6, which is damned expensive...but I was happy to do it once as we had a week in the country!

This place is cozy, I also found out after that there is an upstairs too. They have veggie lasagne and vegan chilli- they also had two soups on the go- one of which they said was vegan as it was tomato base. The chilli is a big portion (we shared it, i'm not a big chilli fan) it could have done with a few more chips to eat it with.

Downside- we went around 3pm, it was fairly busy but none moreso than anywhere else in town. We waited about 20minutes just to get our coffees the first time we visited (with no apology for delay)....
Few days later we returned to try again for the chilli..this itself came quick, but I ordered carrot cake and this took also 20 minutes to arrive!? They forgot my order....again, no apology.

If we visit again I will go back to have the cake but don't go if you are in a rush!

Pros: CAKE

Cons: waiting ages

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Cosy, funky atmosphere and nice vegan offerings - Edit

I've been here a few times and had the vegan chili (good and very filling) and the vegan carrot cake and soy cappuccino. Everything is excellent. Interesting place, cozy atmosphere to sit for a while on the sofas with friends. Kind of a hostel atmosphere.

Pros: vegan carrot cake, vegan chili, soy cappuccino and other coffee drinks

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Amazing vegan carrot cake! - Edit

Everything is in the title but there's more with excellent soy hot chovolate, vegan Chili and delicious vegetarian lasagna!

Highly recommanded!!

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Great coffee and cake, free wifi - Edit

The inside has some interesting decor, but it's cozy and friendly. The owner is fun and is American so speaks English fluently. The only vegan item on the menu that I could see was the carrot cake but it was delicious so I didn't mind. The coffee was great and I loved their cappuccino. Plus they have free wifi! It's a nice place to hang around.

Pros: Vegan carrot cake, Good coffee, Nice place to hang out

Cons: No vegan meals

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Like a living room - Edit

The place feels very welcoming! It looks like a cozy living room (so exactly what I'm looking for in a coffee house ;-) ). Staff are friendly.

I was there a lot in 2010. Then came back 2012. They usually offer the carrot cake, which is the only vegan food most of the time. But it is one of the BEST cakes I've eaten!!

Pros: furnishing, atmosfear

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Nice environment, mediocre food - Edit

The staff was friendly and very "vegan" friendly, although the carrot cake (mentioned above) was the only vegan item. It was ok. The vegetable lasagna was microwaved and had a chunk of ice in the middle. Go for the deck and the nice staff, not the food.

Pros: Deck, Staff

Cons: Mediocre food

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