Published September 12, 2015
- What we think
- Enough space to be alone with friends and family, with food that’s better than mom’s meatloaf.
- Table seasoning.
- Comfortably alone in a crowd.
- Courteous and attentive.
- Price for 2
- 7,000 to 9,000 ISK
The term “family restaurant” usually connotes low quality food, but especially patient staff. Laundromat Café doesn’t use the term in its advertising; however, it manages to be an idealized version of such a place, with good quality food and a broader definition of family.
Actually, broad is a good adjective for Laundromat Café. It’s one of Reykjavík’s roomiest restaurants. It deserves the title of family restaurant because of the spatial comfort, the great lighting and the available utilities. You feel at home. It’s the perfect spot to read while sipping coffee and doing laundry; to sit down in a booth with a large group and carry on conversations in any direction; or to have dinner downstairs with a spouse while your children play.
My date and I sat at a table adjacent to a headphone-wearing German male—possibly a blogger or Julian Assange-esque info-warrior—and an American couple with what I assume was a minor hearing impairment. The acoustics of our spot granted us privacy while we ordered our first drink, 400 ml of Úlfrún, a session IPA (1,100 ISK). Laundromat Café has such a variety of customers and beer that it can cater to your specific tastes and the beer is still fresh.
The menu is simple: sandwiches, burgers, salads and soups. There are a few heavier entrees, which include a lamb fillet, a steak, meatballs, breaded cod or baked salmon. My date, watching his cholesterol, ordered the baked salmon, which includes sweet potato, root vegetables and a garden salad (2,990 ISK). I was feeling flaccid and impotent, so I ordered the steak béarnaise with fries (3,790 ISK). I’m not sure if steak actually aids in sexual turbidity, but I like to imagine the red meat somehow engorges me like an edible Hulk instigator for my Bruce Banner.
The food was like a perfect home cooked meal. I mean, of course, an ideal home, not my home, as my parents suffer from what the French call “incompétence culinaire.” Though the server didn’t ask how I wanted my steak, it was served at an acceptable medium. The sheer comfort of the food turned my date and me to the topic of children. Though neither of us have children that we are aware of or support, we could imagine taking children—again, when we have them and they are ours—to Laundromat Café without feeling we were missing out on more adult dining experiences.
The bar features a plethora (yes, El Guapo, I said “plethora”) of used books to browse, a magazine rack of current editions, and enough old photos and memorabilia on the walls to entertain you between lapses in conversation. It’s like a perfectly catered wake in an expanded version of your grandparents’ attic, with your relatives surprisingly up-to-date on their psychoactive medication.
Our second drink, 400 ml of Snorri Ale (1,000 ISK), was crisp and fresh—allowing me to finish off the last of my fries and helping my date to wash down his parsnips. The bathroom is in the basement, which also contains the laundry facilities and the children’s play area. The play area features cubbyholes sunk into the wall above dining booths. Though designed for kids, these padded shallow caves are surprisingly comfortable and permit you to have an even more comfortable and intimate seating arrangement to finish your second drink. I am not experienced in child rearing, but I assume it would be easier to monitor your children from such a height. However, the cosy caves do lend themselves to dozing off.