If ever there was a place designed for taking a lunchbreak, it’s Café Róma. Located at the top of Laugarvegur, this bakery-cum-cafe seems eerily sleepy and well stocked in the mornings. The first time I was there at noon I realized why – they were preparing and waiting for the rush. In what seemed like less than two minutes the place was full of customers, many of whom seemed to be regulars. Everyone was having the generous lunch offer, which includes soup, coffee and half a filled and grilled panini for 870 krónur. Curiously, the staff didn’t seem to break a sweat when this occurred, and the whole operation is clearly geared towards operating smoothly through these rush hours.
The food itself is basically standard bakery fare, but luckily Icelandic bakeries tend to be quite good. The soup of the day, which came with bread and was served before the panini, turned out to be a refreshing cream of mushroom soup. Nothing spectacular, but a better than you’d get out of a can and very reasonable priced. For me at least, a nice bowl of soup always hits the spot during lunchbreak.
Next up was the panini. I can’t for the life of me remember exactly what was in it, but there were definitely several kinds of vegetables and some pesto sauce. It was good, although a tad too heavy on the pesto for my tastes. Pesto is a rather aggressive flavour to put in a bland sandwich in that kind of quantity, but my dining partner – a confessed pesto addict – thought it was delicious. Our cups of coffee, both lattes, arrived surprisingly promptly thereafter (considering how busy it was) and rounded the meal off nicely.
Since it was noon we skipped desert, but the usual pastries are all there for your enjoyment if you like. Café Roma is an unpretentious café/bakery and offers tasty no-nonsense lunches for reasonable prices. The level of service in particular impressed me, and I’ll probably be taking a lunch break there again in the future.