Café Roma is proof of the theory that the further you stray from the city centre, the fewer English inscriptions you will find. In that respect this café has all the attitude of a place that is tucked away in Breiðholt, when in reality it’s just a stone’s throw from the Hlemmur bus station. They don’t cater much to the tourists, Café Roma, and I suspect that it’s because they’d have to hike up the prices on their deals until the local clientele were forced to find another place with good, cheap deli-style sandwiches and breads.
Roma is an all-purpose store–bakery–café combination. On the left side of the shop there are all sorts of store made breads selling for 300 ISK by the loaf or 180 ISK for a half-loaf. In a glass case are tidy pastries (kleina bread and chocolate covered kleina bread are 155 ISK to go) doughnuts and croissants. The store portion of the restaurant contains refrigerators with your basics: ham, milk, cheese, and soft drinks. There is also a surprising assembly of inexpensive soy products as well. The coffee menu at Roma is cheap and diverse, with a wide selection of Roma tea for 245 ISK a cup, espresso for 230 ISK and Hot Chocolate w/ cream for 330 ISK. To make any drink soy it is only 30 ISK, and to add syrup it is 20 ISK. The café also features large paintings of a wide-eyed blonde with greeting card versions of the paintings available at 250 ISK.
My friend and I both ordered the hádegistilboð, or “lunch offer,” which included the soup of the day with a half-panini and a cup of coffee for an astoundingly cheap 880 ISK. The meal included a first round of thick tomato soup in a sizable bowl with thick slices of fresh whole oat bread. The second course was a grilled “chicken-ham” (thin slices of chicken) panini with mozzarella, green pepper, and mustard on a crunchy French roll. Though the sandwich appeared thin and the ingredients sparse, it was flavourful and surprisingly filling.
I like Café Roma because it is one of the few places outside of the bustling main shopping area that has the feel of a neighbourhood café. Oh, and the brave idea of serving considerable portions for cheap doesn’t exactly hurt them either.