cafe di roma / imperial beach – san diego, ca

This meal is from early December – I’m a little behind in my postings! Jake, the kids and I went to Cafe di Roma after hunting for seashells in Imperial Beach and finally acquiring those elusive Star Dust Donuts. We were all hungry and since we were in Imperial Beach, I did a quick Yelp search to find a little Italian cafe. We stopped to check it out! My camera died shortly before this visit, so I apologize in advance for the iPhone only photos!

Cafe di Roma is just a little restaurant – there’s 7 tables in the whole place, which is tucked into a tiny strip mall off of the main drag in Imperial Beach. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside it’s very cozy and well decorated with Italian paintings and other decor. There’s soft Italian music playing and the waitress are friendly and treat you like family.

Every table was full shortly after we were seated with a small line of patrons waiting patiently outside for a table.


[focaccia bread]

We were given some focaccia bread while we waited for someone to come by and take our order. This bread was SO GOOD. It was freshly made and still quite warm. There was a mild tomato sauce on portions of the bread with some herbs in the mix. It kind of tasted like a really fluffy pizza bread. Your first basket of bread is free and we did manage to get one more basket… but otherwise, additional slices are $.75 cents each.


[add on salads with homemade dressing]

We ended up ordering just two entrees and splitting it between the four of us – but ideally we would have ordered one more dish. Jake and I added on salads to each entree for an additional $1.95. All of the dressings are made in-house. Jake got a Caesar salad and I choose the lemon vinaigrette for mine. The dressings were very yummy with the perfect blend of flavor and seasonings. The salad fixings tasted so fresh, like the were picked up that day.


[lasagna special – $10.95]

The special for that day was the meat lasagna. We were debating between this and another item and we asked our waitress what to order… and she said, “If she made lasagna, then you have to order it. She makes everything here – even the noodles!”

Hook, line, and sinker, my friends. Everything from scratch, are you serious? Of course we ordered the lasagna!

I should have taken another shot to show the inside, but I didn’t. This was a killer lasagna though… fresh, creamy, delicious ricotta. The meat is seasoned by the chef/owner and the sauce is homemade and downright delicious. I was so impressed that the noodles were also made in house! I can’t say that a lot of places have that much attention to detail and the flavor of this lasagna made it so so so good.


[chicken parmigiana – $10.95]

Jake’s son wanted chicken parmigiana and since no one objected, we got an order of that, too. Again, all you see is the oozy goodness of the cheese – but trust me, there’s chicken under there! We were served this first and thought, “Um, is that all we get?” but then we also got the noodles right after.

The chicken was cooked perfectly – it managed to stay slightly crisp even under all of the sauce and cheese. It was very tender and juicy – just a really delicious piece of chicken smothered in that homemade marinara sauce.


Here’s a partial view of the noodles – you can see the penne noodles sticking out there. This was just plain with cheese and marinara sauce, but still really delicious paired with that chicken parm.

I was really impressed with the high quality level of food from such a little nondescript restaurant in the middle of Imperial Beach! It’s too bad this place is so far away, otherwise I’d be down for coming here more often to try out more of the menu – especially their desserts (they have homemade cannoli’s!). Hopefully Jake and I will find ourselves down this way again sometime, even if it’s a special visit just to come here again.

Cafe di Roma
633 9th Street
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

Tues-Thurs 11am-7pm
Friday 11am-8pm
Saturday 4:30pm-8pm
Closed Monday and Sunday

Cafe di Roma on Urbanspoon

5 thoughts on “cafe di roma / imperial beach – san diego, ca

    1. Hi Cathy – The bread was killer. Everything was just so good! I forgot to mention in my post that the owners used to have a restaurant in Coronado. They moved away, came back, and then opened up this little shop in Imperial Beach. Such a great little find!

  1. oh, i thought i posted a comment earlier. well, here it is again.

    good to know about this little place. i’m all for mom and pop type places, plus who can beat homemade noodles! we are in this area every Sunday so one of these days after church, Bert, TC & I will have lunch here!

    1. Hi CC – The food here was really excellent! The bread was so good, too. They’re closed Sunday and Monday though, boo. I hope you still get to check it out though!

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