Pane Olio and Pomodoro

Pane Olio and Pomodoro, Kigali

This is such a cool little space! The all-wood interior creates a really cozy atmosphere and the care taken in designing the place is something that’s rarely seen in cafes and restaurants in Kigali. It’s always nice to see a new business go that extra mile and I’m excited to say that Pane Olio & Pomodoro is a new place in Kigali that goes a bit beyond the ‘usual’.

Pane Olio and Pomodoro, Kigali

The first thing you’re likely to notice is the awesome interior. It’s a space that’s been designed with some care and it feels really welcoming. There are a couple of options for seating – a long shared table with high chairs and some regular tables built with a long bench along one wall. Both of these spots are inviting and I especially like the higher table for encouraging social chatter between fellow diners. Communal tables like this are something I’ve always loved and it’s the first time I’ve seen them in Kigali.

Pane Olio and Pomodoro, Kigali

Unfortunately, food-wise, my first visit here was a bit of a let down. Well actually, I was happy with the food I ordered, it was the rest of the meals that were a disappointment. Lets start with the good news. I ordered the lasagna (Rwf 2,250, though it might be sold by weight), some sort of a breaded pointy dome-like thing with ragu, mozzarella, and rice inside (Rwf 500), and a small round thing that looks like a meatball but is made of pasta (Rwf 300). I’m sure the last two things have names but I’ll be damned if I can remember them!

Pane Olio and Pomodoro, Kigali

The bready thing was good but I think it’ll take some getting used to as I’ve never eaten anything like that before. I’ll give it another try for sure, but I’m undecided so far. The smaller round thing was smothered in a delicious tomato sauce, the same sauce I think that’s used for the lasagna. This sauce is super flavourful and it’s what really made both of those dishes stand out for me. The lasagna was more of a dry style but it’s the type I like and I felt like it was a yummy dish and great value.

My friends weren’t quite as happy with their orders, though. One ordered spaghetti with tomato sauce (Rwf 2,500) and, while she was as impressed with the sauce as I was, the pasta wasn’t fully cooked and there were large clumps of 4 or 5 strands of spaghetti stuck together and hard. Al dente gone wrong!

Pane Olio and Pomodoro, Kigali

Another friend ordered the pasta carbonara (Rwf 2,300), expecting a creamy sauce and instead got a sauceless pile of spaghetti with small bits of egg scattered around. While she was pretty unimpressed with the carbonara, I did get an email from someone who loves it. They admit that it lacks in sauciness, but loved the flavour and I’ve heard the same from a few people. So, I guess, if you go in expecting a creamy sauce you might be disappointed, but if you’re open-minded about the lack of creaminess then it sounds like the flavour won’t disappoint. I’m a staunch devotee of the tomato-based sauce so I shall never venture down the carbonara road, so I suppose I’ll never know the truth behind this dish.

Pane Olio and Pomodoro, Kigali

Our final friend in the mix for our review lunch ordered the eggplant parmigiana (Rwf 2,000) which she said was way overcooked and had burnt cheese. So… not such a good start for ol’ Pane Olio & Pomodoro which was disappointing. The saving grace for the pasta dishes was their price. True, you don’t want to be served something you don’t really like… but if you are, it’s much better to pay Rwf 2,300 for it than to pay over Rwf 4,000 as you would at other restaurants for the same dish. Overall, the prices here are very good with water costing Rwf 500 a bottle and pop Rwf 700 which are both pretty good prices for a restaurant.

Pane Olio and Pomodoro, Kigali

I decided a second trip to┬áPane Olio and Pomodoro in order, mainly because I wanted to give the food another try but mostly because I wanted to enjoy some good coffee in a nice setting while I worked a bit. On my second trip I ordered some pizza, one margarita and one spicy sausage. The pizza base is more soft and bready than most places around town but it totally works! The pizza sauce is delicious and it soaks in nicely to the bready dough. The margarita was ok but the spicy sausage pizza is something I’d come back here specifically to eat. The sausage adds a great flavour and it’s a damned fine slice of pizza, even if it’s not what we’re used to here in Rwanda. That’s probably a good thing (no offense, Sol e Luna, but your pizzas need way more sauce).

Pane Olio and Pomodoro, Kigali

Like I said, I enjoyed the food I had here and I love the atmosphere. I also love that they’ve come at serving food from a different angle, offering plenty of pre-cooked choices for a quick meal on the go or to takeaway. Service is friendly, the prices are some of the best in Kigali for the quality, the owner is always around and seems nice, and it’s just a cool, relaxed place for a quiet lunch.

Stop by and give them a try! Then let us all know what you thought of Pane Olio and Pomodoro in the comments below!

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 8:30am – 9pm, Sunday 8:30am – 2pm
Phone: 0783 099 718
Email: paneoliopomodoro@gmail.com
Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/Pane-Olio-Pomodoro-784844264914190

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About Kirsty

A Canadian who left in 2001 to wander around the world in search of sun, beautiful views and goat brochettes. Found Kigali in July 2010 and it seems like the perfect fit. I expect to be here until I get kicked out for defiantly walking on the grass while wearing flip flops.