From Iceland — SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW ?


Published May 28, 2004


Rossopomodoro is a franchise operation, to be sure. It is based on the pure Italian Napoli pizza mentality. However, there are not many Rossos. One in Madrid, one in Rio de Janeiro and one in Reykjavik. In the mother country, Italy, you may find three in Milano, if you look closely. But in Napoli, the birthplace of pizzas, you´ll only find seven or so!
Having a built-in dislike for chain restaurants, cafeterias and fast food establishments, I was ready to dismiss the Rosso in Reykjavik as a dressed up pizzateria with an ill concieved wine list thrown in. The Sebeto group of Napoli have succeeded in the creation of quite the opposite of everything I dislike about franchised food establishments, made these frightful things quite tolerable and, in some cases, quite good. Rossopomodoro is a cross between a traditional ethnic restaurant and a casual pizzeria. Rosso succeeds where Pizza Hut (and other places) fail miserably.
Ok, hold on to your hats. The Rosso in Reykjavik, the only place of its kind in Northern Europe, can boast a solid, friendly, service-minded staff. This is more than can be said of similar establishments in Southern Europe, where far too often you feel that you are keeping your waiter from an exciting game of poker in the back room. The staff in Reykjavik seems to like their job (so far) and it shows.
The wine list is perhaps nothing to write home about. But the list includes medium to good Italian wines that go well with the fare. There is even a surprisingly good Colthon Nero d´Aviola that leaves a good taste in your mouth and a fine feeling in the bottom of your tummy. Best of all, the prices on the wine list are from cheap to moderate compared with Reykjavik´s restaurants in similar categories.
So what else is there? The food? Oh well, no first prizes I am afraid. But if you like mozzarella, you should try the “Abufala” with salad. There is also the “O Fusillo” pasta with bacon, cacio and black pepper. And last but not least the smoked “Scamorza” cheese with bacon. However, if you don´t care for things like that, a plain beefsteak with mushrooms, parmesan and pepper, “A Straniera,” will definitely make you happy.
The magic formula seems to be: Blend a Napoli trattoria together with a casual Italian ristorante, spice it with good Icelandic service – and you´ll have a very pleasant Rossopomodoro! Interested? I thought so.

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