We may be in Reykjavík but if you go to Hafnarstræti you´ll find a place called Hornið which would have pleased my uncle Roberto. It is as plain as a good slice of Mozzarella with thick slice of tomato on top, and a generous dose of good basil and olive oil in order to give it the right taste. What else would you want for a moderate price? Just check the Menu and you will find a wonderful selection of tasty, simple and fine dishes. Even the breadbasket looks tempting, – with “crestino de pane con pesto e olivo.”
The pizzas include the traditional Margheritas, Calzones (with a generous helping of mushrooms), Pescatore, and my favorite, the quattro stagioni. Among the Pasta selections you will also find a fine Tagliatelle prosciutto e funghi and an outstanding pizza with scallops, mussels, langoustines and other goodies selected from the pure Icelandic fish categories to pepper steak.
The amiable atmosphere is complimented by a competent staff that serves you with a happy flair. They obviously like their job – and it shows. The cooking is overseen by Chef Jakob Magnússon. Yes, and the place is run by his family. There may not be a cousin Rosa to check your hats and coats, but it seems that Hornið has everything else.
This restaurant was founded exactly 25 years ago when Chef Magnússon returned to Icelandic after having worked for a few years in Copenhagen at (you guessed it) an Italian pizza place, serving clients from all over the world. It was not an easy task to open such a place in Reykjavik at the time. Hornið was a first in many ways. Chef Magnússon had to fight for a wine license and other necessary trappings. In 1979 Icelanders where not used to this type of restaurant. If you went out for a meal, it was a dress up affair. There were fine grill rooms and restaurants, mostly connected to the bigger hotels. But few locals knew what the word pizza stood for. And many Icelanders thought that Chef Magnússon was plain crazy to think that a small place with table service and seating for less than 40 people would survive. Let alone such a ridiculous idea as serving coffee in tiny cups, something called Espresso (most people called it Expresso and many still do).
Chef Magnússon is today one of our foremost culinary experts. He has served as a chairman of the Icelandic Chef´s Association and of the Nordic Association of Master Chefs. He has also served as a consultant to the team of international Judges at the annual Food & Fun Festival in Reykjavik, along with experts such as the American culinary expert David Rosengarten. Well, it seems that Hornið, a restaurant in Reykjavík has combined all the little things that make you enjoy a meal that is made with loving care. Congratulations to the Magnússon family. May you continue for at least another 25 years.
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