It’s just as well portions are large here, as we enjoyed every last flavoursome bite of our meal. Mimmo La Bufala specialises in southern Italian food, with a bias towards mozzarella (of course) and fish. Daily specials might include classics such as osso buco. A starter of sautéed king prawns was deliciously fresh and juicy. Then followed a memorable pasta dish of orecchiette with fresh spinach, creamy ricotta and tangy sun-dried tomatoes – a perfect mix of complementary flavours.
The long pizza list includes all the classics as well as seasonal variations such as tomato-free ‘biancis’. We opted for ‘Mimmo’s pizza’, named after the ebullient proprietor. In true southern Italian style, its thin base was topped with juicy tomatoes, smoky provolone and melt-in-your-mouth buffalo mozzarella before being baked in a wood-fired oven. This oven links the restaurant’s two dining areas: a small but airy front room in white with shopfront-style windows, mirrors and chandeliers; and a larger, cosier space at the back with less natural light and a grand piano for occasional entertainment.
Our main gripe is the lack of wines by the glass (only house red or white), but it’s the food that is the draw.
The emphasis has always been on quality and freshness, not just the fish dishes, but also for the veal steak and lamb Milanese, which was created by Mimmo. Expect fine dining but a warm and welcoming atmosphere, nothing stuffy! Mimmo and his team are always on hand to make your dining experience one that your will be sharing with your friends, keeping you returning time and time again.
From a family Sunday lunch to a special birthday, just have a chat with Mimmo - either pop in to the restaurant or call him anytime on 020 7435 7814 and enjoy some of the best pizza and Italian food Hampstead has to offer.