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Francesco Mazzei, radici
Photograph: Time Out

Chef’s Specials: Francesco Mazzei’s favourite spots in Islington

From the pub that pulls the perfect pint of Guinness to an under-the-radar Italian trattoria

By
Isabelle Aron
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In our new series, Chef’s Specials, we ask London chefs for their favourite places to go for food and drink – everything from neighbourhood restaurants to ace caffs to always-reliable corner shops. In our first instalment, chef-patron of Fiume, Sartoria and Radici, Francesco Mazzei, shares his favourite spots in Islington.

‘I spend every Sunday morning at Islington Farmers’ Market. Going there is a real form of therapy and relaxation for me. I go first thing with my children and we’ll get fresh flowers for my Islington restaurant Radici. I know all the stall holders really well now and it’s where I get lots of our produce that we cook with at home. 

‘I get as much meat as I can from butchers Turner & George. All of the staff are brilliant and really knowledgeable. If they don’t have something specialist in stock that you want, they’ll source it for you and it’s always the best quality. They usually have to kick me out because I’ve been in there too long chatting and a queue has formed behind me.

‘I generally only ever really drink Guinness when I’m in Ireland, but The Woodbine is the exception. Mick is a brilliant landlord and makes you feel right at home. I’d go as far to say it’s the best Guinness in all of London – it can’t be beaten! 

‘My wife and I visit Little Sardegna at least once a week for a glass of wine and excellent Sardinian charcuterie. It’s a small trattoria run by Marcello – it’s just him in the kitchen with one other serving and one doing the washing up, that’s it. 

‘Lee at Bourne’s Fishmongers is incredible. It’s quite difficult to source wild fish in the UK but he always manages to find some real beauties, which is such a treat. During lockdown, Lee donated 60 kilos of salmon to me at Radici where I was cooking meals for the NHS. It’s a brilliant company and the produce is top-notch!’

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