500 Restaurant

Restaurants, Italian Holloway
500 Restaurant
© Jael Marschner Watermelon & Smoked Ricotta Salad

The arrival of 500 (Cinquecento) in 2008 marked a miracle for what even the most charitable would describe as the scrappier end of the Holloway Road. The stylish bare-table decor combined with a chef from the Jamie Oliver stable ensured a waiting list of weeks. Our most recent visit yielded hits and a couple of near misses. The Tagliere 500 starter (to share) was a stunning cornucopia of textures and tastes – including crabmeat, delicately crunchy, deep-fried ravioli with mint, and melt-in-the-mouth mozzarella – while a main course of fresh ravioli with ricotta and nettles sang all the right notes. Scallops on broccoli purée were plump and tasty, but the purée itself wasn’t concentrated enough to satisfy. And the restaurant’s much-praised baked rabbit in marsala wine sauce was tender and moist – and slightly too salty. There remains much to justify the excitement that endures around this culinary oasis in N19. Next to the traditional tiramisu and gelati, poached rhubarb with a scoop of apple sorbet made a fine end to the meal (even if the sorbet was a little more frozen than anticipated). Service was brisk and friendly throughout.



Venue name: 500 Restaurant
Address: 782 Holloway Road
N19 3JH
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-3pm Fri, Sat. Dinner served 6-10.30pm Mon-Sat. Meals served noon-9.30pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Archway tube or Upper Holloway rail
Price: Main courses £11.80-£16.80
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Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:10
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:3
2 people listening

I'm a big fan of Italian food and these guys really know what they're doing. Exceptional pasta - just like I enjoyed on my many trips to the boot. 

Delicious Sardinian food, friendly, relaxed (and very Italian) service. The seasonal menu always includes both creative and comforting choices. Great chef.

Best Italian restaurant in London. Family-run, friendly atmosphere, beautifully thought out and prepared food. A tiny gem of a place.

I'd heard really good things about this restaurant so was looking forward to going after a tough week at work, plus, my partner and I were celebrating a milestone. The menu is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum price wise but with the expectation of receiving some fine food I'd thought what the hell? Even brushing off the ever-so-slightly rude waiting staff telling me to 'hold on' while I gave him my order. 

The starter was good; a mint pea & goats cheese bruschetta which was very tasty so our expectation for main course was looking good. My partner ordered a swordfish gnocchi and I ordered from the 'special' menu tuscan sausage and broccoli tagliatelle. 

Our meals came and we took our respective first bites. I was disappointed. My meal was essentially pasta and grey looking meat with no sign, really, of the broccoli. Except for the salt it lacked any real taste. My partner concurred with her gnocchi saying it was bland of taste but carried on with hers. I can't remember if I've done this in a proper restaurant but I simply couldn't eat it and left it after two mouthfuls. I thought what the hell, take the hit, learn your lesson but the host noticing my hardly untouched plate came over to ask if everything was OK. It was embarrassing to actually say no it wasn't and explained the reasons for it. He took it on board and when the bill came hadn't charged me for my meal which I hadn't expected so appreciated the gesture. I thanked him at the bar and the chef was there so again had to explain, while being very English about it, and apologising at the same time! The chef and host generally took it well so I applaud them for not getting to upset about it; the waiter however, was another story and huffed & puffed somewhat and was not backward in showing his disdain sadly. 

I said I'd go back, out of politeness, at the time but I'm afraid I'd be hard pushed to consider it again. Hats off to the host for finding a solution quickly and dealing with it professionally but I'm afraid the food, for the costs involved, was at best average. 

A real shame, because as mentioned, we had been really looking forward to it. 

Jason S 

I thought I'd try this restaurant after reading the review. Firstly, this is NOT a reasonably priced meal - it is expensive. A starter portion is £9 and a main portion is £18. The food was tasty but the menu is very small. I couldn't help but feel that if the prices were dropped this quiet restaurant would do a lot better.

Great little restaurant. I am new in the area and tried it on a Saturday lunch. The tagliere 500 is just amazing. So much food to share for two people for just below £12. It was in it some fresh raw artichokes... just delicious, i am from south Italy where we do eat lots of artichokes... I was taken back home with that artichoke. WOW. I then had the sole that was on their special. That sole was huge and succulent while my girlfriend had the rabbit. Both plates went back in the kitchen completely empty, a part from the bones! Well, can only be happy about the visit to 500 and looking forward to be back.

Awful restaurant and it is somewhat strange that it was rewarded so many stars in the Times Out. Rude service, ingredient far from fresh and local and poor standard of cooking. If you are after really authentic Italian food in a more charming ambience there are so many lovely places in nearby Soho.

I live in Archway and wish I could be more positive about this place, but I've been 3 times in 2 years and it's never lived up to other reviews. I'm very partial to rabbit, so had it on 2 visits (the menu changes surprisingly little) - the first time it was passable (not amazing) the second time tough as old boots. And sweet - why do people put sugar in savory dishes? Smacks of bad cooking to me. And it's overpriced - rabbit is pretty cheap meat! If you want a good local Italian, go to Pane Vino in Kentish Town - way better than 500. In Archway, so far the best places are The Sitara Indian next door to 500 (freshly cooked food, not packet-sauce based as in many Indian restaurants) or Harman over the road. I would like to say St John, as the menu is really interesting, but it's a bit pricy and all the food is far too salty.

I live around the corner and have been a fan for several years. It's the best italian restaurant I know by a very long way. The menu is short but full of seasonal wonders, especially if you order the pasta or risotto which is always beautiful. In fact it's worth going for the basket of bread alone. Order the Sardinian Ravioli and the olives as an appetiser, I recommend the starter plate if there's a few of you and then go large on a main of pasta. All I can say is just go. Really.

I am not sure the review below is talking about 500. I have been more than twice to 500 and food is the complete opposite of "disappointing" as well as the complete opposite of "overpriced"! If i want fine dining woudn't go to 500 but central london where i'll spend at least double what i would spend there. Don't bother about these reviews guys, you're going great. I love your food and will come again and again.

This is the best Italian restaurant i have ever visited. The food, service and atmosphere was delightful. I would strongly recommend it and now i will go for every occassion. Please don't let the area put you off once you are inside you forget where you are.

Had to try it. I have to say that i am very happy i did. Menu isn't huge which means all fresh ingredients. Food is lovely. service is relaxed but attentive. The area isn't really attractive but once inside you really feel like you ar ein an Italian restaurant! Packed of people, nice smell of food. Really worth the travel. Will get there back as soon as i can.

I'm surprised at the good ratings this restaurant gets. A very limited and unimaginative menu, and a sparse, charmless room with tables packed too closely together. We asked the waiter to suggest a wine to go with our meal and what we were presented with tasted like water. Having said all that there is a great dessert menu though and very friendly, engaging waitress.