The best thing I ate at Radici was also the simplest. This swooningly pretty Islington Italian – from the slick D&D group and with Francesco Mazzei behind the pass – has a classy trattoria menu of antipasti, pasta and meat dishes, but there’s also a pizza section. Pizza is not a sideline dish; average pizza is a sacrilege, good pizza an art form. Luckily, the litmus test margarita I tried was a banger. The cheese could have done with ten seconds more in the dome oven, but the cornicione (aka crust, and the star turn in any good Neopolitan-style pie) was killer: chewy, sharp, charred and pillowy, just like nonna makes. It was multo, multo primo.
Antipasti were tip top, too. The fritto misto was beautiful. Meatballs, too, were excellent: fist-sized with a fiery sauce and a dense, almost offally consistency.
A recommended calves liver involtini – liver rolled in pancetta – was a bit one-note, not helped by the scattering of ash from the flaming skewers holding it all together, and the accompanying mash was grainy. A chicken calabrese was duller still. Where the meatball sauce was reduced and rich, this was sharp and watery, like a ropey ratatouille. It all screamed ‘dinner party cooking’. See also a glass full of tiramisu. Cardinal rule: tiramisu should come in a mascarpone-oozing, marsala-seeping slab, not in a glass. This was booze-less and too polite.
It’s a lovely space – terracotta walls, oversized terrazzo floor tiles, a sparkly bar with lit-up salami-hanging booths and intimate vibes despite the size – and the service was absolutely spot on (they asked us to choose our table, a tiny gesture but a massive tick). D&D places are usually expensive, but even with the comparatively moderate prices here the bill was punchy. Still, go nuts on the smaller plates, and make pizza a main; you’ll have a marvellous time. Ciao for now.
30 Almeida Street
|Transport:||Essex Road rail|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £110.|
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