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Restaurants, Italian Islington
3 out of 5 stars
 (Thomas Alexander)
Thomas Alexander
 (Thomas Alexander)
Thomas Alexander
 (Thomas Alexander)
Thomas Alexander
 (Thomas Alexander)
Thomas Alexander

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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.

Radici says
The much-celebrated chef Francesco Mazzei opens Radici, an authentic Italian trattoria in Islington, the area of London he has made his home. Radici translates as ‘roots’, and reflects the Calabrian cuisine of Mazzei’s heritage.


Address: 30 Almeida Street
N1 1AD
Transport: Essex Road rail
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £110.
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