Radici

Restaurants, Italian Barnsbury
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
 (Thomas Alexander)
1/4
Thomas Alexander
 (Thomas Alexander)
2/4
Thomas Alexander
 (Thomas Alexander)
3/4
Thomas Alexander
 (Thomas Alexander)
4/4
Thomas Alexander

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.

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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.
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By: Tom Howells

Posted:

Venue name: Radici
Contact:
Address: 30 Almeida Street
Islington
London
N1 1AD
Transport: Essex Road rail
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £110.
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Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|3
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Tastemaker

My friends and I ate here last night and overall everyone was quite disappointed in their food. Very sad bc it's such a nice place, decor-wise. The best part of the meal I had was the aubergine cichetti- crisp exterior with creamy aubergine center with a tasty flavouring. The service was only mediocre: we had to flag a waiter down to finally get service and also to pay the bill at the end. I got the aubergine pizza and my friend's husband got the pizza special with Parma ham and veg. My husband got the beef lasagna and my friend got the fettuccine special with truffles. The meals looked lovely but my god, how tasteless they were. Whilst my friend's husband and I agreed the pizza dough was very nice with a good chew and texture, the topping and sauce was just SO bland. He and my friend doused their food with chilis to give it any flavouring. Honestly, I have had way better pizza at Pizza East in Shoreditch, Joe's in Clapham and Yard Sale in Clapton. I'm a native New Yorker so am admittingly a pizza snob and this was just subpar. I got the Pinot Grigio and was happy how dry it was, but such a tiny pour! My friend's elderflower cocktail was lovely. Anyway, I felt badly I chose this place for dinner and it was such a let-down.

Tastemaker

I had an excellent experience at Radici, which was a couple of weeks ago, so out of their preview week, so perhaps they have smoothed everything over now because the service was excellent and the food mouth wateringly delicious.

My only reason for not going back so often, would be simply because I try and support smaller independent restaurants and this one is part of a big restaurant group with shareholders and so forth. But based on it's own merit, in terms of food and drinks, I couldn't fault it when I went. 

Tastemaker

I dined at Radici during it's preview week so I had high expectations. Unfortunately there just wasn't anything that made the whole experience unique. It's located just off of Upper Street and opposite the Almeida theatre which is a plus, but the food was rather bland and the service was actually pretty rubbish. When I asked the waitress to explain something, she looked at me like I was stupid and basically huffed her way through the menu options. The interior, however, is rather cool. It gives off a real quintessential Italian vibe and several pieces of veg being on show gives off a 'fresh and authentic produce' idea. This place needs work in general though, they're not yet there at all so I wouldn't recommend, Upper Street is full of gems, I'd go there instead 

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