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Radici: Islington’s Southern Italian

Living in Islington I’m completely spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a restaurant when the belly grumbles. Granted many of them nowadays are of the chain variety. A double-edged sword for us, as it does make for easy pickings when out with the kids. On the other hand its sad to see your high street turning into generic. So when I heard on the grapevine that Francesco Mazzei had opened Radici, a Southern Italian restaurant in Islingon… in my hood…!?  Well, I can’t deny it. I was more than a little excited.

Islington restaurants

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

I was a big fan of his former residency at L’Anima in the city. He is now heading up Sartoria in Mayfair too. So I was keeping my fingers crossed for a ‘real’ Italian in Islington. Something surprisingly rare in this pocket of London.

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

The lightly distressed walls, a colour scheme of pale terracotta and pastels along with the random selection of chairs, it definitely gives it a rustic trattoria feel, If not with an airbrushing of Islington chic. The sheer size of the dining area which very quickly fills up with theatre-goers for the Almedia opposite creates a real buzz.

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

You can also catch a glimpse into the huge open kitchen with a wood fire pizza oven. The Italian banter from the chefs only adds to the authentic trattoria feel.

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

The menu feature all the usual Italian structure – antipasti, primi, secondi, pizza and not forgetting the all important dolci! We began our Southern Italian foodie journey with some Nocellara olives (£2.50) whilst we perused the menu.

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

The wine list is full of Southern Italian delights and plenty of by-the-glass options. We went for a carafe of the 2016 Ciro from Calabria, very similar to a Sauvignon Blanc.

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

A huge fan of burrata, I couldn’t help but ask for a vegetarian version as the one on the menu came with broccoli and anchovy (£10). The sumptuous milky cheese sat on top of a bed of juicy peppers drenched in oil and herbs with a smattering of hazelnuts. Simple and perfectly executed. I loved the crunchy texture of the hazelnuts against the smoothness of the creamy burrata.

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

The children’s menu ticked the pizza, pasta, chicken and fish boxes. Both girls naturally opted for pizza margherita (£5) after spotting the huge wood fire pizza oven and the chef spinning around the pizza dough.

Although explaining to them they couldn’t go and make their own heart-shaped pizzas like they did in the Dolomites didn’t go down too well. When they arrived I had serious food envy as they tucked into the perfectly charred dough and stringy mozzarella & tomato fest. Next time!

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

My aubergine parmigiana (£10) arrived as whole slice layered with thick tomato sauce (just like mama makes it), melted cheese and crowned with a single basil leaf. Not the prettiest of dishes, but one of the tastiest parmigianas that have passed these lips.

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

And I have to take a moment to gush over the roasted potatoes in rosemary and garlic. So buttery, so moreish and so melt in the mouth. I would have been happy with a huge plate of them to myself.

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

Mr S kept up the burrata theme and ordered tortelli burrata (£13). Again, a simple dish where the quality of the produce speaks for itself.

Desserts were a triumph! Mr S was pleased with the marsala tiramisù (£6.50) a small glass filled with layers of cream and boozy masala soaked goodness. Radha was in ice-cream heaven with her hazelnut number and shrieked with delight ‘mummy it has real hazelnuts in it!’.

Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

The winner though was watching my five-year old polish off a (unbeknownst to her) aubergine and chocolate cake (£2). Devoured in record time, her face was a picture when I told her what was actually in it. Although I fear now she’ll want her aubergine doused in chocolate now at home.

With its friendly service and a price list which is extremely reasonable for an Upper Street restaurant (you can get a margherita pizza for £8!). I can see this place becoming a firm favourite with the Islingtonites.

Radici translates as ‘roots’ and I honestly feel Mazzei has laid down some permanent ones in north London. I’m just overjoyed that I now finally have a ‘real’ local Italian to tantalise my tastebuds when I so desire.

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Radici | 30 Almeida St| Islington | London | N1 1AD

www.radici.uk

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Islington restaurant | Radici: Islington's Southern Italian

21 Comments

  • Monisha 7th August 2017 at 8:43 am

    Adding to my list – will heads there when am on hols in a week- can’t wait! pics look amazing x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 9th August 2017 at 1:52 pm

      Yes, it’s a must. Love to know what you think about it.

  • Mummy Times Two 7th August 2017 at 11:01 am

    This looks like delicious food, I love the sound of the children’s menu x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 9th August 2017 at 1:53 pm

      So much easier when you’re with kids for a separate kids menu. Although going for an Italian, you know you’re in safe hands.

  • Rhian Westbury 7th August 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Looks like really yummy food, although the chocolate cake does intrigue me x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 9th August 2017 at 1:54 pm

      I know it sounds weird, believe me it tasted great. A 5 year old gobbling it all up is proof enough.

  • Helen 7th August 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Everything at Radici looks and sounds so delicious. The aubergine and chocolate cake sounds so interesting, would love to try that. I love finding authentic (non chain) restaurants.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 9th August 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Yes, me too. Chains have their place in the restaurant world, but nothing like finding something new and refreshing.

  • kristal 8th August 2017 at 2:35 am

    When I went to London I did not have bad food. Everything was well made and designed to take a pic before you eat.

  • Gareth Torrance 8th August 2017 at 7:10 am

    I would have loved to see your daughter’s expression when you told her what was in that cake 🙂

    • Sima Sthanakiya 9th August 2017 at 1:59 pm

      I know, wish I captured it on camera.

  • Ami Rose 8th August 2017 at 10:31 am

    Mmm I’m definitely craving pizza now. These look delicious. And love that you’re little one didn’t realise she was eating something “healthy” for dessert. It all looks yummy!

    Ami xxx

    • Sima Sthanakiya 9th August 2017 at 1:58 pm

      I know it was so funny when we actually told her Ami. Her face was a picture!

  • Aaron (@1dish4theroad) 8th August 2017 at 2:13 pm

    I’m in Italy right now.. and this still looks totally amazing! So lucky to have it on your doorstep, Sima!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 9th August 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Not too far for you venture to Aaron when you’re back and missing your Italian adventures.

  • Ali Rost 8th August 2017 at 6:43 pm

    My husband and I love places like Radici. If we’re ever lucky enough to go, I know we’d order tortelli burrata (for him) and aubergine parmigiana (for her) Yum! x

    • Sima Sthanakiya 9th August 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Such a lovely dish! Fingers crossed you make it there.

  • dena jayne 8th August 2017 at 6:44 pm

    ooo this all looks amazing. I am such a lover of Italian food! The cake sounds fab x

  • Jenni 9th August 2017 at 11:07 pm

    The food looks incredible, I love pizzas made properly and would love that chocolate cake

  • Julia 20th June 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Reading this really made me feel like Italian food and a good authentic Italian pizza! Those look amazing.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

    • Sima Sthanakiya 24th June 2018 at 9:23 pm

      So, so good Julie!

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