Test Drives

vitelloThe vitello tonnato

What can you tell us about Radici?

It's the latest restaurant from Francesco Mazzei, in partnership with D&D. Originally known for L'Anima, he's been wowing people (and us) at Mayfair's Sartoria. This sees him opening a mid-market Italian spot in Islington.

Where is it?

They've taken over the spot previously known as Almeida (which is opposite the Almeida theatre). It's about half-way walking distance between Angel and Highbury and Islington stations.

Who's it suitable for?

It's one of the largest restaurants in Islington, really only second to Bellanger. It'll be suitable for a broad mix (and larger groups) but be warned that the decibel level can go up quite a bit when the place is full. We'd suggest a few noise softening measures are needed. 

Where should we go for a drink first?

If you're coming from the Highbury end, then make sure to pop into Little Bat for a quick cocktail or two. If you're coming from Angel, there's nearby 69 Colebrooke Row.

There is also a small bar in Radici, but it's more of a holding area for the main restaurant, we feel. And you can also get a decent glass of wine in the Almeida theatre opposite (just avoid it at the interval, or have your drink and seat sorted by then).

And where should we sit?

We do like the tables with the padded benches (they're VERY comfy) but we'd say the tables by the windows at the front are the prime space.

courgetteflowerStuffed courgette flower

And how about the food?

You're looking at the usual layout for Italian restaurants here - so that's a menu split into antipasti, primi, secondi and pizza.

It's not at the level of Sartoria, as there's a significantly different price point here at Radici - pizzas are around the £10-£12 mark, pasta £10-£15 and mains at around the £15 mark.

We think some of the best options are:

  • The spicy meatballs (£7.50) - we really loved these. Just a touch of spice, not too much. We'd like to see these graduating to the primi section with pasta.
  • The courguette flower and garum (£9) - it's hard not to go for courgette flowers when they're on the list.
  • The special of the vitello tonnato - this is a trigger dish for us. We absolutely have to order it if we see it on the menu. It rarely disappoints and this was a fine example.
  • The polenta with beef ragu (£14.50) - a fine ragu and a lighter alternative to pasta and beef ragu, but we do think the menu could do with a few meatier options in the pasta area.

Of the dessert, we missed a trick by not ordering the aubergine and chocolate cake (£6.50) which we've been hearing great things about.

And the drinks?

There's a short cocktail list by Sartoria's Simone Caporale to get you started, around the £7-£8 mark. Wines are spread around the £30 - £50 mark with the entry price being £14 for a 500ml carafe.

Overall 

Radici is another sign that Islington is getting spoled when it comes to new restaurants. There isn't another Italian quite like it locally and it'll do big business. We'd went quite early on and did think it needed a little more time to bed in, with the service a little scatty, but we've faith that Mazzei is developing a winner here.

raguThe polenta with ragu

What: Radici

Where: 30 Almeida St, London N1 1AD

How to book: Call 020 7354 4777 or book online

Find out more: Visit their website.

Hot Dinners was invited to Radici. Prices are correct at the time of writing.

 

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