Inspired by the delis and bakeries of the Continent, this open-fronted restaurant and takeaway on thriving Upper Street is likely to invoke child-in-a-sweetshop syndrome in anyone with a fondness for fine Italian produce. Brothers Ben and Will Thompson oversee an all-Italian kitchen team who churn out an incredible array of carefully constructed home-style dishes, from pizzas, pastas and salads to bakes, grilled meats and lunchtime hot sandwiches. Lined up in a vibrant food counter which runs the whole length of the restaurant, the dishes are of a far higher standard than the canteen-style service might suggest: a mozzarella salad sees an unctuously creamy ball of the main attraction paired with ripe Mediterranean-flavoured tomatoes in a peppery olive oil, while a lasagna is rich with the flavours of slow-cooked ragu, tasting charmingly homemade rather than kitchen-crafted. Carefully created cakes, pastries, tarts and brownies ensure there’s just as much choice for puds (or for a coffee-side snack) as there is for mains. Though fetching your food from the counter may seem a drag, we find that it does allow for ultimate flexibility in how you make up your meal. And once seated, the friendly staff circulate to make sure you’re kept topped up with drinks, a broad selection of Italian vino being a headline act. If the sun’s out on your visit, then make sure you head to the roof terrace, a secreted suntrap that’s still a well kept secret.
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