Bronze Award

SquareMeal Review of Berto

Bronze Award

The Zia Lucia pizzeria is one of the few restaurants to have made a dining destination out of unlovely Holloway Road. Now it has expanded next door with Italy’s other great culinary gift to the world with this pasta specialist whose cheery yellow frontage brightens a workaday stretch of the A1.

Things are just as bright inside thanks to a skylight that lets in natural light during the daytime, although we found the evening lighting a little too bright, making the simply decorated dining room feel functional rather than cosy, though it does mean the chefs in the open kitchen can see what they’re doing, as can the diners who sit up at the counter watching them.  

As at Zia Lucia, the homemade pasta comes in wholemeal and gluten-free options as well as the traditional egg and flour version. We preferred our punchily flavoured strozzapreti with sardines, datterini tomatoes and parsley to tonnarelli cacao e pepe, which could have been a little warmer and a lot cheesier.

Other pasta plates include a vegan pici aglio, olio and pepperoncino, a veggie fettucine with butternut squash velouté and semi-dried tomatoes, and meaty tagliatelle with slow-cooked beef ragu.

Starters include sautéed Wye valley asparagus (not perhaps the most seasonal of autumn ingredients) with Parmesan shavings, and deep-fried aubergine and beef polpettine, rather like the Dutch bitterballen. Slightly uninspiring desserts such as chocolate fondant or ricotta and chocolate cannelloni (both on the dry side) suggest it might be better to fill up on carbs here.

Still, it seems churlish to criticise when prices are more than reasonable (£8-£13 for full-size pasta dishes) and the whole place hums with a good-natured cheerfulness, from the brightly patterned Umbrian-style pottery to the welcoming and friendly staff.

There’s nothing life-changing on offer here, but that’s not what Berto is setting out to do. It’s the sort of well-priced local, open all-day, every day, that everyone wishes they had on their doorstep – just like you might hope to find in Italy, in fact.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Under £30
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
Special Features
Counter dining, Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Birthdays, Child friendly, Dates
Food Hygiene Rating

About Berto

Fresh pasta restaurants are no longer the novelty they once were in London, but most of them are currently found in central locations, such as Borough (Padella), Soho (Pastaio) and Covent Garden (Bancone).

Now, though, a fresh pasta restaurant has made its way to the Islington/Holloway borders, with the arrival of Berto. The restaurant comes from the team behind pizzeria Zia Lucia, and is right next door to the original Zia Lucia site. The pizzeria is known for using non-traditional doughs, such as its charcoal and ‘green vegetable’ varieties, but Berto keeps things a little more conventional, serving up a selection of pasta made from traditional, wholemeal and gluten-free flours.

Pasta dishes to try include pappardelle, gnocchi and egg tagliatelle, alongside vegan pici and filled pasta such as ravioli. These are bookended by antipasti such as an assortment of fritti, while you can round off your meal with a selection of cheeses matched with Italian wines. These can all be enjoyed in the relaxed dining room, which features an open kitchen, counter seating and enough room for around 40 guests.

If you’re wondering about the name, Berto gets its moniker from a friend of the restaurant’s owners Claudio Vescovo and Gianluca d’Angelo, who is an expert pasta maker. The real-life Berto has helped train the staff at the London restaurant, having operated a pasta shop in Ronciglione, just north of Rome, for over 25 years.

The team behind the restaurant are confident it will be a success, as they plan to open five more branches over the next four years, although the location of these newer sites is yet to be revealed. The parent brand Zia Lucia already has a couple of siblings, with the original Holloway Road location joined by another in Brook Green and a third at the Wembley branch of food hall/retail concept Boxpark.


Are there gluten-free options on the menu at Berto?

Yes there are gluten-free options on the menu at Berto.

Helpful? 0

Location for Berto

155 Holloway Road, Holloway, London, N7 8LX

020 7052 3893


Opening Times

All day
Mon 11:30-22:30
Tue 11:30-22:30
Wed 11:30-22:30
Thu 11:30-22:30
Fri 11:30-22:30
Sat 11:30-22:30
Sun 11:30-22:30

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