Forza Win is a shape shifter. What started out as a roaming pop up soon found a permanent home in a restored old grain store in Copeland Park, where it then morphed into a sumptuous set-menu affair. These days, it's a humble restaurant serving simple(ish) Italian dishes, with a modest price point to match - but don't underestimate the magic going on in the kitchen: the flavours here are devastatingly good. Whilst the menu changes frequently, you'll always find an array of pasta dishes alongside some choice meat (and the odd veggie) mains. We slurped up tagliatelle topped with oven-blistered tomatoes that burst with sun-drenched flavours, as well as a sausage pappardelle that had the comfort factor and flavour of bangers and mash. Dessert is serious affair: opt for the custardo (a Forza Win invention - espresso topped with crème anglaise) and their deconstructed tiramisu, then prepare to nurture a food baby for the eve. Bop along on Wednesdays for their 'Awesome Sauce' deal, where you can scoop up a pasta dish and a glass of booze for a tenner.
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This husband and wife-run deli is dangerous - it's all too easy to get carried away inside and walk out with a very heavy bag, and a very light wallet. Their cheese and cured meats are all top notch, as well as their olives and sauces. If you're cooking dinner for an Italian who knows their stuff, better pick up the ingredients here. Some of the items are a little on the pricey side, but that's almost standard for swish delis. They do homemade to-go lunches and dinners too, which are always hella good.
Islington has plenty of good eateries and the Italian, Trullo is definitely one of them. The theme here seems to be simple but well done - the decor isn't over the top but it creates a nice environment that's perfect for shmoozing or to take the parents to. The food is in a similar vein: simple, seasonal Italian dishes on a smallish menu that changes regularly. Fish, meat and pasta are their hallmarks. The pasta is made fresh and was probably the highlight when we went. In particular, the Pappardelle with beef shin ragu was goddamn excellent and is good as either a starter or a main. We'd also suggest tackling the Almond and Pear tart for a dessert. A really nice spot to go for a meal — get a load of dishes to share but be careful not to stack up too big a bill.
You'll find plenty of North West natives spilling out on the streets on this stretch of College Road, but it's the ones really in the know that you'll catch sitting outside L'Angolo. A legendary deli in these parts thanks to the owner and neighbourhood Stalwart Carmelo, this is the spot to pick up all of those wonderful, authentic Italian ingredients, from dried pasta to cheeses and meats. The coffee here is delicious and eye-popping, while the paninis are, as you would expect, top of the range; build it the way you see fit out of your favourite bits and bobs. Enjoy all of this out front and indulge in a healthy dose of people watching, why don't you?
Nothing soothes a broken soul like a good bowl of pasta, and Mora's are bang on. While his wife, Silvia, sorts front of house, Carlo's out back flipping a mighty good pan of papardelle. He's from Sardinia and so are most of the dishes, which use traditional ingredients from the island that us Londoners aren't used to seeing on our plates. Look out for 'bottarga' - salted, cured fish roe - which is shaved over risotto or 'seadas' - deep fried ravioli filled with pecorino and topped with orange marmalade and honey. We crunched our way through a good few of them. Start with a little tower of aubergine melanzane and then get stuck into their homemade pasta. Or if you're feeling a little more curious, their weekly changing specials focus on a different region of Italy. That means drinks, pasta, and even deserts will be themed. When we were in it was Trentino's turn - which meant strudel got a look in. Pair with local craft beers or something Italian, natural, and organic from the tidy wine list.