Tuesday, January 26, 2016
The Cult of Pizzeria Pappagone, Finsbury Park
For all the years my brother-in-law Tom and his partner, Cristy, have lived in Finsbury Park, the name "Pappagone" has been bandied around in nearly every conversation we've had about their weekend/weeknight plans. And now that they're parents to our adorable 2-year-old niece, Dorothy, the force of this North London pizzeria has never been stronger. Photos of her laughing as spaghetti dangles from her outstretched hands and tomato sauce sweetly decorating her cheeks frequently appear on the Tumblr devoted to her adorable antics.
So, I knew that Pappagone was a well-loved restaurant. What I didn't realize, however, was that it is - in fact - an institution of Italian family-style dining. After celebrating Dorothy's 2nd birthday there this weekend, it only took two photos uploaded to Instagram and Twitter and bam! The comments came flooding in from followers: "I was just there with my entire family yesterday! You missed us by a day!" and, "Pappagone is the BEST Italian restaurant in London, in my opinion!" and also, "I've been wanting to go for ages! How was it?"
I can see why it's so popular - it's loved by Arsenal football fans en route to match day and families out for Sunday lunch alike. Once filled, the cavernous space becomes jubilant and convivial, and the XXL pizza oven provides much entertainment for little ones (my niece included!).
Also: the portions are generous. I underestimated the serving size of the bruschetta (despite my Tom's forewarning) and placed an extra order for foccacia as well, which was a fantastic accompaniment to the two bottles of Montepulciano on table.
Before long, my linguine alle vongole arrived, the pasta perfectly al dente and the sweetness of the clams wonderfully juxtaposed against the white wine, garlic, and chilli. Bellisimo.
Okay, so before I get too carried away with my Eat/Pray/Love style Italian (awful, awful movie, btw, but so good when you're sick and sniffling on the couch!), the lowdown on Pappagone is: friendly service ("They greet you like an old friend!" my brother-in-law likes to say), delicious Italian food, at very reasonable prices.
Get over there - now.