The scene The place is absolutely heaving every day of the week (don’t expect to get a table without booking … ever) and there’s always a lively, noisy atmosphere that borders on the chaotic.

Expect to be greeted with the kind of warmth you might expect if you were long-lost family, regardless of whether you were last here a week or a year ago.

The grub No surprises here. The menu is all pizza, pasta, salads and a few Italian staples – think veal Milanese and mushroom risotto.

If you even consider getting anything except pizza, though, you’re crazy.

These mammoth pies arrive fresh from the wood-fired oven at the front of the restaurant, which fills the room with mouth-watering aromas, and are so enormous that the edges flop off the sides of your plate.

I always think it’s one of the marks of a good Italian joint if you can order a finickity mishmash of ingredients without a problem, and my waiter doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when I ask for a complicated veggie hybrid of about three pizza varieties.

Our party also orders a pizza Hawaii and insalata tricolore on the side.

Nothing arrives speedily, but when the food does get to our table, it’s spot on.

The salad has creamy, flavoursome buffalo mozzarella, perfectly ripe avocado and fresh tomatoes, while both pizzas are piping hot and generously topped.

It’s too much for one sitting, though, so our waiter whisks the remainders away and insists on boxing them up for us to take home. Bonus!

Behind the bar A range of reasonably priced wines, including plenty of sparkling options by the glass, plus spirits and bottled beers.

House wine starts from £3.20 a glass, and beers from £3.60.

Bill please Pizzas from £5.70; starters from £3.50; mains from £12.50.

Verdict A great meal, but what really makes this restaurant stand out is the friendly and welcoming service, which gives the place its character. helen elfer

131 Stroud Green Road, N4 3PX  
Tube | Finsbury Park

%TNT Magazine% stars%TNT Magazine% stars 4