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For good or bad, Holloway Road in north London is rapidly gentrifying. Zia Lucia is the latest restaurant to pop up in an area which was once the shabby neighbour of chi chi Upper Street on the other side of Highbury Corner roundabout. There is definitely money to be made here, but nouveau cash can’t banish traffic pollution or brighten forbidding skies. Not that either consideration put punters off from sitting at Zia Lucia’s outside tables. Inhaler at the ready we wedged ourselves in between two groups of Italian speaking customers, hoping that the food was as authentic as the chat.

THE GRUB: There will be some pizza fans who stick to the ‘if it isn’t broke don’t fix it’ mantra. I’m no fan of needless change yet I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the range of bases on offer. Wholemeal, gluten-free and traditional were joined by the curve ball vegetable charcoal, with ‘evocative flavour, dramatic look…. digestive gas absorbing capacities.’ Naturally I went for the last option for my Arianna; mozzarella, sausage, two kinds of cheese and truffle honey. The black base was certainly a statement and although it got a bit soggy, it was a novelty I’m willing to repeat.

We also tried a wholemeal base which was a surprise success, slightly drier than I’m used to but that was an asset when teamed with the ooze of mozzarella, gorgonzola and speck. There’s also a good range of salads and ours with butternut squash, artichoke, sundried tomatoes and capers was fresh and well-dressed. We couldn’t fit in a pudding but alongside the tiramisu and ricotta cheesecake, the dessert pizza with Nutella, custard and fruit is gaining something of a following on the interweb.

BEHIND THE BAR: There’s a reasonable selection of soft drinks, including San Pellegrino’s Chinotto flavour - a very bitter citrus fruit reminiscent of Campari. If you’re looking for something a bit stronger there are five red wines and three whites available by the bottle or glass, Prosecco, bottled beers and the ever so trendy Aperol Spritz and Negroni.

BILL PLEASE: Pizzas are reasonably priced, starting at £6.90 and finishing at £10.80 but add £1.50 for a fancy base. Big salads are around £5-£7 which is decent value for money for generous portions. Bottles of wine range from £18-£24 and cocktails are around £6.

VERDICT: Authentic vibe with some idiosyncratic touches, definitely worth trying if you’re in the area.


157 Holloway Rd, London N7

TUBE: Holloway Road





Zia Lucia review
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