Decent food and large portions at the Islington branch of this much-loved Italian-style restaurant chain.
Exposed brick walls and lots of colourful artefacts dominate the rustic interior and give an earthy feel to the restaurant, whilst geometrical motifs on the walls and brightly coloured chairs add quirky touches to the decor and liven up the ambience.
The energetic and cheerful staff provide efficient service and help create a comfortable atmosphere, and traditional Italian music plays in the background for a mock-Italian feel. The place tends to be busy with group and families, so it can get a bit noisy at times, especially at weekend nights when it's packed with the usual Islington crowd for a vibrant atmosphere. During the week, students flock in for a mid-week treat.
The menu offers a fairly priced choice of traditional Italian dishes - mainly pizzas and pastas with a few meat dishes and salads.
The antipasto La Porchetta to share (£12.95) is a simply presented selection of cured meats and vegetables in oil served with homemade bread: a safe choice if you cannot make up your mind among the wide selection of starters available.
Pizzas are most diners’ favourites and it's easy to see why: they are huge, very tasty, the dough is puffed up and ingredients taste fresh, especially the tomato sauce, made daily from juicy Italian tomatoes. There's a wide range of pizzas from which to choose, with the most expensive on the menu coming in at just over £10. It's generously topped with savoury Parma ham and creamy buffalo mozzarella which perfectly balance each other and make this one particularly tasty pizza.
Pastas are also a good choice for your taste buds as well as your wallet. The spaghetti marinara is one of the priciest items on the menu (at a mere £9.95) and is flavoursome, with lots of good quality seafood in a rich aromatic tomato sauce.
House wine (simply marked as 'red' or 'white' on the menu) comes in carafes at £14.50 per litre and is not bad at all. There are also other good value easy drinking wines, such as a refreshing (and well-priced) Gavi at £18.95 or a fruity Pinot Grigio Blush at £16; for those looking for something a bit special, a full bodied Barolo is available at £30.
Moretti beer served draught is a valid option if you don’t feel like wine, and the list also features some Italian amaro (digestive spirits), which might be just what is needed to wash down a hearty meal.
The Last Word
La Porchetta is a cheerful restaurant that offers good pastas and large pizzas at reasonable prices. A pretty good spot if you are looking for some comfort food in a relaxed environment.