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“Stop fast food”, says Domenico, owner of Italianissimo (meaning very Italian) – a new café/restaurant in Holloway Road.

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Restaurant info:

Italianissimo, 256 Holloway Road, N7 6NE. Tel: 020 7700 0760

Web: www.italianissimopizzeria.co.uk

Mains: £5.40

Wine: BYOB

Children welcome: Yes

Disabled access: Toilet might be too narrow for wheelchairs

So confident is he of the message, he has written letters to residents of their student-populated stretch of the A1, dominated by big fast food brands.

And they have a point – there’s nothing frozen here and when fresh fare, cooked from scratch, is as cheap and tasty as experienced chef Luigi cooks up in the tiny kitchen, it seems almost ridiculous to spend your hard earned groats at one of the ubiquitous chains.

On our visit the 16 seats were all full, either with diners or people waiting for orders from the burgeoning take-away business.

To start, we had a platter of dough balls, aubergine, mini-lasagnes and more, all of which were light and delicious.

Next up was one of Luigi’s signatures dishes – a collection of handmade pastas served in a casserole dish with a pastry topping. Sort of like a pasta pie. The garlic gnocchi in particular was mouth-watering.

Finally we had the homemade tiramisu, which was rich and indulgent without being at all stodgy.

The prices are down-to-earth and the Italianissimo is BYOB so it’s possible to have a very good three-course meal, with wine, for less than £30.

Plus the staff are friendly and welcoming – keen for a chat without being intrusive – it really does tick all the boxes of a little family-run gem.

And set among the behemoths of international fast food, it’s an oasis of fresh-cooked goodness.

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