Regina Margherita Restaurant – London, UK

I was staying at the Hilton London Islington and was due to meet a friend for dinner in one of the restaurants near the hotel.  We hadn’t decided which and I left the hotel a little early with the intention of having a glass of wine while waiting for my dinner companion.

I found this restaurant only 3 doors along Upper Street from the hotel and noticed that they had a Taste sticker in the window (A Taste Card allows 50% off food, 241 deals etc throughout the UK. For more info click here).  Being a sucker for promotions in I went.

The restaurant is part of the Made in Italy group however this is not another restaurant chain.  This was really nice.  Italian staff (all of them including the chef), nice wine list and a really chilled atmosphere.  They also did some mad deal on pizza by the metre but I didn’t investigate this further.

I opted for a bottle of Montepulciano (which was rather yummy, although slightly overpriced at £35 for the bottle) and ordered some bread and oil to add some real fun. I then got a call from my dinner companion; alas he could no longer join me.  The real tragedy of course, was that I had already ordered the bottle of wine…

I ordered a half portion (halves were not on menu, but hey I know what I want) of Rigatoni Mamma Mia (Rigatoni with home-made meatballs with aubergine, cherry tomato and parmesan) and a Pizzaolo (a snack size pizza slice) for starters and then the special of the day (breaded chicken with spaghetti, roast potatoes and vegetables).

The starter arrived fairly quickly (although with a bottle of wine I was in no hurry) and I can honestly say that I was served the best sugo I have ever tasted.  I enquired as to the secret of the sauce and was simply informed that it was made on the premises, fresh each day (and it was a secret!).  It is often the simple things executed correctly that make an impact; this was a perfect example.  Exceptionally delicious.  The Pizzaolo was a little oily, but certainly not unpleasant.

The wine with the pasta worked a treat and I thoroughly enjoyed my starter.  Although by the time I had finished the pizzaolo, pasta, bread and the best part of the bottle of wine, I was beginning to doubt whether I should have ordered a main at all!

The main arrived; the chicken obviously very fresh, although not overly tasty. There weren’t many potatoes so on another day I may have been a little disappointed; today I was more than content with what I had.  Veg was fairly standard but all in all a very acceptable dish.  I do wonder if I would have found the main more tasty if I hadn’t consumed quite so much already!

To round of the meal what better than some Lemoncello (an Italian liqueur).  The first glass paid for and the second provided with compliments of the house.  A really great meal which I wholeheartedly enjoyed.

With Taste Card offering 50% off the food here, it really is exceptional value for money.  Go visit.

57 Upper Street, London, N1 0NY (website)

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