Trattoria Nuraghe, Tufnell Park

Today I am going to retract my former assertion that there are no nice restaurants in Tufnell Park.

On Monday night we went to the Sardinian restaurant Trattoria Nuraghe and it was actually very good. The restaurant sits in a particularly uninspiring row of shops at the bottom of Dartmouth Park Hill and from the outside doesn’t really have much to recommend it. Because of its insalubrious location and because it looks like an uninteresting cafe from the outside, I have never paid any attention to it and in fact I don’t think I even knew it was there.

To his credit, my boyfriend had suggested going here a couple of times as he’d heard good things about it but I was unconvinced. I judged it on appearances and turned my nose up at it. But we have made a commitment to eat out in places we can reach on foot and after Googling for restaurants in Tufnell Park I was astounded at the excellent reviews this place was getting and thought perhaps we should give it a whirl.

The interior is nothing amazing and being picky (as I am), I think the walls should be painted in a stronger hue and the cheap Ikea-ish tables and chairs should be replaced with something a little more ‘lived in’ but it has a really nice trattoria feel and I very much like the selection of woven dishes on the wall. The service is excellent, really personal and friendly and even on a first visit you’re made to feel a like a local.

The food was very good, and so was the chianti. After reading this blog post I already knew I wanted the parma ham and melted fontina plate for my starter and was really disappointed that it had run out. Because every single person in the restaurant had ordered it. So I guess it must be pretty good then. My boyfriend had the chorizo which was the best I’ve ever tasted, all burnt and full of paprika and not at all greasy as chorizo usually is. For main we both had the pasta with minced pork and fennel which is very similar to the one served at Zucca although not quite as delicate and about eight times the quantity. The portion size here is insane and it is a restaurant where you happily take your leftovers home in a tupperware.

Our two course meal with wine was £66 including service which is not bad value considering it provided my lunch and my boyfriend’s dinner last night too.

Happily I think I have found one of those local places that is perfect for when you want to eat out but can’t be bothered to get on the tube and for me this was a lesson in not judging a restaurant by its outside appearance and in the unwavering usefulness of restaurant review blogs.

Trattoria Nuraghe, 12 Dartmouth Park Hill, London NW5 1HL 020 7263 456

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12 comments

  1. Isn’t it funny how the “look” of a place can impact how you feel about it? I’m exactly the same way. Glad you could see past and enjoy what sounds to be an awesome meal…although I would have been devastated to have missed that parma ham!

    And thanks so much dear, for dropping by my blog! I’m truly enjoying yours!

    • Yes am going to have to go back, my Mum has read my post and demanded to be taken there so that’s the next trip planned!
      Thank you so much, I have subscribed to your RSS feed :)

  2. If they look “IKEA-ish” it’s because they totally ARE from IKEA :)
    Decor aside, the food sounds delish and it sounds like you had a wonderful time. Who knows, this could even become your local place! Once you’re a regular, you can convince them to let you redecorate the inside.

  3. This place sounds great, I’m glad you’ve found a good ‘local’. Mmmmmm, italian food. Shame about the decor – maybe they should hire you to do it up…? Oh ha, just saw someone else has made the same suggestion!

  4. This is fantastic! A little bit of Sardinia in Tufnell Park. The interior of the restaurant is like most traditional eateries on the island. Simple. It’s their food where they pack the punch. If I’m ever passing through the area, I will be sure to give this place a shot, based solely on your review here.

    • Hi Jennifer. Thanks for your lovely comment. I’ve been there two weeks in a row now and am going next week too! I’ve been looking at your lovely blog and now I want to go to Sardinia!

  5. I had read the reviews prior to booking – but we decided to chance it. Last night, we were greeted by ‘if looks could kill’, the ever assertive Italian waitress at Nuraghe. She was surprised to see us, as the restaurant was fully booked and she had no record of my reservation. After a lengthy discussion during which she argued, patronised and basically just repeated the same information, she decided that I must either be lying or that I had called a different restaurant by mistake. We probably should have walked, then and there. However, to prove a point, I pulled up the number on my iphone and showed her. She insisted that this was certainly not the number for the restaurant. So I dial up 0871 971 5623… to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, and, sure enough, one of the staff answered the phone from the kitchen, directly opposite. I went up and confirmed that he had just spoken to me, nevertheless, the waitress insisted that this was still not their number! Obviously this was a pointless argument and in no way taking us closer to a resolution. Despite the fact that there were actually tables available, each staff member either fobbed me off, or refused to speak in English. The customers politely ignored us, as though it was a regular occurrence. Just as we were about to give up, I heard swearing, directed at me, and threats to call the police. Alas, it was not a customer, it was the angry chef shouting from the kitchen (probably the same one, as mentioned in previous posts). Needless to say, we didn’t hang around for an encounter with this rather menacing character, or his large array of kitchen utensils. We did get a clap as we exited the place, so at least our evening was entertaining, not least. Unless you are looking to find a great idea for a new family sit-com, I wouldn’t recommend this experience.

    • Wow I’m so shocked to hear that! We go there almost weekly and they can never do enough for us. They go out of their way to accommodate us. I’m so surprised and disappointed that you has that awful experience. They do have a habit of shutting up shop with no prior warning which has left us dinner less on a couple of occasions!

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