Franzina Trattoria

Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8LQ

Telephone: 07802 473444


Open everyday from 12.30 pm to 11 pm: except Tuesday 6-11 pm

This is not the first time we have visited Franzina Trattoria; you can find our other reviews here when we ate in and here for when we had a home delivery. On this occasion, we went with two friends, so we could try more dishes. We went on a Tuesday after the bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral and it was relatively empty, as were all the restaurants down Coldharbour Lane. The decor has not changed, stripped back and with most tables not too rocky – a perennial problem across Brixton. There is a reasonable menu on one side of the table mat and on the other side is the drinks, making it possible to re-check what you were eating. There is also an extra menu of specials which is also on the blackboard. This Sicilian-style trattoria serves small plates (some not so small) and homemade pasta with various sauces.

The small plates are an array of rice balls (arancini), and these are not the delicate ones, but saffron rice and more like tennis ball than delicate canape-sized golf balls. There are also mussels, wild prawns (again not a large number but they are huge) and octopus. All are substantial. Two of us chose arancini, both with Tuma cheese. The other two had impressive looking grilled prawns and mussels in tomato sauce. Both received favourable receptions. If you are on a diet you can stop here, as we were very full, or perhaps think of sharing more of the dishes. But we were dead set on carrying out a full review.

We took a deep breath and headed into the pasta. Our first dish was Nero di sepia (absolutely delicious plate of black squid ink pasta with calamari, chilli and parsley). It was a little hot that day, so choose white wine and water to get the best experience, but I would definitely suggest ordering this one as the calamari was just right. Next was a special of mushrooms and truffle. There was lots of truffle, so definitely stuck by the description – many restaurants are a bit mean. Then there was Ammutunata (stuffed baby aubergine smoked in garlic, mint, tomato sauce and ricotta) – and despite being full the plate was clean. Finally we ordered the ragu di salsiccia (mince pork and fennel with Ragusano cheese). All delicious with slightly al dente tagliatelle – just how we like it.

We were too full for any more food and we did leave some on the plate (a complete surprise to all of us). We had a couple of bottles of white wine (the cheapest) and a couple of glasses of red (again the cheapest) and the bill came to £55 for two including service, not including the drinks which were an additional £29. It is clear that sharing is expected as the waitress asked if we wanted everything together. We know this is a favourite of some Italian friends and next time we will definitely share the pasta dishes if we can agree on what to try.

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